How To Buckle Ski Boots

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How Tight Should Ski Boots Be?

Skiing equipment has come a long way. If people don’t know how to correctly use the technology they’re given, then it might not be effective as it can be. Very often, you don’t get an instruction manual with your ski boots or if there is one, it isn’t read and is thrown away.

This article will discuss the proper way to buckle ski boots and some tips on using ski boots.

Ski Boot Comfort

Ski boots don’t have the reputation for being the most comfortable things you can wear on your feet. That’s one reason to get your own boots and get them properly fitted for you feet by a professional. Getting custom foot beds along with canting can set you up nice and actually make skiing more comfortable, easier and it will improve your skiing quite a bit. If your boots are putting you out of balance or if you have to do extra movements to turn, then you’re compensating for them and it’ll be more work to make nice turns.

Also, ski boots will not feel as good as a pair of athletic shoes. Make sure you put that thought of of your head. They should fit like a firm handshake. You want all parts of your foot in contact with the boot so that any movement you make with your foot gets right to the boot without any delay. This makes skiing easier.

Ski boots are the most important piece of skiing equipment, if you ask me. Your boots are where your feet (your body) come into contact with the equipment. Many of the movements you do to make a nice turn are with your feet. With some tips and information, your boots can fit better.

Buckling Your Ski Boots – How Tight Should Ski Boots Be?

rossignol-ski-bootsFirst, as you are putting on your boot, make sure your heel is at the back of the boot. This will help ensure your foot is in the right place to give you optimal steering and control.

Start at the cuff when you start buckling. Close the buckle(s) on your shin first – if you have 3 here, do the top 2 and if you have 2, then just the top one. You don’t have to get them super tight right now, just get them closed. As you close more buckles, you will be able to tighten them up more. You can tighten the Velcro power strap now but you will probably end up checking that at the end as well.

Next, move to the buckle over your toes. Make sure you can wiggle your toes.

After that, do the buckle(s) over your in-step (middle 2 buckles). Don’t get these too tight as it could cause loss in circulation or even pinch a nerve, causing tingling and pain. Having these too tight can also make your feet feel too cold. They do need to have their buckles clipped so that they’re doing something, but not as tight as your top buckle.

Now go back and tighten the top ski boot buckle and power strap. You want this one as tight as you can take it. Make sure you can get a finger in between your boot and shin but still get them tight. What you don’t want is your leg moving up and down with every movement. This will cause your boots to rub against your socks and ankle, causing pain and you can even get what may seem like a burn if there is too much irritation. If there’s some sweat in your socks, then you could get athlete’s foot. So tighten that top buckle, then the power strap.

The method described above will not work for everyone but most people. The goal, remember, is to get the boot on tight but not so much that it hurts or cuts off circulation.

I’ve had a few pairs of boots and I found that I had to buckle each pair differently. With the pair I have now, I start in the middle, go to the top, then the bottom, then tighten up the top some more.

Upgrade Your Boots with a Booster Strap

One of the best upgrades you can do for your boots (and your skiing) is by replacing the Velcro power strap with a Booster Strap. Velcro holds but it doesn’t tighten down. A Booster Strap really tightens down the cuff of your boot. It makes a huge difference and it’s a cheap and easy upgrade. You can do it yourself. Pro racers use them and once you do, you won’t go back.

To install them, just remove the power strap you have now. There’s usually a screw or something holding it on your boot. Next, you’ll put a hole in the Booster Strap where the hole for the screw needs to go. I used a soldering iron to make the hole and I thought that worked the best. I marked it with a marker and then touched the iron to the hole and it made a nice one that sort of melted around the hole and I think that gave it some extra reinforcement around the hole.

Here’s a video where they explain how to install a Booster Strap to your ski boot:

You can buy a Booster Strap at Amazon:

Booster Strap for Ski Boot by SkiMetrix

Seriously, this is one of the best upgrades you can do to your ski boots. It’ll help your skiing quite a bit.

Make Ski Boot Buckle Adjustments

As you start skiing and the day progresses, your boots will warm up, so you may find the need to tighten them later on. Make that adjustment if you feel that there’s too much movement with your foot.

People ask why ski boots need to be so tight. It’s all about movement. If there is play or extra space between your foot and the boot and you lift the arch of your foot to initiate a turn, your foot first has to make contact with the boot before that motion can be transferred from the boot to the binding to the ski. If your foot is in constant contact with your boot, then any movement you make with your foot will instantly transfer to the ski. This makes your turns more instantaneous and more efficient.

How to Dry and Store Your Ski Boots

First, if you ski boot liners are wet, then you should pull them out so that they can properly dry. You could get mold growing if they don’t properly dry. Any mold can be cleaned with a light bleach and water solution – cleaning them by hand.

I found a pretty cheap boot dryer that I’ve been using for years. I take it with me on ski trips since it can be easily disassembled and put into the box. I’ve tried the boot dryers you plug into your car the but cords were cheap and it broke pretty quickly.

A boot dryer with a glove dryer is a smart choice, so that’ll be the next one I get if the one I have ever breaks down or stops working. You don’t want a boot dryer that is too hot – just one that heats to body temperature or slightly above. Put your boots on them for a couple hours or overnight and you’ll have great fitting boots that don’t stink.

You should store your ski boots with the buckles closed when you are not using them. Any time you are not using them, close the buckles. You do not want the plastic of the boot shell to start getting used to being open. You will have a tough time getting them closed if that happens. You want them store like how you wear them so that they maintain the right shape.

Socks for Skiing

It’s important what socks you choose for your ski boots. You want to find a good sock and then stick with it so that you’re used to how to buckle your boots with those socks on. It won’t be as much of a guessing game and the liners of your boots will pack out and form to your foot and sock. If that’s changing a lot, then you don’t end up with as good a fit as you could get.

For thickness, get what you like. If the soles of your liners are worn out, either get foot beds or a new liner but you might also like thicker socks. For me, I really like the SmartWool brand of ski socks. They keep moisture away from your foot, are not too thick and have extra, built in padding on the sole of your foot for extra comfort.

Do not (ever) put on two pairs of socks. If you do, you’ll have a painful day. It’s not the right thing to do with ski boots. The socks will bunch up and it’ll make things worse. A good, medium sock is your best option.


A good fitting ski boot depends on a number of things. It depends on how you buckle them, if you’ve had them fitted, how you store them, if you make adjustments during the day and what socks you wear. If you do it right, you won’t notice your boots so much and they will actually be nice and comfortable. Buckling them right ensures your foot stays in the right place and prevents foot injuries. So there you have it – the missing instruction manual for putting on ski boots!

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