Advice for First Time Skiers: Take a Ski Lesson

Advice for First Time Skiers: Take a Ski Lesson


Taking a ski lesson from professionals is a great investment. Instructors know and can demonstrate technique and they also have experience dealing with customers who have varying skills. They understand that different individuals will respond differently to learning.

Snow sports industry research indicates that about 50 percent of beginners who purchase a lift, ski lesson, and rental package from a resort wind up not taking the lesson. The assumption is that one can “self-teach,” they feel that it is easier to rely on a friend or family member. Those who make that assumption should ask themselves, “Would I try to teach myself how to skydive or have a friend teach me?”

That analogy may be a stretch. But all too often, well-meaning companions over-estimate newcomers’ skills and escort them to a slope that is beyond their ability level. That often leads to an exercise in frustration for both parties rather than a sense of accomplishment. Most instructors can readily assess those skill sets. They can tailor their programs accordingly.

Having an opportunity to “pick the brains” of professional instructors is an added value. Most instructors are a wealth of information on all aspects of the sports. By and large, they are more than willing to share that knowledge with others on issues within and outside the parameters of the ski lesson. Topics might include how to dress, types of equipment, tips on the most popular slopes, safety precautions and more.

Lessons are available all winter long at resorts throughout the U.S. Additional tips on skiing or snowboarding for beginners can be found at

–Mary Jo Tarallo

How to Keep Your Ski Gear in Shape

How long your ski gear remains in tiptop condition depends entirely on how well it’s maintained. At least once a season, it’s good to get skis tuned by a specialty shop, where tuning machines can reproduce a factory finish on the skis so they perform like new. Here are some tips on how to keep your equipment in optimal condition for better performance on the snow.

If you follow these maintenance tips, a well-made pair of skis can perform acceptably for 200 skier days, and may last longer if there’s no major damage. Even inexpensive package skis have at least 100 days of useful life in them. Heavier and more aggressive skiers will usually wear out their skis—and anything else they own—faster than the lighter and more cautious.

Jackson Hogen



Wipe clean and dry. Check for dings on edges and bases.


Buckle all buckles with just enough tension to keep closed. Be sure soles are clean and no mud or debris is lodged in tread. After a day of skiing, remove your liner to let it dry – you’ll be glad you did. 


Wipe clean, particularly at boot and binding interfaces.

working on ski bindings



Get ski edges tuned by the shop. Or do it yourself: freshen up side edges with a light filing, followed by hand polishing. Fill cuts in bases if necessary. Wax, scrape and buff.


Visually inspect for sole wear and damage to buckles.


Look for excessive wear, damage or missing parts. Inspect boot/binding interfaces.

tuning the edges of skis

Tips for Your Kids Ski Gear


Gear for your kids: Always a good year to buy or lease their ski gear.

Most kids’ skis are sold as systems, meaning they come with a specific binding. With the way kids grow, renting kids ski gear makes far more sense than purchasing. A seasonal rental is a good compromise and can cost under $200 for skis, boots and poles.

Children can seem to grow out of their equipment overnight – this is especially true when it comes to boots. Some shops recommend getting a boot a little larger especially if your child is in a growing phase. But be aware that if it’s fitted too big, children risk having zero control over the skis as their feet slide forward in the outsized shell.

It makes it difficult for children to put forward pressure on the front of the boot, which is essential for good skiing habits. It’s a good topic to discuss with the bootfitter and the best option is to switch it out mid-season if your kids feet grow and the boot becomes too tight. Comfort is key!

skids holding hands while skiing

Kids’ Binding Intel

As for bindings, most kids’ skis are systems, meaning they come with their own bindings. If buying a child’s binding à la carte, be sure it’s a junior binding designed to accept children’s norm boot soles. It will have a DIN scale of roughly 0.5 – 4.5. Junior bindings that work with both junior and adult soles usually have a DIN scale from 2 – 7.

Skis for Kids

When it comes to skis, shorter skis are the way to go for kids just learning how to ski. Go for a length that just reaches the chin. Shorter skis are easier to control and maneuver. Even if your child is on the tall side, consider a shorter length until he or she learn the necessary skills to control turning. Once skiing comfortably and in control, length can grow to nose height. By the time a child attains advanced ability, you’ll have a clear idea of his or her needs.

What to Say When Shopping for Ski Gear

When you go to buy your ski gear, salespeople are trained to open the sale by asking a litany of questions. Be ready to reveal as much as you can about yourself as a skier. Make sure you cover these key subjects with your ski salesperson.


How many years have you been skiing and how frequently per season? How would you describe your skills?


Are you cautious and conservative or aggressive and attacking? Do you like speed? Are you a Finesse or Power skier?


Where do you ski now? On what runs? Be as specific as possible as to where you ski and what sort of terrain and conditions you want to master. How much will you ski this year?


