Asked by: Jacquelyne De Groot
sports skiing

What do the numbers mean on ski boots?

Last Updated: 25th June, 2020

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A flex rating is a number assigned to a boot that conveys how stiff that boot is in forward flex. The lesser (softer) the flex index, the easier the boot will be to bend at the ankle, however, this also means that the boot may be less reactive as the skier applies force towards the ski.

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Regarding this, how stiff should my ski boots be?

Flex in ski boots refers to how difficult it is to flex the boot forward. Boot flex ranges from very soft to race stiffness, indicated by a numeric “flex index” that's usually a number from 50 (soft) to 130 (very stiff). Often this number is written on the outside of the boot cuff.

Subsequently, question is, what does last mean in ski boots? The width or “Last” refers to an old cobbler's term that has evolved into now meaning the width of the ski boot measuring in millimeters across the forefoot. The Last is always measured in the reference size. In a men's boot the reference size is a 26.5 and in women's boots the reference size is a 25.5.

Similarly, what flex should my ski boots be?

Flex index is typically below 85 for men and 75 for women. Soft-flexing boots are usually comfortable and warm. They're typically best if you're new to the sport or you've been at it for a while but enjoy skiing leisurely on groomed green and blue runs.

What does low volume ski boot mean?

If you have a high arch or wide, thick feet, a mid-volume (MV) boot may be for you. On the other hand, if you have flat and/or very narrow feet, you may look for a low-volume (LV) version. Boots with wider lasts normally have more volume and boots with narrower lasts normally have less.

Related Question Answers

Zuleica Canel

Professional

What happens when ski boots are too stiff?

A boot that is too stiff will result in the skier leaning back. Typically the softest-flexing quality boot for men is about a 90 flex and for women is 75 to 80. Intermediate skiers require a slightly stiffer boot to transfer energy quickly from the boot to the ski, but still soft enough to allow them some forward flex.

Makan Ostkirchen

Professional

What does freeride mean in skiing?

Freeriding is a style of snowboarding or skiing performed on natural, un-groomed terrain, without a set course, goals or rules. Snowboarders primarily refer to freeriding as backcountry, sidecountry, or off-piste snowboarding, and sometimes big mountain or extreme riding.

Oswaldo Lotzing

Professional

How long should ski boots last?

TLDR; It depends, but typically ski boots will last between 50-200 full skiing days -- depending on the quality of the boot and how its used (that's 2.5 -- 10 years if you ski 20 days a year).

Anaitz Vietoris

Explainer

How do you break in new ski boots?

Put the boots on for at least an hour every night. Since you are trying to break into the boots, you will need to tighten them slightly more than you would under normal circumstances. Try stomping around the house while wearing the boots. Flex the boots back and forth and also wiggle your toes around.

Helmut Hudolei

Explainer

Should you buy ski boots a size bigger?

When buying new ski boots, bring your old ones with you. If you must err in size, always buy the smaller, snugger boot. A good boot fitter can grind, punch, boil, heat and otherwise increase a good quality shell by up to one full shoe size. There's little anyone can do to make an oversized boot smaller.

Fortia Illazki

Explainer

How do I know my ski boot size?

To determine your ski boot size, get a friend to trace your foot on to the piece of cardboard or paper while you are standing on it. Then take the tape measure and measure from the tip of the foot to the heel. This measurement will be used to determine your boot size.

Melita Aberlein

Pundit

Does ski boot flex matter?

Typically, the more aggressive the skier is, the higher the flex should be. When you buy a ski boot you also need to take into account your ankle flexion, your height and weight. Someone with limited ankle flexion will benefit from a slightly stiffer boot, as does someone that has too much ankle flexion.

Bousso Herena

Pundit

Why are ski boots so uncomfortable?

This stiffness and lack of movement makes it a lot harder to walk in ski boots than normal shoes. Also, because ski boots are stiff, tight, and restricting, this can make badly fitted ski boots very uncomfortable. It is important to find the right boot for you and to have the ski boots fitted properly.

Domenic Lorigados

Pundit

How do you adjust the flex on a ski boot?

