Why Do My Ski Boots Hurt Calves?

ski boots hurt calves

Winter is just around the corner and many of you plan on hitting the slopes. Preparing for your Ski trip is another adventure everyone looks forward to. However, you might have a few concerning questions lingering in your mind if this is not your first trip. 

What if my ski boots hurt calves again? 

Why do ski boots hurt calves? Is there a way to stop the pain? 

If you are one of those who is looking for answers to all of these questions, this article is for you. I’ll go through all of these along with some more FAQs.

Why Do Ski Boots Hurt Calves?

Many skiers experience a pain in their calf muscle while wearing their boots. There are a few reasons why this could happen. Let’s take a look at each of them.

Also check out our post on how long ski boots last for tips on using your boots properly.

reasons why calves hurt from ski boots

Calves Too Big For Ski Boots

As a standard, ski boots are made to fit 13”-14” calves. If your calves are too big for ski boots then you are sure to experience pain as it strains your calf muscle.

Look for boots that can accommodate your calf muscle. Finding ski boots for fat calves isn’t difficult. You can find them in women’s specific boot sections. Using a lower cuff ski boot or a ski boot extender for large calves will also help. 

Just like finding ski pants that fit, it is important to get boots that fit!

Ski Boot Setting

Most ski boots have a Ski/Walk setting where the boots are tight and locked in a forward lean in the ski mode whereas the boots are not locked and freely hinge in the walk mode.

If you use the ski setting when you are actually just walking, it might hurt your calves. So you sure you use the correct setting. You can usually find the lever that switches modes in the back of your boots. 

Ski Boot Setting hurt calf

Inflexible Calves

Inflexible calves can cause intense pain to your calf muscle. A regular calf stretch will help you relieve this pain. 

Doing stretches are simple, you just have to bend your knee so you stretch the lower calf muscle. 

Other Reasons

If you do not drink enough water on your ski day, you will be dehydrated. Dehydration can cause leg cramps in the calf. So that could cause calf pain as well.

Another reason for the pain could be using improper techniques when you ski. 

How Tight Should Ski Boots Be? 

Ski boots should not be too tight. The correct word would be snug. The boots must have enough space around the toes and it should be almost touching the front end of the boot while the back end of the boot is in contact with the heel. 

However, ensure your foot isn’t slipping to and fro when the boot is clasped. Here are a few things you should consider when buying the best ski boots

  • Pick a boot that suits the overall shape of your foot.
  • Heat mold the boot liner to the shape of your foot (If possible) 
  • Heat mold the outer shell of the boot to the shape of your foot and ankle 
  • Add custom foot beds, to suit your feet

How Do You Loosen Up Ski Boots Around Your Calves

A wedge or spoiler is frequently present between the liner and shell of ski boots, right behind the calf. These are fastened using screws or Velcro. To make additional space in the upper cuff, you can easily remove the spoiler. 

Most ski boots have a plate also known as the ladder which is adjustable for the top buckle straps. These can be shifted to make a looser range of notches even if the loosest buckle setting seems tight. While some ladders need to have a screw undone in order to be moved others may simply be twisted or have a release that makes them moveable.

Tips On How To Stop Ski Boots Hurting Calves

Spend time wearing your boots at home standing and flexing your them. This will allow your feet to become accustomed to being held rigid and stationery. You can also decide on what alterations you have to make before you ski.

How To Stop Ski boots hurting calf

It’s always better to get this sorted before you go on your next adventure. Ski boots will be a perfect snug right out of the box, but the liners will only start to compress when you start skiing. The boots become roomier the more you use them. 


There are many reasons why ski boots hurt your calves. It ultimately boils down to finding the best fit ski boots for you. According to most experts, finding the best boot is an ongoing process. It is recommended to get advice from a boot fitter before you purchase one. If you have to customize anything, your boot fitter will recommend what is best for you. 

If you are planning on skiing every winter it is best that you purchase your own ski boots, as rented boots are going to be a nightmare. It is also important that you get acquainted with your ski boots before you actually ski. Following the tip we provided will make your ski day an exciting one.

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Picture of 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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