From a range of designs to sizes, shapes and prices – skiers have a range of options to take their pick from. However, as you probably already know, many brands have separate skis for men and women.
Women’s skis are relatively narrow in width, lighter and shorter in length compared to men’s skis, so if you are average sized, it’s not going to be the best fit.
In this post, I’ll talk about unisex skis, why skis are gendered and can a man use women’s skis. Plus, I’ll also break down the differences between men’s and women’s skis.
Are Skis Unisex?
Not every ski is unisex, there are skis designed for men and for women. Beginner skis are generally unisex, skis for intermediate and advanced skiers are usually gendered.
A lot of brands now create skis that are lighter in weight and shorter in length for female skiers.
Also read our guide on if ski bindings are universal
However, not all women find this option suitable as many of them are advanced or expert skiers that need relatively heavier skis for an aggressive session down the slopes.
Can A Man Use Women’s Skis?
Technically, a man can use women’s skis. But like I said, it might not be the best fit and is not generally recommended.
If you try to ski in a pair of skis that doesn’t suit your body type will directly affect your performance and might even put you at risk of injury.
Heavier and longer skis are created for men based on the fact that (on average), most men are either physically larger than women or prefer conquering relatively challenging terrain.
However, these skis will not be suitable for those who aren’t as tall or heavy as an average American man.
Also read our guide on what are demo skis.
If the longer skis don’t suit you, definitely opt for what you feel comfortable in – as men can use women’s skis. Don’t let social norms hold you back.
Men vs Women Skis
The main difference between men’s and women’s skis is that men’s skis are longer, heavier, wider (base and tips), and stiffer than women’s skis.
On the other hand, women’s skis are lighter, shorter, narrower and more flexible. Plus, women’s skis have detailed designs and the bindings are mounted slightly forward.
The length and width of men’s skis provide more stability at higher speeds and in deeper snow, while the added stiffness allows for greater force and power when making turns and carving.
Also read our guide on long skis vs short skis
Women’s skis are made to be easier to turn and maneuver, therefore giving greater control and precision.
|Men’s Skis||Women’s Skis|
|Flex||Relatively stiff||20% more flex|
|Width||Thicker base||Narrower base|
|Design||Generally one or two plain colors||More detailed designs on specific skis|
|Bindings Mounted Position||Middle||Forward (by a few centimeters)|
|Shape||Wider tips||Narrower tips|
Can A Man Wear Women’s Ski Boots?
Given the fact that size is the main difference between men’s and women’s ski boots, a man is likely to be able to wear women’s ski boots if he has smaller-than-average foot size.
But this could differ based on the brand because certain brands design the calf area of women’s ski boots to be a little snugger as women have calves that are generally more proportionate in comparison to those of men.
Therefore, it’s best to try on the boots before you buy them. If they feel more comfortable and fit you well, definitely make the purchase!
Although skis are made for men and women, the differences are far from significant. The changes based on gender are created with the idea of making it easier to ski, they aren’t essential.
So instead of being gendered, categorizing skis based on length, width and weight is likely to be a better option overall. This way, there could be a system that makes it convenient for individuals to find the right skis based on their body structure, level of experience and their skiing style.
Why Are Skis Gendered?
Skis are gendered based on the general fact that women are usually relatively smaller in size and would therefore have a hard time navigating their way down the slopes in heavy skis. However not ALL skis are gendered – some skis are marketed as unisex.
Do More Men Ski?
Yes, men ski more than women. Back then it used to be a male-dominated sport, but now more and more women hit the slopes. Yet, 59% of the skiers in the US are men.