In the past, doing outdoor sports without equipment was considered okay. Yet, in time we have learned that these sports come with risks and that proper sportswear is crucial for safety reasons. Today things have completely changed: shops, in fact, sell all sorts of sporting goods. The problem is sport-specific products can be expensive. So, before buying, people want to know if spending that money is worth it. Since ski gear is one of the most pricey categories, we decided to focus on this sport. Specifically, we are going to analyze how long ski boots can last.
This article is designed to offer straightforward answers and may differ from others you read in the past. In the first part, we will talk about ski boots durability in general. This section is aimed at people who just peek for information, so we will leave all what-ifs behind. Still, we will distinguish between entry-level and premium products. In the second part, instead, we will talk about maintenance. In particular, we will explain:
- How to repair your boots and save some money
- Where and how to store them when the season is over
- How to treat them between ski sessions
Finally, we will discuss which are other factors that can affect the performance of your boots. Furthermore, we will provide tips that will help you figure out when it is time to buy a new pair.
How Long Does A Pair Of Ski Boots Last?
Keeping it short, it depends on the quality of your boots. As we wrote above, ski boots come in a wide range of prices. Typically, you will find:
- Entry-level boots, which cost around $ 200
- Mid-level products, ranging from $ 300 to 400+
- And top-quality boots
Since the latter cost $ 600+, they may look like a spending spree, but they are worth it. What’s a good reason to buy a pair of expensive boots? The fact the materials they are made of guarantee a long life span.
Specifically, when it comes to top-quality boots:
- Liners are made of thicker foam, so they keep their shape for a longer time.
- Shells are made of durable plastic materials. Stiffness is an essential issue in ski boots. Shells have a crucial task, which is supporting your weight when in a neutral position. A soft boot collapses under the weight, causing you to force your muscles. On the other hand, if the plastic is too stiff, the center of gravity shifts back toward the ski tail. In short, you will lose control of your skis and will have a hard time turning. Moreover, since boots will not allow you to bend your leg, you will not be in control over your speed. Moreover, since boots will not allow you to bend your leg, you will not be in control over your speed.
On the web, the durability of ski boots is expressed in skiing days. According to manufacturers, entry-level products life span ranges from 50 to 100 skiing days. If we assume a beginner usually skis for 20 days a year, this means your boots can last up to 5 years. Top-quality boots durability, instead, is 100 ski days. Based on the same kind of assumption, this kind of product can last up to 10 years.
What To Do If A Component Of Your Boots Broke
The first thing that will wear out in ski boots is the one that should keep your feet isolated. In other words, the lining. Boots liners are made of soft material, so they will never last as long as your ski boots do. Generally speaking instead, the life span of this component ranges from 40- and 100 ski days. Keeping with the assumption we made before, this means liners can last up to 5 years.
Telling your liners are no longer performing is easy. First of all, since liners are made of foam, they can tear. As you can guess, once they are torn, they will be useless because they would not perform their isolating function.
Yet, the most important sign is when your boot does not fit like it used to. For example, if you can move your heel, that is not a good sign at all. The good news is this is easy to fix. In modern ski boots, in fact, you can separate liners from the shell. Thus, you can just substitute the worn-out part and save hundreds of bucks!
How To Deal with Other Kinds Of Damages
Of course, boot liners are not the only part that can get ruined with the passing of time. Actually, it is the shells that may suffer the most damage. Let’s look at the possible issues, starting from the least important to the most critical one.
Buckles, for example, can break. At first glance, it may seem like significant damage, but this is nothing you should worry about. Are you wondering about how to fix this? Well, there are two different solutions. If you are an experienced mountaineer or DIY expert, you can buy the missing pieces and replace them. If instead, you prefer to leave it to the professionals, you can go to your favorite ski boots shop and ask them to help you. You will see, your boots will be good as new!
Speaking of ski boots, however, the most dangerous thing is a worn-out sole. To be more specific, a rounded heel or toe. Although all parts of the boot are functional, the sole is the key because it attaches to the ski. More precisely, it is the one that attaches to the boot binding. What happens when a boot does not connect properly to the boot binding, you ask? Being optimistic, you would not have much control over your skis. At worst, you may not be able to free yourself from the ski in a dangerous situation.
