Sturtevant's – Skiing & Snowboarding Clothing
How to Choose the Right Ski Boots
As the only connection point between your body and your skis, the right ski boots are vitally important for a great day on the slopes. The right fit is essential for giving you the perfect amount of control over your skis and keeping you comfortable throughout the day. Buying the right ski boots is a lot more complicated than buying sneakers, and this guide will help you understand the nuances of ski boots to ensure you get the best fit. As always, we recommend you visit one of our expert boot fitters in-store for the best possible boot fit.
How Should Ski Boots Fit?
Ski boots should fit much more snugly than normal shoes. The boot should serve to almost immobilize your foot in the lower shell, not allowing it to move or slide around. Having this snug fit will allow you to ski more precisely by directly transferring the motions of your body into your skis. A snug, precise fit does not mean that your ski boots should not be comfortable! It may seem counterintuitive, but a snugger, more precise fit will be more comfortable than a loose fit because it will not allow your foot to bash around inside the boot while skiing. When your foot slides into a ski boot, you should be able to clearly feel the end of the boot against your toes—if it fits like a bedroom slipper, it’s the wrong fit. When you buckle the boot and flex into it, you will gain more room around your toes as your heel moves all the way back into the heel pocket of the boot. This is not to say that every skier should be crushing their feet into boots that fit like those of a World Cup ski racer—your boot fit should correspond with your style of skiing and personal needs. The only way to truly find the right fit is to sit down with a boot fitter, allow them to assess your foot and your skiing needs, and try on a few boots that correspond with your foot shape.
Width, Last, and Volume
The last of a ski boot refers to its width across the widest point at the forefoot/ball of the foot. The volume of the ski boot refers to how much overall space the boot has inside. Boots with narrower lasts are lower-volume, and boots with wider lasts are higher volume. The height of a boot’s instep sometimes, but not always, corresponds with its volume. For example, skiers with a narrow foot and high arch may need a boot with a narrow last and higher instep to accommodate their foot shape. A Sturtevant's boot fitter can help you further understand these nuances and help pick a boot that is right for you.
Low Volume (LV) fit
-96mm to 99mm last
-A, B, C width in street shoes
Mid Volume (MV) fit
-100mm to 102mm last
-C, D, E width in street shoes
High Volume (HV) fit
-E or wider width in street shoes
The flex rating of the boot is the number that you will usually see associated with the boot model. Flex ratings in adult ski boots range from 60 to 130, or very soft to very stiff, respectively. Experience level, height, weight, and skiing style all play a role in which flex is best for you. Typically, beginner skiers should use a softer flexing boot, while more advanced skiers will want a stiffer boot. If you are shorter/lighter or taller/heavier than average, you may want a different flex than your skill level might indicate due to how much leverage it requires to flex the boot. Remember that flex numbers indicated by boot manufacturers are not on a fixed scale, they are more of a ballpark. For example, a 120-flex boot from Salomon might feel quite different from a 120-flex boot from Lange. Every brand is different, so try on a few models to see what feels best. Also remember that boots stiffen considerably in the cold weather of the mountains compared to how they will feel in a warm shop.
STURTEVANT'S BOOT LAB
Your boots are the most crucial piece of equipment you have, so we take the time to connect with you on a personal level and get it right. Sturtevant's guarantees the fit and comfort of every boot we sell, and our Boot Lab is a PNW favorite. Test run didn’t go so well? Bring them back to your boot fitter for adjustments. Still not quite right? Bring them back again. We’ll adjust until they feel perfect or we’ll refund you for a full year. You’ll never be stuck with something that doesn’t feel right when you purchase from Sturtevant's.