Updated: May 29, 2015
Ski Boots Reviews:Buying ski boots is probably the hardest part of getting all your skiing gear (skis, bindings, boots, gloves, hats, goggles, etc.). Ski boots fit into the bindings which attach to your skis and the boots must fit snugly, but not too tight that your circulation gets cut off. Fittings for ski boots at a ski shop can take up to 1 hour so be prepared to be patient. You definitely want to work with an experienced boot fitter - one who knows a lot about the human anatomy and how the joints move. Matching your foot type with the right boot is crucial to your skiing experience. Make sure the salesperson knows your age, weight, height, skiing ability, athletic history, and what places you currently ski at (or will in the future). Comfort is the main goal when purchasing ski boots since you will be in them for hours on end up on the slopes putting pressure on your ankle, foot, knees, and legs. I remember getting fitted for rental boots when I was younger and they were set up too tight so that only a few hours into the day I was forced to quit because of the pain (not to mention the lack of blood flow to my feet).
How do you know what type of boot is best for you? Skiers classified as novices, low intermediates or non-aggressive should go with a "soft forward flexing boot" says Doctor Robert Steinberg (foot and ankle expert) while an advanced or aggressive skier should find boots that are "stiffer and provide sensitivity to movement changes". Another thing to remember is that you want on ski socks or something similar to what you will be wearing when you actually go skiing. Once your foot is in the boot and the clips are securely fastened, your toes should just barely touch the front end of your boot when you are standing up straight. Don't be concerned because once you get in more of a "skiing position" and bend your knees, your foot will naturally move back a bit with your heel pressing into the heel cup of the boot. At this point your toes should have retreated a bit from the front of your boot. You don't want any spot in your foot, ankle, calf, or leg to feel painful or too snug at this point since the pressure will only increase once you get out on the ski slopes and potentially make it worse. A good boot fitter should be able to help you distinguish between "tight" and "just right". Make sure you get a complete rundown on the parts of the boot when you are in for the fitting because once you leave the shop you will need to know how to adjust each part and how it will change the "fit" of the boot. The components of a ski boot are the inner boot, power strap, clips, outer shell, flex adjustment, ramp angle adjustment, and lateral upper-cuff adjustment. Not all brands of boots are the same (much like regular shoes) - some have wider widths than others and some sizes are smaller or larger than what you might expect. The cheapest and most basic boots are rear-entry ski boots which beginners should consider since they are the easiest to get on and off (simple unbuckling of a flap). A mid-entry boot offers features in both rear-entry and front-entry ski boots. They give the much needed versatility and performance found in front-entry boots while still leaving you with the convenience of rear-entry boots. Front-entry, or overlap, ski boots provide great maneuverability and precision without taking away from the overall performance. These boots tend to have a high back, padded tongue, and 4 buckles to close them up. There are specific ski boots for alpine skiing, telemark skiing, freestyle, cross country and freeride. The top ski boot brands are Salomon, Nordica, Lange, Atomic, Dalbello, Tecnica, Rossignol, Head, Scarpa, Garmont, Fischer, and Karhu. Budget priced boots will cost about $100 and the high end or custom fitted boot will cost $400 or more. We can't stress enough that boot comfort with a snug fit is very important for all skiers. In an attempt to come up with a "best ski boots" list, we found reviews online at Bootfitters.com, Altrec.com, Abc-of-Skiing.com along with reading consumer opinions and comments in forums at Epicski.com and Sportswearguide.com. You can browse the top selling ski boots online here.