Buying Ski Boots

Michelle Wilcox
My role at profeet is Senior Boot Technican, where I help construct some of the training.
I have amassed 14 winters where I have skied at least 60/100 days a year, at 26 I’m probably one of the youngest members of the BSBA.

Profeet Ski Lab Manager, British Ski Boot Fitters Association Trainer, and ski boot fitter for royalty and the stars,  Michelle Wilcox offers us some advice on ski boots.

  1. If you are going to buy one piece of kit make it ski boots.
    On average skiers rent boots one or even two sizes too big. Boots that are too big increase the risk of injury, the foot can twist inside the boot, as well as reducing control over your skis. Rental boots (even performance rental boots) are made to a price and use cheaper foams in the inner boot that won’t fit as well and that get squashed to every foot shape that uses them, therefore loosing shape and reducing foot hold and comfort after just a couple of rentals.
  2. Getting the right boot size is about more than just getting your foot measured.  An experienced boot fitter will take the time to look at how the shell (the hard plastic part) fits your foot without the liner (the soft foam part) in order to establish the correct size. There are many subtle differences between shells and an experienced fitter will start by making sure you are in the right shell for your foot shape and ability.
  3. Change your boots about every 180 days skiing or every 5-6 years or a combination of the two. Ski boots wear out; the foam gets thinner and loses support with use and time, the sole wears out affecting safety with the binding and plastics get brittle. Finally ski boot technology improves about every 5 years as new design concepts are released by the manufacturers.
  4. If you get cold feet, then get your boots checked for size and fit as all too often poor circulation from a bad fitting boot is the cause. If you still get cold feet (many people will in any case as a ski boots are a snug fit and therefore impair circulation when not moving) then invest in premium ski socks (merino wool is best for cold feet) and electric ski boot heaters – which are even used by the top world cup racers!
  5. Make sure you get a good custom ski insole. Your feet need to support your body, and like a tall building, need strong foundations, without which the bone structure collapses, especially when doing a dynamic sport we are not used to. Combine this with a rigid ski boot and something’s got to give, usually the foot which ends up rubbing or pushing into the boot causing pressure, pain and blisters. In addition the custom insole will improve balance and ski control by increasing contact with your foot.
  6. If you really struggle with a comfortable fit or are looking for that extra performance then consider custom made liners (the soft inner boot). There are various types but the two most popular are Foam Injected liners, great for a firm more performance fit and EVA Thermo Mouldable liners that are great for comfort and warmth. Make sure you see a specialist with a choice of liners that can recommend the right type for you.
  7. If you like off-piste/back country skiing, then consider one of the latest ‘Hike and ride’ boots; they are top performance ski boots made predominantly for downhill skiing with added backcountry features e.g. robust walk/hike modes, shock absorbing baseboards, non-slip soles and some have interchangeable soles for ski-touring binding compatibility. But take note, last year sales of these boots more than doubled in the trend-setting USA so stock might run out fast.
  8. Current trends in boots have been towards less forward lean and a lower internal ramp angle (the ramp from toe to heel) which makes for a more natural and less fatiguing ski stance and works far better with modern shaped ski’s. So less angle means less strain on your muscles so a new pair of boots might help you get that bit more out of your legs.
  9. Find a specialist shop that has all the knowledge to examine your feet and understand your skiing needs: all Profeet ski boot lab staff are experienced skiers and boot fitters and are additionally trained by in-house podiatrist and bio-mechanist Paul O’Malley (MSc) in more complex feet and ankle issues.
  10. Invest time – a good ski boot fit will take about two hours and should include having an insole fitted either off the shelf or custom made. The insole will provide a solid foundation for your foot and ankle and reduce pressure points caused by your foot moving or collapsing as you ski. You don’t want to ruin your amazing ski holiday by skimming in this area.

Ski Weekend customer’s special offer

Profeet offer Ski Weekend customers 20% off custom fitting at the Profeet Ski boot lab!

  • 20% off fitting including high definition custom moulded Profeet insoles and including our lifetime comfort guarantee. Normally £159.95 Ski Weekend customer offer £135.95 saving £31.99.
  • 20% off custom fitted liners including Sidas Foam Injection and Intuition thermo Mouldable liners.

Come and meet the Profeet Ski Boot Lab and Ski Weekend Team’s and special guest’s at a special customer event on 20th November from 6.30pm for drinks and with a talk from 7pm. RSVP to Profeet 867 Fulham Road, London SW6 5HP or call 020 7736 0046

Terms and conditions apply. Quote Ski Weekend offer when booking. You must present a booking confirmation for a holiday booked/taken 6 months either side of the purchase date. Not combinable with any other offer.