What motivates you to get on the hill? Fresh air with friends? Learning off-trail skills? Skiing with the kids? Mastering a challenging sport?

Jackson Hogen


woman skiing powder
Using Long-Distance Runs and Hikes for Pre-Season Fitness

Using Long-Distance Runs and Hikes for Pre-Season Fitness

As winter approaches, many of us eagerly anticipate the joy of hitting the slopes for a day of carving groomers and searching for secret pow stashes. To truly make the most of these days on the hill and to ensure we’re having fun while reducing the risk of injuries, it’s essential to shake off the summer BBQs and libations and get your body ready for the season. This is where long-distance runs and hikes can be your secret weapon. This time of year, you can turn your foliage frolicking into an excuse to get in shape for the ski and snowboard season.

There are tons of benefits to long-distance runs and hikes that go beyond merely building your cardio. First, you can build your lower body to better handle the stress a day on the slopes puts on your thighs, back, calves and feet. Not only that, long distance running and hiking helps build your mental strength, which is necessary to overcome fatigue challenges you’ll ultimately meet towards the end of a long day carving groomers or pouding bumps.

So as you prepare mind, body and soul for another season of powder hunting, we encourage you to take advantage of the autumn weather and beautiful fall scenery and get out on the trail for a hike or a run. Either way, you’ll benefit from being active, while getting some fresh air before the winter weather forces our workouts back indoors.

Here are some benefits, strategies, and expert advice on incorporating long-distance runs and hikes into your fitness routine.

The Importance of Preparing for Ski and Snowboard Season

Skiing and snowboarding are exhilarating activities, but they demand a lot from your body. Whether you’re gliding down groomers or floating through powder, these sports require strength, balance, and endurance. Therefore, to have a great day, keep up with your buddies – or kids – and not run out of gas midday, it’s crucial to prepare in advance.

Advantages of Preparing for Ski and Snowboard Season

Skiing and snowboarding are physically demanding sports that place significant stress on your lower body, particularly your legs. Endurance and stamina are key to conquering long runs and maintaining control through all terrain. When you prepare adequately and get in good shape pre-season, you’ll have the three ingredience you need – endurance, leg strength, core stability – to perform the way you want to.



Benefits Long-Distance Runs and Hikes

Long-distance runs and hikes offer a range of benefits that can significantly enhance your fitness level and improve your performance on the slopes. Some key advantages include building your endurance, strengthening your core (including your back) and lower body and sharpening your mental acuity.

Endurance Building

By engaging in long-distance runs and hikes, your body strengthens its cardiovascular system, allowing for increased endurance. This is essential for prolonged skiing and snowboarding sessions, which can be physically demanding. Fatigue only opens the door to falls and the potential of injury.

Leg Strength and Stability

The repetitive nature of long-distance running and hiking helps build muscular strength, particularly in the legs. As we all know, strong leg muscles provide stability when navigating the slopes, reducing the risk of injuries and enhancing overall performance.

Core Stability

Long-distance runs and hikes engage your core muscles, which are crucial for maintaining balance and stability while skiing or snowboarding. A strong core reduces the strain on your back and promotes efficient movement on the slopes, and in everyday life, too.

Mental Toughness

Endurance exercises like long-distance running and hiking also train your mind to push through fatigue and discomfort. Developing mental toughness will benefit you when facing challenging skiing or snowboarding conditions or navigating down to the base at the end of a long day, ensuring you stay focused, confident and upright.

Preparing for Long-Distance Runs and Hikes

Before embarking on long-distance runs and hikes, it is essential to prepare your body adequately. Consider these four guidelines to maximize the effectiveness of your training.

1. Consult with a Doctor

As always with beginning a new exercise regimen, it’s encouraged to check with your doctor first especially if you are new to intense physical activity or have any underlying health conditions. Even though you’re probably an active person, it is crucial to ensure your body can handle the added stress of long runs and hikes, especially at varying altitudes.

2. Invest in Proper Footwear

Invest in high-quality running or hiking shoes that provide excellent support and cushioning. Add a performance insole, like the Masterfit QF Universal Insole, to increase support and enhance performance.  Ill-fitting shoes can lead to discomfort, blisters and even potential injuries, so choose footwear that suits your foot type and the terrain you’ll be tackling.

3. Warm-Up and Stretch

Stretching is standard operating procedure when exercising, but often forgotten or just taken for granted. Before each run or hike, warm up with dynamic exercises such as leg swings, arm circles, and light jogging. Follow this with a series of dynamic stretches, particularly the hamstrings, groin, back, and calves, to prepare your muscles for the upcoming workout and prevent strains.

4. Start Slowly

This is very important. Sometimes we get a little over enthusiastic when beginning a new training session – I know I do. Begin with shorter distances and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your runs and hikes. This progressive approach will prevent injuries and allow your body to adapt to the demands of long-distance training.

