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You decided to try new, fun and accessible ways to enjoy the outdoors in the winter?

Starting cross-country skiing is definitely one of the easiest and safe activities to explore nature, get some fresh air, and why not have a good cardio workout, too! It’s an amazing way to keep yourself active and energized during the winter season.

Cross-country skiing (aka XC or Nordic skiing) is usually done on rolling landscapes that are gentler than downhill skiing terrain. The skis are long and skinny, and the boots are flexible and designed to attach to the skis via bindings that leave your heels free to lift.

Enjoying Nordic skiing to its fullest means starting off with the best cross-country boots, skis, and clothing you can find.

This is the goal of this article – to offer you all the information you need to choose the right size for cross-country skis and the right type of boots for you.

Check It Out!

Sizing Guide for Cross-country Skis

ski boot mondo size chart

To start getting properly equipped for cross-country skiing means having the right type and size of specially designed skis for this activity.

To choose the right cross-country skis for beginner or Intermediate, first, think about where you want to go and what type of skiing you’re looking to do, then choose the type of skis that align with that.

What size cross-country skis should you choose? To calculate the length of your classic cross-country skis, you should add 15 to 20cm to your height. Your weight and skiing ability should also be taken into account. 

If You Want to Get More Specific, Use the Following Calculations:

  • For Classic Cross-Country ski
    • Your Height in Inches x 2.6 + 15 = Approximate Classic Cross Country Ski Size
  • For Skate Cross-country 
    • Your Height in Inches x 2.6 + 5 = Approximate Skate Ski Size
  • For Backcountry 
    • Your Height in Inches +/- 2 to 6 Depending on Skill Level, Use, and Specific Skis

You May Want to Size Your Skis Shorter, Closer to Your Chin If:

  • You are a beginner or intermediate skier.
  • Your weight is lighter than average for your height
  • You like to make short, quick turns

You May Want to Size Your Skis Longer, Closer to the Top of Your Head If:

  • You are skiing fast and aggressively
  • You weigh more than average for your height
  • You plan to do the majority of your skiing off the trail
  • You are purchasing a ski with a significant rocker in the tip

A shorter ski will be easier to turn yet not as stable as a longer ski.

 If you get skis that are too short, you won’t glide like you should. On the other hand, if you use skis that are too long, you’ll struggle to get a good grip.

Cross-country Ski Boot Size Chart 

Secondly, to complete your cross-country ski gear kit, you should get the right fitted pair of most comfortable ski boots, to match your skis and the type of cross-country you will be doing.

Take a look at the size chart below to dial in the right size for you:

Cross-country ski boots come in Euro sizes, making it difficult for non-Europeans to find the right fit. 

It would be very helpful if you get the chance to try on the best cross-country ski boots, if possible.

As a rule of thumb: it’s always better to size down than size up — a boot that’s too loose can cause blisters.

How Should a Cross-country Ski Boot Fit?

Finding the right fit for your cross-country ski boots it’s a key factor in determining how comfortable you’ll be and how much you’ll enjoy your nordic ski sessions.

The shoe size of your cross-country ski boots is going to be similar to your regular athletic footwear fit.

Cross-country boots are made in European sizes, so you’ll need to figure out what’s the European size of your hiking boots or running shoes. 

In order to find the right fit for your cross-country boots you should try them on before buying. It would be great if you have this possibility at a local winter sports equipment store. Try the boots by wearing a thick pair of synthetic or wool ski socks.

Once laced up, stand up and the boot should be snug, but still comfortable around the widest part of your foot. 

You should be able to wiggle your toes to keep them warm. 

A good fit means boots are comfortable and hold your feet solidly in place.

The right fit is different depending on the type of cross-country skiing you’ll be doing:

  • country skiing and skate skiing the toes should just brush the end of the boot
  • other types of cross-country skiing (backcountry) you should have a little more room between your toes and the end of the boots

When trying on classic cross-country boots, it’s a good idea to walk in them to make sure there is no pain in the forefoot where the boot flexes.

When trying on skate skiing boots, try to imitate the skating motion to see if there are any hotspots.

If you have the chance, try visiting a boot fitter. The boot fitting services are the ideal way to make sure you’ll get a proper fit for your cross-country skiing. You’ll get experts’ advice for a customized fit for your own needs.

what size ski boots

Types of Cross-country Ski Boots

There are four different disciplines of cross-country skiing – classic, skate skiing, combi, and backcountry – and each one needs a different kind of boots.   

