SnowUniverse guide for buying ski boots

SnowUniverse guide for buying ski boots

SnowUniverse guide for buying ski boots

The ski boot as we know it today was invented in the sixties by Bob Lange. He created the first plastic shell for a ski boot and started the Lange brand. The boot is divided into three parts: the plastic shell, the inner boot and the sole. These are also three important elements for the comfort of your foot when skiing.

Plastic shell

The hard part of the boot — the ski boot shell — can be classified into three families: rear entry, front opening and overlap cuff. Each type of shell share the characteristics of flex, width and height. The shells can be reshaped by boot fitters to counter any foot irregularities.

Rear-entry shells saw their golden age in the eighties when Salomon launched the SX boot range. The rear opening allowed wider entrance for wide feet, and many skiers discovered comfort. With the changes made on traditional shells, they are now relegated as a comfortable and slightly technical boot. Nowadays, the Nordica Grantour model is most popular.

Front-opening shells were made popular by Raichle brand in the nineties thanks in part to Edgar Grospiron who went on to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Albertville. Front-opening shells are still found on freestyle boots. They allow you to adjust the flex of the boot with an interchangeable tongue.

Overlap cuff shells are the most common type of ski boot shell. These are the ones that are found on most ski boots. They consist of two major parts: the bottom section that surrounds the skier's foot and the collar above it to tighten the boot on the leg. The outside of the boot covers the boot’s inner when tightening the buckles, which is why they're called overlap cuffs. These are the easiest for boot fitters to work on, and they can be reshaped in many ways.

Inner boots

The majority of inner boots are thermoformable. This means they can be adapted to the skier's foot by heating in a special type of oven. By increasing the temperature of the foam, the liner will become more pliable. Cooling around the foot, the foam takes the shape of the foot, ankle, shin and heel. Comfort is therefore maximised because any previous pressure is better distributed throughout the body of the skier. Some manufacturers, like the Italian brand Nordica, incorporate cork elements in their inners. The ultimate goal is always to improve foot comfort. Some brands like Sidas specialise in thermoformable inners and only sell inners adaptable to any shell.

Choose your level and type of skiing

It’s important to know your level of skiing before buying a pair of ski boots. Your speed, your technical level and your style of practice must be taken into account when buying ski boots. If you are new to skiing, a recreational ski boot will help you learn the basic techniques of skiing. It will let be more forgiving while you’re learning essential technical ski styles. Once you’ve acquired the basics, you can access more challenging ski slopes and your speed of learning will increase. A more technical ski boot will be needed to properly control your skis.

Choose the right ski boot flex

We often hear about ski boot flex. It’s an interesting consideration when choosing a boot model. Boot flex relates to a boot’s flexibility. A skier's weight, skiing level and height affect boot flex. Ski boot manufacturers develop ranges of the same ski boot model with different flex. For example, the Head brand made a series of its Edge boots to range from flex 70 to 110. The flex rating isn’t comparable from one brand to another but is consistent across each series. A higher number indicates a a harder flex.

Determine your foot length and width

Ski boot widths today vary from 95mm to 106mm, depending on the width of the foot. A big change in recent years is that it's now possible to find wide yet technical boots. Until recently, boots for wide feet were limited to leisure ranges and vice versa. The easiest way to find your boot width is to test. Test several pairs on the slopes so you can compare. Men's and women's ski boots are different; be careful to choose a suitable model. Ski boot sizes are given in centimetres according to the “mondopoint” standard. It's not recommended to base your ski boot size on your daily shoe size. To find your correct ski boot size, we recommend that you measure your foot in centimetres and add a 1cm for maximum comfort. Avoid adding more than a centimetre, as even if you're cramped in ski boots, you’re better off choosing a wider ski boot.

how to buy ski boots - a buyers guide

After buying ski boots, are they under warranty?

All items are guaranteed by the manufacturer. The warranty duration varies depending on the equipment. Warranty processing is done by us. If problems occur, please use our after-sales service form.

SnowUniverse guide to sustainable development

The first thing you can do to help reduce the environmental impact of skiing is to reduce the use of natural resources for the manufacture of alpine ski equipment by using your equipment for longer by taking care to maintain it regularly. To keep your ski boots in great shape, close the buckles after each use. Reinsert the dried inner, making sure that there are no bad folds, then latch the hooks without forcing. At the end of each season, pull out your inners and wash them. Replace the insole of the boot if it appears damaged to gain comfort immediately. It is also possible to replace the rubber heels and toes of the plastic shells. They can wear from walking on the road. A well-maintained ski boot lasts longer. Have your ski boots reached the end of their life? You can send them to us, and we’ll do the recycling of your ski equipment in partnership with the waste reprocessing company Tri-Vallée.

Photos © Rossignol / Photos © Lange