Long-Distance Running Techniques for Ski and Snowboard Conditioning

To optimize your long-distance running routine for pre-season fitness conditioning, consider the following techniques:

Hill Training

Include hill sprints or uphill runs in your training regimen to mimic the uphill sections of mountain. This will strengthen your legs, improve endurance, and enhance your ability to navigate challenging terrains. It will also prepare you for any hike-to terrain you want to conquer this season. 

Also, run downhill with your hands out in front of your torso like you’re holding a lunch tray (as you would hold your poles when skiing). Navigate around rocks and other obstacles with shorter than normal steps and concentrate on looking forward, only glancing periodically at the ground to watch out for loose impediments. This will quicken your feet while building your quads through the impact of each step.

Interval Training

Incorporate interval training into your long-distance runs by alternating between high-intensity bursts and periods of active recovery. For example, pick an object about 30-40 yards in the distance and sprint to it. Then slow to a jog for about a minute and repeat for 4-5 intervals, or more if you want/can. This mimics the stop-and-start nature of skiing or snowboarding and improves your body’s ability to handle changing intensities and heart rates.


To enhance your overall fitness, incorporate cross-training activities such as cycling, swimming, or strength training into your routine. These exercises target different muscle groups and help prevent overuse injuries.

young woman trail running in the fall

Combining Runs and Hikes for Optimal Preparation

By combining long-distance running and hiking, you can experience several advantages.

Balanced Workout Routine

Running primarily targets your lower body, while hiking engages various muscle groups. Combining both activities creates a well-rounded workout routine that builds strength, endurance, and balance.

Reduced Risk of Overuse Injuries

As mentioned above, cross-training reduces the risk of overuse injuries associated with repetitive motions. Alternating between running and hiking allows specific muscle groups to rest, while others are engaged.

Enhanced Mental Toughness

Switching between different activities challenges your mental adaptability, enhancing your mental toughness and ability to handle changing conditions on the slopes.

Create a Balanced Routine

Plan your training schedule to incorporate both running and hiking and a recover activity in between. For example, you might run on Mondays and Wednesdays, hike on Fridays, and rest or engage in active recovery activities on the days in between and/or on the weekends such as yoga or swimming.

Track Your Progress and Make Adjustments

Keep a training journal to record your runs, hikes, and any notable experiences or challenges – like that encounter with a fox or a moose on the trail. Regularly assess your progress and adjust your training routine based on your goals and performance.

Fall is an exciting time of year, not only for the foliage and cooler air, but for the anticipation of the upcoming ski and snowboard season. Preparing for ski and snowboard season is a rewarding endeavor that requires dedication and a well-structured training plan.

Incorporating long-distance runs and hikes into your fitness routine is an effective way to prepare your body for it – and if you plan it right, it really doesn’t feel like a workout. By building endurance, leg strength, core stability, and mental toughness, you’ll be better equipped to tackle the hill with confidence. Remember to consult with a doctor, start slowly, and implement proper techniques to ensure a safe and successful training period. And stretch; remember to stretch. Also remember to create a balanced routine that includes both activities and allow for adequate recovery.

The foliage is electric and the weather is perfect to get your sweat on outdoors. So lace up your running shoes or hiking boots, hit the trails, and get ready for another incredible winter season on the mountain.

Ski Bindings Made Simple

Bindings are rugged little devices, but like any mechanical unit they can wear out quickly if not kept clean and lubricated.

Ski Binding Check

At the beginning of the season, do a binding check. Annual shop inspections of the ski/boot/binding system will reveal any deviations in the release system that may require a binding to be re-set or retired if it won’t release within a standardized range.

Indemnified Ski Bindings

After a given binding model has been off the market for several seasons, the binding company’s liability insurer can decline indemnity coverage for a model it deems obsolete due to its age and likely condition. If shop personnel inform you they “can’t work on this binding,” they’re acting within established guidelines over which they have no control. No matter how much you once loved them, if your bindings are no longer indemnified, it’s time for them to go.

Jackson Hogen

ski bindings


  • Determine your binding setting. It’s based on height, weight, age, boot sole length and skiing style. Any shop tech can help you do this in about 10 seconds.
  • Pick a binding with your setting number (often called a “DIN” number) near the middle of the binding range. If your setting is “6,” a binding with a 3 – 10 scale should be fine.
  • Ask a salesperson about any special features that may make one binding more suitable for you than another.


