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One could hardly be blamed for thinking that a simple task like putting on a pair of ski boots is not a tough job. However, for a majority of skiers, it is something that they can’t really wrap their heads around, and end up making a blunder or two that puts their performance at risk.

Most of the time, skiers go with the general technique of just sticking their foot in the ski boots wrong, and if it hurts or if their heel wiggles about awkwardly inside… then so be it! That is simply the wrong energy to start your ski day with.

A lot of newbies think that their beginner ski boot fit should hurt, and eventually, the pain goes away once their foot gets used to the shape and the feel of the boot.

Let me tell you guys… that’s not right! Buckling your ski boots shouldn’t hurt or give you any discomfort. And if it does, then you’re fastening your ski boots wrong.

Here’s how to know if your ski boots fit properly or not.

How to Buckle Your Ski Boot – a Step-by-step Tutorial

ski boot buckles
  1. Start off by unbuckling all the straps and buckle flaps of the boot. Especially the power strap at the top of the boot.
  2. Now, you will need to open up the boot so you can slip your foot inside easily. You can do that by pulling the tongue loop of the ski boot up and away from yourself.
  3. For actually inserting your foot into the ski boot, you will need to observe a sort of ski stance and not a seated position. While standing upright, place your foot in the boot, sliding your toes in first and heels last.You might face some difficulty in this step but do your best to angle your shins forward and your legs in a manner that molds your foot properly to the shape of the boot.
  4. Once your foot is inside the ski boots, pull at the tongue to get the top of the boot adjusted on your shins. The tongue should sit comfortably against the front of your forefoot, and the buckle flaps should overlap correctly.
  5. Now, abandon your ski stance and stand up in the correct position with your heel angled towards the ground and your toes pointed slightly upwards.
  6. Fasten the power strap until it’s not loose. But do not buckle it all the way.
  7. Start buckling your ski boots from the top buckles and make your way down (all the while making sure your power strap isn’t tightened fully).
  8. The top buckles should have a firm snap to them once fastened. Do not struggle to tighten them to the maximum; that will only hurt your foot.
  9. The second buckle from the top is the important one as it stabilizes your heel in place inside the ski boots. So make sure you adjust it with keeping that in mind.
  10. Now, tighten your power strap along the same tightness that you adjusted your top buckles with.
  11. Lastly, flex forward and adjust the lower buckles. Don’t crank those lower buckles too much, as that can slightly deform the plastic around the area. This is a clear indicator that you’re fixing them too tight, which could constrict blood flow in your feet. Make the lower buckles feel snug, not tight, against your feet.

Tips on How to Buckle Your Ski Boots Properly

Now that you are clear on all the steps needed to buckle your boots properly, there are some additional tips and advice that you must heed for the optimum experience.

Wear One Sock Only

how to buckle ski boots

Have you ever heard of the two-sock system? It is downright ridiculous, so if you haven’t, then consider yourself lucky! A lot of skiers think they will make their feet colder if they wear only one sock.

When in reality, only one quality sock is needed for you to keep both your feet warm and comfortable in the boots. Layering two socks on your feet could lead to the blood circulation being cut off, and in turn, your feet will get way colder. So, what’s the point, really?

Look into some high-quality ski socks that have proper wicking properties and are padded at the heel and toe. It’s a wonder what one right sock will do for you on the slopes.

Another important point to keep in mind is ensuring only your ski socks are placed in the boot. That means don’t try to stuff the hem of your thermals in your boots, as that could burden certain pressure points on your shins and calves.

Keep Your Boots Warm Before Putting Them On

boots with straps and buckles

Yes, these boots are meant to survive in the coldest of temperatures, but when it’s time to fasten all the buckles and slip your feet comfortably inside, they need to be cozy. Use a ski boot heater to warm your boots.

With a warm boot, you ensure that you can flex forward easily, fix every velcro strap effortlessly, and, more than anything, start off your ski day with warmer feet.

Unbuckle All Straps Before Slipping the Boot On

how tight should ski boots be

I mean… this just goes without saying! It’s like trying to pull on a pair of sneakers with the laces all tied up. But, not every one of us is an experienced boot fitter, so we are susceptible to making mistakes.

Remember to unbuckle all straps, as any pre-adjusted straps would make it difficult for you to slip your foot in and flex forward during and after wearing.

Pull Your Boots on the Right Way

boots with buckles and straps

Start off in a sitting position. Keep the boot’s tongue forward and to the side. If your foot still doesn’t slide in fairly easily, make sure the boot’s warm and you’ve tried opening it up as much as you can.

After your fit is inside the boot, double-check to ensure that the tongue is resting against the inner side of your ankle and your ski sock isn’t rolled up anywhere.

Once the tongue is fixed at the right spot, stand up, and stomp on the ground with your foot in the boot to slip it in place. Make sure the toe pointed at the front is up at a 45-degree angle.

When you buckle your boots, always make a habit to start from the top and make your way down. When you tighten all buckles to your preferred liking, make sure the boot feels snug and not suffocating. There are additional pressure points at the sole of your foot that could unknowingly be pressed upon and cause you pain.

Don’t Give up Easy

Ski boots fit a little tougher than other types of footwear. They’re not like summer sandals that you can see if they’re in your right size and… sold!

No pair of ski boots are perfect from the get-go! Sometimes your toes pull slightly, there’s a bit of discomfort when you wear only socks with it, the boot forward is too bulky or heavy… the list goes on.

ski boot buckle extenders

There are different techniques that every boot fitter knows of, which can help you adjust and buckle your boots to the perfect fit and at the correct angle. If you feel like you’ve made a good choice but there are some adjustments needed, pay a visit to a good boot fitter, and they’ll find you the perfect solution.


There’s nothing too tough about buckling your ski boots. The most important part is ensuring that the boot doesn’t feel suffocating and doesn’t constrict your blood circulation. Take it as a rule of thumb that if you are wrestling hard to fit your heel in or tighten the buckles… then you’re overdoing it.

Go easy on yourself!

Categories: Skiing


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