Ski boots sizing uses a system called mondopoint, which is roughly the same as your foot length. For the right fit, you should measure your foot and convert it to centimeters. For the best performance, many skiers buy up to one size smaller, but if you prefer comfort, you should go for your exact size.
Anyone who’s ever spent a day on the slopes in poorly fitted boots knows that correct ski boots sizing is crucial. You’ll be wearing them for hours on end, and errors can become painful after a while. You also won’t be able to control your skis, which can get dangerous at high speed.
Check out our guide to the best tips on ski boots sizing, and our handy ski boot sizing chart.
How Do I Know What Size Ski Boots Will Fit?
Ski boot sizes, just like snowboard boot sizes, are measured in mondo sizes, which is the equivalent of your foot length in centimeters. Here’s how to get the right fit with ski boots sizing.
Measure Your Feet
Whenever you’re shoe sizing and fitting, you should begin by measuring your feet. You’ll need two pieces of paper larger than your foot, a pencil and a ruler or measuring tape.
- Try to measure your foot at the end of the day or in the afternoon. Feet swell during the day, so you’ll have a better idea of the fit at the end of a long day on the slopes.
- To get the right size, put on the type of sock you’ll be wearing with the boots. Experienced skiers usually wear thin, synthetic socks instead of wool socks to wick away moisture and keep them comfortable for longer. However, this is up to you.
- Place the paper on the floor, preferably next to a wall so you can ensure your foot is straight and step on.
- Trace the outline of your foot on the paper, with special attention to keep the pencil straight and vertical. Repeat with the other foot.
- Measure the distance between your longest toe and your heel to get your exact size ski boot. Take the same measurement on both feet and go with the larger foot.
Compare Your Feet to the Ski Boot Size Chart
The next step is comparing your measurement to a skiing boots size chart. Remember that all brands have their own ski boots size chart that may vary, so always find information on the specific brand and model if you can.
Also, remember that the only way to find the right boot fit is by trying them on and making sure you’ve got the correct size ski boots.
Ski Boot Size Chart
Here’s a ski boots size chart to determine your size ski boots from your US, UK, or European shoe size.
|Size ski boots
|US men’s shoe size||UK shoe size||EU shoe size|
Determine Your Size
When you’re fitting, the size depends on the type of skier you are and what you prioritize. Remember that as the boot’s lining expands, you’ll have a bit more room for your toes. Here are some tips for determining the right size when you’re first trying on the boot.
When you’re trying on new ski gear, wear a thin sock; they will only get bigger in use as you break them in, so you’ll need to make sure the boot fit is snug.
If comfort is important for you when skiing, you should look for a slightly larger fit, but not too big; this means that in a standing-up position, your toes should lightly touch the top of the boot.
Take the lining out of the boot and try on the shell alone. In a standing position, you should be able to fit two fingers, but no more than two, behind the heel. You shouldn’t get a boot that’s bigger than this, because the lining will expand in use. A pair that’s too big will make it harder for you to maneuver your skis.
For those looking for maximum performance from their boot, the size should be a bit smaller. When they’re a bit tight, you’ll be able to get a better feel of your skis, and they’ll be more responsive to you; this might mean going a full size smaller than you otherwise would.
So what’s the perfect fit for maximum performance? When you’re standing up, you should feel your toes tucked in at the front of the boot. Bending your knees and ankles, in a comfortable skiing position, all your toes should still touch the front of the boot.
Even if this is a smaller fit, you should not feel like your toes are crammed in painfully. Keep in mind that if you’re not comfortable, you won’t be able to ski for very long, and you won’t enjoy yourself to the fullest.
Sometimes you’ll need to work with a boot fitter to get the best results for this type of fit.
Don’t just pay attention to your comfort at the toes. The toughest part of a ski boot is often the calf. If anything is pressing on your leg, it can be extremely painful by your third hour on the slopes, not to mention the second or third day of a ski trip.
You should be able to buckle up the boot comfortably, and it should feel like it’s hugging your foot all the way up. There should be nothing pinching your leg or hurting you, but the boot should be tight enough so that you can rely on it not to move when you’re skiing.
Keep the Boots On
Keep the boots on for a while, about 20 minutes if you can, and try some basic ski movements, like half squatting positions and leaning forward; this will help you notice if you feel any discomfort at the toes when you’re skiing in them.
If you’ve ever skied before, you’ll know this is not footwear meant for walking around, so it’s not relevant whether you’re comfortable walking or not.
Break Them In
You can mold your ski boot and expand the lining. Some ski boots sizing will naturally get bigger when you’re wearing the pair, while other models require you to mold them.
You’ll need your boots, a microwave, 3 to 4 pounds of rice, and a basic 2×4-inch piece of wood. You’ll also need a pair of long tube socks and an old pair of ski socks you don’t use anymore, as well as a new pair you’re still using.
Here’s how you do it.
- Fill the thinner tube socks with rice, tie the ends and heat them for 4 to 7 minutes.
- Make sure your liner is inside the boot but take off the foot liner. When heated, place the socks with the hot rice in the boot. Use a ski or kitchen glove, because the rice will be boiling.
- Leave the sock inside the boot for 10 minutes, so it heats the liner well.
- While you’re waiting, cut up the old pair of ski socks just behind the toes. Put these short toe enforcements on both of your feet, followed by another ski sock. This combination will help you expand the toe box of the boots.
- Take out the socks with rice after 10 minutes, put the foot liner back in and put both the boots on, even if you only warmed up one of them. Buckle up, but make sure the boots are not too tight.
- Step on the 2×4 board with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Lean forward slightly to help mold the boot.
- When the boot has cooled down, you can take it off and repeat the process on the other side.
Change the Insole
Another fatigue-reducing tip for people who ski a lot is getting orthopedic insoles specifically made for your ski boot sole length.
If you notice yourself getting tired, or the boots are giving you pain after many hours on your feet, try the 5 best ski boot insoles. You can also contact your doctor to see other options for insoles.
Do Ski Boots Run Big or Small?
Ski boots sizing generally run close to true to size, but it depends on the model and fit. If you’re looking for comfort, stick to your size or choose half a size bigger than your normal size.
Is Ski Boot Size the Same as Shoe Size?
No, ski boot sizes tend to follow mondo point sizing, the equivalent to the foot length measurement, in centimeters. You’ll usually find your US size on the manufacturer’s website, so refer to the brand-specific ski boot size chart when buying.
What Size Is 19.5 in Ski Boots?
19.5 in ski boot sizes is 13 in US youth shoe sizes. This size comes from measuring the foot length in centimeters, so a 19.5 is approximately 7.7 inches.
Ready for the Slopes
The right boot will not only reduce problems but also make you a better skier. They’ll give you better control of your skis because you’ll be able to support yourself on the boot, and it will respond to your every move.
If you want a pair of boots for maximum performance, pick one that’s just a bit too small. For comfort, go for your exact size. Measuring your foot is the best way to get the fit, and ski boot sizes differ from shoe sizes. Refer to our boots ski size chart to get your size!