Selecting The Right Ski Boots and Bindings
By: Adrian Whittle
Ski boots and bindings are two of the most important items you will need when skiing. Although you would think that the skis are the most important item because they are sold based on their performance - good for back country, off piste skiing or good for sharp turns on harder snow - it is the ski boots and bindings that are most important. They are the connection that you have to the ski and thus give you more or less control based on how the boot and binding fit. This article will discuss some of the things to look out for when selecting the ski boots and bindings.
There are many brands of ski boot on the market, each has their own good and bad points. Ultimately the decision on the right boot should come down to personal fit and your skiing skill level.
After all, you will be wearing these boots for many hours in cold and wet conditions. If, for instance, the boots are too tight you may have bruise calves or cramped toes. The same applies for loose fitting boots. They will make it harder to ski and may let in the cold or dampness of the snow.
It is important that you fit into them comfortably but not so that you a loose. It goes without saying that you should measure the length of your foot. You should also measure the width. Some people have wider feet than others and they need boots that will cater for this. The toes should not be touching the inside of the toe dam but sense it. The heel should be snug inside the heel pocket of the boot to the extent that you can feel the boot when you lean forward.
Ideally the boot should fit snugly around the foot and calf. Some people have wider or longer calf muscles than others. The boot should be able to accommodate this need. It can either be specifically designed for wide calves or have a thinner inner.
The flex of the boot is the movement either forwards or backwards. This is needed in skiing to control the skis. The general advice for flex is that people interested in long turns, moguls and powder snow (off piste skiing) should go for a boot with more flex. The same goes for beginners. However people that are more into tight, sharp turns and skiing on hard snow want boots with less flex.
Bindings bind your boot to the ski. They also have a release mechanism that allows the boot to come away from the skis when you fall or the ski gets stuck. Ski bindings prevent serious leg and feet injuries. When selecting a binding for you ski you should consider the performance and the safety of the binding.
Many skis are now manufactured with bindings already attached so you don't have to worry about how the binding will impact on the skis performance. You should consider the safety issue though. Bindings are set to have release settings based on your weight and skiing ability. This means the ski will release when there is a change in the weight on the ski thus preventing leg injuries. Your binding should have a fair degree of flexibility in the release setting so that you can adapt it to your changing skill level and even gain or lose of weight.