Boots: Going Toe to Toe


(SKIING Magazine by Helen Olsson) — You can never have enough shoes; every woman worth her Jimmy Choos knows this. For skiers, boots are an equally important item in the wardrobe. But here, when we talk about the importance of volume, it’s an issue of fit, not fetish. The volume inside a boot needs to match that of your foot. And a perfectly fitting ski boot will have you skiing happily ever after.

To help make the fit perfect, boot manufacturers take into account the anatomical differences between the average woman’s foot and the average man’s foot. We’ve illustrated below how the design of women’s boots compares with unisex (read: men’s) models. One caveat: Feet vary widely in shape, and if your foot (and lower leg) is not average, a women’s boot might not be right for you. The only way to know for sure is to head to your local ski shop and spend some time clomping around in different boots. That’s right, girlfriend — you need to go shoe shopping.

-The shell and liner on a unisex boot are higher and arched to suit the long lower legs and svelte calves of the average man.

-Both boot shell and liner are lower and scalloped at the back, because women’s lower legs are often shorter and their calves are often larger than a guy’s.

-The shell is softer flexing so women don’t need Schwarzenegger quads to bend the boot.

-Boot graphics are like avian plumage: Men’s models feature flashy colors like red, orange, and yellow.

-The colors on boots for women are more understated: silver, gray, and pearl.

-The heel and ankle pockets are narrower to accommodate a woman’s dainty back of the foot.

-Many women’s boots feature materials like cozy fleece or temperature-regulating Outlast to help keep cold feet warm.

-Some women’s boots feature heel lifts, which are designed to address a woman’s lower center of mass. They tip a girl forward, making it easier to pressure the front of the ski, and thus easier to turn. A bonus: The heel lift can help keep the heel snug.