Ski Boots: What the fit! (Boot fitting tips and guide)

July 31, 2018 7 min read

Ski Boots: What the fit! (Boot fitting tips and guide)-snowscene ski and board

What the fit?!

Most skiers and boarders who have been around the block will agree that the most important part of your setup is your boots. Boots bring everything together. You can have average skis and good boots - and have a great day, but reverse the roles with good skis and wrongly fitted boots - and your not going to have a good time at all. If you need some guidance on correctly fitting your existing boots, or deciding on which new boots to invest in - then this article is for you!

Fitting your own boots correctly

Doing up your boots...

  1. Follow these simple tips to make sure your current set of ski boots. Keep socks to one thin pair - to thicker socks can cause unnecessary pressure on your feet.
  2. Start by making sure your socks are pulled up - no bunching, and undoing all buckles. Then slide your foot into the boot, pulling the tongue outward to ensure your foot slides in nicely.
  3. Once in, make sure the tongue is sitting straight against your leg. Do up your top buckles (however many) first - just lightly, and fasten powerstrap(if applicable).
  4. Now stand up and drive your knees forward. This will help seat your feet to the furthermost position in the liner.
  5. Once comfortable, now crank up the rest of your buckles to a snug fit. The main buckles to make sure are tight, are the top ones. The bottom ones can be relatively loose.
  6. If you have any tight sensations - before jumping to any conclusions about the wrong fitting boots - make sure you stand and move in your boots for a while, ensuring there is some bodyheat in the liner. This will help loosen things off.
  7. Now go skiing

I gotta feelin' : What they should FEEL like...

Boots will feel different between eachother - disregarding size, due to a number of factors such as newness, brand, shell etc. Here is a simple guide of what feelings to expect from ski boots.

  1. For first timers, they are going to feel heavy, tight, and 'weird'. Just rememeber - ski boots are'nt meant to feel like your sneakers. sneakers are for walking, ski boots are for skiing. We want minimal movement and a very snug tight fit, usually the opposite of trainers

  2. Imagine a firm handshake. Thats the level of firmness to be felt on the foot. Any tighter, and your boots may be to small for you. But dont disregard them to quick. If you are trying on new boots, then expect this, and give them a few days to wear in.

  3. Your feet shouldnt have any uncomfortable pressure points.Common pressure points are your toes (length), sides of your feet (width), and the top of your foot. Firmness on these points is often to be expected in new boots. But pain means they need to be addressed by the boot fitter.

  4. Toe length is often one of the first things you will feel concerned about.The perfect toe length goes as follows. Standing straight up - toes scraping the end, then with knees bent - toes shift off the end. Simple as that really. 

Guide to the World of Ski Boot Purchasing

You may have heard the rumors, of people vastly improving the skiing ability, just from a change or upgrade in ski boots. Well this couldn't be more factual. 9 times out of 10, your skiing will improve from new ski boot tech. So now your excited, how do you go about selecting that holy pair you have always wanted. Let me explain:

BEFORE WE START: If you couldn't be bothered reading this article, then simply go to a experienced bootfitting ski shop (such as us!). They will do all the thinking for you.

A bit about you: 

The first thing to do, is have a yarn. Lets talk skiing. How do you ski, whats your ability, where do you ski? All these things should be taken into account when purchasing your new boots. We will mention these things along the way.

Your feet:

Next, we need to get some measurements of your foot. We need to measure:

  • Length of your foot, from the end of your heel, to the tip of you longest toe
  • Width, measure your widest part of your foot - from edge to edge
  • Instep height, Measure from the base of your heel, around the top of your foot to the other side of your heel. Typically your instep can be determined by your width. Narrow width often means a low instep, and the opposite with wider feet.

Once measured up we can start determining what boots will be suitable with your feet. A great start can be to choose a boot that matches your length. This should be a CM measurement (or mondo point) such as 28.5 etc. From there, select a boot with your desired width (or last).

