BOOT FITTING ESSENTIALS
Boots are the most important part of your riding rig to get right – they can be the difference between an epic time on the hill and a frustrating one, or even an agonizing one where you’re considering cutting your feet off to ease the pain.
While it’s not rocket science, there’s a few things you should be aware of. First up, the shape and fit of boots from different brands – and even the different models from within the same brand – can be wildly different, so trying a few on until you find the right ones for you is imperative. With that in mind, here’s what you should look out for…
Foothold and comfort are the key words here, though it’s worth bearing in mind that a boot’s liner will pack down over time and take the shape of your foot – if they feel the tight side of snug in store then it’s not the end of the world.
– A good starting point is to take the insole out and place your foot on it. The insole should approximately match the length and width of your foot – your toes shouldn’t be overhanging, nor should they be way back from the end.
– If this is all looking good put the boot on. Lace that mother up tight as you would to go riding. A boot can feel pretty tight lengthways unlaced, but when you crank it up you’ll find you foot slips into the correct place and they feeling more comfortable.
– With the boot laced, your toes should be just touching the end of the liner when you’re standing up straight. As no one rides like this, it’s important to bend your knees and flex forward – this should bring your toes away from being flush with the end.
– Flex back and forward as if you were going from your heelside to toeside and back. You want to have as little heel lift (your heel rising up off the sole) as possible – a little is acceptable, but any more than a couple of millimetres and response and performance will be compromised and you should try another boot.
– Many brands’ boots have heat mouldable liners which speed up the ‘breaking in’ process so you have the optimum fit from day 1 on the snow. If you’ve opted for one of these you can do this at home with a hairdryer, but take advantage of the store’s facilities and get them to do it for you.
MEN’S OR WOMEN’S?
While there’s a chance that men’s boots will fit a woman’s foot, women’s-specific boots will take into account the higher arch, lower calf and narrower foot and heel that are characteristic of ladies’ plates o’ meat and therefore will tend to be the best option if you’re of the fairer sex. Once again, try a bunch on and see what works best for you and your feet.