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Alpine Ski Boots FAQ

 

By Steve Kopitz

 

12/8/2011

 

The following is a list of many of the frequently asked questions about alpine ski boots. To obtain the answer to any question listed below, please click on the respective question in the list to jump to its answer.

 

Shop Men's Ski Boots

 

Shop Women's Ski Boots

 



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Q: I am interested in purchasing ski boots, what style boots do you offer?

 

A: Ski boots fall into five basic styles: Men’s, Women’s, Kid’s, Racing, and Freestyle. Men’s boots will be taller, stiffer and a wider to accommodate a man’s lower leg and foot. Compared to men’s boots, women’s boots are softer, have a narrower last – the interior shape of a boot – and a shorter cuff, as women’s calves are generally located lower than men’s. Therefore, the cuffs need to be lower to get the boot buckled. Kid’s boots are smaller and softer to accommodate the smaller size of a child; however these boots will have similar technology to the adult boots. Racing boots are much stiffer than regular boots in order to hold firm at higher speeds. Meanwhile Freestyle boots tend to be softer, with a padded boot board to reduce the impact of landings.


Q: I am interested in purchasing women’s ski boots, how are they different?

 

A: The anatomy of a woman’s body is definitely different than a man, so why not have a ski boot that will accommodate these differences. Women are generally lighter and have a narrower foot than men. Compared to men’s boots, women’s boots are softer, have a narrower last – the interior shape of a boot – and a shorter cuff, as women’s calves are generally located lower than men’s. Therefore, the cuffs need to be lower to get the boot buckled. These differences in women’s boots will help create a more comfortable boot and hopefully make skiing more enjoyable.


Q: Why do ski boots have different widths?

 

A: Since people have different sized feet and skiing levels, manufacturers do a great job of creating different lines of boots to satisfy all different widths. As a general rule, the more advanced the boot, the narrower it will be, with some exceptions. This is because as a person becomes a better skier, they want a tighter boot, and will be willing to give up a bit of comfort for added control. Beginner-to-intermediate boots typically come in widths from 102-105mm; intermediate-to-advanced run 100-102mm; and expert/racing boots measure less than 100mm. If you foot is on the wider side you will want to look for a larger width boot with-in the style boot you want to order.

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Q: What is Mondo Point sizing and how do I know what size to order?

 

A: Ski manufacturers use a sizing system known as Mondo Point to size boots in a universal measuring system. Mondo Point is a European measurement for shoe sizes that is measured in centimeters. To determine US sizing from Mondo Point, simply refer to the following chart:

 

 

Mondo Point Size Chart

Mondo Point Size

U.S. Shoe Size
(Mens)

U.S. Shoe Size
(Womens)

22.0

-

5.0

22.5

-

5.5

23.0

-

6.0

23.5

5.5

6.5

24.0

6.0

7.0

24.5

6.5

7.5

25.0

7.0

8.0

25.5

7.5

8.5

26.0

8.0

9.0

26.5

8.5

9.5

27.0

9.0

10.0

27.5

9.5

-

28.0

10.0

-

28.5

10.5

-

29.0

11.0

-

29.5

11.5

-

30.0

12.0

-

30.5

12.5

-

 

 

For more information on ski boots please refer to our Ski Boots Buying Guide.


Q: How should a ski boot fit?

 

A: The purpose of a ski boot is to create a direct connection from your knee to the ski without any unnecessary slippage or movement. If your boot is too loose, your skiing will suffer and you could hurt yourself. And if your boot is too tight, you are promising yourself plenty of painful days. Most people will choose a ski boot that is too big for them and this is because most people also wear their shoes a size too big. Do not pick a bigger boot assuming that it will be more comfortable, as this is one of the most common mistakes made in boot fitting. Often this is because when trying on the boot for the very first time it will feel too tight. However, over time the foam in the boot will compress leaving more room for your feet. A good fitting boot should be comfortably snug and not sloppy. You should be able to wiggle your toes but not have heel slippage or movement from side to side or forward to back.


Q: I am interested in buying ski boots, how stiff of a boot should I get?

 

A: Ski boots are assigned a flex rating, the higher the flex rating the stiffer the boot will be. When looking for boots, beginners should look for a rating of 60 or under. Intermediate skiers will feel comfortable in the 60-80 range, advanced skiers should seek out boots rated 80-100, and boots for experts are rated over 100. Racing boots are known for being super stiff. Junior race boots will be rated anywhere from 70-100, while adult race boots will go from 110 up to 150. You will also want to keep in mind these few exceptions. Heavier skiers should add a bit of stiffness, while lighter than average skiers can add some flexibility. If you have some knee problems, a more flexible boot will make skiing easier. 

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Q: How do I tell if the ski boots you offer will be compatible with my binding?

 

A: Down hill ski boots and bindings are universal between the manufactures. This means that all downhill ski boots will be compatible with downhill ski bindings. When ordering ski boots you will want to keep in mind the type of skiing you will be doing. If you are a racer and have race skis and race bindings then you will want a race boot, even through a different style boot will be compatible with your race binding. Cross country ski boots and Telemark boots are not compatible with downhill bindings. These style boots are only compatible with their specific bindings.


Q: I have ski boards, what style boots should I order?

 

A: The bindings that are on ski boards are generally universal with all downhill ski boots. The bindings will clamp over the toe and heel of the boots. If you are ordering boots for use with ski boards we suggest ordering freestyle boots or an all mountain boot. Freestyle boots will tend to be softer, with a padded boot board to reduce the impact of landings for jumps and tricks. While an all mountain boot will let you go from ski boards to your downhill skis with ease.


Q:Why do some boots offer something called a “ski/walk” option?

 

A: Ski boots are generally hard to walk in, that’s because these boots are made for skiing, not walking. The ski/walk feature is usually found in better beginner and intermediate level ski boots. It allows you to walk more comfortably in your ski boots by releasing the upper cuff with the turn of a knob. The released upper cuff can now move freely, creating added comfort while walking.

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