At some time, your favourite comfortable Ski boots will need replacing. A sad but true necessity. A necessity because sloppy soft boots or any poor fitting boots where your feet have too much movement, will mean that you will not be able to manage your ski edges and control your skis well. It could be dangerous. This will be particularly noticeable on steeper slopes, icy places or that sugary or slushy stuff we surf through in late afternoons.
My 8 year plus boots were OK in the morning but by noon I could not tighten them enough and my skis wobbled constantly. The boots were old and soft. So I hired a pair from Crystal Intersports in Lauterbrunnen for 2 days. Wow oh wow. No wobbling skis, more confidence and better skiing. The hire boots were new Tecnica Mach 1 105 a good boot for women since the heel was narrow so my feet didn’t lift up. And they were so lightweight! The hire person said that if one skis a lot, then one needs new boots every 2 years.
Not having CHF449 I needed to think of another option, though the hire shop did say I could purchase them for CHF350 since they had half a season’s use. Something to ponder on.
In our attic were an ancient 12 year old pair of men’s boots that I had skied in earlier. With a wide foot, I had bought second hand men’s boots that had worked reasonably well. But when I re discovered them, oh my, I could get the top part tight enough but not over the foot and with too much movement my skis were messy and I felt unsafe. So I visited Molitor ski shop in Wengen. There are 3 ski equipment shops in Wengen but I think Molitor offer the most diverse and personalised service and are ever so helpful. One can also buy ski boots there as well as hire. https://www.molitor.ch/en/ Molitor offer an amazing boot fitting analysis and service. https://www.boot-doc.com
They can analyse your feet since most pairs of feet are different in themselves and then custom fit each of your boots to each foot correctly.
The technician was able to retro fit my ancient boots with a neoprene sock to reduce the space and movement in the boot for CHF39. I was invited to ski and try it before paying for it! What great service. Boots that are too big are bad. When buckling up, the technician told me that in a properly sized boot, the buckle clip should be somewhere near the beginning of the buckle ladder or catches.
Ski boot shells are made in different widths and experienced skiers will opt for a narrower boot although the wider boot can be more comfortable around the calf of the leg. The closer the plastic of the boot is to the foot when it is narrow, then the boot has better contact with the ski and so hopefully performs better. The width of the boot is called the "Last" with sizes such as 95, 98, 100, 102, 104mm.
The "Flex" index refers to how stiff the boot is in the forward position. A 98mm last boot in a 100 flex will be stiffer than a 120 flex in a 102mm lasted boot because of the last since the wider the last, the softer the flex will be. The range for flex can be 70 -120. Flex index above 100 are highly responsive and generally offer greater sensitivity for those who ski with confidence, speed and challenging slopes. The ratings are only comparable within each brand. When trying boots in store, they will have a softer flex at the warmer indoor temperature. Cold temperatures stiffen plastic so store your boots off season buckled up and not in a cold place. Also make sure that they are completely dry and clean including dry liners.
Ski boots may have their size printed on them, called Mondo point e.g. Mondo 26.5 women's is about shoe size 9.5 US 41 EU 7.5 UK. Also the boot sole length in millimetres will be stamped near the heel. This is useful for adjusting bindings or trying out skis.
I decided that buying second hand boots is just not an option. Finally I bought some little used ex-rental Dalbello boots (199CHF) that were a size smaller than my old boots! Thanks to the correct fitting by the Molitor technician they are warm, comfortable, so light and I can feel the snow through the skis. Even only 2 weeks skiing a year deserves comfort, ski control and confidence that I think only new hire boots or your own correctly fitted boots can provide.
p.s. If you are hiring or buying ski boots, take along your skis, the socks you would ski in and cut your toenails.
Where dreams begin for outdoor adventures in the inspiring Jungfrau region