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How to choose the right Ski equipment – Boots

When anyone enters a new sport or leisure interest, there is an inevitable desire to ‘own’ the equipment needed. This is especially important in the world of Skiing where the right boots will either make the experience enjoyable or crippling!! Most people in the UK now take their first lessons in the growing number of indoor snow centres.So, their first experience is boots that feel strange and will always have been worn by many other guests that have and are going through the learning process.
I and my colleagues will always advise that the boot is the most important first purchase of any ski equipment.
Why do we say that the boot is the most important first purchase of any ski equipment?Well, a properly fitting boot will enable the skier to focus on the enjoyment of skiing rather than trying to manage the uncomfortable experience of pain in the foot!What happens when a customer enters a shop is they are presented with a large array of different makes, different technical specifications and often enthusiastic sales assistants.There are a number of specialist boot technicians in the UK and if anyone has difficulty with a boot fitting then I would advise a visit to the experts!How do you choose?Your level of ability and your skiing experience will dictate this. Please do not follow the myth that the more I pay the better the boot! This is just not true!Yes, very expensive boots are generally very technical with all sorts of added benefits, but will be designed for a specific use. The most expensive will be ‘Racing’ boots and are very stiff and hard to wear if you are a recreational skier. Racers only have them fully ‘done up’ for a few minutes at a time. Not the 6+ hours you want to wear them!All manufactures will indicate the suitability of a boot to a skiing type. Please make sure that you purchase a boot that fits your profile.
You may like to be the next Olympic downhill racer, but please make sure that you don’t try and kid yourself that you are more advanced than you really are! The good thing about boots now, is that they are rated by ‘flex’ and many have the ability to adjust the ‘flex’ so as you advance you don’t have to buy new boots every year!
What is flex?It’s the stiffness of the boot as you bend ‘flex’ the ankle. For beginners and intermediate skiers, the flex should be low to medium allowing you to flex the ankles.
So, decide what level you are. Look at boots designed for your ability and then get them properly fitted.
Any fitting will take at least a couple of hours so give yourself plenty of time.