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Fitting Ski Boots to Kids

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've been searching through the posts here and haven't found much on fitting boots to kids or at least not anything that answers my questions. Since this is long, I highlighted the questions and the rest is data.

Last year the boots my daughter ended up with, that she swore fit fine, are still several sizes too big this year. It ended up that she said they fit so she wouldn't have to get the "ugly red ones". That and her father (me) didn’t understand the mondo sizing and we started late in the season looking for boots and there wasn’t much to choose from. Nor did I really understand the importance of a proper fit. So I’m starting now to correct last years issues. I read another article everyday and search another manufacturer’s site.

I'll start off saying that I understand the advice of getting a boot fitter, but since my daughter is a strong willed 10 year old, whoever fits her boots is going to need some allies. What are some things you can have them do that lets you know they fit…no matter what they say?

In boots that are at least 3 sizes too big she did blacks and double blacks just fine. She has no problem keeping up with the adults and will ski all day long. But as you can imagine she had a difficult time getting on her edges. I believe her feet were on edge inside the boot that was too big to be affected by her foots movement, leaving her skis fairly flat. She also had a hard time getting forward and staying there.

My thoughts are that the boots out there today are safe and as long as they fit well, she’ll be fine, right? My choices are to get used or less expensive boots each year, expensive boots each year, or (my hope) is get a good boot that can be upgrade for a couple of years. My idea is that since she is small and not growing that fast, the boots that fit perfect now will get about 20-25 days skiing this year. The boots will pack out, which in affect give her room for her foot growth next year.

Do boot shells come in set sizes for a range of boot sizes? I’m guessing but maybe size 22~24 are the same size shell. If this is the case, with any luck I’ll be able to get her a shell that will fit the next size liner or two letting her get a couple more years on the same boot. Provided I can get a liner at a reasonable price.

If this is possible I can justify spending $200 or $300 on a new boot this year instead of $100-$150 every year. It’s just that I know if I get her a perfect fit this year, it won’t be next year.

Other thoughts: She measures just under 22 cm. Some of the women’s boots start at 22. I figure the last in women’s boots is wider so I probably can’t get her in those. The chance of me getting her in a girls boot is pretty slim. She’s a beautiful, little girl that looks and is built like a ballerina but is a “tomboy”. She’s 4’4” and weighs 65#. I probably won’t have any issues getting her in any of the Dalbello boys boots based on appearance. She does like the Dalbello’s.

post #2 of 8
In general, shell sizes change with every full mondo size.

It's allowable to fit a little more generously to accomodate for growth, but I use 2 fingers behind the heel in the shell as an absolute max.

Oversizing has an impact not only on performance (as you've noted) but also safety. Too much slop in the boot allows the foot to turn before applying torque to the bindings re. appropriate release values.

When in doubt with kids (because feedback is often suspect), repeat the shell fit three times, use a flashlight to see better inside the boot, and get an extra set of hands to spread the boot open to have a good look inside (this is pretty easy since the plastic is soft).

No affiliation, but I'm a big fan of Lange for junior overlap boots. Kids simply ski well in them. Err on the side of a softer flex for balance, feel, and mobility.

Hope that helps .
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks. It does help. I've heard good things about the Lange Jrs. but half of this quest is getting her to like/want to put the boot on. Otherwise I'll spend this year on the chair lift listening to her whine about her feet. She likes the Dabello Jakk or Menace. I'm not comfortable paying $300 for kids ski boots for one year. That's why I asked about being able to change out the liner but I'm not sure there will be enough of a change to make this worth it. Its' looking like the dabello P4 and P6 are becoming strong contenders.

post #4 of 8
what Matt said
+1 Another fit tip is to check the fit of the liner. The Lange Jr 60 or the Rossi Jr 1 (same boot/different color) have very short lasted liners. Quick fix in a pro shop is superfeet expander with small round toe die, into the liners put the whole contraption into your thermoflex oven for 3 minutes, let sit until room temp and voila! Toe of liner moves out to contact boot shell.

This is important to know because many times fitting those models, the child will have a 2 finger fit in the shell and complain about toe room as soon as you put the boot on.

The other tool you have to measure the fit is to take the sock liner out of the liner and set it up to the bottom of your childs foot. this is another visual to guage how much room is in the boot.

By age 10 most kids should be able to grasp the concept of getting the toe to just graze the front of the boot so you can check the heel. Take your finger or flashlight and lightly touch it to the tip of their toes on the other foot and explain that is the sensation you want them to feel on the foot inside the shell.