Let’s take a closer look at each one of them: 

Classic Cross-country Ski Boots

Classic cross-country ski boots

Classic cross-country ski boots offer more flex underfoot, in order to allow you to roll your foot forward when pushing off. 

They are softer than regular boots to provide more freedom of movement at both the push-off and forward extension phases of the classic cross-country stride. 

Classic cross-country boots generally have a wider, more comfortable fit.

Skate Skiing Boots

ski boot conversion chart

For the skate skiing stride, you’ll need better leverage and less twisting – and in order to provide that the skate skiing boots have a rigid sole to help minimize torsional and forward flex.

Skating boots offer more ankle support than those for classic skiing to help protect against the twisting forces involved in the skating technique. 

Combi Nordic Ski Boots

As their name suggests, the combi nordic ski boots are a mix made to be used for both skating and classic cross-country skiing.

These boots combine a natural forefoot flex similar to a classic ski boot with the lateral cuff support usually found on a skating boot.

If you skate ski and classic ski, buying combi boots can be a great way to save money as you will only need to purchase one pair of boots.  

Nordic Backcountry Boots 

Nordic backcountry boots designed for cross-country skiing outside of the groomed slopes. This is the reason why this type of boot features an insulating layer that provides extra warmth and a gaiter that extends over the cuff to keep snow out.

They are quite similar to hiking boots which are adapted to Nordic skiing, built with more durable and resistant material, and made to offer you all-day comfort while skiing in powder.

what size ski boot

Make sure your cross-country boots are compatible with the bindings. Each type of cross-country ski boots are designed to match a specific type of binding, so it’s important to check the compatibility before buying the boots.

Cross-country Ski Boot FAQs

Should I Size up or down for Ski Boots?

When sizing up your cross-country ski boots, you should make sure that they are not too loose. In this case, you’ll get blisters on your heels and toes, caused by your foot moving around in the boot.

So, while you may be able to get away with sizing down a half size with cross-country ski boots, be cautious when sizing up to prevent rubbing your foot against the boots interior part.

It would be great if you have the chance to wear them around the house a few times and make sure they’re not too tight and don’t rub before you get them out on the snow.

Are Cross-country Ski Boots Different?

Cross-country skiing is usually done on landscapes that are gentler than downhill skiing terrain, which could be in the park, golf course, or in forest. You just need snow, you don’t need mountains to be able to practice cross-country skiing. 

The skis are long and skinny and the boots are flexible and designed to attach to the skis via bindings that leave your heels free to lift.

Classic cross-country ski boots are a bit softer and provide the flexibility you need to lift your heel as you slide your foot forward and allow the other foot remaining behind you to flex too. 

That’s why these boots are wider and more comfortable than some other types of men ski boots

what is my ski boot size

Final Thoughts

Once you’ve decided what style of cross-country skiing you need boots for, all you have to do is to choose a boot that matches your ability, zeroing in on the right size and fit. 

This article brought you all the details you need for finding an amazing pair of right fitted boots so you’ll get the most fun playing outside in winter. Also, while getting boots, you might want to look at the best ski boot heaters to keep you warm and comfy out there.

Also, remember learning how to make ski boots more comfortable for your trip will make or break your experience.

Happy Nordic skiing!

Categories: Skiing

Laura Vrabie

My name is Laura Vrabie, and I consider myself a wonderer through this amazing journey called life. I love life in all its aspects, I always see the bright side of things. My love affair with extreme sports started with snowboarding about 15 years ago, in my home town in the Carpathian mountains. But everything changed about 5 years ago when I got to try a water sport that looked so fun, kitesurfing, during one boring summer day. I got totally hooked on the feelings of freedom, joy and pure happiness kitesurfing brought into my life Since then I started to chase summer all year round, following the wind & the waves, living as close as possible to the ocean. This way I got to try and enjoy all kinds of water sports: surfing, wakeboarding, scuba diving, sailing, kayaking. I founded KiteFest (kitesurfing festival & events) as a way to share the love for the kitesurfing lifestyle and to help everybody feel welcome in the riders' community. My quest is to discover and explore the best kitesurfing spots in the world and share them with like minded people. So far I've experienced kitesurfing in Zanzibar (Paje), Turkey (Gokceada, Akyaka, Urla), Greece (Limnos, Ionian Islands, Cyclades Island), Vietnam (Mui Ne), Philippines (Mindoro Island), Dominican Republic (Cabarete, Buen Hombre). And there are so many new locations and adventures on my wish list! I am really excited I got the chance to share in writing the stories and adventures with you, Extreme Nomads readers. I will be happy to guide you through these action sports and help you to enjoy your ride.


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