How to Buckle Ski Boots

Easy Boot Buckling Tips for Skiers

woman adjusting ski boots in snow
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Even the best of skiers struggle with buckling their boots. Although well-fitting ski boots shouldn't be a hassle to get on, everyone has one of those days when their boots just won't pull on properly. We've all seen an angry skier furiously jamming his foot in an unforgiving boot in the ski lodge, and of course, a frustrated parent desperately trying to wedge a resisting boot on a child's foot. Fortunately, if the proper steps are taken, putting on ski boots doesn't have to be such an exhausting process.

After all, no one wants to waste all their energy before they even hit the slopes. Here are some tips on how to get your boots on easily, so you can spend your energy on a black diamond run, and not on a pair of ski boots.

Make Sure Your Boots Are Properly Fitted

Chances are you've heard this line a million times, but wearing well-fitting boots is essential. Boots that fit properly shouldn't be too much of a pain to get on, but comfortable boots will also extend your ski day (forget to have to call it a day because of sore feet) and can even help you perfect your technique, too. It's important to buy your ski boots from a reputable ski shop that will guide you through the process of finding a boot that works with your foot, ankle, and calf. It's imperative to try boots on before you buy, and be sure bring along a pair of ski socks to the ski shop to wear when trying on boots.

Consider Investing in a Custom Boot

For the best fit, consider purchasing custom footbeds and custom ski boot liners that will give you support where you need it and correctly align your body in a ski stance. Invest a little extra time and money into purchasing a comfortable boot that's right for you - it's definitely worth it.

Wear Socks Designed for Skiing

If you're still wearing thick woolen socks, it's time to toss them. Thick wool socks are scratchy and lumpy under ski boots, and they also take a long time to dry, so if your feet sweat, you may end up with cold feet for the rest of the ski day. Wool-blend ski socks take care of this problem. Synthetic-blend socks are also an excellent option, as many are designed to provide warmth while wicking away moisture, too. Socks made for skiing are also contoured to the shape of your foot, so they will fit smoothly and allow your ski boot to slide on with ease.

Flex Your Foot Forward While Buckling the Boot

Once your foot is in the boot, before buckling anything, flex your ankle and calf forward as you would if you were skiing. This cups your ankle in the back of the boot and secures your shin against the tongue of the boot, setting you up for a correct ski stance.

Fasten the Power Strap Before Buckling

Adjust the power strap so that the tongue of the boot fits smoothly against your shin before you buckle any buckles. This will eliminate the possibility of excess space remaining in the boot shaft. Make sure the strap is snug, but not too tight, as pinching cuts off circulation, resulting in cold feet.

Secure the Lowest Vertical Buckle First

If you have two buckles on the vertical part of your boot, make sure to buckle the second one down from the top before doing any of the buckles (the buckle closest to your ankle on the top part of the boot). If you have three buckles on the vertical part of your boot, then the buckle you'd want to fasten first would be the third one down from the top. This is the most important buckle, and it should be secure in order to hold your foot down and back, and allow your shin to flex into the front of the boot without any excess wiggle room.

Next, Fasten the Top Buckles

The top buckles on the vertical part of your boot should be tight, but not as tight as the vertical ankle buckles referred to above. Make sure your foot can still flex forward slightly with the boot, rather than moving freely around in the boot.

You want the boot itself to flex forward with your calf, rather than having your calf move around within the vertical boot shaft.

Don't Forget the Toe Buckles

Make sure the toe buckles are comfortably snug. Sometimes people forget about these and leave them loose on the first notch, but they should be secure to hold the top part of your foot in place.

Consider Using a Boot Buckler for Some Extra Help

The Ski Tool company makes a "Multipurpose Boot Buckler and Carrier" that helps you clamp down your boot buckles, and also serves as a handy boot carrier, too. Although you shouldn't use this tool to buckle your boots impossibly tight, it can help with finicky buckles and gives your fingers a break. The boot buckler is also helpful for children who struggle with buckling their own boots.

If Necessary, Re-Tighten the Power Strap

Double check the power strap once you've adjusted the buckles in order to make sure the boot is snug and secure around your foot.

Head out to the Slopes!

Once your boots are buckled, test them out on a test run. Don't be afraid to adjust your buckles after this test room. You may also find that your boots loosen up throughout the day, so you may need to readjust them during your lunch break. When you head in for lunch, loosening up your buckles can give your feet a nice break, but if you feel that you need to undo your buckles every time you get on the ski lift, there might be a problem with how your ski boots fit. Remember - your ski boots shouldn't have to hurt! If you've spent quite a bit of time playing around with different buckle setting and your boots are still giving you trouble, take them to any reputable ski shop or boot shop to get them looked at by professionals.