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Narrow Feet? Here’s What the Boot Doctor Recommends

Professional bootfitter Sam Tischendorf outlines special fit considerations for skiers with narrow feet.

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Outside+ members get exclusive access to SKI’s “Ask the Boot Doctor” column. Join Active Pass to get expert advice on all things ski boots from professional bootfitter Sam Tischendorf. To submit your ski boot questions or concerns to the Boot Doctor, email her at editor@skimag.com.

 

Q: I’m in the market for new ski boots to fit my very narrow feet. I’m a competent Midwest skier, female, early 70s, ski maybe 10 times a year. What can you recommend? – Linda K. 

Anyone with a narrow foot should look for a ski boot advertised as a “low volume” fit (often shortened to LV in the ski boot model name). A low-volume ski boot will have a 98mm or lower last measurement.

Last measurements indicate how narrow or wide a ski boot is in the toe box and are taken from a ski boot in a 26.5 size. As the boot size increases or decreases, so does that last measurement. So a 25.5 size boot might actually have a 96mm last if the boot model advertises a 98mm last.

Read up: How to determine your ski boot size 

A low-volume boot is a good place to start, but another factor skiers with narrow feet should consider is their instep height. This measurement determines how much height you need from floor to ceiling in the midfoot of the ski boot.

Other Ski Boot Fit Considerations for Narrow Feet

  • Instep height: This measurement also determines what volume boot you need
  • Flex: Low-volume boots can be stiffer; make sure to find a low-volume boot with an appropriate flex for your skiing style

If your foot is very narrow and your instep measurement is several sizes smaller than the length of your foot—which is often how bootfitters calculate low volume—then you may need to size down in ski boot size just to get a good fit through the midfoot. So if you measure for a 24.5 ski boot size, you may need to size down to a 23.5 to get to the right volume. A bootfitter may then be able to stretch the boot to fit more comfortably for length.

You very rarely see a foot with a high instep and a narrow forefoot, but if that’s the case, a bootfitter would fit the boot to the instep so as not to cut off circulation in the foot. If that means finding a bigger boot size, a bootfitter might have to add some padding to fill space around the slender portion of your forefoot.

Being more of a mature skier at 70 years old, you probably wouldn’t like a race boot. Those boots often do fall in that super low volume category, but they’re thick and stiff. You might not need that much stiffness out of your boot.

Luckily, race boots aren’t the only good low-volume options anymore. Manufacturers are getting smart these days and making low-volume boots in a softer flex profile. You can now find narrow/low volume boots with flex ranges between 85-115.

Related: The Best Women’s High-Performance Ski Boots of the Year

So all things considered, skiers with narrow feet should start with a low-volume ski boot and then determine what size and flex is most appropriate to their skiing style and physical stature.

Best Ski Boots for Narrow Feet

Some of the lower volume boot options on the market come from Tecnica or Salomon. The Atomic Hawx Ultra boot may also be a good fit. Among these brands, there are still multiple model options with different flex and fit profiles.

As always, the best way to find a ski boot that truly fits your foot is to work with a good bootfitter. Don’t buy your ski boots online, especially if you have special fit considerations like a narrow foot.

Sam Tischendorf is one of the very few professional female ski bootfitters—or as she likes to say, professional feet ticklers—in the industry. She currently works at Bootdoctors in Telluride, Colo., is a member of the Masterfit University teaching team, and collaborates with Blizzard/Tecnica on the Women To Women gear project.

More ski boot advice from the Boot Doctor

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