  • Continue to use a binding the manufacturer no longer indemnifies.
  • Use a boot with a touring sole or walking sole that’s incompatible with your Alpine bindings.
  • Use a boot with worn-out soles.
  • Mix a child’s normal boot sole with an adult binding.
The Science Behind Shoe Insoles: How They Support Foot Health

The Science Behind Shoe Insoles: How They Support Foot Health

The Science Behind Shoe Insoles: How They Support Foot Health

Your Foot’s Unsung Heroes: Unraveling the Scientific Magic of Shoe Insoles

As you lace up your sneakers, ready to embark on another invigorating run or power through a busy day on your feet, have you ever paused to consider the remarkable science behind those seemingly simple shoe insoles? These unassuming inserts are, in fact, your feet’s unsung heroes, working diligently to provide support, cushioning, and alignment. In this article, we delve into the fascinating scientific mechanisms that underpin these marvels and reveal how they play a pivotal role in supporting your foot health.

Understanding Foot Anatomy: The Foundation of Comfort

Imagine the intricate architecture of the human foot – a masterpiece of nature’s engineering. With arches that act as shock absorbers and multiple bones and muscles working in harmony, it’s a structure designed for both stability and flexibility. Yet, this complexity also makes it susceptible to various issues that can impact your overall well-being. Proper foot alignment is essential, as it influences the entire body’s posture. That’s where shoe insoles come into play – they provide the foundation for proper alignment, supporting your feet and enhancing your overall comfort.

The Vital Role of Shoe Insoles: Beyond the Surface

Shoe insoles, often referred to as footbeds or inserts, are more than just a soft layer beneath your feet. They come in various types, each engineered to address specific foot needs. Cushioning insoles, for instance, employ innovative materials like gel, foam, and air pockets to absorb the shock of each step, preventing undue stress on your joints and bones. Arch-supporting insoles are designed to cradle and bolster your foot’s natural arches, preventing overpronation or supination that can lead to discomfort and even injuries.



Unveiling the Scientific Mechanics Behind Insoles

Arch Support: Elevating Your Foot’s Form and Function

Ever wondered why arches matter? These structural marvels distribute your body weight, help absorb shock, and maintain balance. Insufficient arch support can lead to improper alignment and discomfort. Arch-supporting insoles work like architects for your feet, maintaining the arches’ integrity and helping you move with confidence. By redistributing weight and pressure, they enhance alignment and reduce strain, supporting foot health over the long haul.

Shock Absorption and Cushioning: Defying Impact

Walking or running can subject your feet to substantial impact forces. This repetitive stress can potentially lead to fatigue, pain, or even injuries. Here’s where cushioning insoles shine. Picture a mattress for your feet – these insoles feature advanced materials that absorb and disperse shock, cushioning each step and minimizing the toll on your joints. The result? Enhanced comfort and a reduced risk of those nagging aches that often plague active individuals.

Pressure Distribution and Weight Balance: A Delicate Equilibrium

Think of your feet as intricate maps of pressure points. Without proper support, these points can become sources of discomfort, leading to calluses or pain. Pressure-relief insoles are designed to act as navigators, distributing your body weight evenly across your feet. This careful balancing act not only enhances comfort but also mitigates the development of pressure-related issues, helping you stay active and pain-free.

Alignment and Biomechanics: Your Body’s Symphony

The alignment of your feet affects your entire body’s biomechanics. A misaligned foot can trigger a chain reaction, leading to knee, hip, or even back problems. This is where orthotic insoles step in. Imagine them as conductors of a symphony – by providing corrective support, they ensure each part of your body works harmoniously. Numerous studies attest to the effectiveness of orthotic insoles in addressing biomechanical imbalances and improving overall alignment.

Selecting Your Perfect Match: Finding the Right Insoles

Now that the scientific intricacies are unveiled, how do you choose the perfect insoles for your unique needs? Consider your foot type, activity level, and any existing foot conditions. Seeking advice from podiatrists or orthopedic specialists adds a layer of expertise to your decision-making process. Just as you wouldn’t settle for ill-fitting shoes, prioritize insoles that provide tailored support, ensuring comfort during every step of your journey.

Caring for Your Foot’s Allies: Maintenance and Lifespan

Your insoles work tirelessly to support you, so it’s only fair that you reciprocate the care. Regular cleaning and proper maintenance are essential to ensure their longevity and performance. Different insole types have varying lifespans, so pay attention to signs of wear and tear. Replacing insoles at the right time ensures that your foot health remains a top priority.

Real-Life Stories: Insoles in Action

Meet Sarah, an avid runner who used to battle persistent knee pain. Upon switching to orthotic insoles, her pain gradually faded, allowing her to enjoy her runs again. Then there’s Mark, a nurse who found solace in cushioning insoles that eased the strain of long shifts on his feet. These real-life stories are a testament to the transformative power of the right shoe insoles, tailored to individual needs and activities.

Busting Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction

As with any topic, misconceptions abound. Myth 1: Insoles are one-size-fits-all. Myth 2: Insoles are only for athletes. Let’s debunk these myths – insoles come in various types to suit diverse needs, and they benefit everyone from athletes to professionals who spend hours on their feet. By understanding the science behind insoles, you empower yourself to make informed decisions and take steps towards better foot health.