Width measurements (or the LAST) can be applied to ski boots using the scale below:

  • Narrow Boot: Any last of 97-98 MM or smaller is considered a narrow fit. These boots will be narrow with a smaller volume
  • Medium Boot: Forefoot last of 99-101 MM. A typical size for a 'out of the box' boot, and is a more of a relaxed fit that accommodates a large amount of customers feet
  • Wide Boot: Most feet 102mm or more are considered a wide last.

Hopefully by now we have a narrowed your boot selection down to a few boots. Now its time to get gritty...

The Shell Check

We can determine a boot is going to fit you by performing a shell check. This can be done by removing your boots liner, and inserting your foot into the shell only. Once in, we will look and feel certain points for sufficient room. These points are:

  • Heel check: Slide your foot so your biggest toe is just touching the end of the shell. Then take a average measurement of the gap between heel and end of shell. We want something in between 16-20mm. This will ensure a nice snug fit once you put your foot in the boot with the liner. Anything less than 16 will be a tight squeeze - which is suitable for racers, and performance skiers - and 20+ means the boot may be to big for you - and we advise doing a shell check to the boot of the next size down.

Getting the size of your boot correct is the most important factor to purchasing your boots. Once your sizing is correct, consider a few of the other options below:


This is a measurement of how difficult to 'flex' the boot forward. We can determine flex via a number on most boots. Below is a chart to help determine what flex is right for you...

Mens Flex:

 Beginner to intermediate intermediate to advance Advance to Expert Expert - Racer
60-80 85-100 100-120 120+


 Womans Flex:

Beginner to Intermediate  Intermediate to Advanced Advance to Expert Expert - Racer
50-60 65-80 85-100




Each brand of ski boot stocks their own design of liners. Some liners have special properties that help mold your foot into place. All liners are designed to be tight upon first fit, and built to slowly 'pack-out' or wear in to your unique foot shape. Another option is to get your liner heat molded, which allows your liner to form to the shape of your foot when heated - and retain once cooled. You will find this liner supplied in certain boots from brands such as ATOMIC and the job needs to be completed by a pro bootfitter.

Shell Moulding

Certain shells are able to be customized via heat through a gun or special oven. Brands such as ATOMIC, allow you to heat up your shell and let the plastic shape to the contours of your foot, and add extra space where there may be a few niggles or pain points. This technology is GREAT for getting that painless, perfect fit! Again - a process to be carried out by your local bootfitter.

Buckles and Straps

Don't get to hung up on the buckles. People typically think the more buckles the merrier. Four buckles used to be all the rage, but now, 3 or even 2 are just as popular. Making sure there are good buckles on the top tongue is the most important - as that is what secures and holds your foot snugly in the liner. Often - having two buckles on your lower foot is overkill, and are simply aesthetic. Long story short - 3 or 4 is fine. Also consider:

  • Adjustable Buckle Length - for a more precise fit, and allows you to get extra/less length if your struggling to do up your buckles
  • Buckle Ladder Adjustment - Great for getting a tighter fit around your calves, or getting your buckles done up if you have thicker legs


  • Cuff Alignment - Many boots have this feature that allows you to match your boots to the angle of your leg. A small adjustment that could people with natural alignment problems.
  • Calf Muscle spoiler - a small wedge that sits in between your liner and shell at the rear of your boot to provide a slight tilt for people that prefer to lean forward, or filling space back there for thin legged skiers.
  • Soles - Brands offer grippy soles which offer traction, and also replaceable soles which easily get worn down when walking on hard surfaces such as concrete.
  • Walk mode - A lever on your boot that slackens the tension on your boot - making it easier to walk. Once ready to ski - simply flick back the lever for a more secured ski tension
  • Canting - for people with alignment issues such as 'knocked knees'. Certain adjustments can be made by a boot fitter to aid these issues. This is a specialized operation

And that's it!

Now when you go into your local ski shop - you'll know what the boot fitter is talking about.

If you would like any more help, please send us a email and we will assist you as much as we can

Happy Shedding








Jordan Palmer
Jordan Palmer

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