- To reduce flex by 6%, remove the top rear-cuff screw of each boot with a 3mm key and insert clip (supplied with boots) in its place. Push the clip in and tap with a hammer. - To reduce flex by12%, remove the bottom rear-cuff screw of each boot with a 3mm key and insert clips (supplied with boots) in their place.

Ignasi Krabbe

Pundit

What is the best ski boot brand?

The Best Ski Boots
  • Best Overall Men's Ski Boots. Atomic Hawx Prime 120 S.
  • Best Boots for Sidecountry Use. Fischer Ranger One 130.
  • A Simple Workhorse Boot. Lange RX 120.
  • Best Low Volume Ski Boot. Atomic Hawx Ultra 130.
  • Best Boot for Freeride Adventures.
  • Best Boot on a Budget.
  • Best Budget Boots with a Walk Mode.
  • Best Medium Volume All Mountain Boots.

Carolynn Kwan

Pundit

What are the most comfortable ski boots?

  • The 2020 Nordica SpeedMachine 110.
  • The 2020 Rossignol AllSpeed Pro 120.
  • The 2020 Lange LX 100.
  • The 2020 Tecnica Mach Sport MV.
  • The 2020 Dalbello Panterra 120.
  • The 2018/2019 Nordica Sport Machine 110. Photo courtesy of Nordica.
  • The 2018/2019 Tecnica Mach Sport HV 100. Photo courtesy of Tecnica.
  • The 2018/2019 Lange SX 100.

Joselyn Zurbano

Teacher

What brand of ski boot is best?

The Best Ski Boots for 2018
  • Dalbello Aerro 60. Check on Amazon.
  • Rossignol Alias Sensor 120. Check on Amazon.
  • Atomic Hawx 90. Check on Amazon.
  • Scarpa T2 Eco. Check on Amazon.
  • Lange SX 90 Downhill Ski Boot. Check on Amazon.
  • Salomon QST Pro 120. Check on Amazon.
  • Rossignol Evo 70. Check on Amazon.
  • Salomon Mission 60. Check on Amazon.

Eudes Epinat

Teacher

Why are ski boots so expensive?

This is because it's expensive for brands to make a variety of boot widths for each length, so for lower-cost models, they default to a wider mold that can accommodate more feet. If you have a narrow foot, that dead space is going to hinder energy transfer from your foot through the boot to the binding and ski.

Horacio Robineau

Teacher

What is skiers toe?

Skier's toe is when your toenail turns black and painful. It is a common skiing injury. Skier's toe can occur from a single instance of trauma like dropping something on your toe, or from small, repetitive trauma like a too-small or too-big ski boot, which causes your foot to slam back and forth.

Noriman Draxler

Teacher

Should I buy my own ski boots?

For boots the position is much more clear cut than skis – basically, you almost certainly should buy your own boots once you've established that you enjoy skiing and will want to go again! Next time you visit a ski hire shop, compare the boots they are renting out to those on sale on the other side of the shop.

Debora Valeiro

Reviewer

Why do my ski boots hurt?

The most common reason for skiers foot pain is wearing ski boots that are the wrong size or shape (boot geometry) and the second reason is either doing up the buckles too tight or too loose.

Colby Taeschner

Reviewer

How snug should ski boots be?

As such their initial reaction when the right size ski boot is put on their feet is that it's too tight. A good fitting boot should be comfortably snug and not sloppy. You should be able to wiggle your toes but not have heel slippage or movement from side to side or forward to back.

Manfredo Grandas

Reviewer

How much should I spend on ski boots?

For the average recreational skier, it's reasonable to spend $600 to $800 for a solid kit of new skis, boots, and bindings. The exception: If buying American-made is important to you or you're looking for a handcrafted product, you can spend upwards of $800 on the skis alone.

Aynoa Michelsohn

Supporter

How do you know if your skis need wax?

A: There are a few tell tale signs as to whether or not skis are in need of wax. The most obvious sign is the discoloration of the base material. If the base material is dry and in need of wax it will appear white and chalky, starting at the edges and moving inward.