One of the elements that is overlooked whilst skiing and snowboarding are boots. The importance of great fitting boot while we ski and snowboard has a 'huge' effect on comfort of our feet, performance and most of all enjoyment.
Based in Niseko, Japan and a professional instructor with 30+ season I have seen many a students struggle with ill fitting boots over this time. While it may of taken a few seasons to gain respect for the feet and how a boot's comfort affects a skier or rider. The physical, mental state and performance regardless of the level of each student is majorly impacted by such a basic requirement that is often taken for granted.
'Literally, I have seen grown men cry!'
The Rental Store: When a new skier or snowboarder enters a rental store for the first time, it is an overwhelming experience besides the usual systems that are in place to to help with the flow like: Check-in, Sign this, What is your shoe size? How does this feel? How tall are you? What do you weigh? Go over there! Try these on!
'Are your toes touching the front? Can you lift your heel? Are your socks bunching? Are you going to be wearing these socks whilst skiing?'
It helps greatly if your responses to these questions are as accurate as possible to assist the ski shop techs find the best boot for. Understand it will have an effect on your first day on the snow and the days to come.
Spending time trying on different boot's is key to getting the closest fit as possible. Not everyones feet are the same even yours.
Once you are hooked on the sport it might be wise to investigate purchasing your own boots. This can make this a whole lot easier in the store when renting gear as you have your own boots that are dialled in to your foot type.
At this stage using a professional boot fitter is a great idea to ensure that this comfort continues throughout the life of the boot and it maybe the defining factor in your snowsports longevity. My tip try on as many pairs as possible and with the socks our would wear while skiing or snowboarding.
If you are coming to Niseko this winter and you are having boot issues, cold toes, hot spots, cramping or even boot envy. Go and see Ned Buckley and his team at Boot Solutions their advice is invaluable. This is where I go when I purchase new boots or need some adjustment.
For further reading about boots check out:
Written by Pete Graham, Professional Ski & Snowboard Private Lesson Instructor, Guide Based in Niseko. www.ridewithpete.com