Conclusion: Taking Steps Towards Foot Health

Next time you slip into your shoes, envision the intricate dance of support and alignment happening beneath your feet. The science of shoe insoles, grounded in biomechanics and driven by innovation, is the cornerstone of foot health. As you journey through life – whether you’re a dedicated athlete, a fitness enthusiast, or simply someone who values comfort – remember that the right pair of insoles can make all the difference. Prioritize your feet, invest in the science of support, and take confident strides towards a healthier, happier you.

Maximize Your Workout: 10 Effective Interval Training Exercises

Maximize Your Workout: 10 Effective Interval Training Exercises

Interval training tip: Incorporate short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by periods of active recovery. For example, sprint for 30 seconds and then jog for 1 minute, repeating the cycle for 10-15 minutes.

Interval training is often hailed as the holy grail of fitness routines. It offers a dynamic and efficient way to achieve peak physical condition, while giving you a myriad of health benefits as a bonus. This rigorous exercise strategy involves alternating between bursts of intense activity and periods of rest or low-intensity recovery.

So whether you’re an elite athlete, a fitness enthusiast looking to supercharge your regimen, or an active outdoor enthusiast cramming to get ready for this coming ski and snowboard season, interval training holds the key to getting in quick shape to conquer the slopes.

One of the big advantages of interval training is its unrivaled capacity to torch calories and shed excess fat. The high-intensity intervals push your body to its limits, igniting a metabolic furnace that continues to burn calories long after your workout ends. This phenomenon, known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), elevates your basal metabolic rate, making it an invaluable tool for those striving for weight loss. Simply put: interval training is like giving your metabolism a powerful boost, making it a great tool for weight loss.

In addition, interval training doesn’t merely tone your physique; it builds your cardio. The intense bursts of activity followed by brief recovery periods enhance your heart’s efficiency, leading to increased stroke volume, lowered resting heart rate, and improved circulation. The result: your body becomes a well-oiled machine, capable of enduring prolonged physical challenges – perfect for a long day on the hill.

And the benefits don’t stop there. Interval training sharpens your endurance, enhances your anaerobic capacity, and boosts your overall stamina. It’s a comprehensive workout regimen that empowers you to tackle everyday tasks with ease, from climbing stairs effortlessly to lugging groceries without breaking a sweat. Or in winter sports terms, you’ll be riding from bell to bell all season with ease.



Perhaps the most significant benefit of interval training is its time efficiency. There’s no excuse in the case of interval training; you don’t need to spend hours in the gym fighting for workout space. Interval training can be done at home, without weights and in a fraction of the time of other workouts. All you need is a jump rope and about a half an hour. Even a 20-minute session can yield remarkable results, making it accessible to you and your busy schedule. There’s no excuse now.

So, whether you’re striving for a leaner physique, a healthier heart, or enhanced endurance, interval training is your ticket to a fitter, stronger, and more vibrant you on and off the slopes. Embrace the intensity, and let interval training redefine your fitness prep for the snow season.

Here are 10 simple, yet effective interval exercises you can do virtually anywhere.

1. Jumping Jacks

Start the workout with a classic exercise that targets your entire body. Stand with your feet together and arms by your sides. Jump while simultaneously spreading your legs wide and raising your arms overhead. Return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions. Jumping jacks are an excellent way to warm up your muscles and get your heart rate up.

active woman doing a high knees exercise

2. High Knees

High knees will further elevate your heart rate and engage your core and lower body muscles. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bring your right knee up towards your chest while simultaneously raising your left arm. Alternate the movement, bringing your left knee up as you raise your right arm. Continue this alternating movement at a brisk pace for a set number of repetitions.

video courtesy of Well + Good

3. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are a challenging exercise that targets your core, shoulders, and legs. Start in a high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your body in a straight line. Drive your right knee towards your chest, then quickly switch legs, bringing your left knee in and right leg back. Continue alternating the movement, maintaining a quick pace throughout the exercise.

video courtesy of Well + Good

4. Squat Jumps

Squat jumps are an excellent way to engage your lower body muscles, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and lower into a squat position. Explosively jump upwards, extending your arms overhead. Land softly back into the squat position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions. Focus on maintaining proper form and landing with control.

5. Push-Ups

Push-ups are a classic exercise that targets your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Begin in a high plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body towards the floor by bending your elbows, keeping your body in a straight line. Push through your palms to return to the starting position and repeat. Modify the exercise by performing push-ups on your knees if needed.

video courtesy of Well + Good

6. Burpees

Burpees are a full-body exercise that combines strength and cardio. Start in a standing position, then lower your body into a squat position and place your hands on the floor. Jump your feet back into a high plank position, perform a push-up, and then jump your feet back towards your hands. Explosively jump upwards, reaching your arms overhead. Land softly and repeat the entire movement.

