Winter time has set in and the snow is falling in the mountains. If skiing or snowboarding is your favorite winter past time, you know how poor fitting boots can ruin a fun day in the mountains with family and friends. I wanted to offer some tips to keep your feet happy and your day on the mountain fun.
Before I became a podiatrist I spent 7 winter’s as a ski boot fitter. There are many simple tricks to get you boot to fit well and relieve pain.
- Proper fit is the most important factor when it comes to a boot. This can be a challenge because sizing of a ski boot is much different than that of your everyday shoes. Typically, you will want your ski boot to be a smaller size than your everyday shoe. For instance, I wear a size 11 shoe but wear a size 9.5 ski boot. This might sound crazy but I still have plenty of toe room and the snugger fitting boot allows for better control of cutting and turning motions, which in turn reduces strain and fatigue of foot muscles.
- A good insole goes a long way: off the shelf or custom insoles will create a snugger fit within the boot and provide good arch support as your boot molds around your foot. Insoles also reduce stress on the small muscles of the foot.
- Ski and snowboard boots can be stretched to accommodate bunions, bone spurs, wide and high arched feet. These accommodations can keep you from sizing up you boots. Sizing up may work for running shoes, but it won’t help your skiing. I recommend working with a local ski and snowboard shop for accommodations. There are independent boot fitting specialists in many areas as well. It may take a few adjustments to get your boots fitting right, but it will make your feet happy.
If you are new to skiing and snowboarding, haven’t bought new boots in years or have struggled to find good boots, keep these basic tips in mind. If you are experiencing pain that is not relieved by taking off your boots, it’s time to call the Podiatrist. We are happy to help and get you back on the mountain.
See you on the next powder day!
-Scott Carlis DPM
Scott Carlis is a Podiatrist at Valley Foot & Ankle in Renton, Washington. When he is not treating patients he is spending time with his family, skiing, cycling, paddle boarding or out exploring the beautiful State of Washington.