Ski boots are super important for skiers, they provide the support and stability you need to maintain control while skiing. And they protect your feet from the cold.
However, if they are too stiff, they can be very uncomfortable and make it difficult to move your feet while skiing.
In this post, I’ll break down some signs that usually indicate ski boots are too stiff. Plus, I’ll also go through what level of stiffness a boot should have and if stiffer boots offer any advantages.
Signs That Indicate You Have Too Stiff Ski Boots
Let’s take a look at some of the most common indicators of very stiff boots:
Pain While Walking And Skiing
Pain is an obvious sign that often indicates your ski boots are too stiff.
When you buy a new pair of ski boots, your feet need some time to adapt. We call this a break-in period. So, during the first few days, almost everyone feels this discomfort. This is not the pain we are talking about here, as it happens with any boot.
But if the pain doesn’t fade even after wearing the boots a few times, you should be concerned.
Ski boots that are too stiff will cause pain in your back, knees and lower legs (especially calf and ankles).
My very first pair of boots were too stiff, so trust me, this really hurts after skiing for a few hours.
Stiff Ski Boots Affect Your Form
If you face trouble when trying to take turns or your usual skiing form, it could be a result of stiffer boots. Basically, if you’re sitting back when skiing and your knees aren’t active and engaged, your boots are too stiff.
If you are a beginner this will slow down your progress, plus it is kinda risky. If you go wrong in your actions, there is a high possibility that you will fall and injure yourself.
If you are experiencing a continuous coldness in your feet while wearing the ski boots, it might also be a sign that your ski boots are too stiff.
Because your boots are tighter there isn’t space inside the boot. However if this is the only issue you have, wearing a pair of thick socks or even heated socks will solve this.
How Stiff Should My Ski Boots Be?
It depends on a couple of things, your size, your skiing experience level and the terrain and style you’ll be skiing on. And most importantly, you should not feel any pain when you are walking in the boots. Read our guide on ski boots hurt calves for more info on this.
Generally, the stiffness of your ski boots is determined by your experience level. For example, buy more flexible ski boots if you are a beginner at skiing and they will get your feet’s shape over time.
Apart from that, you will have fewer pressure points in your shoes. As a result, you can experience real comfort.
On the other hand, if you are an experienced skier, the procedure you should follow is different. If you have strong skills in footwork, you can buy boots with less flexibility. As a result, your ankles get better support when you make fast movements. So you can ski down steep slopes even at higher speeds.
Are Stiff Ski Boots the Better?
There is a widespread misconception that stiffer boots give skiers a better experience which isn’t always true. The reason for this belief is that such ski boots support you and help to maintain ankle stability.
However, the reality is different. Ski boots that are too stiff can cause a number of problems, including discomfort while skiing, calf pains, and leg pain after skiing.
But stiffer ski boots with walk mode should be okay as they allow switching mode to walking which will reduce the stress.
How Do You Loosen Stiff Ski Boots?
Usually, the tightest parts of a ski boot are the toe area and heels. To minimize the stiffness of ski boots, put them with a pair of socks. After, bring a blow dryer closer to the ski boots. But remember not to get it too close.
Point it from 6 inches away. And remember to point the dryer to only the necessary parts of the boot. Moreover, it is essential to move your fingers during this process as it enhances the stretching process.
Overall, the correct stiffness level of your ski boots depends on the type of skiing you plan on doing and your experience level.
If your ski boots are too stiff, you will feel pain in your feet, calf, or lower legs and find it difficult to control your skis. Plus, your feet are going to feel colder than usual.
If you notice any of the signs I talked about, it would be wise to have your ski boots checked by a ski shop. They can help you determine if the boots are actually too stiff and make the necessary adjustments like remolding.
Having a good idea about the stiffness level of your ski boots is essential to avoid possible leg pains and even accidents because you cannot properly do certain moves when you wear ski boots that are too stiff.
Is 130 Flex Too Stiff?
Yes 130 is the stiffest. Ski boots come to the market with various flex points and the average flex point range for ski boots is 60-130. So 30 flex points mean your ski boots are soft, whereas 130 means they are way too stiff.
Do My Ski Boots Lose Their Stiffness With Time?
Yes, ski boots lose stiffness with time, and the time taken for it to happen depends on how much time you spend skiing with the boots. Moreover, the nature of the skiing surface is also a contributing factor.