Q: What do I need to know about ski boots prior to buying a pair online?
A: The most important piece of advice I can offer to online boot-shoppers is to avoid being lured into buying $900 high-performance race-standard boots just because they're marked down to $100 (and there's a reason for that!). This category of boot is going to be too stiff to flex for 99% of typical recreational skiers. Not only can it be detrimental to your skiing performance, but the pain caused by the unnecessary stiffness will ruin any ski holiday. It is far more important to buy the right boots for your ability than it is to get 90% off of the retail price for the entirely wrong boots. More expensive doesn't necessarily mean more comfortable. The typical recreational skier (and that includes advanced/expert) who is out on the hill frequently, will be better served by getting into a boot that they can actually get into- and out of- without enlisting for help. It is also important to be able to create a snug fit over the entire foot, ankle, and lower calf, so make certain you get boots with at least three buckles on each. Regarding proper sizing, it's ideal to try the boot on prior to buying online. If there is a question between two sizes, go with the smaller of the two. If it isn't snug enough, you won't be able to get your skis to respond quickly to the micro adjustments of your feet.
Q: How do I know my size when shopping online?
A: The ideal way to go about this would be to actually try on some different sizes at a local shop. Another easy option is to have your foot sized at a shoe store. Ski and snowboard boots are measured in what is called Mondo Point sizing, which is the length (in centimeters) of the sole of the foot. This international sizing is designed to alleviate size translations between countries. Simply stand on a tape measure, or piece of paper, and measure the heel to toe of your foot. If your foot measures 25 cm (about a US men's 7), then your size in Mondo Point is a 25.0.
Q: What is the generic Mondo Point conversion?
A: The generic method is to add the first two numbers in the mondo point size, and this would equal a US men's shoe size. For example, a Mondo Point 25.0 would be 2 + 5 = 7, creating a US size men's 7. For half sizes, the number after the decimal is constant where .5 equals 1/2 in US sizing. therefore, a 28.5 would be 2 + 8 +1/2 = 10.5 in US men's sizing. Now, don't take this as set in stone. All manufacturers boots and models fit differently. This is just an illustration of what most sizing charts are based on.
Q: Ok, is there a chart I can use?
A: Yes. Remember, this is generic! Please only use this as a reference as all brands and models are unique. I'm going to save space and time by not listing any half sizes:
Mondo Point: 23.0 | 24.0 | 25.0 | 26.0 | 27.0 | 28.0 | 29.0 | 30.0 | 31.0 | 32.0 | 33.0 | 34.0
US Men's : 5.0 | 6.0 | 7.0 | 8.0 | 9.0 | 10.0 | 11.0 | 12.0 | 13.0 |14.0 | 15.0 | 16.0
KIDS Mondo: 15.0 | 16.0 | 17.0 | 18.0 | 19.0 | 20.0 | 21.0 | 22.0 | 23.0
US Youth : 8.0 | 9.0 | 10.0 | 11.0 | 12.0 | 13.0 | 3.0* | 4.0* | 5.0*
*NOTE: at 21.0, kids boot sizes switch from Youth sizing, to Adult sizing.
Q: How do I know my width?
A: Most boots are made in forefoot widths ranging between 97 and 105 mm. You can again measure your foot at the widest points using a piece of paper and ruler. Measure this width in millimeters and you'll know your approximate ideal width. Not all boots are made with width specifications, or they are not advertised clearly. If the boots are marked with the appropriate width, find the best match for your foot size.
Q: How do I size my CHILD for ski or snowboard BOOTS?
A: The ideal
way to go about this would be to actually try on some different sizes
at a shop. Always be sure to remove the liner from the boot before
having your child step in so that you can check the length and width
yourself rather than relying on the forthcoming affirmative response of
the child. If you'd prefer the easier option, you might be able to
find a shoe store that could properly size your child. Ski and
snowboard boots are measured in what is called Mondo Point sizing,
which is the length (in centimeters) of the sole of the foot. Or,
simply have your child stand on a tape measure, being sure to read the
centimeter side of the ruler from heel to toe. Most kids will measure
between 15 and 21 cm, which is related as 15.0 and 21.0 MP in Mondo
Point terminology. If you cannot measure in centimeters, you can
measure in inches and multiply the result by 2.54 - always rounding up
to the nearest size. For example, if a foot measures 7.5 inches, the
caclulation is 7.5 x 2.54 = 19.05. The resulting ski boot size would
Q: Can I get boots a size or two bigger to achieve more than one season of use?
This depends. For the youngest skiers who can only ski with assistance
(holding between the legs, harness, hoops, or what have you), you can
purchase a boot that is larger than the actual foot size. For a skier
of this ability, they are not turning on their own power and proper
boot fit does not play as an important of a role. Also, these skiers
do not spend as much time on the slopes and will be less prone to the
fatigue from boots that are too big. As skiers progress in age and
ability, it becomes increasingly necessary to have proper, snug fitting
boots. As skiers begin turning, unassisted, on their own power, they
will need snug boots that will properly transfer the energy from the
feet to the skis. This will help them progress faster, and most
importantly, increase their enjoyment of the sport. Proper fitting
boots for older skiers will also keep their toes warm as they begin
longer excursions on the hill. The number one factor for cold toes is
boots that are either too small or too big.
REMEMBER: The "average" skier is on the hill less than 15 times a year. Your comfort is the number one concern. Most high-end boots may take years to properly break-in and conform to your foot at this rate of use. Find the best boot for your ability, regardless of price. When your feet are warm and comfortable, you'll be having the time of your life and will be able to make the most of your day on the hill!
FINAL NOTE: Never, EVER, wear two pair of socks, or even one pair of cotton socks. Air space is the enemy inside of a boot which does not insulate your foot from the cold. Only wear one pair of quality wool, or synthetic, socks that easily wick moisture away from your foot. Dry and snug equals warm. The number one cause for cold toes is boots that are either too small or too big. When they are too small, there is a lack of blood circulation and when the are too big there is excess air space.
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