How to choose ski boots

Choosing the ideal pair of ski boots is a crucial step for any skier, whether beginner or experienced. Indeed, ski boots play a fundamental role in comfort, performance and safety on the slopes. Yet the vast choice of models and features can make this decision daunting. In this in-depth exploration, we'll look at the key aspects to consider when selecting ski boots, guiding you towards the choice that best suits your skiing ability, personal preferences and body type. Whether you're a mountain enthusiast or an occasional skier, this approach will help you maximize your enjoyment of the slopes by ensuring that your ski boots are your asset, not an obstacle.

How do ski boots break down?

Beyond each brand's own design, a ski boot can be distinguished by a number of features and characteristics.


The slipper:

Ski boots play an essential role in protecting you from the cold and damp. They keep you warm and comfortable at the same time. Made from a variety of EVA foams, these booties adjust optimally to the shape of your foot, transforming your ski boot into a real slipper - you're not dreaming!

If you can't wait, you can "mold" your boots thermally. Today, many ski boots are designed to be thermoformed. How does it work? Simply heat up your boots in a specialized store and slip them on. In no time at all, they'll adapt perfectly to the shape of your feet.

What's more, the tongue integrated into the liner offers extra comfort by preventing unpleasant friction on the shin.

The shell:

Because each person has a unique foot, with a stronger or weaker instep and very different widths (sometimes both at the same time). It's important to check the width of the shells offered by the various brands on the market. A boot that's too narrow or too wide can cause discomfort and even irreversible injury when skiing downhill or in any other discipline (touring, freeride, freestyle, all-mountain...).

There are approximately 3 categories of hull widths for three types of feet:

  • Less than 100mm: rather narrow foot
  • From 100 to 102mm: Medium foot
  • Over 102mm: wider foot Please note that these "categories" are purely indicative of the overall appearance of an instep width. Several parameters, such as the shape of your foot, instep, sensitivity and a history of injuries (foot surgery) may be taken into account when choosing a ski boot.


The hooks are used to adjust the tightness of your ski boot's shell, and their number influences the precision of this adjustment. Depending on the model and intended use, some ski boots come with three or two hooks. As a general rule, a ski boot has four hooks for a more complete fit.

The strap (or power-strap):

Unfortunately, it is all too often neglected by ski boot consumers! Whether you opt for a performance, leisure, rando, freestyle or freeride alpine ski boot, it's a crucial element in ensuring perfect boot closure. The strap's role is to secure the shell of your ski boots and optimize the efficient and powerful adjustment of your ski boot's tightening. It's basically "the 5th hook" (or 4th for 3-hook boots). It increases the power and lift of your ski boots. No matter what kind of "rider" you are, it's an extra element of performance.

Slipper tongue:

Directly sewn/glued to your ski boot liner, it provides "shin" support and generates all the power you need, adapting to the way you ski. The tongues are also a comfort feature to prevent shin chafing (just like a good pair of socks!).

Hull tabs:

Some brands offer a front tongue on the shell. These 3-hook shoes can be found among brands such as Dalbello Full tilt or Roxa. These are removable tongues that can be used to adjust the shoe's flexibility index.

Shoe Flex:

It's associated with both the skier's level of practice and their size, and often both at the same time. Adopting the right flex ensures even greater comfort and optimizes the boot's performance to suit your needs. Beyond the profile of ski boots, which varies according to the terrain, there is also a "classification" according to your level of practice. A beginner, intermediate or advanced skier will have different needs and expectations. We can therefore consider that a "level of practice" classification can be established to segment the different ranges. The best solution is to analyze ski boots by their FLEX, which are more or less rigid to suit all types of skier. The boot's degree of stiffness depends on the skier's level of control (remember also to take into account your physical condition and the frequency of your skiing activity).

We recommend that you choose your ski boots according to the following classification:

How to choose the right ski boot size?

It's crucial that your ski boot fits perfectly. Opting for a ski boot that's too big can lead to unpleasant rubbing and, in the worst case, even potential injury.
Ski size is measured using the mondopoint system, which is expressed in centimetres. This universally recognized system offers unrivalled precision. It is important not to rely on traditional shoe size measurements used for street shoes.

So how do you determine your foot size in mondopoint?

To do this, find a solid wall to lean against. Place a sheet of white paper under your foot, then draw a line along its contours. Then measure the length of this line in centimetres.

Congratulations, you now have your foot size measurement in mondopoint, an essential piece of information to ensure optimal comfort during your ski outings.

How do I properly test my ski boots?

Test with a quality ski sock. A word of advice: choose thin, breathable technical socks, and avoid thick socks that can restrict your feet's ability to breathe. The result of inadequate socks? You risk getting cold even with high-quality ski boots, and unpleasant odors may well make their appearance.

To guarantee a perfect fit for your ski boots, tighten them as if you were already on the slopes. When standing, make sure your toes lightly touch the tip of the boot. Then bend your legs slightly, keeping your feet in place. Under no circumstances should your heel lift. Hold this position for a moment. If you don't feel any pain, the ski boot is the right size. Of course, it needs to be tight, but keep in mind that the inner liner will gradually mold to the shape of your foot.

Once you're on the slopes, gradually tighten your ski boots. Remember that your feet aren't used to being compressed, so avoid pressure points first thing in the morning for a more comfortable skiing experience.

How can I preserve the life of my ski boots?

There are a few basic rules for "looking after" your ski boots, and thus their longevity.

  • Close all hooks after use
  • Dry shoes at room temperature (never store your shoes in places that are too cold).
  • Use good ski socks (it's better to change your socks every season than your ski boots...).
  • Use fabric care products

Are there category differences between ski boots?

With the emergence of disciplines such as freeride, slalom, freestyle and backcountry skiing, the ski boot market has seen the arrival of new brands and innovative models. Even brands that once specialized solely in skis have expanded their offering to include ski boots. This diversification has resulted in a variety of ski boots to suit different styles.

  • Performance ski boots (for racing, slalom, super-G, etc.).
  • Piste-leisure ski boots (for occasional recreational use, also suitable for wide-footed skiers, versatile on all types of snow).
  • Freeride-Freerando ski boots (versatile, compatible with ski touring, ideal for powder descents after a climb with skins and crampons).
  • Freestyle-Park ski boots (often more flexible, offering better agility for freestyle-park skiers).

In addition to the ski boot profile for the terrain, there is also a classification based on the skier's skill level. The needs and expectations of a beginner, intermediate or advanced skier vary considerably. Thus, a classification by "level of practice" can be established to better segment the boot ranges available on the market.