Caring for your investment
Congratulations on investing in a new pair of ski boots. You have joined a group of people who can enjoy their skiing more, with better comfort and performance, but now you have to care for your boots to get the best from them. Simple things like how you put them on and take them off, how you clip them and how they are stored can make the difference between comfort and pain, and even how long they last.
Putting your boots on, the basics
Whilst it might seem very simple, how you put your boots on can be the difference between pleasure and pain.
- Make sure you are wearing only one pair of thin ski socks, nothing else goes inside the boot other than your foot and sock
- Ensure all the clips are open
- Pull the tongue carefully forward and to the medial (inside) edge, this gives a much bigger space to put your foot into
- If needed give the heel of the boot a good smack on the ground to help get your foot to the back of the liner
- Start clipping the boot up, upper two buckles first, get the ankle buckle really snug to help hold the foot back
- Stand and flex the boot two or three times, again this pulls the foot to the back giving space for the toes
- Re-tighten the upper clips if they have any slack in them
- Now and only now lightly close the front two clips of the boot, these do not want to be over tightened
- When walking to the lifts keep the upper clips closed firmly, this stops your foot siding forward as you walk, bruising your toes
- When stopped at lunch you can loosen your boots, but be wary of walking down stairs with the upper clips undone
- Whilst we DO NOT recommend wearing your boots around the house, it is definitely worth trying them on a few times to get used to putting them on and getting used to the adjustments
Drying your boots
Modern ski boots have a combination of parts which are, in most cases, heat moulded. The shell, the liner or the custom orthotic insole may well have been moulded around your foot using heat and applying too much heat after purchase will cause irreparable damage. There are a few do's and don'ts when it comes to drying your boots after use.
There are a number of small drop in drying systems which are perfectly safe to use. They either use ambient heat, or a small blower fan to force air through the boot and get rid of any moisture. Silica gel crystal packs are also available. These require no power and simply drop into the boot overnight to absorb moisture, they then recharge on top of a radiator while you are skiing. It is fine to leave the liners out of the shells overnight, BUT they should not be left like this for long term storage.
DO NOT put your boots onto industrial drying racks! These high power driers were designed before most boots had heat moulded parts. They were meant to allow the drying of a number of rental boots quickly, so that the shop could rent them out the next day. Some of them may be not too hot, but you won't know until it is to late and they have damaged parts of you boot.
At the end of your trip, when you return home you should follow the steps below to ensure that your boots are ready for their next outing.
- Remove the liners, orthotic insoles and if possible base boards from the shell of the boots.
- Wipe around the inside of the shell with some kitchen paper.
- Leave everything separated fro 2-3 days to let any moisture evaporate from the boot parts.
- When you put the boots back together makes sure you put the correct parts in the correct shell, base boards first, the footbeds into the liners then liners into the shells.
- Loosely close the clips of the boots to hold them in shape, BUT do not over tighten them, plastic has memory and over tightening the clips will make the boots very difficult to put on.
REMEMBER to dry your boots, not only for comfort but to prevent the liners rotting and smelling bad in the long term.
Cleaning your boots
You should not be using any chemicals to clean your boots. The shells can be wiped down with soap and water. Make sure you clean any mud or debris from the soles so that they function in your bindings properly. If you ski at indoor ski slopes there is a grime which gets all over you boots. The best way to clean this off is with a baby wipe directly after skiing. Liners should not be put into a washing machine or even washed by hand. If they do smell then the only real solution is to use a deodorising product. Most of the time bad smelling ski boots comes from not drying them properly after use.
Like any piece of equipment your ski boots need some maintenance, nothing too serious (unless you fail to do it).
Nuts and Bolts, Your ski boots are normally held together with two ankle pivots. These maybe rivets, or they may be a nut and bolt type assembly. This can be on one, or both sides of the boots. After the first few days skiing you should check that each of these bolts is tight, You should then check these bolts (and any others on the boots) after each trip. The action of flexing your ski boots will eventually cause these bolts to loosen and the last thing you want is to loose a bolt half way down a run. Some brands give you the tools to do this, some do not, however all boots use pretty standard tools, Allen keys or Torx drivers.
Sole Pads, Your boots will have one of three types of sole pad.
- Replaceable sole pads, probably 4 or 5 screws at toe and heel. If you have this type of sole check the pads for wear. If the sole pads are worn down you can get replacements (normally for around 7 years after the boot is last produced) and they are simple to replace yourself.
- Race lifters. We fit these to most solid soled boots which we sell (most places do not). It is critical that if these get worn down they should be replaced, we need to do this for you as they are not exact size. Failure to replace lifters prior to wearing through them prepares your boots for the bin!
- Solid sole (no lifters). Take care how much time you spend walking on hard surfaces.