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Boot Fitting/Buying Ski Boots:

Ski Boot Buying Guide

At Snowride Sports we pride ourselves in our boot fitting skills so when buying ski boots we always recommend that you travel to our store and have one of our professional boot fitters fit the boots to your feet. 

Many boots also require heat moulding to make the liner fit your feet - this requires a special machine and needs to be done by a qualified technician. If buying your boots online, we would still recommend taking your purchased boots into a store with a qualified boot fitter as soon as you can to ensure a better fit - please note we don't charge for refitting boots bought from us, provided they've not been used, however other stores may charge for this service.

We train our staff continuously, introducing new and more technical fitting methods all the time to give you a better service.

For some people buying ski boots might seem a daunting prospect but in reality it’s a straightforward process. Our expert fitters follow simple tried-and-tested rules but are also armed with a wide selection of fitting-aids and the knowledge to deal with more complicated problems. 

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or replacing existing boots follow our 10 tips to help explain the selection process and make it even easier.

Sidas Custom Footbed Prices 
Custom Footbed  $160 (boot purchased at Snowride)
Custom Footbed  $190 (boot purchased elsewhere)
Pre- Moulded Footbed  $59
Boot Customisation Per hour $90 (boots purchased elsewhere)

BROWSE OUR SKI BOOT SELECTION ONLINE BUT PLEASE VISIT OUR STORE FOR EXPERT BOOT FITTING.

10 top tips for buying ski boots...
1. Allow Time
Don’t rush yourself, the initial fitting will take between 1½ and 2 hours. It doesn’t matter if it takes longer we have the time, patience and skill necessary to make sure you get the right boot.

2. Know Your Feet
It sounds obvious but do consider and discuss your ‘boot history’ and any previous problems you may have had with ski boots or your feet in general.

3. The Budget
Have a budget in mind of what you’d like to spend though do be flexible if it means getting the most suitable model. Make sure the budget includes supportive footbeds if you don’t already own them – they will improve the comfort and performance.

4. Measuring 
Measuring is just a guide, a starting point. The correct size will be gauged from a shell check with your foot in the plastic shell of the boot, without the inner liner inserted. This will confirm if the size, shape, and volume of the selected model are the correct match.

5. Thin Socks
New ski boots have warm padded liners that will support your feet and insulate them. Thick socks will only make the boot tighter, restricting blood flow and ultimately making it colder. Thin socks will improve precision, control and comfort.

6. The Right Boot
It isn’t about how the boot looks or what is recommended in the latest edition of ‘What is the best Ski Boot’ magazine. It’s about the fit and function. 
Fit – The fit is so important to your enjoyment of skiing, don’t let the look influence the buying. The right size, shape and volume matter so much more than colour, style or the latest trend. Focus on how they feel (read How a New Boot Should Feel). 
Function – Biomechanics and size are just as important as ability. Some people need stiffer boots than their ability might suggest, some need softer. The boot should support and work with you, ignore the stickers and numbers. Focus on how they feel.

7. Footbeds and Stability
Don’t concentrate solely on the boots, to really make them perform and be comfortable you first have to ensure your feet are stable when inside. We cannot emphasise enough the importance of a well-made custom footbed to a successful boot fitting. In most cases it is the key to a successful fitting. 

8. Initial Wearing
After buying your new boots don’t just put them away till it’s time to go on holiday. Wear them as much as possible either skiing at indoor snow centres or dry slopes, or at home whilst stood up, for example ironing. The more you wear them the more the liner will soften and mold to your feet.

9. Modifications
There are only a small number of brands and styles of boots, there are millions of different feet. Ski boots are designed to be modified to accommodate lumps and bumps. Our staff have the tools and knowledge to stretch and grind plastic shells, transform inner boots and alter angles and flex. Little changes can make a big difference.

10. After-sale Service
Sensations like minor tingling, slight numbness or some hot spots can be expected to start with as the liner packs down. If they don’t ease with use, take the boots into a store for modification. Even if you have a more painful problem, please don’t panic, in most cases it only takes a small change to fix it. We provide free customisation on all our boots; whether it’s the day you buy them, after 1 weeks skiing or 3 years down the line.

There is one thing you must remember, to have time – on the day of the fitting you should allow at least 1½ hours in the shop. It is advisable to purchase your boots well in advance of going away.

 

BOOT STRETCHING

No two feet are the same - even your own! So when choosing a boot you may find that the fit is 98% perfect but there may be one or two "hot spots" where it pinches or is a bit tight. No worries.

Working with our boot fitting experts, we can warm the boot and stretch areas to relieve pressure on the toes or around the ankles for example, and create that little extra room to give you the boot and the fit you were looking for.

When you purchase you boots with us, our boot stretching is included in the price. If you bring you boots to us from another shop, we are happy to help but there will be a service charge for the work we do.


BOOT TECHNICAL INFORMATION
MONDO POINT
What size are my feet? A very important question when looking at boots. The majority of all ski boots are sized with UK, US and Mondo sizes. Mondo size is equal to the length of your foot in cm making it much more consistent between brands. This will relate to the internal length of your foot inside the shell of the boot. So when choosing a boot your foot will be measured in Mondo points because all the manufactures can agree on this standard. The high performance and specific nature of boots will require a precise fit. When fitted well, a ski boot should feel like a firm handshake.

