Technical ski boot features


Now that you know the basics to fitting your ski boots, let’s talk technical details and terminology. Ski boots offer a number of different technical features, both custom and built in, designed to enhance your performance, comfort, and ease of use.  



The ski boot liners in today’s boots have improved vastly even from equipment only a few years ago. Liner are now built and designed to have multiple support areas and provide cushioning and comfort throughout. The majority of off the shelf liners are now heat mouldable.  


This means that during the fitting process in store, liners are specially heated with hot air then re-inserted into the shell. Once the liner is re inserted into the boot and the customer has their foot in the liner, the boot gets done up to ensure a precise moulding of the foot and lower leg. Because the liner material is heat sensitive and soft when heated it fits to the form of the ankle and lower leg, providing a secure and comfortable fit. 





Custom liners ae not just for expert skiers; they provide the highest level of performance, comfort, and support for all abilities. There are 3 main types of custom liners, foam, cork, and heat form.   

Each of these have their benefits but largely, each lend themselves to different styles of skiing.  




Foam liners are ideal for people looking to have a precise fit as the injected foam fills spaces around the ankle and forefoot. When it sets firm, the liner provides a direct interaction between foot, liner, and boot because any space is now eliminated.   

The big advancement in foam liners is that they are now more suited to a recreational skier looking for performance as much as the expert skier. The transfoam liner by SIDAS takes the best aspects of comfort and performance into one liner making it the ideal choice for the majority of people.  



Cork liners are not as well-known as foam liners but still provide an exceptional level of fit, comfort, and performance. Where foam expands to set the ankle and forefoot firm in the boot, the internal cork materials – cork, clay, and oil - allows for the liner to be supple when warm to be repositioned. 

When warmed in store to the right temperature the liner becomes soft, allowing it to easily but securely form around your foot. When on the slope, body heat and the action of flexing the boot causes the material to further refine the fit. Zipfit produce various liners for different uses and level of performance but all have an outstanding fit.  

One of the biggest benefits of a cork liner is that they can be transferred between ski boots when you change models.   



Heat form liners are gaining popularity throughout the industry. Initially heat form liners were only available as an after-market liner, but now the majority of manufactures are incorporating heat form liners and parts of, in their delivered boots. However, the after-market heat form liners offer tremendous comfort, mouldable aspects, and lightweight features. Many full heat form liners such as the intuition have wrap around mouldable aspects and provide a very soft, light flexible liner which sees favour especially with touring boots.   



A ski boot last simply refers to the interior shape of the boot, but for many people it can refer to the width. The most common measurement refers to the width across the widest point of your foot at the fore foot– the metatarsal head. Each manufacture designs their internal shape slightly differently, so two boots of the same Mondo Point size and similar published last, may have a slightly different volume and feel. 



The boot flex is its ability to bend forward at the ankle joint. The paradox of ski boots is that though they need to be stiff to support and provide control, they also need to bend in order to allow skiers to absorb pressure and balance. An indication of how difficult a boot is to flex is usually given by a number ranging from 50 to 150. Racers will tend to have boots 120 and above because they apply greater pressures to boots when skiing whereas recreational skiers are usually happy with a flex of 80-110.   


Remember though each manufacture has its own way of designing boots, and though they may have a similar published flex rating, you will only be able to tell if it is right for you by trying it on. 




The platform inside the boot shell on which the liner rests, usually removable, also referred to by its Italian name, zeppa. 




The lateral angle of the boot in relation to the ski; often confused with cuff-alignment (the adjustment of cuff angle). Boots can be canted inward or outward, usually by grinding the sole at an angle, to give a skier better access to all four ski edges. Usually reserved for extreme alignment issues or high level racers. 




Layer of plastic applied to the boot sole for extra height/leverage. Usually only required in very technical circumstances such as ski boots for racers. 




The portions of the shell's sole that interface with a ski binding. These must meet industry standards for size and are often replaceable in the event of wear. 




The plastic exterior components of the boot, usually comprising two elements: the cuff (or upper) and lower.  




Our boot labs are able to repair many boot problems from replacing buckles to heels and toes - in most cases we can get the parts you need to make your boots good as new. Speak to our boot lab technicians who can provide a guide to services and prices. 




The ability to do cuff alignment is possible on many boots especially in the higher end the models. This feature assists in ensuring that the lower leg sits properly in the boot by being able to slightly adjust the cuff laterally inwards or outwards to make sure that there is not undue pressure and that there is equal spacing around the lower leg allowing the foot to stay in a neutral position. Should you need this sort of adjustment, our boot fitters can assist. 




For sufferers of cold feet, boot warmers may be an option to consider. In most cases these after-market units consist of a small element that sits under the toes and a battery unit fixed to the ski boot. The elements can be fitting to any footbed either custom made or standard issue, and provide a gentle heat to these areas improving comfort and circulation. 




Your power strap is the Velcro strap at the top of your ski boot. Acting as an additional buckle you can tighten this trap to increase energy transmission and control by helping to reduce the gap between your leg and the boot.  




You may see some ski boots with a switch on the back allowing you to switch from ski mode to a walk mode that allows a greater range of motion. You’ll find this feature most beneficial for ski touring where walking up the mountain is often necessary.   




Now you have the tools to begin your search for the perfect pair of ski boots so visit your nearest Snow and Rock store for your personal and professional boot fitting and remember that no one knows your feet and how the boots feel better than you!