With the proper measurements and know-how. The one time absolute no-no, Is not only possible but might just be your best option. This is a complete guide on how to measure your foot and find the right ski boot for you.
How to Correctly Measure your foot for Ski boots
The key to finding the best ski boot for you is to figure your correct foot size. Feet, like ski boots come in different shapes and sizes. Knowing how to correctly measure your feet will help you find the best ski boots for you. Here is what you need to know about your feet before you purchase ski boots online.
Know your Mondo size
Your Mondo size, (short for Mondopoint) is the length of your foot in centimeters. Now I know what you're thinking. Before you google how to convert your shoe size to mondo, I urge you to stop. Grab a ruler, a couple pieces of paper, some tape, a pencil and follow the directions below.
Find a straight wall and tape the piece of paper on the floor with the narrow end flush up against the wall. A standard piece of paper should work unless you have a larger than average foot.
With a thin pair of socks on. Plant your foot firmly on the piece of paper with your heel against the wall and trace your foot with a pencil. Be sure to keep the pencil upright and not on an angle, as this can lead to inaccurate results. (For the best results, ask a friend or family member for help)
Now that you have an outline of your foot. Measure the longest part in centimetres. This is your Mondo measurement.
Now Repeat with your other foot.
Know your Last
What’s a Last, you ask? Your Last or foot width is the measurement of the widest part of your forefoot in millimeters. Using the outline of your foot and your ruler measure out the width of your feet at its widest point of the forefoot.
Now Repeat with your other foot.
Your Mondo and Last are the primary measurements you need to know before you start to look for your next ski boot. In addition, there are a couple of other measurements to at least be aware of while you shop. Especially if you have a high instep or larger than average calves.
Know your Instep
Your instep is the arched middle portion of your foot in front of the ankle joint. Essentially it's the upper bend or bow of the upper foot. Knowing the exact dimensions of your instep is not necessary but important to keep in mind if you have a high arching foot as a high arch and instep usually go hand in hand. Most high volume boots will suit a high instep but if you have had issues in the past with a traditional alpine ski boot. You may want to consider a 3-piece style boot with a moldable tongue and a quality aftermarket foot bed.
Calf volume is the mass of the lower part of your leg from the back of your ankle to behind the knee. An exact measurement isn't necessary but this is something to consider if you have a larger than average calf. If you fall in the range of having a larger calf you will want to look for a high volume boot with a wide or adjustable cuff.
Ski Boot Sizing Chart
US Foot sizing to Mondo or Mondopoint sizing chart for Alpine Ski Boots
What is your skiing ability level and style?
Your ability level and style is important when purchasing ski boots because this is going to dictate the flex and fit of your boot. More advanced and aggressive style skier is going to want a snug fitting with a higher flex. Whereas an intermediate and more relaxed style skier may want to look for a little more comfort in their boot.
When assessing your ability level it's important to factor in skill growth if you're still learning. If you have been crushing blue trails for a while and you plan to get into some black diamonds over the next couple seasons, then you might want to consider a boot that's suited for that transition.
If you're unsure what your ability level is take a look at some benchmarks below.
Beginner skiers range from never skied before to have skied a few times in my life but it's been awhile. Beginner skiers are either still learning on the bunny hill or cruising Greens with control.
Intermediate skiers have been skiing more than a few times. Can control their speed, make shorter turns and can comfortably avoid obstacles. Intermediate skiers can navigate Blue trails without falling.
Advanced skiers ski regularly with proper technique on advanced terrain. They can ski all on piste snow conditions and can carry speed willingly while maintaining control. Advanced skiers can confidently ski Black Diamonds under variable snow conditions.
Expert skiers are fully capable of skiing anything on the mountain regardless of snow conditions. Expert skiers have strong, sound technique and can aggressively attack the mountain. Expert skiers can confidently ski Double Black Diamonds as well as off piste and variable backcountry terrain.
For purposes of this boot guide your skiing style refers to your ability or willingness to ski the mountain aggressively. Similarly to your ability level, your skiing style will also dictate what ski boot you will be shopping for. To help you along we came up with our definitions to use as a benchmark.
The Easy Rider can be anyone regardless of skill level. This style of skier takes in every turn and is in no rush. They cruise in comfort and style with now gripes about it. Sure, they may be an advanced skier but you enjoy taking your time on black and your leisurely cruises down those blue switchbacks. You can dial it up every once and a while but you're happy skiing at your own pace and being comfortable doing so.
The Easy Rider will want a boot that's comfortable to wear all day and will look for a boot with a little more room and softer flex for their size and ability level.
The Inbetweener makes the most of all conditions and scenarios. They can dial it up when the time comes or just enjoy the ride and take in the scenery. They can be seen skiing blacks, cruising easy switchbacks, chasing their kids or just with their boots up, apres ski refreshment of choice in hand. The Inbetweener makes up the vast majority of skiers and has the most options when it comes to finding the right ski boot.
