Ski Boot Sizing
are the most important piece of equipment you will buy for your athlete. Getting the wrong ski boot or not addressing simple modifications to the boot can significantly reduce the fun and success your athlete will have. Ski boots should fit tightly and have good ankle flex allowing for precision and control of the skis.
To get the right size:
Go Bare foot
Remove liner from shell
Put foot in shell
With toes grazing the front, take a flash light and look at distance from the heel to the back of shell.
For kids 70 lbs. or less this distance is 2.5-3 cm as the boots in the 65 flex rating typically have short lasted liners. This is in addition to the fact that a kid this size won’t like a boot too tight. If they are not comfortable at this stage they just won’t want to go skiing. When you get to 70 flex boots (and stiffer) the distance should not be more than 2 cm. This is true for non-race boots as well. One cm is typical of a competitive FIS level athlete. It is important to remember that boots can be easily modified for better fit. Making boots bigger is a much more effective path than trying to pad up a boot that is a little big. Boots “pack out” and get a little bigger on their own. Working with a skilled ski boot technician should come with of the purchase of ski boots. Another sizing trick is to use the original insole out of the liner. The foot should fill up the piece but not hang over the front of the insole. Toes should be right to the end of the insole but not over it.
The other major consideration is flex. The most successful athlete has boots that allow them to bend their ankle. Temperature affects plastic radically and consideration of this along with the athlete’s weight are determining factors for flex. Another consideration is that ski boots can be softened but not stiffened. A boot too soft will not drive the skis or hold on hard snow. A boot to stiff will not allow the skier to engage and arc the skis.
>60 lbs. = 50 flex
60-78 lbs. = 60/65 flex
75-90 lbs. = 70 flex
87-100 lbs. = 80 flex
95-110 lbs. = 90 flex
105-135 lbs. = 110 flex
130-165 lbs. = 130 flex
158-198 = 150 flex
Sadly there is no industry standard for flex. It is wise to work with someone familiar with the material and its history of success with former athletes.
There are several factors to consider when picking ski lengths. Height is a primary determination of ski size for athletes short of the U19 level. Skis that are too short are squirrely at speed while skis that are too long are hard to turn and control. Short of FIS level skis, most of the major manufacturer’s equipment is similar. If an athlete has a predisposition to brand, they may not be able to get the ideal length as it correlates to their height. Level of ability is a consideration that may lead you to a longer or shorter length. Below are some general guidelines. It is highly recommended that a coach who has worked with the athlete have some input re: determination of length.
U 8- This age bracket only requires one ski. This ski should come to the nose in length, be fairly soft, and have a lot of side cut. Many manufactures offer “combi” skis at these sizes which are really just SL skis.
U10- This age bracket only requires one race ski but you may want to consider a free ski so the race skis don’t get destroyed when the athletes are free skiing. Length should be to the bridge of the nose. Even though most of the races are “GS” it will be hard to find GS skis shorter than 135 cm and so often the skier will use SL skis in a longer length. Using a SL ski will help the skier learn to carve and plays to your hand moving to a U12 level as the SL ski can be used again for a second year (saving money the next season).
U12-This age will require SL and GS skis. The SL ski should be to the bridge of the nose and the GS ski should be a minimum of top of the head and maximum of 2” over top of head. Level of ability is an influencing factor.
U14- SL and GS. Same recommendations as for U12 but in these lengths you may be able to move the more aggressive (and larger) athlete to what are known as “Tweener” skis that are beefier than junior skis but not as strong as adult constructions. SG is part of this level and one size up from their GS length is a general guideline. Smart to consider purchasing GS skis for SG at this age with an idea they can use the ski the next year as a GS ski.
U16- The sizing gets easier as the athlete gets older. Typical female athlete will be on a 150cm SL and a 173/6cm GS (first year); 182cm (second year). Boys will typically move to a 155/7 cm SL and a 182/3 GS (first year) and a 185/9 cm 27 meter GS (second year). You will need SG skis at this point. Some use a longer GS. SG skis tend to be softer than GS skis and are more ideal especially for a less aggressive athlete.
U19- Sizing is pretty straight forward here. Women are on a 155/7cm SL and a 183/188 GS. Men can use a 157 as a first year but then will move to 165cm SL and 188/193cm GS. SG skis should be over 200 cm and for FIS must meet the minimum radius of R>40 for women and R>45 for men.
Contribution by PJ Dewey