Ski Boots

Ski Boots

Size

Snow Exchange recommends trying on a shoe at a store before buying as to ensure a perfect fit.

In the ski industry, we use a universal size for ski and snowboard boots called Mondo to ensure that no matter where you are in the world, the size will always be the same. For your convenience, we have a chart below to help you pick the right sized boot for you foot.

 

Size

 

TYPE
Getting the right boot is important to make sure you get the best ride possible. Ultimately, buying a boot comes down to more than just the type of the boot so before buying, find out what kind of flex and build would best suit your skiing.
Beginner
If you are new to skiing then it may be worthwhile getting a beginner’s boot. This is to ensure that you can progress up the levels of skiing as quickly as possible. Beginner boots have been designed to provide you with the best feedback and support as well as providing you with flex and comfort that you need in case of a fall or just for those long skiing days.
All-Mountain
These are the jack-of-all-trade ski boots and come in a large variety of designs. All-mountain boots are for those who want to be able to hit everything on the mountain without any issues. All-mountain boots are tricky to buy and it’s best to look further into the details of the specific boot as they can come in a variety of different shapes, prices and flexes. Therefore, when buying a set of these boots it may be worthwhile checking the brand’s recommendation on what the boot will do best to ensure it’s right for you.
Park/Freestyle
The park and freestyle markets are growing larger each year, and brands are releasing more and more boots to cater to this type of skiing. A park/freestyle boot commonly features more support and padding under the foot to provide a better level of shock absorption for when landing (and not landing) tricks. These boots feature a higher level of flex and allow for a smoother ride at slower speeds which allows you to better control the skis as well as providing more control for hitting rails and jumps. The trade-off with these boots is that at higher speeds and in more aggressive skiing they can lack the support and feedback for optimum performance.
Freeride
Freeride ski boots are designed for those who want to be able to attack the backcountry lines on the mountains. These boots feature a stiff flex to provide better hold for high-speed runs. They also feature an aggressive shape for directional focused skiing. They can be compared to be the more aggressive version of all-mountain skis. The trade-off with these skis is that they can feature different compatibility for bindings and so may not fit with standard alpine downhill bindings and will require you to buy alpine touring bindings.
TOURING
Touring bindings are for those who enjoy downhill skiing but also want the ability to go anywhere on the mountain. As a result these boots usually feature designs such as curved soles and more grip on the base to better help with walking. Touring boots are usually not compatible with standard alpine bindings and also work best with touring skis. This means they are not best optimised for Australia but they work well in other countries with large backcountry areas.
RACING
I’m sure that you don’t need this description if you’re interested in buying racing boots, however, for those who don’t know, we are here to help. Racing boots feature a stiff and tightly fitting design to best hold your foot and provide optimum feedback at high speeds. These boots sometimes come in softer flex models for those who are interested in a high-performance boot but don’t; intend to race. Ultimately, if you want to do something other than go flat out down hills, then these boots are not for you.
FLEX
You may not realise it but flex is one of the most important things when it comes to a ski boot. If you’re wearing boots in which the flex does not equal to your ability level and your skiing style, then you may not be getting the most out of your skiing. Most brands record their boot flex in a range from 50–130 (where 50 is the softest flex and 130 is the stiffest). However, this is not a universal number so a 100 flex with one brand may not be equal to another brand. For your convenience, we record flex based on a soft, medium and stiff rating.

Flex of a boot should be chosen on.

  1. Ability
  2. Skiing Type (Terrain, Style, Conditions)
  3. Weight and Height
SOLE TYPE
Getting boots with the wrong sole compatibility can be a huge problem.

If you are just using standard alpine downhill boots like the majority of people, then there is nothing to worry about. Alpine downhill boots come with regular alpine bindings for downhill skiing, therefore, if you are just wanting boots for downhill skiing then make sure you buy alpine downhill boots and there should be no issue with binding compatibility. The issues of compatibility are seen in the higher end touring boot and binding market. There are 3 common types of tour boot soles – the standard Rockered tour sole (ISO 9523), Tech inserts and WTR (Walk To Ride). Below is a description on what each sole does and things to know.

Touring/Rockered sole (ISO 9523)
These are the standard tour boots seen on the market. These boots feature soles that are rockered for easy walking and have soft rubber traction along the sole for better grip compared to the flat and relatively traction-free soles on standard alpine downhill boots. These are also called ISO 9523 standards, so if you read that number online then you now know what it means. These soles are not usually compatible with standard alpine bindings, so if you are running alpine downhill bindings, these soles will not fit as the sole blocks are too short and shaped incorrectly.
Tech Inserts
These insets – often referred to as ‘Dynafits’ – are a relatively new design that changes the way you are connected to your bindings. Tech inserts are metal pin sockets molded into the front and rear of your boot, which lock into pins on the bindings. The advantage of these is that they provide a lightweight binding and boot system without compromising how securely you are held to your bindings. The downfall here is that many brands only make boots that have tech inserts and therefore, their boots are not compatible with any other form of bindings. In light of this, many brands offer standard tour bindings with tech inserts meaning that you have the option to ride both.
WTR (Walk To Ride)
Walk to Ride boots are less rockered than classic touring (ISO 9523) boots and have plastic inserts in the toe and heel to provide a better hold and release than classic tour bindings, which sometimes struggle when it comes to a consistent boot release. In a sense, these boots are the best of both worlds when it comes to both alpine downhill and touring boots, however, make sure when buying bindings that they are compatible with WTR boots.
CROSS COUNTRY
This is just to help those who are interested in getting cross-country boots narrow down their search. If you intend to use regular skis and ski boots then this section is not for you.
WALK MODE
Walk mode is a feature incorporated into many of the ski boots on the market today. There are two types of walk mode found on two different types of boots. The first mode is designed to help with standard walking off skis. This can be from your car to the start of the lifts or just for helping you get around the mountain. These come from the basic struggle skiers have with the restriction in movement experienced with ski boots.

The other mode is designed for alpine touring boots. These boots are for those who wish to ski all of the mountains including the backcountry. This feature provides extra movement at the flick of a switch and allows for easier movement for climbing and hiking with the skis. These are not standard boots so make sure that if you buy these you as have compatible bindings and skis

LAST (WIDTH)
Shoemakers like to confuse us and for that reason they use the term last. In terms of ski boots, last refers to the width of the boots interior at the widest point of your foot. Picking the right last to go with your foot is very important as skiing can become painful if your boot is too narrow, and equally if it is too wide as your foot will slide around on the inside. Last is generally divided into 3 categories – narrow, average and wide.

Below is a rundown on the specifics of the three types.

Narrow Last
This last is for those with a narrower foot with less volume as well. These boots have an average forefoot width of 97–98mm with a narrow midsection as well. If you feel that your feet are a lot narrower than standard then these may be for you.
Average Last
An average last boot is the best choice for those with a regular-sized foot. They feature a forefoot width of around 100mm with a bit of variation both ways in different brands. These also have more room through the rest of the midsection compared to that of narrow last boots.
Wide Last
If you feel that you are constantly finding boots that are too narrow and that your feet are larger than standard, then a wide last boot would be better for you. These boots feature a forefoot width of 102mm all the way to 106mm with a larger mid-foot displacement as well.
TELEMARK
Much like our cross-country option, this is just to help those who are interested in getting telemark boots to narrow down their search. If you intend to use regular skis and ski boots then this section is not for you.
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