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Lou's Performance Centre - How Can I Guarantee Comfortable Boots?

First, let me say welcome to the first article in the series on fitting boots and ski setup to get the most skier performance possible. Second, let me say that with regards to the title, if it hits home you aren’t remotely alone. There are two important bits of knowledge necessary at the very beginning of the boot buying process that help ensure long term comfort and high performance from your new boots.

It is first necessary to understand ski boot sizes, which typically are measured and expressed in the Mondo Point measuring system. Mondo Point represents the length of your foot in centimeters.  A size 27.0 boot is meant to be long enough to fit a foot between 27.0 cm and 27.9999999999 cm and the same applies to all other sizes. Do not purchase boots by converting your U.S. shoe size to Mondo.  The conversion is incorrect and will result in a boot one size to large. Scarpa is the only outlier in this sizing scheme in that their 27.5 and 28.0 are identical.

Although boot labels and boxes list half sizes such as 24.5, in the half size or .5 box is a boot identical to the __.0 boot.  More simply, a size 24.0 and 24.5 are precisely the same. Why? This is a mystery that may never been known, but I have one boot fitting friend who orders .0 boots for inventory on even years and .5 boots on odd years. Boots left over from year to year enable him to have a mix of both each season. Armed with that little bit of insider information you probably are already imagining the head games he plays with his customers. Placebo effect is alive and well in the world of ski boots.

Most boots run very true to size. It isn’t typically necessary to up or downsize from your measured Mondo size. In the end, shell fitting is essential to good boot fit and it makes actual foot and boot size a moot point. More on shell fitting in the next article.

The second and certainly more important issue is to understand ski boot labels such as beginner and race and how they affect fit. These labels primarily describe width and nothing else. All boots labeled beginner are very wide, at least “E” width, and often "EE". All boots labeled race are narrower, typically “C” width. In North America "C/D" width is considered average. Therefore, to obtain proper fit, most of us should be skiing boots labeled race or 98 mm last*, since nearly all recreational race boots are 98 mm last. If a model fits well, you could possibly use the same model as your skills develop from beginner to expert. The only variance is boot flex.

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, boot flex should be adjusted to suit your skiing skills, height and weight. Flex is what determines whether a particular boot is a good match for a skier’s skill level. Stiffer boots such as 120 and 130 flex are best suited to heavier or skilled skiers, while softer boots in the 90 to 110 range are suited to lighter or less skilled skiers. Most boot models come in a variety of flexes.

I hope this explanation helps make your next boot buying experience great. Detailed videos, papers and more are readily available at www.lous.ca or you may call (403) 288-8556 or drop in anytime to have more questions answered.

*Last width describes the width in millimeters of the inside of a boot shell across its widest portion, where the ball-of-the-foot is located. This measurement is always expressed with reference to the design size of a boot which typically is a Mondo 26. 98mm boots provide a comfortably firm fit for a C/D width foot. Actual width changes with size by approximately 2-3mm. A Mondo 27 boot that is designed as a 98mm last would be between 100 and 101 mm wide.

Check out  www.lous.ca for more details.

Published - January 3, 2018.


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