Buying Guide for Kid's Ski Boots
By Steve Kopitz
Making sure that kids are in the correct kids ski boots will help ensure that they have a fun, safe time on the hill and their skiing skills progress accordingly. There are several different types of kids ski boots which give parents plenty of options to find just the right kids ski boots.
Types of Kids Ski Boots
Rear Entry Kids Ski Boots: Rear Entry Ski Boots get their name because the back portion of the boot opens to the rear allowing skiers to slide their feet in from the back. Rear Entry Ski Boots are good for small kids and beginners as they are easy to get into and out of. The two part shell hinges wide open to make it easier for parents to help kids get their feet in the boots. The drawbacks to Kids Rear Entry Ski Boots are that they don’t offer as many fine tune adjustments and are typically more difficult to flex than a front entry ski boot.
Front Entry Kids Ski Boots: Front Entry Ski Boots get their name because the tongue of the boot opens forward so the skier’s foot can slide in from the top. Front Entry Kids Ski Boots are available with one, two, three, or four buckles depending on the brand and size of the kids ski boots. The additional buckles allow for a more customized fit. Based on how Front Entry Kids Ski Boots are constructed they are easier to flex, making it easier for kids who are developing their skiing skills to apply pressure to the tips of the skis and make carved turns.
Performance Kids Ski Boots: As you can see from the difference in pictures from the white and blue Kids Front Entry Ski Boot above to the white and black Kids Performance Front Entry Ski Boot below, the Performance Kids Ski Boot is more substantial and offers more features. Performance Kids Ski Boots are typically available in larger sizes from a mondo point 22.0 to 27.0. These ski boots are designed for bigger kids who need better performance from their ski boots to be able to progress their skiing beyond an intermediate level. Performance Kids Ski Boots are stiffer flexing than the standard kids front entry ski boots. Performance Kids Ski Boots typically offer micro adjustable buckles and a powerstrap. These features allow for fine tune adjustments ensuring a more comfortable yet snug performance driven fit.
Junior Race Ski Boots: Junior Race Ski Boots are designed for kids and smaller teenagers who are interested in ski racing. Junior Race Ski Boots are designed for performance and have more features to allow young athletes to have the best fit possible. Junior Race Boots generally have flex ratings from 60 to 90. Typically the 60 – 70 flex boots are truly a kids design; which are very similar to a Kids Performance Front Entry Ski Boot spruced up with a race graphic. The 80 – 90 flex junior race boots usually use an adult lower shell (the green part) with a junior cuff (the white part). The shorter junior cuff makes the boots softer flexing than an adult boot and more appropriate for a kid’s smaller frame., while still providing young racers with most of the performance features found on the adult race ski boots.
Adjustable Kids Ski Boots: Adjustable Kids Ski Boots are designed to accommodate children who are out growing footwear quickly. Adjustments on the shell actually expand overall length of the kids ski boots allowing price conscious parents to hold on to the same pair of kids ski boots for more than one season. Most models of Adjustable Kids Ski Boots adjust about 3 shoe sizes. Due to the way Adjustable Kids Ski Boots are made with telescoping shells and expandable liners, they do not necessarily provide the same level of comfort and performance as standard Kids Front Entry Ski Boots.
Which Boots to Buy?
Beginners and Intermediates: It is important for beginner and intermediate skiers to have boots they can easily flex. This will make it easier for kids who are still learning new techniques to get their body weight forward over the fore body of the skis allowing them to be “in the driver’s seat” controlling their turn size, shape, and speed. The best option for beginner and intermediate skiers is a standard front entry ski boot, as they tend to flex easier than rear entry ski boots.
Advanced to Expert Skiers: As kids start working on skiing parallel and making carved turns it might be time to consider Performance Kids Ski Boots. The more customized, snugger fit will give kids quicker response time from the ski boots and the skis making it easier to transition from one turn to the next. For smaller kids who haven’t developed all of their ski muscles yet, a Performance Kids Ski Boot might be too stiff. If your child can’t easily flex a standard Front Entry Kids Ski Boot so that you can see the cuff bending forward from a side view, as shown in the picture below, it’s not time to progress yet.
Sizing Kids Ski Boots:
Ski boots are sized in a system called Mondo Point. Mondo Point sizing is only used in the ski boot industry, so it is important to check the Kids Ski Boot Size Chart to ensure you are getting the correct size kids ski boots. The short video on How to select the correct size ski boot walks you through measuring to ensure that you are purchasing the proper size kids ski boots.
Will my child get more use out of Adult Ski Boots?
As you may notice by looking at the Ski Boot Size Charts that there is an overlap in sizes from adult boots (down to size 22.0) to kids boots (up to size 27.5). While an adult size 24.0 ski boot will be the same length as a kids ski boot size 24.0, they will not fit the same. Kids Ski Boots are narrower with shorter cuffs to accommodate kid’s smaller frames.
Men's and Women's Ski Boots are designed for the average adult man or woman respectively in terms of both size and strength. While kids might have adult sized feet they will not be ready for adult boots until they are developing build and strength more similar to an adult. In some instances, most commonly with boys, the child’s feet will get too large for kids ski boots. In this case finding a soft flexing adult ski boot is the only option.
Pushing a child into adult ski boots too early may limit their progression of skills as they now have to work much harder to try to make their ski boots flex. When kids can’t properly flex their ski boots they tend to modify their body positioning, moving their center of mass behind their heels and twisting their hips from side to side to make their skis turn. This is inefficient body positioning and makes controlling the skis and mastering new skills more difficult, sometimes even impossible.
How to Put on Ski Boots:
Kids may struggle to put ski boots on. This video will give you some tricks and tips to help your kids get their ski boots on.
How Kids Ski Boots Should Fit:
A proper fit is extremely important when it comes to ski boots. A snug fit ensures the skier will be able to control their skis as they take on new terrain. This video will inform you as to how ski boots are supposed to fit, so you can ask your kids the correct questions to know their new Kids Ski Boots are the right size.