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Can You Demo Ski Boots? (Explained)

Can You Demo Ski Boots

Skiing can be very expensive. If you are just starting out, you may not want to invest in a pair of ski boots until you are sure you are going to stick with the sport which would lead you to wonder – can you demo ski boots just like skis?

Turns out, some rental shops and retailers will let you demo boots. However, demo-ing ski boots is a bad idea.

In this post, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about demo boots, how to get the right fit and what to avoid. I’ll also talk about why demo boots are not a smart move and potential issues.

Can You Demo Ski Boots?

Demo ski boots are usually performance or used ski boots that are available for rent or purchase at a lower price.

Fortunately, ski rentals, bootfitters and even resorts like Gunstock mountain offer demo boots. These Demo Centers usually allow customers to borrow and try out a boot for up to 2 -7 days. While you will undoubtedly have to pay a demo fee, it is still substantially cheaper than purchasing boots that may not be right for you.

demoing ski boots

Also read our great guide on what demo skis are.

The only setback of demo ski boots is that the boots have been tried out by multiple people. So the boots could be packed out to a shape that does not suit your foot and a series of other issues such as a lack of footbeds, heat molding etc.

Your best bet is to demo ski boots that look like they are close to new.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Demo Ski Boots

Here are some things to consider if you are going for demo boots:

  • What Flex?
  • What kind of last?
  • No foot beds in
  • No heat molding of the shell or liners
  • Pretty much 0 individual problem areas addressed

So, definitely try to invest in high-quality footbeds and insoles.

The footbeds and insoles of your ski boots are some of the defining factors of a pain-free, high-performance ski session.

Why You Shouldn't Use Demo Ski Boots

While giving your feet the right amount of support and evenly distributing pressure over the foot, good footbeds and insoles will prevent your feet from being put into uncomfortable positions that could cause pain.

Although most models of ski boots come with standard footbeds, a few have the option to get them customized (definitely opt for customization if you have the choice and the budget!).

As opposed to stock footbeds, a customized one will undoubtedly improve your level of control and stability— the key to a better skiing experience overall.

The Only Reason To Opt For Demo Ski Boots

One word. Cost. The cost factor is undoubtedly the main reason most skiers opt for demo boots instead of purchasing brand-new ones immediately.

While all demo ski boots may not be as great as new ones, those that have been worn just once or twice come pretty close! 

Tips For Getting The Right Demo Boot Fit

If you are set on demoing ski boots, here are a couple of tips to get the proper fit:

Tips For Getting The Right Demo Boot Fit

#1 Don’t Rush The Process

If a store or resort attempts to rush the process of getting the right ski boots to insist on taking your time. A decent shop or bootfitter should have several models and will always suggest taking as much time as you need.

Make sure you try more than one size as your ski boot size could vary from your general shoe size. Having tried on a few models and sizes, find the boots you feel most comfortable in.

Otherwise your calves are going to hurt when skiing if you don’t pick the proper fit.

Tip: Refrain from relying solely on models or brands recommended by others, as comfort varies from person to person. Try the boots on and simply stick to what feels best.

#2 Fit > Outlook

While it is easy to get carried away with the most eye-catching boots, stop yourself from making a purchase based on an attractive design.

Prioritize your decision-making process based on research, comfort and (if possible) the advice of an experienced boot fitter. Once you’ve ticked at least two of these boxes, feel free to pick the color or design of your choice.

How Will I Know My Demo Ski Boots Are Right For Me?

Ideally, ski boots should be as tight-fitted as possible. Do keep in mind that tight-fitted definitely does not refer to boots that put your feet in pain. It simply means that you need to have boots that only allow minimal foot movement inside the boot.

Test this out by attempting to move your foot while wearing your ski boots. If the boot moves with your foot, you probably need to size up! 

A tight fit is generally recommended as boots that allow your feet to move around too much could be a safety risk. But they shouldn’t feel too stiff. If your feet move or slip inside the boots while skiing, you’re likely to reduce control of skis— a situation you should certainly try to avoid.

Bottom Line

I would recommend using demo ski boots but If you’re on a budget and looking to try out different brands and sizes before purchasing boots of your own, demo ski boots will definitely help.

Plus, investing in a custom footbed will solve numerous fit issues and even curling issues with older boots. In closing, go see a reputable boot fitter.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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