Still, there is good news. In the latest generation of boots, in fact, even the sole can be replaced.
When exposed to continuous changes in temperatures, plastic goes under a series of transformations. In particular, in hot weather, these materials tend to expand while they contract in cold temperatures. This is an elementary physical process, and we think we are not shocking anyone. Yet, the problem is your ski boots shells respond to these rules too.
In other words, going skiing consists of moving from a hot environment (the hotel) to a cold one (the slopes). And vice versa. You may not spot any alteration at first, but plastic will deteriorate over time. Unfortunately, there is no solution to this problem. So if you notice the elasticity of your ski boots is compromised, we recommend buying new ones.
If you make intensive use of your ski boots, the shell may crack in some parts, like the toe. Like the previous example, in this case, there is nothing you can do. Cracks would allow snow to leak in your boots, and you will experience hypothermia in no time.
Maintenance – How to Treat Your Boots Right
Of course, there are a few tricks that can help you extend the life span of your ski boots.
The best thing to preserve heels and toes is walking as little as possible on hard surfaces. In short, do not walk from the hotel to the slopes or climb rocky mountains with ski boots on. Or, if you have to do it, remember to attach cat-tracks to your sole. What? You never heard of them? Simply put, they are pegs. Cat-track is made of rubber and is foldable, so you can keep them in the pocket of your ski jacket.
As we wrote above, boots liners are delicate, so you should take them out of the shell after each use. Besides, you should dry them properly. If you wonder what this means, we will tell you immediately: using the hairdryer is the worst idea ever. Liners, in fact, are made of synthetic materials, and if the air is too hot, you may cause damage. In a nutshell, they would buckle to the point they could no longer fit your leg.
A Few More Recommendations
First of all, cleaning the shells after each use is always a good idea. Also, to prevent the plastic from deteriorating, you should store your boots in a cool, dry place. Before storing, check they are not exposed to UV rays. Like temperature changes, UV rays can change the plastic structure, so exposing boots to these rays would mean throwing them away. Moreover, when you do not wear them, you should always buckle your boots. This, in fact, will help keep them in their shape.
Finally, tips about socks. Cotton absorbs moisture quickly and releases it very slowly. So much that a cotton piece of garment can stay wet for hours. As you can guess, moisture damages boots liners, so you should never wear cotton socks when skiing.
Which Are Other Factors That Make Boots Age Faster?
As we mentioned in the beginning, top-quality ski boots can last many years. Yet, there are a few factors that may make them age faster. Below, you will find two examples.
Most people believe that, when you ski, skis are the only thing that supports your weight. Yet, the crucial factor is ski boots. These, in fact, are in charge of transferring your weight to your skis through the bindings. Also, boots are the elements that allow you to have control over skis. In short, the greater the weight, the quicker the boots will wear out.
If you are an experienced skier who enjoys aggressive skiing, you really are putting your boots to the test. What we mean is, if you ski that way, snow has a significant impact on your gear. Thus, you can not expect your ski boots to last 10 years.
How to Tell You Have to Buy a New Pair
Are you still not able to figure out if it is time to change your ski boots? Here is some more advice. You should buy a new pair if:
- They Smell
Smelling is usually caused by the deterioration of boots liners. While, most of the time, you can just substitute this component, in some cases, it is not enough. If liners are sticky, go to your favorite store and buy brand-new ski boots!
- Shells Do Not Respond To Your Standards
Ski boots for beginners usually allow legs to move to some extent. As time goes on, you will get better at skiing, and, eventually, you will even develop your own style. Since advanced skiers have more control over their legs, though, they use stiffer boots. This means that, once you improve, you will have to buy a new pair. And when the time comes, you will have to choose boots based on the correct flex index. Just a suggestion: since each company has its own scale, you should always try ski boots before buying.
When we want to write about a topic, we always check what people can find online. This way, we can figure out whether we need to create an in-depth article or write down a quick overview. We discovered that much information about ski boots life span was missing. For this reason, instead of writing a brief article about how long ski boots do last, we decided to create a comprehensive guide. Hope you enjoyed it!