7. Russian Twists

Russian twists are an effective exercise for targeting your obliques and improving core strength. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet lifted off the ground, balancing on your glutes. Lean back slightly and interlace your fingers in front of your chest. Twist your torso to the right, then to the left, while maintaining a controlled movement. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

video courtesy of Well + Good

8. Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle crunches are another great exercise for working your abdominal muscles. Lie on your back with your knees bent and hands behind your head. Lift your shoulders off the ground and bring your right elbow towards your left knee while extending your right leg out straight. Alternate sides, bringing your left elbow towards your right knee. Continue this pedaling motion while maintaining a steady pace.

9. Jump Rope

Jumping rope is an effective cardiovascular exercise that also engages your lower body muscles. Hold the handles of a jump rope in each hand and swing it over your head, jumping as the rope passes under your feet. Maintain a steady rhythm and jump with a light bounce, landing softly on the balls of your feet. Start with a comfortable pace and gradually increase your speed as you become more proficient.

young woman doing plank exercise
young woman doing plank exercise on fitness ball

10. Plank

Finish the workout with a plank, an excellent exercise for targeting your core muscles. Start in a high plank position with your elbows directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line. Engage your core and hold this position for a designated amount of time, focusing on maintaining proper form and breathing steadily. Gradually increase the duration of the plank as your strength improves.

If you’re feeling strong and athletic, you can plank on a fitness ball. The subtle instability and the movement of the ball will work your core muscles on the sides as well as in the middle. 

How to Get a Good Fit for Hiking Boots

How to Get a Good Fit for Hiking Boots

How to Get a Good Fit for Hiking Boots: 5 Must Know Facts About Getting a Great Fitting Hiking Shoe

As the hiking season is in full stride, it’s a great time to think about getting out on the trail. The sun and sweet smell of Summer invites us all to get out and get some exercise on the trail – especially after a long Winter of deep snow and cold temperatures. So as the days are longer and the urge grows stronger, it’s time to look for new hiking boots or shoes (depending on your preference) to make your trip the best it can be.

We asked industry veterans their thoughts about some things to think about when shopping for a new boot and how to get a good fit for hiking boots. Here’s what the experts suggested.

“When looking for new hiking boots, there are a few rules to keep in mind. While technology has heightened the fit and performance of hiking boots and shoes, there are specific things to take into account to get the best fit possible,” says Jeff Rich, certified podiatrist and owner of U.S. Orthotic Center in New York City.

When you go shopping for new hiking boots or shoes, take some time to try on five to eight pairs across a variety of brands. Be sure to try on all types of hiking boots as the selection has grown over the years and hiking boots come with many different styles such as ankle hiking boots, mid-height hiking boots, high-top hiking boots and trail hiking boots, and even backpacking boots.

While you’re testing out the hiking boots sizing, be sure to walk up and down some stairs and ramps in the store if possible. Also, concentrate on the overall comfort of the boots. Take into account the hiking boot fit such as the hiking boots width, the arch support, the heel lock, and the hiking boots toe box. Are there hotspots or pain points? If so, move on the next pair because these will be accentuated while on the trail and most likely make your hike miserable.
It’s best to shop for boots in the evening because your feet swell throughout the day – they usually expand by five-percent. Also, bring or wear the socks you’ll wear when hiking and try on both boots because most of us have one foot that’s longer and/or bigger than the other.

Furthermore, keep in mind that shoe sizing is not standardized, so sizing between manufacturers is not consistent – sizes may even vary within certain styles of a particular brand. So, as we outline best practices to shop for boots, here are five things to keep in mind to find your best-fitting hiking boot.

Measure the Length

As we mentioned, one foot is usually longer and/or bigger than the other, so be sure to try on both boots. Start by slipping your bigger foot into the boot/shoe, and standing up while the laces are untied and loose. Push your foot forward until your toes touch the front of the boot, and measure the space between the back of the shoe and your heel. You should allow two fingers – your index finger and your middle finger – to comfortably fit between the end of the shoe and your heel. (You might need some help with this measurement.) If there’s too much, or too little space between your fingers and the back of the boot, the boot is too small or big, so look for another size.

If your fingers fit nicely, lace up the boots and start walking around the store. If your heel slips once you’ve tightly cinched the laces, consider swapping out the existing insoles for a pair of after-market, drop-in insoles such as EZ-Fit Universal Insoles or custom-crafted insoles like Instaprint Insoles. Using insoles will eliminate the extra space in the boot that makes your foot slip – and they’ll be more supportive and comfortable.

While the boots are laced, stand up, and wiggle your toes. If your big toe is close to the front, but not touching, you should be fine. However, if your toe is at, or more than a thumbs distance away from the toe box, the boot is too big. As a general rule, if there’s a full thumb’s-width of space between your big toe and the front of the toe box, the boots are too big and could cause blistering.