The inbetweener will want the best of both worlds. A boot that is comfortable without compromising performance. They will want a mid range flex and size ski boot for their ability and size with some extra bells and whistles to fit their own personal style.
The Hard Charger skis hard 90% of the time. They can be seen skiing the steeps, hard carving freshly groomed corduroy, blowing through knee deep powder or getting twisty on the moguls. They want maximum power transfer to their skis and dont mind a snug fitting boot to achieve that. The hardchargers consist of the better skiers in their categories and demand the best out of their equipment.
The Hardcharger will want a specific style of boot for his category of skiing. Weather that’s an aggressive all mountain ski boot, a hard carving racing ski boot, park or backcountry. They will want to find a boot that has a higher flex, custom fit and is built to maximise ski performance. They will also expect to be in the higher price range to find the right ski boot.
How to pick a ski boot for the terrain you ski
For most skiers a good all mountain or alpine ski boot will do. But if you are interested in a specific category of skiing it's important to understand the differences in the ski boots themselves. Taking the time to research and invest in the right ski boot for the terrain you ski will pay off in the long run.
All Mountain Ski Boot
All mountain ski boots offer exactly what the name implies. All mountain fun regardless if you're carving corduroy or skiing some side country powder. All mountain ski boots are made to fit most skiers and come in a wide range of sizes and flex. In addition some all mountain ski boots come with walk mode which makes hiking in the backcountry or just walking around the resort that much easier.
Front Side, Downhill & Alpine ski boots
These terms were all used to describe the on piste or traditional resort skiing boot. With the current demand around an “all mountain ski boot” these traditional terms of boot will most likely fall into the all mountain category. (With the exception of the traditional alpine racing boot)
Freeride Ski Boots
Freeride ski boots combine the features and benefits of a hard charging downhill, freestyle and touring boot in one. Not to be confused with an all mountain ski boot that is made for the more traditional on piste fun. Freeride ski boots are made to handle all snow conditions and terrain that can be found in the backcountry. Weather you're carving the steep stuff or dropping cliffs, freeride boots will offer you the all around support you need.
Park or Freestyle Ski Boots
Park or freestyle boots are made to offer a free range mobility while still maintaining the proper amount of stiffness and control. Their upright construction and targeted flex are made to handle the mobility for rotations and comfort for hard pack landings. In the past, park boots were deemed as a one trick pony. Today with freestyle skiing on the rise you can find a competent park boot that can handle the day to day groomers and occasional side country action.
Touring or Alpine Touring (AT) Ski Boots
Touring or Alpine Touring Ski Boots are made for equal parts uphill ease, comfort and downhill fun. Touring ski boots are made for light weight design and uphill ease. These boots are made for long uphill tours and offer downhill performance on a variety of natural snow conditions.
How to Put On & Fit Ski Boots
Start with putting on a thin pair of ski socks or a pair of knee length socks. A full men's dress sock could be a good substitute.
Unbuckle the boot all the way
Tip: If your buckles have a micro fit adjustment start by screwing them in all the way to their shortest length and adjust as needed.
With your boot flat on the ground pull out the tongue as far as possible, step in and stand up.
Now make sure your heel is as far back in the boot as possible. Tighten the top buckles and strap and lean forward hard. When done correctly you should feel your heel slide into the back of the boot.
Now starting at the toes, tighten all the buckles snuggly. Then finally the power strap.
With everything strapped and tightened. Lean forward and rock your weight to the front of your boot. As if you were in a full tuck on a steep downhill run.
Tip: You can also place a piece of wood under your heel to keep your boot at a forward angle to assist in this process
While in a tuck position, lean side to side placing weight on the outer and inner edge of your boot. Think about making a hard Super G carve while doing this.
Finally, what to feel for. At this point your foot should be snug in the boot. Your foot should not be loose or sliding in the boot. Also keep in mind that this is the tightest your ski boots will ever feel. The inner liner and even outer shell in some cases will compact and mold to your foot. Additionally, custom molding for specific pressure points and a good pair of foot beds can resolve most fit issues.
Final fit tips!
Some ski boot manufacturers offer moldable shells for some or all of their ski boots. Modable shells allow you the ability to custom fit your ski boots by heating them up and shaping them to your foot. Sell molding can be done professionally at a ski shop or at home if you're up to it.
Custom boot liners offer a super premium fitt and is a good option for people with foot abnormalities or someone who has just worn out their old liners and want a new boot feel out of their ski boots that may be a few seasons old.
Insoles or Foot beds
For skiers who require arch support, have excessive pronation or just sensitive, this is a must. The insoles that come with ski boots are oftentimes are too thin and just simply poorly and cheaply made. Aftermarket and/or custom fit insoles will allow you to ski harder longer and feel comfortable doing so.
Punch and Grind
In more extreme conditions, punching and grinding may be necessary. Punching your ski boot is when a specific area is stretched or “punched” out to offer more room where needed. Grinding your ski boot can offer similar results by grinding away plastic at a specific pressure point. This is a highly technical process and should only be performed by a professional boot fitter.