In all my years of traveling the world while competing on the Women’s Alpine World Cup, there were a few items I could not live without. My pillow, a stack of books, a nice smelling candle to create my “at home” feeling and my ski boots. Wait, ski boots? Those might seem like the obvious need for an alpine ski racer but the fact that they were MY boots is what made them so valuable.If you have ever seen a world cup team travel through the airport, you will have seen everyone carrying their boots on their person. The reason for this is quite simple, a proper fitted boot is the key to an athlete’s success. Hours and hours are spent finding the right fit, angle in relation to their knees and hips and finally the response of the plastic in relation to their strength and style. It is a fine tuned process that every athlete appreciates.
For a recreational skier the need is no less important. A lot of attention goes into what skis to purchase as well as what outfit best suits your style but the reality is that the key element of skiing rests in your boots. Sadly more often then not, proper fitted boots are at the bottom of everyone’s list. Here is why as a professional athlete as well as a recreational skier, boots need to be your priority.
Your Immediate Link:
Your ski boots are what links YOU to your skis. Without this integral link, skis make little difference. Imagine buying the latest, greatest skis and then using your tennis shoes to click in. Not going to happen! I realize this might be an extreme analogy, but you get the picture.
Comfort is King:
In my years of racing, our boots were often 2 sizes smaller than our shoe size and tight as tight can be. The downside was that you literally could take 2-3 runs before the crunch would take it’s toll. As a recreational skier there is NO REASON TO BE IN PAIN. It is an absolute myth that your boots should hurt. You can have all the necessary performance without the black toenails.
Fit is Personal:
Don’t base your ski boot preference on anyone other than yourself. Everyone’s foot is anatomically different as is their leg, knee and hip alignment. Try various brands on and see what best suits you and your need. From there, you can fine tune everything to make your boot exactly what you need.
Now that you know more about why boots are so important, I encourage you to visit a boot fitter and make sure you are giving yourself every opportunity to improve and enjoy your days on the slopes. It makes a world of difference and happy feet just make life better.