When Ski Boots Are Too Big

Many skiers share 2 problems. Many skiers size their skis too short and their boots too big. While small skis are a minor problem, a too big of boot creates problems. If the boot is too big, you have a loss of control, your foot moves around inside the boot making it uncomfortable and it may affect the release of your bindings.

But why do people size their boots too big?  They think their toes should not touch the end. While it is OK to touch the end of the boot, it’s not good to be uncomfortable. The problem is when someone tries on a boot without the help of a trained boot fitter, their toes normally touch the end of the boot and think it’s too small. So they size bigger. What really happens is they don’t give their heel a chance to get into the heel pocket. It’s only when the heel is back in the pocket properly that you know if the boot is the proper size.

When boots are too big, it creates a few problems. Lack of control, lack of comfort and safety. The biggest problem is the safety issue. If your boots are too big, when you fall, the foot moves inside the boot so your binding may not release properly. When the boot fits properly, the binding releases more consistent.

What can be done with boots that are too big?

Find your local ski boot fitter. Many experienced boot fitters can add padding in the proper places for your boots to fit better.
Trade in your ski boots for the proper size boot. Alpine Accessories takes trade ins at the Lake in the Hills IL shop.
See our boot sizing chart to check your size.

Ski Boot Sizing Chart

Why Are Ski Boots the Most Important Component to Your Gear

While having the proper skis and bindings, ski boots are the most important to get correct. Why you ask? While comfort is improtant, it is more important to be in the proper fit and flex. The proper fit means the correct shell length and shell width so your foot stays in place. But it’s the flex of the boot that allows you to stay balanced on your skis allowing you you turn properly and control your turns. Let’s explain…

You must try on the boot to make sure it’s the right flex. When you flex your knee forward in your boots, your knee should move forward 3-6 inches at room temperature. If you can not move your knee 3 inches forward, you won’t be able to get your weight forward onto the tip of the skis helping you initiate the turn and absorb terrain and shock.  And if you can consistently move your knee more than 5 or 6 inches forward, you’ll be shifting your body weight too far forward on your skis throwing you off balance which can cause you to loose edge control and response.

Ski boots range in flex between 40 and 130. While boots come in different flexes, you need to know they are not consistent between manufactures. A 90 flex can be different than a 90 flex from a different brand. And while a stiffer boots are normally higher performance boots, many expert skiers can use a lower flex while many intermediate skiers can use stiffer boots. This is due to a persons strength, leverage and skiing style.

When you have the proper shell size and proper flex, you can virtually ski any ski because you would be balanced on the ski. Getting the wrong size and flex, would make you too far forward or too far back on the ski  making it more difficult to ski. Make sure you see a trained boot fitter that knows how to size the shell and select the proper flex for you.

Do You Have Wide Feet?

Atomic ski boot Do you have wide feet? Many skiers do. That’s why many manufactures make ski boots in a wider fit. But Atomic goes one step further. The Atomic Live Fit series starts off a little wider than normal but then Atomic put soft inserts in the shell by the little toe and ball of the feet to allow the shell to stretch if needed. The last thing any boot fitter wants to do is heat and stretch a boot shell because once its done, it can’t be put back. And heating the shell can also effect the performance of the boot. So when a manufacture makes a wider boot, many times it means we don’t have to heat the shell to fit the foot and that’s good thing.

Why Custom Boot Fitting is Important

Do you want to improve your performance out on the slopes?  Do you want your feet to be comfortable and warm for a full day on the snow? For those who have problems with boots, if your feet hurt, customizing your boot to your foot is the answer. Custom Boot Fitting is helps you to find a boot that fits your needs. First you must start with the right boot.  How do you know what is the right boot for you? You can’t go by just your ability level.   Your weight, strength, aggressiveness, ability level and the composition of the boot all determine the best boot that will best fit your needs and make you a better boarder or skier. Not all ski or snowboard boots are made the same.  Each manufacturer has different molds and designs. Just as you have a favorite brand of jeans because they fit your shape better than the other brand, different brands of boots have different shapes.  And golf clubs or fishing poles come in different stiffness levels, so does different materials used in ski and snowboard boots. Ski boots range in flex levels from 40 to 130.  You must find the brand of boots to fit your foots’ shape and the stiffness level to fit your weight, strength and aggressiveness.  To determine the proper flex, you must try on the boot and flex about 3 to 5 inches. If you flex more, you need a stiffer boot. If you can’t flex 3 to 5 inches you need a softer boot. You also must have the correct size to eliminate any slosh inside your boots.  When you are in your car going around a tight turn, you hold on to the steering wheel with a firm tight grip. Your feet are your steering for your skis or board. Boots that are too big will inhibit your reaction time from when your brain tells your feet to move, which then transfers to the motion that moves your ski or board. And if you have high arches or other foot abnormalities a customized foot bed or orthotics may be recommended. Sounds complicated?  Go to your local specialty ski shop that will have experienced and trained technicians to fit. You’ll get to ski or board better with the right performance level to your needs. At Alpine Accessories, Rick Pasturczak has over 30 years in boot fitting experience.  As a part of our recent store remodel, a new boot fitting bench has been designed to make it easier for your to try on boots in a safe environment. Update: August 1, 2021: Boot fitting is no longer available at Alpine Accessories as the store has been closed due to the owners retirement. Now Rick can do as much skiing as he wants! Snowboard Boot Fitting

Rick checks out the new 2013 - 2014 Tecnica ski boots at the 2013 SIA Snow Show

Alpine Accessories
Trained Bootfitter Since 1975


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