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How to Choose Ski Boots for Wide Feet, Narrow Feet or Wide Calves (Cankles)?

Everybody’s feet are different, and the chances are that your feet are more unique than others. This can present a problem when choosing a pair of ski boots. You may have feet that are slightly or extremely different from the standard foot shapes of the world. In this post, we are going to tell you how to choose the best boots that have a non-standard size and shape. You will also learn about the different solutions for your feet.

Ski Boots for Wide Feet

Ski boots that are too narrow for your feet will uncomfortably squeeze the edges of your feet, give you aches and pains across your foot and give you foot burn. If you are having any of these problems, you should measure your feet and the width of the liner. To get an accurate measurement, subtract the thickness of the liner width.

Your foot should have room to sit comfortably within the liner without being squeezed. If your foot is being squeezed, your ski boots are too narrow.

Your Boots May Not Be the Problem

But, before you rush out and buy some new boots, you may need better arch support, rather than buy new boots, which is a much cheaper solution.

The feeling of pressure could be a result of the standard footbed not giving you enough support. This makes your foot splay out and push into the sides of the boot shell, causing foot pain. So your boot width may not be your problem. Therefore, try supporting your foot with a custom footbed with proper arch support before buying new boots.

Buying Ski Boots for Wide Feet

If you have already tried supportive footbeds and you are still getting foot pain, you will need to buy wide ski boots.

When you have wide feet, the first thing you need to look at when buying ski boots is the last. The last is the categorisation of the boot width and how much volume it has. Wider lasts have more internal space, both vertically and horizontally.

If you are a skier with wide feet, you will probably need to pick a boot with a last of 102 to 104mm, but you should also pay attention to the shape of your foot. This is to make sure you choose a boot that matches the shape of your foot best. The only way to do this is to measure your foot or visit a good ski boot fitter.

Ski Boots for Narrow Feet

Telltale signs that your boots are too narrow are, heel lift, movement inside the boot, reduced power transfer to your skis and your skis taking longer to react to your input.

Do You Need Heel Retainers?

If your boot feels comfortable, but you are getting a little heel lift, you may be able to solve the problem with heel retainers. These reduce the volume of your boot and are a possible solution for boots that are slightly too big, either from new or if they have been packed out from prolonged use.

Buying Ski Boots for Narrow Feet

Just like skiers with wide feet, you need to measure your feet to determine the last your boots should have. A narrow last would typically fall between 97 and 98mm, but a ski boot fitter will be able to give you the best advice on the right boot for you.

Ski Boots for Wide Calves

When you have wide calves, your ski boots can rub and cause hotspots around the cuffs (the top of the boot). This is particularly unpleasant, especially when you are skiing all day. 

Do You Need Calf Extenders?

Calf extenders are for skiers with larger calves and find it difficult to tighten their ski boots around their lower legs, without causing pain or cramp. These replace the existing catch on the boot to extend the range of the buckle. If you don’t want to buy new boots just yet, calf extenders may be a viable solution for you.

Buying Ski Boots for Wide Claves

You should start by looking for a ski boot with a short cuff. You may also need a custom insole that lifts your heel slightly, to bring the shaft of your leg slightly out of the boot. The idea behind this, is to bring your ski boots in contact with the lower leg and narrower part of the calves, improving fit and comfort.

Final Thoughts

No matter what your foot shape and size is, a good boot fitter will be able to give you the best advice and solution for you. But, it is essential to make sure you buy ski boots that suit your budget and have the right amount of flex for your ability and type of skiing.

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