Boots: Glossary of Terms

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(SKIING Magazine by Rick Kahl, Adam Hirschfield and Tim Sweeney)--Sometimes we get a bit techie explaining stuff like how the overall volume and last of a boot is large but the toe box is narrow, and how the lateral support is solid, which, combined with the flex pattern, makes a boot quick edge to edge. You got all that, right? Here's a short glossary of terms just in case.

Arch: The curve in the bottom of the foot. Also, the area of the boot under the arch of the foot.

Cant Adjustment: A mechanism that aligns the boot cuff to the leg, centering the leg in the cuff, to counter the effect of being bowlegged or knock-kneed.

Cuff: The top part of the boot that wraps around the lower leg. Many women's models are scalloped at the top to accommodate a large or low calf.

Flex Pattern: How easily and how much a boot bends fore and aft.

Forefoot: The area above and including the ball of the foot.

Instep: The arched top of the foot in front of the ankle.

Last: The interior shape of a boot shell or liner.

Lateral Support: The amount of side-to-side rigidity supplied by the boot. Along with the flex pattern, this determines how the boot transmits foot and leg movements to the ski.

Shell: The (usually) hard plastic outer layer of the boot.

Toe Box: The very front of the boot, where the toes reside.

Volume: The amount of room in the boot.