Homework for New Boots


So, you just bought a new pair of boots and now you think you are ready for skiing nirvana.  Well, not so fast. You have some homework to do if you want the first few days of skiing to leave you smiling.

If you cram your feet into new boots, and plan to ski for several hours the first day, you have about a 90% chance of being miserable by the end of the day.  Furthermore, you will wake-up the next morning with feet already traumatized.  Now, try to put them back into those same vice grips, and like dogs barking they will let you know they are not happy. You see, your feet may not sense that pressures are causing problems until it is too late.  By the time your feet hurt, trauma has already occurred, and your feet will likely hurt for several days.  To avoid this do your homework.

The homework is to wear your new ski boots at home for several hours over several days. The reason this helps is that ski boots will expand at least half a size over time.  The expansion occurs when the soft liner inside the hard plastic shell is squeezed and stretched around the pressure of your feet.  The end result is the boot molds to the shape of your feet, and more volume is created.  The molding process, however, will not happen as quickly as habanera sauce gives you indigestion.  It will take some time.

So, before you even hit day one on the hill, spend some time at home getting to know your boots.  The best method for molding your boots is to wear them over three separate days spending incrementally more time each day.  The first day wear them for about one hour.  Then, even if everything feels fine, take them off.   The second day, wear the boots for about an hour and a half.  Finally, the third day, wear them for two hours.  By this time, you have allowed the boots to gradually mold to the shape of your feet without the pain of trauma and the resulting drama.

As an added benefit, wearing your new boots at home for three separate days will also let you know if there are any problems with the fit.  Since all feet are different, it will be rare that any one boot is the perfect shape for your unique feet.  By wearing the boots over several days, you will notice the comings and goings of unsettling pressures.  Most will disappear as the molding process takes shape, but one or two may persist.  These are the areas a bootfitter can tweak by stretching, padding, grinding or performing other boot manipulations to make your first day all the more enjoyable.

Now, as long as you have remembered to have your bindings adjusted to your new boots, you are almost ready for a great first day of skiing.  However, there are further preparations and strategies to be made for that first day. Ah, just like any great serial commentary of life, there is a sequel … to be continued.
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