Remember: the size of shoe will not necessarily be the size of your ski boot.

BOOT LINER
The ski boot liners in today’s boots have improved vastly even from equipment only a few years ago. Liner are now built and designed to have multiple support areas and provide cushioning and comfort throughout. The majority of off the shelf liners are now heat mouldable. This means that during the fitting process in store, liners are specially heated with hot air then re-inserted into the shell. Once the liner is re inserted into the boot and the customer has their foot in the liner, the boot gets done up to ensure a precise moulding of the foot and lower leg. Because the liner material is heat sensitive and soft when heated it fits to the form of the ankle and lower leg, providing a secure and comfortable fit.

CUSTOM AFTER-MARKET LINER
There are 2 main types of custom liners, Foam and Heat Form. With these different styles they have their positive aspect but lend themselves better to some aspects of skiing more than others. Though liners that come with boots have improved, custom liners provide the highest level of performance and comfort. It is important to remember that custom liners are not just for expert skiers - recent designs and models make Custom Liners very comfortable and accessible for recreational skiers. Skiers who have had trouble with standard liners in the past should explore this option which may ultimately provide better support, relieve pressure and increase performance pleasure.

Foam Liners are ideal for people looking to have a precise fit as the injected foam fills spaces around the ankle and forefoot. When it sets firm, the liner provides a direct interaction between foot, liner and boot because any space is now eliminated. The big advancement in foam liners is that they are now more suited to the recreational skier looking for performance as much as the expert skier. The Transfoam Liner by SIDAS takes the best aspects of comfort and performance into one liner making it the ideal choice for the majority of people.


Heat Form Liners are gaining ground in many forms throughout the industry. Initially Heat form liners were only available as an after market liner, but now the majority of manufactures are incorporating Heat Form Liners and parts of, in their delivered boots. That said, the after market heat form liners offer tremendous comfort, mouldable aspects and lightweight features. Many full heat form liners such as the Intuition have wrap around mouldable aspects and provide a very soft, light flexible liner which sees favour especially with Touring boots but not limited to these uses.

BOOT LAST
The interior shape of a boot: "Last" is a cobbler's term for the foot-like form around on which shoes were once crafted. Boot Last for ski boots still refers to the internal shape of the boot, but in many cases the main point of reference for people will be the width of the boot. The most common measurement is referrers to the width across the widest point of your foot at the Fore foot– the metatarsals. Each manufacture designs their internal shape slightly differently, so two boots of the same Mondo point size and similar published last, may have a slightly different volume and feel.

BOOT FLEX
This is the ability of the boot to bend forward at the ankle joint. The paradox of ski boots is that though they need to be stiff to support and provide control, they also need to bend in order to allow skiers to absorb pressure and balance. An indication of how difficult a boot is to flex is usually given by a number ranging from 50 to 150. Racers will tend to have boots 120 and above because they apply greater pressures to boots when skiing where as recreational skiers are probably more happy with a Flex of 80-110. Remember though each manufacture has its own way of designing boots, and though they may have a similar published Flex rating, you will only be able to tell if it is right for you by trying it on.

BOOTBOARD
The platform inside the boot shell on which the liner rests; usually removable; also referred to by its Italian name, zeppa.

CANT
The lateral angle of the boot in relation to the ski; often confused with cuff-alignment (the adjustment of cuff angle). Boots can be canted inward or outward, usually by grinding the sole at an angle, to give a skier better access to all four ski edges. Usually reserved for extreme alignment issues or high level racers.

LIFTER
Layer of plastic applied to the boot sole for extra height/leverage. Usually only required in very technical circumstances such as boots for racers.

LUGS (TOE AND HEEL)
The portions of the shell's sole that interface with a ski binding; must meet industry standards for size; often replaceable in the event of wear.

SHELL
The plastic exterior components of the boot, usually comprising two elements: the cuff (or upper) and lower.

REPAIRS
We are able to repair many boot problems from replacing buckles to heels and toes - in most cases we can get the parts you need to make your boots good as new. Speak to our book technicians who can provide a guide to services and prices.

CUFF ALIGNMENT
The ability to do cuff alignment is possible on many boots especially in the higher end the models. This feature assists in ensuring that the lower leg sits properly in the boot by being able to slightly adjust the cuff laterally inwards or outwards to make sure that there is not undue pressure and that there is equal spacing around the lower leg allowing the foot to stay in a neutral position. Should you need this sort of adjustment, our boot fitters can assist.

BOOT WARMERS
For sufferers of cold feet, boot warmers may be an option to consider. In most cases these aftermarket units consist of a small element that sits under the toes and a battery unit fixed to the ski boot. The elements can be fitting to any footbed either custom made, or standard issue and provide a gentle heat to these areas improving comfort and circulation

 sidastechnologies.jpg We fabricate custom insoles by Sidas

 Got uncomfortable feet? Then you need to visit our Masters of the Feet at Snowride Sports

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386 Lincoln Road
Addington
Christchurch 8011
New Zealand

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