Next, kick a wall with the front of the boot two-to-three times – it simulates hiking downhill, which will take a toll on your toes. If the shoe is too short, your toes will jam into the front of the boot on the first try. Conversely, if the boot is too big, your feet will just slide back and forth after multiple kicks. If you can kick three times without your toes hitting the front of the boot, you have a pretty good fit.

If your toes feel ok and have a comfortable fit, then roll forward on them and see if your heels rise. If the boots fit, your heels won’t move up and down inside the boot more than 0.25 of an inch, which allows your achilles to stretch. If your heels move more than that, they will move on a hike and create blisters and make your life miserable. Move on to the next boot or size.

Measure the Width

With the boot laces cinched tight, try to move your foot from side-to-side. If they move drastically, the boots are too big. Conversely, if they feel awkwardly tight, they’re too small. However, if the boots feel snug and your feet move a little from side-to-side, but not in an uncomfortable way, then you should be fine. As Bob Egeland, C.Ped of Boulder Orthotics in Colorado puts it, “proper width means a snug, but not pinching, fit across the ball of your foot. And keep in mind, most boots will stretch significantly and fit better the more you wear them.”

Consider the Hiking Boots Arch Support

Arch length is the measurement from the heel to the ball of the foot and is a more important measurement than the foot length. It determines how the foot fits inside the boot, which determines the boot’s support and functionality. The arch length is very important because the shoe needs to flex at the appropriate location for proper function and comfort. C.Ped Egeland continues, “supplemental arch support under the foot is extremely important, especially when you’re carrying extra weight in your pack.” Make sure your arch feels comfortable, otherwise, your achilles and calf could be strained, which will make you uncomfortable, no matter how long the hike.

Foot Volume Matters

Without any socks on, slide your bare foot into the boot and concentrate on how it feels. Take note of any spots that feel cramped–particularly around the small, pinky toes, the ball of the foot, and the arch. If it’s too tight in any of these areas, look for another boot.

If the boot passes the barefoot test, put on your hiking socks and ensure there are no loose or wrinkled spots. Again, slide your foot into the boot and feel for tight areas. If there aren’t areas that are too tight or too loose, it should be a good foot. The boot should feel comfortably snug all around the foot and not have any pinchy or hotspot areas – they will only cause problems on the trail.

Remember, the thickness of the foot and the arch support from top to bottom is an important factor to measure a good fit. Some people prefer a tight fit, while others favor a loose fit. Determining a good boot fit depends on how you like your foot to feel inside the boot while moving, so trust yourself. Just make sure that if you do have one foot bigger than the other, it gets the best fit – and you don’t want your foot to move very much inside the boot.

Test the Ankle Area

The ankle test comes into play if you prefer a high top boot over a low top shoe. It’s important to remember that two-thirds of your ankle support comes from the outsole, midsole and insole (footbed) – one-third is from the upper. A high top hiking boot offers extra support against twisting an ankle on rough terrain and helps people with weaker ankles.

To measure the ankle fit, grab the top of the boot and bend it to the side – this will give you a good idea of how much ankle support the boot will provide – the stiffer it is, the more supportive it will be. As you compare the stiffness with different styles, you can find the one that will provide you with the best support depending on your preference and needs. Remember, an all-leather upper is more durable and most likely lasts longer than a fabric or fabric and leather combination, so keep that in mind.

Remember the Sole

The outsole must provide good durable traction in all conditions. There are some hiking boots on the market these days with sticky rubber, which provides greater traction, but they wear out much quicker. EVA midsoles (the lightweight foam used in running shoes) are lightweight, but not very durable, which requires you to replace boots frequently.

So when you examine a boot, dig your fingers into the sole to see how soft it is. A soft sole will not give you as much support as a more rigid one. Twist the sole and notice that if it twists easily, it’s also probably too soft to support you while hiking rough terrain. Polyurethane midsoles are very durable but they’re slightly heavier than a foam one.


If after all this scrutiny you’ve managed to find a pair of boots that match your criteria, then they have a pretty good chance of being your trusty hiking companions. But remember, no boot is perfect until it’s been broken in properly, so break them in, take mini hikes, walk around the house or go shopping and run errands in your new boots to make them mold to your feet. The heat of your feet will work in the leather and other materials and make them more comfortable. It will also identify any hotspots to be concerned with before you’re on the trail. The more you wear them before your next hike, the more comfy they’ll be during the hike. Enjoy your time on the trail.

LEKI Turns 75

LEKI Turns 75

In 1948, in the small village of Kirchheim Teck, Germany, Karl Lenhart, an aircraft mechanic by trade, took his precision machinery skills and crafted wooden letters to be used to make signs for the local bakeries and butcher shops. Karl’s passion for innovation, attention to detail, and impeccable craftsmanship started him down a path that would eventually lead to the creation of one of the most respected companies in the outdoor industry.

