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Shell Sizing for Ski Boots

Cheryl Cirelli
Ski boots

Before purchasing boots for the slopes, be sure that the shell sizing for ski boots is correct so you can ski in comfort and have greater control.

Ski Boot Components

The single most important piece of ski equipment is your ski boots. Your ski boots connect your feet to your skis and the snow. The better your boots fit, the more control you will have when skiing. Every ski boot consists of a hard outer shell and a soft inner lining.

  • The outer shell is made from a stiff plastic. It is important to buy the proper shell size because it will not flex or change at all. The outer shell is what gives you control and stabilizes your feet and ankles.
  • The inner boot lining is made from a soft padded foam material. It is designed to protect you from impacts and will keep your feet warm. Always make sure that the boot lining is snug and matches the shape of your foot. The lining will provide you with comfort when skiing and will change over time as it compresses in the shell.

Understanding Shell Sizing for Ski Boots

To get properly sized for your ski boots, go to a professional ski or sport shop. Be sure to wear a thin pair of socks so you aren't adding extra bulk. The only thing you should wear with your boots is a pair of socks. There is no need to tuck in pants or add anything extra to your boots. Shell sizing for ski boots is the main way to determine your proper boot size. It is important to have a trained technician fit you for your boots. In doing so, the technician will first measure your foot in the shell of the boot without the inner lining.

Proper Fit

To fit properly, two fingers should fit behind your heel when the foot is forward in the shell and the shin is resting against the front of the boot. A plastic boot shell will not mold to your foot so take your time when choosing a boot. A technician will usually have you start by trying a boot on that is a size smaller than your street shoe size. An oversized ski boot can lead to a sprained ankle, or worse yet, a broken bone. Boots that are too big also hinder skiing and can cause you to get tired quickly.

What to Choose

It is a good idea to pick a boot made specifically for your gender. Women's ski boots are sized differently than men's and are made to fit a woman's foot. Another factor in choosing a boot is your skill level. Ski boot shells are available in varying degrees of stiffness. Things to keep in mind:

  • A beginner should choose a softer and more padded boot.
  • Advanced skiers prefer a stiffer boot with a thinner lining for more speed and control.

Brands of Ski Boots

There are many brands of ski boots available. Many are made with different shapes and widths. It is best to try on several brands and styles until you get one that best fits your particular needs. Some popular brands of boots include:

  • Dalbello
  • Lange
  • Rossignol
  • Nordica
  • Atomic
  • Salomon

Final Thoughts

Ski boots do not last forever. It is important to inspect them at the beginning of each season for wear and tear. Check and make sure that the shell is free from cracks and damage and that the lining does not have any holes or wear. It is also essential to make sure that all of your ski equipment is safe and inspected each time you plan on using it.

Shell Sizing for Ski Boots