Just about every outdoor activity has some special bit of gear that is uniquely designed to make that sport easier, faster, etc. One of the most important bits of gear when it comes to skiing is your ski boots. They can have a profound effect on the amount of control you’re able to exert over your skis, and they have to be high quality to avoid limping around after standing in them all day.
Finding the right choice can be especially hard if you have wider feet – read to learn about the best ski boots for wide feet, and how to choose! Because ski boots typically require a closer fit than traditional footwear, it is especially important to make sure that whichever boot you choose fits your foot properly.
If they are too small or large, or even just have an inconveniently placed seam in the toe box, that can translate to lots of foot pain and a far less enjoyable skiing experience. For competitive skiers, a good fit can be the difference between winning and losing.
If you have wide feet and are looking for that perfect fit, you’ll need to be discerning in your shopping as many boot shells are designed for medium or narrow feet which simply won’t do the trick for you. In this guide we’ll take a look at some product specification to watch for when purchasing, and reviews of a handful of great ski boots for all you wide-footed skiers out there.
Features To Consider
The most basic criteria when choosing the perfect ski boot is to decide where you want to be in terms of flex. Flex refers to how easily moveable the shell of the boot is, which translates to how responsive your skis are to your direction. Softer flex is generally more comfortable but doesn’t offer very tight handling – something beginner skiers would be well suited to.
As the flex becomes more and more stiff, you get more exactly control over your skis while sacrificing comfort and ease of use. It’s a good idea to decide before you buy where you fall on this spectrum and compare that to how you’ll be using the boots. What I mean is, if you have the skills to ski at an expert level, but you also have bad knees and like to take it easy on the slopes then going with a softer flex may be a good idea for you.
If you want to ski off-piste(off the marked trails) then you may need a higher flex to properly navigate uncertain terrain. Take into account not just your ability, but what sort of terrain you’ll be skiing.
Similar to flex, different fits are good for different purposes. A good rule of thumb in terms of general sizing is this: beginners should buy a half size larger than their mondo size, intermediates should buy true to size, and advanced skiers should shoot for a half size smaller than their mondo size.Depending upon your leg shape, they are other factors you’ll also want to account for in order to assure a sound fit.
For example, ski boots designed for women will typically have a lower cuff than men’s boots as women tend to have larger, lower calves compared to men. Shells made with a wider last will usually include a wider cuff to accommodate bigger calves. If you have wide feet but narrow calves, you’ll want to look for a boot with an adjustable cuff so that the fit isn’t too loose.
If you plan on sticking to slower, groomed paths then you can afford a slightly looser, cushier fit will provide additional comfort at the expense of some precision. If you’re looking to do off-piste skiing or cliffs, steeps,etc then you’re going to need your boot to fit more tightly so that, similar to a higher flex, you have better control with which to navigate.
‘Freebies’ is the term I like to use to refer to features that, while not completely necessary, make whatever activity you’re doing easier and more fun. When shopping for ski boots, a lot of that comes in the form of customizable options. Liners, buckles, canting, stance – in a perfect world every pair of ski boots is ultimately adjustable. In reality, however, we frequently have to pick and choose our favorite features. The 3-buckle Cabrio style ski boot used to be seen as a less exact fit right off the bat because it lacked a buckle over the forefoot.
However, lots of cabrio style boots nowadays have forefoot buckles that can be moved slightly higher or lower to get a better fit. Micro-adjustable buckles are also a huge help here – in addition to the teeth on the strap, the buckle itself can be turned to tighten the fit 1mm at a time. Thermoformable liners can also help give a more precise fit.
Modern ski boots usually have a neutral stance – that is, they don’t force you to lean as far forward as older styles did. This is generally more comfortable for all users. However, if you are particularly knock-kneed or bowlegged you might also want ski boots with adjustable canting(the sideways lean of the boot when attached to the ski).
This option allows you to make a quick change with the aid of a hex key which often results in a more natural, comfortable stance for the user.
Dalbello Boss ID
Weight: 12 lbs
Specific Features: 103mm last, cabrio buckle style, thermoformable liner, 110/100 adjustable flex, low cuff hinge, adjustable canting, inverted forefoot buckle
Best Use: Advanced-Expert Skiing (fast groomers, all mountain, off-piste, cliffs, some racing)
Looks aren’t everything, but they do count for something. This ski boot from Dalbello has a great eye-catching color theme in addition to a wide last, providing a great fit without sacrificing style. The Dalbello Boss ID features micro-adjustable cabrio-style buckles, with an inverted forefoot buckle.
The idea is that, by inverting the buckle it becomes more protected from damage by terrain during intense skiing. In line with this high-performance focus, you have adjustable canting and a low cuff hinge that makes it easier to walk in the boots, as well as adjustable flex.
You can make the flex slightly stiffer or softer with the aid of an adjustable piece on the back of the cuff. This is definitely a ski boot with attitude, ready to go just as hard as you once you get up on that mountain.
Salomon Quest Access 70
Weight: 9.4 lbs
Specific Features: Designed for women, 70 flex, 104 mm last, low rear cuff, thermoformable tongue and liner, micro-adjustable cabrio style buckles, walk mode
Best Use: Beginner-Intermediate Skiing(groomers, all-mountain, some off-piste)
Salomon Quest Access 70 is a great ski boot for female skiers who are just starting out in the sport or simply prefer more tame routes. The shell is specifically designed for women, with a lower rear cuff to accommodate the calves more comfortable.
