Anatomy of a Ski Boot
A ski boot is an odd looking contraption, made up of several parts. If you’ve ever wondered what makes up a ski boot, or if you just like getting a bit techy, here is a breakdown of those all important parts.
The Lower Shell of the Ski Boot
A ski boot is generally made up of two or three outer parts. The bottom section is called the lower shell. The physical shape of this section of the boot is called the last. The “Last” is the term used to describe the foot shape. Manufacturers used to make boots that suited a specific shape of foot, e.g. narrow, wide, high volume, low volume etc. This has changed now with manufacturers creating models that suit a variety of foot shapes. It’s possible to adjust this lower shell through heat and pressure, to allow for lumps and bumps.
The cuff is made of polymer plastics often polyurethane or polyether. It’s common for the shell to be made from two or three different types of plastic, so that the different areas can be optimised to affect stiffness, flex, comfort and ease of boot entry. The cuff is the upper part of the plastic shell and plays a big part in setting the flex of the boot. Again it is possible to adjust this section of the boot through heat and pressure. Plus it is possible to adjust the cuff alignment to accommodate different biomechanics.
The liner is the soft boot layer that sits inside the shell, and lies next to the foot. Boot s generally come with a stock liner from the manufacturer and are made from a variety of materials. They may contain wool or Primaloft to help with insulation. It is also possible to replace this liner with a more customisable version, brands such as Intuition and Sidas specialise in these products. They make liners that are fully adjustable through the process of heating or filling the liner with foam.
The Power Strap
Around the top of the boot is a velcro strap which tightens the boot around the shin, adding another layer of adjustability and performance. These can be replaced by more elasticated versions to make the boot stiffer.
Micro Adjustable Buckles
The length of the buckles on most boots can be fine tuned by rotating the buckle arms. Turning the arms shorter or longer will provide roughly 1mm of difference per revolution. To get the most from your boots it is important that you do your boots up correctly. Opinion varies widely on this. But here’s what works for us. We recommend doing up the two buckles on the cuff of the boot first, then flex forward at the ankle. This will cause the heel to move to the back of the boot, and push the foot into the correct position. Then do up the two buckles on the lower part of the shell, ensuring you don’t over-tighten the. Finally, tighten the power strap. As you ski throughout the day you may need to adjust the buckles to tighten the boot as your feet settle in.
Custom Made Footbeds
Custom made footbeds are important part of any ski boot. Made from various materials to provide an optimum amount of performance and comfort. Each footbed is molded to an individuals foot, providing the platform that sits under, and supports, your foot. Supporting the contours of your foot is very important for comfort and power transmission. The stock insoles that come with a ski boot provide little support, and we would always recommend replacing them with a custom alternative.
Ski Boot Base
Made from plastic and generally replaceable in modern boots. Walking on hard surfaces can wear down the toe and heel sections. It is important to keep an eye on the wear and tear. If you wear through the soles you would begin to damage the shell of the boot.