The best ways to get your ski boots dialed

We’re all aching for ski season, but our feet are aching for a different reason. They know that with ski season comes ski boots — hard plastic shells that at times feel more like punishment than tools of the trade.

Since they actually make direct contact with your body, boots are key to performance. Luckily, there are countless ways to adjust them and eliminate ski-day headaches before they start. Here are a few of our favorite ways to make your boots comfortable before the bull wheel fires up.

Befriend a bootfitter

Bootfitters at your local ski shop are your best resource for getting the right fit, from touring boots to downhill boots to park-skiing boots. Photo: Simon/Pixabay

Before you do anything this ski season, your first stop should be your local bootfitter. No one knows more about your ski feet (yes, that sounds creepier than it is) and how to get the most out of your boots.

Try on your boots ahead of time, identify areas that hurt, rub and pinch and let the boot magicians get to work. You may have to cough up a few dollars to get the perfect fit, but bootfitters are skiers themselves, not shady mechanics looking to take you to the cleaners.

Worth. Every. Dang. Penny.

Use your micro-adjusters

Ski boots come with their own adjustment tools; you just need to know where to look. Photo: Courtesy of Ben O’Bryan/Flickr
If your buckles are either too tight or too loose, find middle ground by micro-adjusting to your perfect fit. Believe it or not, nearly every new ski boot has this feature built in.

Simply twist your boot buckle as if you were unscrewing a light bulb and you can lengthen or shorten that buckle by a few millimeters, creating just enough space to turn a crowded boot into a comfy one.

Get a footbed

Yes, it seems like a ski shop upsell, but footbeds can make a world of difference in the comfort department. Most ski boots come with a standard footbed built for one very generic foot.

But your foot is special, each and every curve of it, so why not give it a friendly hug? Aside from a custom fit, footbeds tend to keep your foot from spreading out, which is what creates the crowding and crushing sensations at the top of your boot.

Many of these footbeds are heat activated and can be molded to your foot right in the shop — by that bootfitter we told you to go see. Superfeet footbeds are a great place to start, offering custom models for as low as $50 a pair.

Socks matter too

The right ski sock might be the answer to your ski-boot woes. Photo: Courtesy of Erikkellison/Flickr
Ski boots may be your main concern, but ski socks can go a long way toward alleviating your foot pain. The fallacy that a thick sock is the best ski sock has created bootfitting headaches for decades. Boot liners are where most of your warmth comes from, so you actually don’t need a thick ski sock.

There are many thin technical ski socks, like the CEP Compression Sock Series, that will get the job done and help you find a better boot fit.

Lock it down with a power strap

Boots feeling loosey-goosey around the calf? This is one of bootfitting’s biggest problem areas, but also one of its easiest fixes.

Instead of subjecting your shins to hours of banging against your ski boots, make sure the strap along the top of your boots is secured as tight as your legs can handle. If it’s still too loose, you can ratchet your boots down even harder with a sold-separately Booster Strap, designed specifically to be added to ski boots to boost performance and improve fit.

Spending more money on your boots isn’t ideal, but then again, neither is sitting in the lodge while your friends score the good stuff.

More insider tips on ski gear

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