It is true that buying ski boots is a big investment: more importantly, if they don't fit correctly or if they're not the right type for your style of skiing, you won't have a good experience on the slopes. Here's how to choose just the right boot for you.
-- First of all, it's important that you do a little homework ahead of time before going into the ski shop at the sporting goods store. Not all boots are created equal: that brand name boot that you may have your heart set on buying because it looks amazing may not serve you well on the mountain. The internet has tons of sites dedicated to which kind of boot is best for which kind of skier: take advantage of this information, and go into the shop with a pretty good idea of what you're looking for.
Once you and the salesman have settled on which brand and style of boot will suit you best, the next step is to make sure that those boots will fit you just right.
-- If the salesman doesn't suggest it, ask to borrow a pair of ski socks to wear when trying on the boots. Or, if you're really on top of things, you will have brought a pair from home with you. It is absolutely not a good idea to outfit yourself with boots while wearing a single or two pairs of regular street socks. It just isn't the same.
-- When buying regular shoes, you can usually tell just by slipping them on if they're going to fit you or not: it's not always necessary to tie the laces. But when getting fitted with ski boots, how they fit across the TOP of your foot is just as important as whether or not your foot fits into the soles. So put your foot into the boot and make sure to fasten every single one of the clips securely in order to see how they'll feel on the mountain.
-- Although your toes should touch the front of the boot, there should be enough room in the boot so that when you simulate a skiing position by bending your knees, your heel should settle back into the heel cup and your toes should come away from the front of the boot. When moving your feet around, you should feel no points of pressure or feel any kind of pain. Unlike regular shoes, ski boots will not "break in" over time. If it hurts now, it will hurt later.
-- Make sure that the upper parts of the boots do not restrict your calf muscles or feel too tight. If they do, try another style or another size. The problems you experience in the store will only be exacerbated by your movements on the ski slopes.
It's worth taking the time to select just the right boots with just the right fit. Skiing is a sport that demands a great deal of time and money, and you won't want to spoil your fun and waste your precious resources by not getting the right equipment to begin with.
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