Another week gone by means another week closer to experiencing our favorite winter adventures. One good sign is the early winter storm that is sweeping the Rockies, Oklahoma, and Northern Texas. While this may be a light dusting for many of our winter adventures, it is a good sign for the many winter pow days to come. To prepare for such an occasion, now is a great time to take stock and look at all of the gear you have. Whether you are a mountain veteran or a new skiing or snowboarding enthusiast, now is the perfect time to make sure you have all the right gear. This is Part 3 of our series. Part 1 was over apparel, and Part 2 was over gloves and mitts. This week, we’re going to cover ski boots.
The Best Ski Boots
This often-overlooked piece of gear is an integral part of not only skiing but to having a great day on the mountain. For many skiers, ski boots are simply something that comes with their ski rental package. However, more thought should go into the piece of gear that you will literally be standing in all day. Your ski boots should not only match your skiing level but also be comfortable. With that being said, there’s not a good option to name as the best ski boot simply because it all depends on you. Say no to one size fits all sizing and take a look at some features you want to consider when choosing your next ski boot.
All ski boots will have some sort of latch system to adjust to your liking. These latches will help keep your boot secure on your feet while skiing. While many snowboard boots have the Boa System in place instead of latches, there are few ski boots that have this feature.
The liner is the inner portion of the boot that provides your comfort and an additional layer of warmth to your feet. This is where your comfort and personal preferences come into play. While there are basic liners that are made of soft foam and other materials, there are some advanced technology features as well. This would include liners that are molded specifically to your feet to gel-injected molds. It is recommended to get a professional boot fitting for your ski or snowboard boots so that you can experience the best option for you.
Another feature to consider is the hiking feature. It can be a pain to carry multiple pairs of shoes with you on the mountain. Instead of taking them off to walk around the resort or head into a café for some food, consider a ski boot with a hike feature. These boots will allow you to comfortably walk (albeit in a hard ski boot) without removing the boots themselves. This is a must-have feature if you plan on doing other activities besides skiing.
Flex is more of a design specification than a feature. However, it is still an important factor to consider when choosing your next ski boot. Flex is exactly how it sounds and is how much the boot flexes when in use. While ski boot manufacturers have their flex ratings with the boots, it still is a subjective number. Generally, flex ratings break down into three users.
A soft flex boot is usually under 80 for men and under 70 for women. Perfect for beginners, this type of boot is extremely forgiving and usually more comfortable. However, due to the boot being “softer” compared to its fellow boots, this means that the skis are a tad more difficult to control. Our professional boot fitters usually recommend going with a higher flex boot if you plan on continuing skiing for the foreseeable future and progressing out of the beginner’s designation.
Medium flex boots typically are rated 80 to 100 for men and 70 to 90 for women. These boots are for intermediate skiers who love to go from blue to easier black runs. The higher flex rating means the boots give the skier more control over their skis. This allows them to make sharper turns and a more efficient transfer of power.
This boot is for advanced skiers. The ratings are typically 110 to 125 for men and 90 to 100 for women. Designed to give the user the maximum in control and power, these boots are for the skier who wants to go everywhere on the mountain that matches their skill level.
It is important to choose the right boot to match your winter adventures! These flex ratings are simply guidelines, and there are some instances when beginners will be recommended to use stiff flex boots. Again, it is best to get a professional boot fit to get the right boots for you!
That’s it for ski boots! Take a look at our Ski and Snowboard/ Snow Packing List and check off all the items, so you don’t forget anything. Winter will be here before you know it! For more info on ski boots, or to get a professional boot fitting session, visit us in-store or online at your local Sun & Ski Sports.