Today I want to share some tips on fitting your kid for ski boots. Obviously, any one of us can drive down to the local ski shop and have a skilled salesperson do it for us.
But if you are like us, and trying to get the family skiing on a dime, we rely heavily on ski swaps, consignment shops, clearance sales, and classified ads to outfit our kids in ski gear every winter. And most these venues DON’T come with a trained boot fitter.
If you are new to The Kid Project, I also want to introduce you to our “Ski Schooling” series. This series focuses in on how to ski with kids, specifically, how to do it yourself. I am not saying this is for everyone or every family. But many of us are trying to go the cheap route – ski swaps for gear, hand-me-downs, and self-instruction. If this is you, welcome!
Tips for Fitting Your Kid’s Ski Boots
Here are the steps I go through when fitting my kids for boots:
- When I am completely clueless on where to start regarding size, I refer to an online chart first or size my child’s foot at the ski rental shop ahead of time. A chart like this one from Level 9 Sports can be a great place to start: Chart for Sizing Ski Boots.
- Remove the boot insert from the shell. Have the child insert their foot into the shell, move their toes towards the front of the boot so they lightly bump the front. Have them flex forward slightly as if they were skiing. There should be 5/8 – 1 inch behind the heel. Or more simply – Two fingers stacked together should fit behind the heel and shell. Change sizes accordingly until you find a match.
- Now put the liner back in the boot. Have the child put the boot on, buckle it, stand up and flex as though they were skiing again. Have them walk around and spend some time in the boot. How does it feel? This part is largely subjective and often times a boot will feel tight even though it sizes correctly. On the other hand, if your child has a wide foot, it really could be too tight. Boot stretching at an actual ski shop or going up a size might be advisable.
- Pay some attention to flex ratings on boots. This is the general rule of thumb: The more advanced the skier, the higher the flex rating. Make sure your beginner/young skiers have a lower flex rating, as well as any child that is light. Most Junior Race Ski boots have a flex rating of 70-90. Most beginner skiers under the age of 6 will want a boot that rates much lower. In laymen’s terms? Have your kids flex in the boots by bending at the knee. Their weight should be on the ball of the foot. If they can’t do this it will be a problem.
Don’t stress about this!
My kids have been skiing since they were two and are now ages 6, 8 and 10 respectively. JUST THIS YEAR I learned I had been sizing them wrong all along and all their boots have been huge for years!
Lesson? It might have been more difficult for them to flex or get on edge, but they all learned to ski and are pretty decent skiers too. So maybe it doesn’t matter so much if we get it perfect?!
Check out this post by my friend Kristin on fitting kid ski boots and how to know if your kid’s feet are warm: How do I tell if my kid’s boot fits properly and more importantly if their feet are warm!
What are your tips for sizing your kids boots and/or finding great deals on ski boots for kids?