You can also activate “walk mode” which makes moving around in ski boots far easier when you aren’t used to it – the turn of a hex key increased the mobility of the boot for a more natural walking motion. Micro-adjustable cabrio-style buckles ensure a snug fit, while the thermoformable liner and tongue will contour to the foot and shin, increasing both comfort and the accuracy of fit. The medium flex on this boot makes it ideal for groomers but still adequate for some off-piste routes.
Related: The Salomon Extended Gear Bag has room for your boots, goggles, gloves, and other goodies. It comes in 5 colors, and the bottom of the bag is a mesh ventilation panel so your can throw your boots in wet without ruining the bag.
Nordica Cruise 80
Weight: 10.2 lbs
Specific Features: 104 mm last, adjustable-circumference cuff, 4 micro-adjustable buckles, adjustable canting, 80 flex, thermoformable liner
Best Use: Beginner Skiing (Groomers only)
This soft flex ski boot is made with the widest last that Nordica uses, 104 mm. Designed for men, a flex rating of 80 makes this boot ideal for beginning ski enthusiasts who plan on primarily sticking to groomed routes. While the shell utilizes the more traditional 4-buckle style rather than the cabrio-style buckle setup, the buckles each are micro-adjustable to give you the precision of a more modern fit.
The liner of Nordica Cruise 80 is thermoformable which will help to prevent any hotspots on the feet after long periods of use, and the cuff circumference and canting are both adjustable which will help a new skier find their preferences and best fit. The boots are also a few pounds lighter than many comparable men’s ski boots; this is great because one of the most difficult things to get used to with skiing is simply moving around in such stiff,heavy footwear.
Related: Already have your boots and bag picked out, but need a storage solution for your skis? The Nordica Promo Ski Bag is a sleek option, and with a 600D coating is definitely tough enough to get the job done.
Nordica Cruise 110
Weight: 12 lbs
Specific Features: 104 mm last, 110 flex, 4 micro-adjustable buckles, uppermost buckle has moveable ladder, adjustable-circumference cuff, thermoformable liner
Best Use: Advanced-Expert Skiing( All mountain, off-piste, steeps, cliffs, racing)
Using the same 104 mm wide last as the previous Nordica option, the Nordica Cruise 110 is much stiffer, allowing for more advanced and daring skiing. The high flex makes it ideal for advanced skiers and difficult terrain. It also utilizes the same traditional 4 buckle micro-adjustable style which allows for increased closeness of fit.
The uppermost of the four buckles features a moveable ladder which is great for better positioning relative to your leg shape. The cuff also works for your leg shape, with an adjustable circumference that helps to prevent pinching or wobbling. Just another layer of customizability, the boot also offers a thermoformable liner that can be heat molded completely custom to your foot shape. This gets rids of most concerns regarding hot spots on the foot as a result of improper fit.
Related: The shell’s toe and heel portion can take a beating going to and from the slopes. This replacement Nordica Canted Soles footprint kit will ensure you can easily swap out toe and heel parts as they start to show their age.
Rossignol Kelia 60
Weight: 13 lbs
Specific Features: Designed for women, 104 mm last, micro-adjustable cabrio style buckles,60 flex, liner constructed with SensorFit technology, extra-wide cuff buckle
Best Use: Beginner Skiing(Groomers only)
Another women-specific design, this is a wonderful choice for beginning skiers. The low flex(60) is primarily suited to groomed pathways, as it may not offer enough control for off-piste skiing. The cabrio-style buckles are micro-adjustable, and the cuff buckle is extra wide. This allows for a custom fit and easy on-off.
Bypassing the idea of a thermoformable liner entirely, Rossignol Kelia 60 goes one step further with SensorFit liners. SensorFit liners are not just a generic boot liner; rather, they are designed specifically for the individual shell that they will be going in. Designing the liner to match the boot’s shell means that any potential hotspots have been previously accounted, without the need to find a boot fitter to help you thermoform the liner.
Related: These Adele Women’s Gloves from Rossignol can help round out your gear bag. Following the theme of design with women in mind, these goatskin and thinsulate gloves provide warmth without feeling bulky on a smaller hand.
Rossignol Alias 90
Weight: 13 lbs
Specific Features: 104 mm last, 90 flex, 4 micro-adjustable buckles, liner made with SensorFit technology, seamless toe box
Best Use: Intermediate Skiing(Faster groomers, all mountain, some off-piste)
With a medium flex Rossignol Alias 90 is a good choice for intermediate skiing. The traditional set-of-four buckles are micro-adjustable which helps provide a more precise fit. The liner is Rossignol’s great SensorFit technology, specially designed for this boot shell to help provide as much comfort as possible by avoiding hot spots caused by a generic liner.
The tongue of the liner is also slightly softer than normal, which enable it form very easily to the shape of the shin – no need for thermoforming. The toe box is seamless which keeps any rubbing over the toes and top of the foot to an absolute minimum.
Related: Rossignol’s Hero Boot Pack is a great option for transporting gear. With 600D ripstop fabric in the body and chest straps or added stability, this backpack-style boot bag makes hauling your gear a breeze.
Ready To Shop?
The aim of this guide was to explore some of the features that factor into your purchase decision when it comes to buying the perfect pair of ski boots, and to highlight some of the best wide-fit ski boots on the market today. I hope that you feel more equipped to choose a ski boot that will give you a high-quality fit, and at the very least have a handful of great products to use as a launching pad.
I take pride in finding the best products for my readers, and learning about new products whenever I can.
Featured Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/weFx9RflIfU