Ski Boots

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Ski Boot Shopping Tips


Any skier out there who has spent an entire day out on the hill will tell you that there is one piece of equipment that can really make or break your skiing experience: your alpine ski boots. Sure, all your ski gear is important, and each has their specific function to make your ski day the best day, but these are giant cases of plastic molded around your foot that lock into your skis, if they’re not comfortable and the right fit for your foot, you’re going to be miserable. But due to the issues of comfort, it’s not uncommon to see some people hang onto theirs for a long time well after they’re been outdated and overused to the point that they can hinder your skiing ability. Don’t panic yet, we’re here to help you find the perfect alpine ski boot that is comfortable, performs, and lets you charge the hill with confidence.


So, if you are in the market for a new pair you have come to the right place; is proud to offer a vast selection for all types of skiers. From the beginner just starting out skiing to the advanced skiers slashing powder lines in the backcountry, we are sure to stock the right pair for all. Let’s run through what you need to know so you can pick the perfect pair for your needs.


Buying Alpine Ski Boots


First let’s touch on some of the basics for your purchase. The first thing to consider here is a gender specific boot. Men’s and women’s ski gear is not made differently just in their colors or styles, rather they are built to form to the body shape and needs of their specified gender. Men’s ski boots are made with a taller cuff by the calf, as men’s calf muscles start further up the leg than women’s, generally a stiffer flex (which we will get into later what flex means), and a wider forefoot to accommodate men’s foot shape. Women’s ski boots have a lower cuff so that the lower set calf muscle isn’t restricted by the boot cuff causing discomfort, softer flexes, a narrower foot bed and heel pocket, and sometimes a little bit of a heel lift to help get their weight forward, as women’s center of gravity sits further back due to hip shape.


If you want to learn more about the differences, check out this video.


Types of Ski Boots


So far we’ve been using the term alpine boots exclusively, but there are different types available for different types of skiing. It’s important to choose the right type for your personal use. Check out the different types below and see what fits your needs.


Downhill: Downhill ski boots are designed for downhill skiing. This covers any type of basic downhill from beginners to expert level skiers. The terms downhill and alpine can be used interchangeably here.


Side Country: Side Country ski boots are designed for light touring and offer good downhill ability. Most side country boots have a ski/hike feature that you can turn on or off to be able to walk more comfortably, and rubber soles to make hiking easy.


Freestyle: Freestyle ski boots are often more relaxed, adding a playful feel to downhill or alpine ski boots. They often feature shock absorption and an upright stance. Freestyles are designed for skiers who like to spend most of their time in the park. These are also sometimes called freeride.


Race: Race ski boots are considered a specialty boot in the downhill category. They are made for ski racing, which you may have already figured out on your own, and are made for performance. They feature an aggressive stance, thick liners, quick response, and a narrow fit.


Alpine Touring: Alpine Touring ski boots are designed to hike. Typically alpine touring boots, also known as AT boots or telemark boots, are lightweight and feature a ski/hike function for skinning and climbing. They are also only compatible with AT bindings.


Ski Boot Brands stocks gear from all the top brands. We know that some of you have a favorite brand you’ve been loyal to for years. For those skiers that are brand loyal or have a favored fit by a certain brand, narrowing the selection to show favorites is highly beneficial. In the “By Brand” refinement you can select one or more brands to only look at a brand specific selection of gear. Our top brands include:



Skill Level


Skill level is an important concept to consider when searching for your purchase. The levels range from beginner, intermediate, advanced intermediate, advanced, and expert. Selecting one in the appropriate skill level for your skiing ability is one of the most important parts of picking the right alpine boot for you. Different levels have different flex rates, which we will go into detail about in a minute, and will have different benefits for the that skill range.


Beginner – beginner ski boots will have a soft flex and be easy to use and maneuver with less power and agility at slower speeds.


Intermediate – intermediate ski boots will have a bit stiffer flex and perform better in slightly more challenging terrain and at moderate speeds.


