Ski Boot 101: How to buckle your ski boots

Newsroom Gear Ski Boot 101: How to buckle your ski boots

Needless to say, buckling one’s ski boots isn’t quite like putting on your everyday boots. Sometimes, we try to do it the parking lot. Or, perhaps in the base lodge. But, it has to be done. Trusted outdoor retailer REI has some guidelines on how to buckle those ski boots correctly so you can have a nice, pain-free day on the ski slopes.

Ski boot anatomy
Buckling your ski boots wrong? Here’s the anatomy to check out.

Here are their steps to comfort:

  1. Undo all the buckles and the power strap at the top of the boot.
  2. To open the boot, grab the loop of the tongue and pull it forward away from you and off to the side.
  3. Stand up, step into the boot, sliding in your toes and then your heel. You may need to bend your knees and flex your shins forward to get your foot in at the correct angle. (Note that it’s very difficult to put your ski boots on properly when you’re sitting down.)
  4. Grab the tongue loop and pull up on everything. The tongue should be centered in place against your shin and the buckle flaps should overlap correctly.
  5. Stand up with your heel on the ground and your toe pointed up about at about a 45-degree angle to the ground.
  6. Cinch the power strap but don’t secure it tightly at this point.
  7. Start buckling at the top of the boot and work your way down.
  8. Fasten the top buckles until you get a nice, firm snap. It should take some effort to close the buckles. If you’re wrestling hard to close it, it’s too tight. The second buckle from the top is the most important one for keeping your heel in place.
  9. Take your power strap and secure it so that it matches the snugness of the top buckles.
  10. Flex forward and fasten the lower buckles. You want enough tension to hold your boot closed, but not so tight that you’ll cut off blood circulation to your feet. If you crank it too tight, you’ll notice that it will slightly deform the plastic.

How to make sure your ski boots fit properly:

  • When standing upright, your toes should brush the front of the boot. You shouldn’t be able to wiggle your toes much — once you flex forward in a ski stance you’ll have more room.
  • When you flex forward into a ski stance, you’ll feel your toes pull slightly away from the front of the boot. You shouldn’t feel any pressure points.
  • You may need to re-adjust your strap and buckles after a couple of runs.
  • Remember that the more snug and better your boots fit, the easier it will be to control your skis.

Take a look at this YouTube video by Bob Shay, the founder and owner of Surefit for even more tips.

Finally, a note about ski socks. Aaron Courain, a New Jersey mechanical engineer, writing in GoEast, says “only one sock goes into the boot.”

“Before you even think about sliding your foot into a ski boot, make sure you are wearing the right sock, Courain says. “A high-quality ski-oriented sock, such as the Smartwool Ph.D. Ski socks may seem expensive, but they are padded where necessary, and seamless in problem areas like the toes.

Forget the two sock system as well: Only one quality sock is needed for proper wicking. Two socks aren’t actually warmer, either. Wearing two pairs can constrict blood flow, making your feet colder. In addition to the sock, make sure your pants or thermals do not go down inside the boot, which would cause additional pressure points in the cuff of the boot on your leg. Only socks go in the boot.”

Good advice for a pain-free ski day.

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