10 Steps to a Perfect Bootfit
Whether you are a seasoned skier or an aspiring beginner, these steps will equip you with the knowledge and techniques you need to find the ideal fit for your ski boots.

10 Steps to a Perfect Bootfit

For avid skiers, the key to a great time on the slopes relies on finding the perfect fit for their ski boots. The right bootfit not only enhances your performance, it ensures comfort and reduces the risk of injury. However, achieving this seemingly elusive goal can be a daunting task for many skiers.

Our checklist below presents you with 10 crucial steps to getting a perfect bootfit, allowing you to maximize your skiing potential and conquer the hill with confidence. From understanding your foot anatomy and assessing boot size to grasping shell fit and seeking professional assistance, each step is designed to empower you with the necessary skills and insights to achieve unparalleled comfort and performance on the mountain.

So whether you are a seasoned skier or an aspiring beginner, these steps will equip you with the knowledge and techniques you need to find the ideal fit for your ski boots.




Boots not only have to match your skill level, they must mate with your foot and leg shape. That means your pal’s star may be your black hole of pain. Since on-slope boot testing opportunities are rare, Visit an America’s Best Boot Fitters (ABB) shop where our experienced techs can analyze your feet and help you narrow down the choices.

So whether you are a seasoned skier or an aspiring beginner, these steps will equip you with the knowledge and techniques you need to find the ideal fit for your ski boots.



Buying ski boots is a time-consuming process. DO NOT RUSH IT. The process to find the right boot may take hours – IT’S WORTH IT. Plan to try on a few different brands, models and sizes. When you seem to have the right one, leave it on and walk around the store for a while. Flex repeatedly to seat the foot and start the liner foams compressing.



Try different models and different sizes of the same model on your left and right feet. Keep the “winner” on and pit it against newcomers. Remember, though, your feet are probably not identical and may vary in size so when you find “winners,” try on both boots.



For the best boot fit service, visit ABB city and suburban shops midweek in early fall at off-hours. During ski season, ABB resort shops are busiest early in the morning and right around lift closing. Trade ski time for personal attention and go when everyone else is out skiing.



Many people buy their boots too big. Understandably so. A good fitting boot feels tight out of the box and may remain very snug during the first few days of skiing. Relax. Your liner will pack out and become roomier with use. We’ve tested hundreds of brand new boots over the years and most initially feel short and tight, but compress to comfortable levels after being skied as few as two runs.

Frequently our testers batten down all the buckles an additional notch after just one run. It’s common, though, for there to be some snugness for the first few days you ski a new boot.

Buying a boot that’s too big can be painful and cause injuries. Oversized boots also hinder skiing and promote fatigue. You’ll find yourself in the “backseat,” clawing your toes and tightening your thigh muscles and hamstrings to maintain stability and control.



ABB tech’s can easily shim, trim or stretch the boots to make them fit better if need be. To check shell fit, remove the liner and put your foot in the shell. Slide your foot forward until your big toe touches the front. A finger-and-a-half to two fingers of space between your heel and the shell will give you a good snug fit when the liner is reinserted, assuming no other parts of your foot are touching the shell. If you feel contact, these are potential “hot spots” and your boot fitter may suggest another model or customization options.



If a boot has a good shell fit but feels unusually tight with the liner reinserted, have your boot tech check for a “short lasted” liner. Manufacturers often spec a small gap between the toe of the liner and the shell to ensure liner toe boxes don’t become crumpled when they’re inserted into the shell at the factory. Sometimes, though, liners come from the factory as much as a half-inch shorter than the shell cavity. Your ABB tech can stretch them.



The cuff is critical for controlling your skis. You’ll ski with greater stability and confidence in a boot that contours snugly along your lower leg. The cuff should wrap snugly with your buckle bails set somewhere near the beginning to middle of the ladders. (Remember, the liner materials will compress!) If you’re near the end of the ladder, the buckles may deform the shell and change the boot’s intended flex pattern. Remember to use the macro and micro adjustments common to most buckles to custom tailor your fit. The angle of the cuff in relation to your skeletal structure is as important as leg contact. If the cuff angle doesn’t follow your lower leg, your skis will not sit flat on the snow and you will have problems controlling your skis. Read more important information about the cuff.



Use the manufacturer’s marked size only as a guideline. The sole length and inner cavities of supposedly similarly sized models can vary significantly. We’ve seen boots marked 27.5 vary from 310mm to 320mm. It’s easy to check the sole length; it’s embossed into the outside heel sidewall of nearly every boot. Liner construction and materials also affect fit. It’s not uncommon for a manufacturer’s Race model liner to feel too tight, while the Freeride model in the same collection will feel just right because of the softer foams that are usually employed.



Don’t negotiate the minefield of boot selection with a novice. It is the most complex piece of footwear you’ll probably ever purchase. Buying at a shop that displays the ABB logo is your assurance that that your boot tech has received the best training and expertise available to help you make the right choice. Find your nearest shop here.

Find these tips useful? Then download the checklist and take them with you. It’s easy.

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