Advanced Intermediate – advanced intermediate ski boots are for the skier that feels comfortable on the slope at faster speeds and some tricky terrain, which will have a bit stiffer of a flex and allow for better control of your skis in this terrain.


Advanced – advanced ski boots start to get into a high flex range and will allow for quick agility in response times for tough terrain and high speeds, but are not quite built for very aggressive skiers.


Expert – expert ski boots have the highest flex and are the most responsive, meaning you need the best skill and power to maneuver, but the reward in performance is unmatched. These are for the aggressive skier in the most difficult terrain or at the highest speeds.


Alpine Ski Boot Flex


Earlier we mentioned flex while talking about the difference between men and women’s boots. Now let’s go into detail about what flex means. All different types offer a certain amount of flex, which is how much forward pressure it takes to bend them. This just means if you lean forward while standing in your boots (like you’re supposed to on the hill), how hard to do you need to press before they begin to give.


In general, beginners should pick a pair with a softer flex while advanced skiers will want a stiffer flex. This is because it takes skill, power, and technique to flex your boots, and when you’re just starting out on the ski hill, you may not have these skills mastered yet. And if you have trouble flexing, it becomes very difficult to control your skis. Meanwhile, an advanced skier may want a higher flex so that their boots do not give too easily with their power, and a stiffer flex allows for more control over your skis. A flex that is too soft will also tire you out faster and feel like your skis aren’t responsive enough to your movements, so be sure to know your ability and skill level before you chose which flex is right for you. breaks down the flex into Soft, Medium, Stiff and Very Stiff to help you narrow down the selection when searching for the right pair for your needs. As a whole, flex tends to be between 50-130, with women’s usually in the 50-100 range and men’s in the 70-130 range. Beginner skiers should look for a pair with a flex that ranges from 50-80, intermediate skiers should look for a flex that ranges from 60-100, and advanced and expert skiers look for a stiffer flex ranging from 80 to 130. Keep in mind that weight does play a role in flex as well, so higher weight ranges should look at a bit of a stiffer flex for your needs.


Sizing Alpine Ski Boots


Once you’ve picked your perfect pair, it comes down to the sizing. The sizing system used for this gear is called Mondo Point. So if you see size options that look way too big, don’t freak out, it’s just a European system used across all brands. The Mondo Point sizing system uses centimeters for length measurement, so all you need to do is measure your foot in centimeters and boom! That’s your size.


Ski boots are constructed to create a transfer of energy from your knees to your skis, it is key that there is no slippage or movement in this energy transfer. Choosing the correct size is incredibly important, especially once you’re on the slopes. Ones that are too big can cause pain due to your foot moving around in your boots or even jamming your toes into front, thus making it hard to control your skis, and an easy way to lose a toenail. If they are too big on your feet, some areas of your foot will start to blister and cramp from trying to keep your skis controlled.


For more information on how to make sure you’re on the right track with your size, check out our sizing guide here.


Alpine Ski Boots Size Chart


If you don’t want to go through the hassle of measuring your foot and figuring out your size, but you know your shoe size, check out the alpine ski boots size chart for a quick and easy conversion.


Alpine Ski Boots Sale


As much as we would all love to buy the newest and most expensive gear around, we know that skiing can be an expensive sport. Being budget conscious while picking out your gear is not uncommon, and to accommodate that, offers an entire section dedicated to alpine ski boots sale items.


Additional Features


There are many different features that may be important to you when picking your pair. Some of these include width, buckle count, instep, calf volume, and foot beds. While these features probably won’t make or break your enjoyment and comfort level on the slopes, they may be worth looking into if you have a specific need in mind or have unique feet.


Here we’ve run through the basics s and what to look for when buying your pair, but if you’re looking for more in-depth information, or still have any questions, check out our ski boot buying guide for more specifics and helpful videos.


If you have any further questions regarding ski boots, or any other ski gear, please check out our ski-o-pedia section for buying guides, sizing guides, and more information.


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