How To Hike in Ski Boots - Tips For Back Country Skiing
Author: Efrain Silva
How do I hike in ski boots comfortably?
As many experts have agreed unilaterally, if you’re wearing a pair of regular ski boots, with no other footing options, the secret is to NOT hike OVER 2-3 hours in those boots. These types of boots are best for short hauls, respectively. So keep the trek “simple and sweet”, if you can; otherwise, you may burn yourself (and the boots) out before your time.
However, there’s more. Higher - quality ski boots can offer greater comfort on the trek. Let’s explore further some other aspects, shall we?
Hike in Boots That Have the Best Features
Now, when you’re hiking in the back woods (or wherever your next great adventure should take you), perhaps the best piece of advice to follow is likewise this: If the boot has all the latest perks, features, gadgets, etc., then it might be suitable for any length of hike (even if past the 2 - 3 hour mark, respectively). So, then, what are some features that good ski boots should have? I knew you were going to ask that next…..
There are a few elements to note here when shopping for all the right ‘features’. And you should note them down and remember them when you browse online or in store. And these, of course, are as follows:
The Liners These tend to be the most comfortable feature, among entry - level boots, as many argue. Different types of material foams are known to comprise these liners. In certain areas of the boots, they’re known to be thicker. Likewise, in others, they’re thinner.
The Flex Ratings 130 is a solid flex rating. You’ll find pricier boots of greater quality offer this. A better transfer of power and control while in motion, in addition to a greater stiffness and traction, are what a good flex rating like this can provide.
The Overall Width The width of the boot is a factor not to overlook. Wider boots typically cost less; it’s a known fact as narrower selections are usually pricier. If you think about it, it costs brand sellers a bit more to offer greater selections of widths per length to choose from. As such, models that cost less tend to default themselves to using wider molds. Such molds are able to accommodate more types of feet, all in all.
The Soles Themselves Lower - priced boots have lower - quality soles, which tend to be comprised of merely a thick plastic (the same that a ski boot in this price range is typically made of altogether). However, invest a little more into a mid - range pair, and you’ll instead find that its soles, offering dual - density, you get even greater traction. How? Well, right beneath the PU, you’ll find that there’s been included an additional layer of rubber (which is also much ‘grippier’). You can even walk in pavements better with this type of sole.
The Shell Most ski boot shells are made of Thermoplastic Polyurethane, a material more commonly referred to as TPU. Thankfully, it’s not hard to make or produce in mass quantities; as such, it’s both inexpensive and also quite durable altogether. This all aids in properly locking your feet in place, and leaving them as such, as you maneuver around (whether descending those snowy slopes or hiking up a regular turf terrain — either way, the TPU does its job well). And the problem with using pre - owned boots, in this case, may be that the TPU has been worn down with use. As best you can, avoid any back - country skiing or hiking using pre - owned boots or those with noticeably worn - out TPU.
Other ‘Add - Ons’ & Extra Goodies Extra - luxurious, higher - priced boots can often come with electric heaters, as one perfect example. These keep every toe warm. On blizzard - cold ski days at or below zero degrees, believe me, it certainly helps!
Costs of Owning Ski Boots?
Brief ‘Buyer’s Guide’ to Get You Started
Many tend to ask, “Is it worth the cost?”
Absolutely! In fact, if you’re looking to save money long-term, then put down as much as you can afford into a solid build: great traction, durability, stability, and especially comfort. With this, you can’t go wrong; you alone decide how much you can, or want, to spend — no right or wrong budget. But be wise about it.
For entry - level cost ski boots, you can expect to drop around $200 - $400 and not much less, given the boots are purchased in brand - new condition (it’s not suggested to buy them used, unless your budget is truly in a pinch). Go one level up in quality, and you’ll find yourself at the mid - range cost, which stands anywhere from $400 - $600. However, if you want the cream of the crop, then you’re looking at a solid price range of $600 - $800 before totally breaking the bank (unless you’ve got the money, as countless online private sellers will try to get you to buy their boots for much more than that, depending on the retailer). Keep in mind that if you order internationally, shipping and other handling taxes might cost a bit more, especially if the initial MSRP price on the boot is higher. For instance, for boots at $1,000 or more, expect to pay $27 or more on import / export taxes, sales tax and shipping alone; in either case, major third party sellers like Amazon and Ebay would be your best bet toward this end.
Related Questions - Properly Caring for Your Ski Boots? (Perhaps Before or After Each New Hike)
If your ski boots include the amazing “walking mode” (as several do), take advantage of it as much as humanly possible! This not only makes it far easier for you to walk, but it also ‘upps’ the flex in your boots.
The soles, you will find, are what most quickly deteriorate on those boots. And this, naturally, is unpreventable. It happens as a result of simply walking around in the boots. But not to worry; there are a few tips to keep in mind for preventative maintenance….
Keep in mind. Sidewalks, asphalt, gravel, and such types of structures should be avoided when walking in “walking mode”. To add, if you can, get some cat tracks. These could be a big help.
Related Questions - Ski Boot ‘Life Span’?
50 - 200 entire days of all - out skiing, experts claim, are typically what you’ll be able to get out of your ski boots: That is, of course, considering you’ve purchased them brand - new. So to break this down a little further, say you ski 20 days out of the year (eg. 20 ski days).
That means you’re looking at anywhere from two - and - a - half to ten years of continued usage, respectively…..
More on the Life Span
After hitting that golden “10 - year mark”, your ski boots may still work well, in many cases. They are likewise, for the most part, still considered to be “modern”. Yet they may not give the best performance, certainly not as before, and you will more than likely find yourself working a bit harder on the upslopes (when walking back up the snow after a good ski drop, or even when hiking in general through “walking mode”, etc.) / downslopes (leverage and control, braking, slowing down or altering speed, etc.). Of course, the choice is yours, but it’s always suggested to invest once more at this point.
In a nutshell, make sure the boots are a good, snug fit. Make sure they (and you) move comfortably, especially if you’re planning on hiking all day long in them (or anything above 3 hours, per se). Determine your budget, preferably not under $200, to avoid sacrificing quality; you want to save on cost, if you can, but definitely aim for long - term quality and comfort. That is the key here. Check before buying —- ask about the liners, flex, shell, width and length of each boot, and any other features it may boast of. And when you’re well - prepared, keep all this in mind as you hike up those dirt roads!