It’s the best moment. The moment you move past the smelly, stiff, questionable world of rental ski boots and into the realm of purchasing the perfect ski boot. The boot that will be comfortable, yet supportive. The boot that will make or break your skiing.
Any diehard skier that’s found the right boot will practically cuddle with it while sleeping to avoid being separated from it again. And even when it’s more practical to rent a pair of skis while on holiday, you’ll still find the ski boot fanatic packing their boots before anything else goes in their bag.
So how to find the perfect ski boot? And how to ensure you get the ideal fit in Australia?
Be ready to invest the money – and the time.
You might be comfortable with buying a helmet or a ski jacket online, but forget about browsing the internet for a new pair of ski boots. Finding the right boot is a process that requires a lot of measuring, a lot of analysis and a lot of patience. We’re talking about dedicating half a day to this process. Maybe more.
A proper boot-fitter won’t be in a rush to get you in the right boot. They’ll heat-mold the boot and they’ll also point you towards the right foot-bed. They’ll also take you through exactly how to take care of your boots so that they stay in great shape, including how to store them while you’re off the snow for awhile.
Of course, this all comes with a bit of a price tag. Don’t expect to be paying discount prices for a set of boots that’ve been fitted to suit you and just you. But as any skier with a comfortable pair of boots will tell you, they’re worth their weight on gold – so take a deep breath, hand over your credit card and remind yourself that your feet and your skiing legs will be forever grateful.
2. Book in with a podiatrist.
If you’ve suffered from chronic ski boot issues, or if there’s something about your feet that make the ski boot fitting process a little more complicated, your best bet is to visit a podiatrist that’s also a boot fitter. Consulting the experts is the only way to solve any problems that might be holding you back in your skiing, whether it’s a comfort issue or a performance issue.
If you’re located in Australia, you’re in luck – you can visit Ortho Ski, a brand new sports podiatry clinic in Falls Creek that’s open seven days a week and focuses solely on skiing and ski boots. It’s the first clinic of its kind that combines boot fitting and sports podiatry in a a ski-in ski-out location, run by Ray and Krista, who have worked as boot fitters across the world and have 25 years of boot fitting experience.
Ortho Ski will sell you ski boots – but they’ll be the best boots you can possibly find. They use a full biomechnical analysis to identify the root cause of boot and skiing troubles, offering custom podiatric ski orthotics, foam liners, and full custom boots including new shells and custom foam liners for a seriously bespoke ski boot fit. They also offer boot alignment and boot sole grinding, ensuring that you’re starting your skiing in a neutral position, with your skis flat on the snow.
The best part is the location. Since they’re on the mountain, you can ski out and ski back in to make adjustments as you work with your boot.
Keen for an appointment? Book in ahead as early as possible, bring along any ski boots and footbeds you’ve been previously using, and even bring the ski socks that you typically wear with your boots. They’re all key elements to finding the perfect boot for you.
3. Think about – no, seriously, think about – your issues.
For a boot fitter to truly be able to help you, they need to know exactly what’s causing you pain – whether it’s emotional or physical pain.
“We like you to tell us everything you can about your boots and feet and how they get along, but this can be trickier than you think,” says Krista from Ortho Ski.
“It might have been 6 or 12 months since you last put your boots on. You can recall the emotional pain they caused you, but not the specific site of the pain or which toe went black. Sometimes people can’t even remember which foot it was, but they know it ruined their holiday. So have a really good think about what caused you problems last time you wore your boots.”
Putting your boots on at home before your appointment can often help to jog your memory. It’s also useful to think about the below points:
- Do you turn one way easier than the other?
- What muscles ache the most at the end of the day? Calves, thighs, back, hips?
- Any repeat snow injuries- What really hurts when you get home?
- Do you have trouble initiating or completing turns?
- Is their anything your ski instructors regularly say to you?
- Do you always have to be on one particular side of the T-bar?
- And if the pain is fresh in your head – what kind of pain is it? How long does it stick around for? Do you have any coping mechanisms, i.e. taking your boots off at lunchtime? Having three shots of butterscotch schnapps at every bar you ski past?
It may seem like a lot – but before you know it, you’ll love your boots so much that you’ll be sleeping in them. (Or at least not crying every time you get to the bottom of a run.)
Want more? Check out our ski boots section of the website.