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The Ski Boot Fit Blog

Meet Kazu. Kazu is a ski boot guru. This guy knows his stuff inside out, and has enough experience to fill a million ski boots! (25 years to be exact!). He has been working at Outside Sports in Wanaka since before it was even called Outside Sports. And who even remembers that!? - so lets just call it forever! Kazu has gained his experience from working in Sapporo Japan and here in Wanaka. If you are in Wanaka and need ski boot help, he is your man!

I went and talked with Kazu about ski boot fitting, so I could get some answers for all you skiers and would-be skiers out there. It turns out there is a lot to know about ski boot fit! I can’t possibly cover it all in this blog, and every person has a different foot with different ski needs. But here is a good introduction on how ski boots should fit...

How should your ski boots feel when you have them on?
Kazu explains that ‘snug’ with no pain is a good way for the boots to feel. It’s better to have no pressure points (parts of the boot that are pressing hard against parts of your foot). However, often high performance boots do have a lot of these pressure points, the good news is these can be adjusted later on. Obviously, it would be ideal to have no pressure, but this generally does not hold your foot tight enough in the boot.

If the boots are too big, you will not be able to control your ski well. Around the ankle is a key part of the boot that needs to be snug. This allows better control of your skis. It’s important to be snug around the heel of your foot, even for the first timer. If the boot is too big, there will be a delay in ski response. This will feel scary.

How many pairs of socks should you wear with your ski boots and why?
Kazu believes in thin socks, one pair only - you don’t have to have six socks! He says that boots are much warmer than many years ago. And if you choose wool socks, they will keep your toes warm even if your feet sweat!

Should you still be able to wiggle your toes?
Yes, you should be able to wiggle your toes says Kazu. Being able to wiggle your toes helps you to balance and hold balance. 

When buying ski boots, how long should they be expect to last?
Now this is some interesting information. Kazu describes that after 100 ski days the ski boot’s performance starts to drop off. The plastic shell of the boots starts to loose its strength and the inner boot starts to pack out. No problems you can still ski in them. But after 5 years there is an increase of cracking the ski boot, as the plastic becomes more brittle. This of course depends on how well they have been cared for. Kazu said, that after 10 years it’s getting dangerous, and you better get some extra travel insurance or sports insurance! (He was serious too!).

What other adjustments can be made to help fit and comfort?
If you are having pain or are not comfortable in your ski boots, there are a lot of different options that can be taken. It all depends on the individual and what they are after. Kazu analyses and weighs these options up with the customer. He can do things like shave off parts of the liner, reduce the insert, or pad out and make modifications. Most ski boot liners are now heat moldable. This means after a special machine heats the liner up, someone like Kazu can then mold it around your foot for an even better fit! Kazu will always heat mold anyone he sells a new boot to, so long as they have the time.

Lastly I asked Kazu what he loves about Wanaka…
He said it was quieter here in Wanaka than in Sapporo, Japan. (Just a quick fact check here: Sapporo’s population = 1.9 million, Wanaka’s = 5000). He likes that he gets to spend more time with each customer here in Wanaka (about 10 x more he said, but my calculations are 400 x based on population difference!). He likes to satisfy every customer and he gets to do that here in Wanaka.

So there we have it, ski boot fit. The biggest thing we must all take from this blog is that ski boots should not be painful. If you are having pain, go in and see your local ski boot shop – hopefully they will have someone as awesome as Kazu. And of course if you are in Wanaka, or here on one of our snow tours – Kazu at Outside Sports is certainly the man to see! Get your ski boots fitting right, as they can make or break your day!

You may also like some of our other blogs posts: 

  • Snowboard Boot Fit
  • Snowboarding for the First Time – Should I or Shouldn’t I?
  • Skiing for the First Time - The Learner Skier
  • Skiing and Snowboard Accessories  
  • What Makes Good Ski or Snowboard Pants?
  • What Makes a Good Ski or Snowboard Jacket?
  • Travel Tips

Posted By: Paula Mitchell, @ Fri, 7th Jun 2013

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