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Ski Boot Sizes. Does The Vendor Care If You Get The Wrong Size?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

So for decades ski boot sizes have been somewhat deceptive to the layman.  One school if thought is this is because they know that you should use a professional boot fitter to get the most out of your purchase in regards to satisfaction, performance, and comfort.  All of that is very true.  But, when they do sell direct to the public and distributors they publish size charts that show mondo sizes matched to shoe sizes that are larger than most boot fitters or experienced skiers would recommend.  When the average noob buys a boot with no help they will walk out of the store with something too big because it feels soo much better than the (expert recommended) proper size does before they pack out.  Do the boot manufacturers prefer that folks be comfortable initially because more boots are returned for discomfort than are returned for packing out and being loose after lots of hours skiing in the boot?


It makes me wonder... on average do most people buy boots then never use them enough to actually pack them out?  Seeing all the "one trip wonder" ski gear on Craigslist and eBay makes me think that companies actually intentionally post size guides for use by non dedicated skiers assuming that people with experience will know to go smaller, knowing that people with experience will know that the boots will be very tight for the first several hours or pack out time, especially if not professionally fitted and altered some.

And they entice people to buy boots that will be less likely to be returned within a week when full refunds must be issued.  The wrong size might feel pretty good for a few hours right?



Just something I wonder about.



post #2 of 5

I think you nailed it...


The boot fitters and companies are all to happy to sell the customer what ever they want -- comfortable 2 full sizes too big or performance fitted.


IMO, the right size should feel so tight you can only stand to be in them for maybe 15 minutes at first... 2 sizes too big feels great in the store and once you ski them for 15-20 days feel like crap... But that's a full season for most people.

post #3 of 5

I truly believe that manufacturers design their boots with the expectation that, to achieve a proper fit, some customization will be necessary. Whether the retailers or their customers are willing or know enough to make that effort is a different story.


When the average person buys street shoes, it's no big deal going up a size or two above their actual foot measurement because the shoe is a little narrow and their foot is a little wide. Not being a "ski geek" like most of us on this forum, why would they think ski boots are any different? Let's not even get into how crappy a properly sized boot can feel right out of the box.

post #4 of 5

I think there's a similar dynamic with rental boots.  It probably happens many more times per season, and the financial incentives are a bit different as well.  Like many things in life, experts make up a small part of the market.

post #5 of 5

Simple answer- I'd say greater than 85% of ski boots are sold by someone sliding their foot into the boot and saying "feels good" or "too tight" before the boot is even buckled... if you were shooting for a "feels good" response for your business to survive, what would YOU do???

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