Karl was a passionate skier during the 1950s, and like all skiers of that time, Karl used ski poles made of bamboo. These poles had baskets made of metal and leather and the straps wore out quickly causing the baskets to fall off the poles. Karl saw the need for something better and decided it was time to improve traditional baskets that had been in use for decades.

Using his precision machinery, he constructed the first tip and basket system made from direct-injected plastics. Karl’s baskets included threads allowing them to be twisted on and off the pole tip when they needed replacing (this technology is still used on LEKI poles today). Before long, Karl was crafting injected plastic pole grips, and Karl found himself in the spare parts business.

With his experience in aircraft construction, Karl pushed the design envelope even further. Karl believed aluminum would be the perfect material for a pole shaft – light and durable. By 1963, Karl produced and sold the first aluminum poles made from alloys under the brand “Duraluminum.” Less than a decade later the brand name was changed to LEKI. The LE comes from the first two letters of Lenhart’s last name and the KI from the first two letters of Kirchheim, Germany where the company was founded and is still headquartered today!

Leki ski poles and gloves
Leki ski poles and gloves

During the 70s, Karl had revolutionized winter sports and began to take notice of mountaineers summiting the world’s highest peaks using ski poles. Many climbers had been using bamboo poles for mountaineering, but Karl recognized an opportunity to make adjustable climbing poles from aluminum. These lightweight and durable telescoping poles could be collapsed and stowed away when climbers needed to use ice tools and ropes. He worked closely with Reinhold Messner to create the first Makalu trekking pole. On May 8th, 1978, Reinhold Messner stood on top of Everest, the first person to ever summit without oxygen. While Reinhold didn’t need oxygen, he did need his LEKI poles!

Leki ski poles and gloves
Leki ski poles and gloves

In 1984, Karl Lenhart passed the torch to his son Klaus who had been working with LEKI as an engineer since his early 20s. Klaus become the General Manager of LEKI and shaped the foundation of the modern LEKI that we know today. He was the genius behind product innovation and more than 250 patents can be traced back to his ideas. His obsession with the product was legendary and his passion was relentless. Klaus could often be found sketching new design ideas on paper napkins while out to dinner.

Leki ski poles and gloves

In the 90s, LEKI was outgrowing production capacity in the factory in Germany. While many companies were moving production to the Far East, Klaus wanted to keep his hands on the product and control it down to its finest detail. He decided to return LEKI to the place of his ancestors – Bohemia. He envisioned the world’s most modern pole factory right in the heart of Europe and built a state-of-the-art production facility in Tachov, Czech Republic. The local production allowed LEKI to control its quality and generated flexibility and resilience in a challenging global market. Klaus was a unique combination of a product genius and a visionary entrepreneur at the same time.

Leki ski poles and gloves

April 12th, 2012 marked a dark day in the history of the company. The loss of Klaus in a tragic plane accident was a shock to his family, the company, and its many partners. Many suspected that without Klaus the company wouldn’t survive. Nobody could deny that the company and its structure were circled around its strong leader. In this moment of uncertainty, Klaus’s wife Waltraud stood up and took the helm of the company. Until that moment, Waltraud had looked after financials and administration at LEKI, always in the back and never in a public role. There were people inside and outside the company having doubts about the future, but she overcame them all and built a spectacular legacy.

Under Waltraud’s leadership, LEKI experienced the most intense period of growth in its history. Her formula of success was different compared to her predecessors. She was not the centerpiece of the new LEKI, she was the coach at the sideline and protector of LEKI’s values. Step by step she forged a strong and highly competent executive team. In silence, she prepared LEKI according to her own vision. It was obvious to her that LEKI needed to be independent and resilient and not depend on one person, especially not herself. In that regard, she was a visionary and genius, planting the seeds for a fruitful future prior to her untimely death in 2021. With Klaus and Waltraud’s children taking ownership, LEKI heads into its third generation as a family-owned business. The new generation stands firmly behind LEKI’s core values: Innovation, quality, enthusiasm, excellence, partnership, and responsibility. 

Never a company to rest, LEKI is already focused on the future with upgrades to the factory to harness renewable energy sources and the development of sustainable products, like poles made from hemp that utilize responsible manufacturing methods.

Leki ski poles and gloves

Over the last 75 years, LEKI has become the leader in the design and development of poles for alpine and Nordic skiing, hiking, trail running, and Nordic Walking.

In 2023, LEKI’s mission is to make the best poles and gloves in the world for everybody. With more than 100 models of poles and 50 gloves in the annual collection, LEKI has come a long way since Klaus Lenhart carved his first wooden letters in Kirchheim 75 years ago.

LEKI will continue to thrive thanks in part to a ceaseless passion for excellence on one end and incredible customers on the other. To all that have been part of the journey, we thank you.

This is a guest post from a LEKI release. 

leki 75th anniversary

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