Depending on her footshape another good Jr boot option is the Nordica Dobe 60, Nordica Supercharger/Tecnica Race Pro 60, Tecnica Agent 65 ( same boots/different colors)

We have had great success with either the Lange/Rossi 60 flex or the Nordica/Tecnica.

Both boots ski very well in the 55 to 80 pound range. The Lange/Rossi fits a narrower more slender foot, when the foot curves symetrically from the big toe to the 5th met head. The Nordica/Tecnica works well when the toes are squarer more even between big, second, third, and fourth. Both models have cuffs that are appropriate heights and thickness to wrap well around skinny young lower legs.

Try to avoid the 22 adult models. As they are not lasted or shaped for 10 year old feet. Even if the shell length is ok the volume will be huge.

Good Luck,

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks. Since she is a year older and I've explained the mechanics of boot fit, I believe she'll be a much better customer this year. My analogy was steering a car. A good fit means you have the steering response of a sports car and if your boots are too big, you're steering a old truck with sloppy steering. She understood this because we used to have a VW Jetta and a Grand Cherokee that had sloppy steering and her mother always complained about the "play" in the steering wheel. I told her that her fit last year brought her up to “bumper car”. She's driven those and was frustrated by the steering so I'm pretty sure she got it.

Last week we went through the process on her old boots (Rossi Comp Jr.) of removing the liner and having her toe just touching (thanks to this forum I knew to do this). That's how I found out how big her boots are.

Me bringing up the Women's model was just me clutching at straws in hoping I could get a good deal and not end up eating ramen all winter to offset the cost. Trying to get a few years out of the boots by changing out the liners year to year is the same. That and the fact that her mother doesn’t ski and isn’t so keen on spending so much money. This is on top of the $600 + we’re going to spend on her joining the kids ski camp for the entire season. I could very well end up a ramen eating couch sleeping skier this year.

I plan on looking at the models that were mentioned here but I noticed so far no one has mentioned Dalbello. The only reason I'm leaning towards them is the ski shop I like with the owner I trust only sells Dalbello. Most of the shops I've been to around here give me the feeling that they want my money (seem to work on commission) and the shop I like makes me feel like they want my business/repeat business.

I don’t mind going to another shop and buying a different brand/model but I always try to give him my business if I can.

Speaking of Dabello, what are the opinions of the Dyanlink? I searched this forum and couldn’t find anything on it. I like the concept of it but don’t know if it is just a gimmick.

Thanks for great information.

post #6 of 8
I agree with Matt on Langes although I don't sell them. However, I would be hard pressed to name a bad boot or a boot someone can't ski in if it fits well. So although Langes may be good, if you can find a boot she likes that is the correct size and width you'll be ahead no matter what boot you end up with.\

post #7 of 8
As a parent of four kids- all Jackson skiers (ages 12, 10, 7 & 4), I have found that the two finger+ rule is important. For some reason, my rippers don't need the ultra tight fit that adults need to be on the ski.

With my kid's boots- & selling to parents in the shop- I've found that a boot with room in the toes is far better that a boot that is loose around the ankle. In other words, the three finger fit, while detrimental for an adult, may translate into warmer toes for a 10 y/o.

I try to make sure that the cuff is as tight as comfortably possible. IMHO, this is where the majority of the kids' fit is. Don't over size the ski. A shorter more maneuverable ski is better than a plank- and easier on the ankles

I'm not independently wealthy. As a matter of fact, we're not wealthy at all. I've taken Tecnica Race Pro 70 boots and shimmed the over the zeppa with bontex until they grew into them. Hand-me-down-boots-made-to-work.

My 12 y/o daughter is a very strong JH skier. She is a mondo 22.5. Last year I got a screaming deal on a pair of Rossi women's women's boots: my findings were that they were too heavy for her to move quickly on JH terrain. She will be skiing a Tecnica Race Pro 90 this year. With bontex under the liner and between the zeppa.

Perfect? No. Will she grow into them? You bet. Next July? I hope not!!!

It is great your daughter is skiing double blacks. My 10 y/o is in a pretty snug fit and a reasonably stiff boot for his age and size. I have found that frequent breaks for hot chocolate can assuage even the most racy boot fits.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much for the info. We're starting our adventure tomorrow. I figure if I start now (ski shops are open but so are many backyard pools), I still have time to spend a couple of weekends looking and find an early season deal.

I'll stay away from the womens boots for her, make sure she is in boots that fit her well and she wants to put on and she stays primed on hot chocolate.

Last year we did have an issue with her feet getting cold (because of the size I'd bet). I found a box of 44 hand and foot warmers at COSTCO for only $14. They saved the day many times.

The Langes have been mentioned too many times for us to not look there first.

Again; Thanks,
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