Buying Ski Boots For Your Gap Course

When asked what the most critical part of your setup is, you should look no further than your ski boots. Get your ski boots wrong, and you’re setting yourself up for failure. As the connection between you and your skis, it’s imperative your boots are fitted correctly to increase not only comfort but performance, too. Here is your quick, easy-to-follow guide on what to know when getting your ski boots fitted. For more information about buying skis for your GAP course, take a look at An Instructors Guide To Skis

How To Size Ski Boots

Ski boots are not measured the same as your shoe size. This is incredibly important to know. Your ski boot will often convert to what seems like a size or two smaller than you’d typically buy in your regular shoes due to how a ski boot is supposed to fit. Purchasing a boot too big and your foot will not be securely held, compromising performance and comfort. Your foot will be measured in mm and converted to a mondo point (ski boot size). The easiest way to ensure accuracy is to visit a professional ski shop and have your size measured properly. Be aware that the right ski boot size will likely feel too small when you first try it on; this is why going through a proper fitting is essential. You can always visit a ski shop in resort if you require further modifications further down the road. 

Choosing The Right Ski Boot

The best ski boot is the one that fits your foot the best. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an elite-level skier; your ski boot is fitted to your foot. Beginner and intermediate ski boots are often wider and much softer than more advanced ski boots; however, if you have a narrow foot and are very athletic, buying an intermediate boot could leave you in a boot too wide and not stiff enough to support you. This is why correctly measuring and assessing your foot will ensure you’re put in the right boot. Again, we recommend you visit a trusted and professional ski boot shop for advice on which ski boot is best for you.

Ski boot being held into the sky

How Should Ski Boots Fit?

Just like a pair of climbing shoes or a pair of football boots, your ski boots should fit snug. Any movement made by your foot or ankle should translate to an action of the ski. New ski boots feel tight and require time for the liners to break in. A good boot fitter can easily modify a ski boot to ease pressure points and allow for space where needed without compromising the necessary snug fit. Your heel and ankle should feel firmly held, as well as your midfoot. The forefoot can have a little extra space, and your toes should move only a little ( a brand-new ski boot will feel extremely snug on the toes to start with)


A Well Made Footbed

Most ski boot issues are caused by an unstable foot. If your foot is unstable, it will move around and rub on the plastic shell. Your foot widens and elongates under pressure, which is not ideal in a ski boot. A well-fitted custom footbed stops this from happening. Tendons also get stretched and overworked when not supported correctly, causing cramps. Once your ski boot has been fitted, a well-made footbed supports your foot and prevents a range of potential fit issues. I cannot understate the importance of a well-made footbed in a ski boot. If your toes feel tight in your ski boots, try a custom footbed; you’ll be amazed at how much of a difference it makes.

Make Sure The Flex Is Right

As a general rule, the more advanced the skier, the stiffer the ski boot needs to be. This is so the skier is supported when dealing with greater turning forces on steeper, more challenging terrain or at higher speeds. A beginner or intermediate skier will typically have a softer ski boot. However, it’s not quite that simple. If you’re blessed with athleticism or are a heavier skier, you too may require a stiffer boot, even as a less experienced skier. Other factors, like ankle mobility, influence how stiff your ski boot should be. A good boot fitter will consider various factors when deciding which flex ski boot to put you in, not just your ability level, so feel free to ask.

How Tight Should Your Ski Boots Be?

One of the leading causes of pain in a ski boot is over-tightening the buckles. If a ski boot is too big, most people rely on tightening the buckles to hold the foot securely. However, this secures the foot by pushing the plastic on top of the foot rather than holding the foot from the rear and midfoot. In a well-fitted boot, the buckles on top of your foot should be kept reasonably loose, just tight enough to close the boot. The buckles around the leg should be tighter so the leg is securely held. If you have to max out the buckles, that’s a sure sign the boot is too big. The buckles are too tight around the leg, and the boot won’t flex properly.

Where To Buy Ski Boots

My best advice is to visit a trusted, reputable, professional ski shop. If you’re going to spend money on anything, spend it on this. You get what you pay for when it comes to boot fitting, so spending a little extra to see a pro will ensure you have the best ski boot. If you’re shopping in the UK, we recommended visiting one of these stores:

Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports

Solutions 4 Feet

Profeet Sports & Ski Boot Lab

If you have any specific questions about the right ski boots for your instructor course, please use this page. Also remember if you are an existing customer of the Winter Sports Company then you will be eligible for discount on any items bought from Ellis Brigham*

If you’re planning to purchase ski boots in Canada, most resorts have a reputable boot fitter. Pulse Boot Lab in Banff and Revelstoke provide an excellent service. When buying boots in a resort, you have the benefit of being able to go back if you have any issues but bear in mind that these shops can be incredibly busy. Therefore, you may have to wait to be seen. If you require boots as soon as you arrive at the resort, perhaps consider buying boots ahead of time in the UK.


How Long Do New Ski Boots Take To Break In?

Your new ski boots will feel very tight at first. It usually takes a week before the liners break in and your foot feels settled in the boot. You can always get some modifications done if necessary.

Will My New Ski Boots Fit My Old Skis?

If your skis use an adjustable binding then it will be no problem. If your skis have drilled bindings then you will need to take them to a professional ski shop to get them adjusted. Check out An Instructors Guide To Skis

How Long Will Ski Boots Last

It depends how well you look after them of course, but you should expect at least two full seasons. The liners will likely break down first, so replacing those will increase the lifespan of the boot.