Do you end up with painful, squashed feet every time you take a ski trip? Have you tried on dozens of boots, but have yet to find a pair that will comfortably fit your sasquatch-like foot size? Well, if the Yeti can have ‘high volume’ feet on a snowy mountaintop, then so can you.
We will do our best to help you find the best ski boots for wide feet. It can be tricky finding ski boots to fit, given the stiff, constrictive nature of the materials and the fact that they are intended to have a tight fit without much extra room in the first place.
For these same reasons, everyone’s ski boot fit will be different, and even more so when you add in other factors like skill level, skiing style and gender.
Manufacturers have to cater to all feet with just a few boot models, so finding the right boot for you will require plenty of research and trying on, preferably with the help of a professional boot fitter.
Things to Consider
As a relatively specialized item of equipment, there are several things you should be familiar with when you are going to purchase ski boots. While size and fit are important, there are other factors which will influence the type of shoe which will suit you best.
The major ones include your skiing experience and ability, the flex/stiffness of the shoe, the type of skiing you will be doing, and what features will be necessary to enact those activities. Let’s have a look at these factors in more detail.
Types Of Ski Boot
Ski boots come in a few major categories these days, with construction and features based on terrain and type of skiing:
- Traditional Alpine boots: These are really just intended to be used to walk you to your skis, than for attached and used on the skis themselves. They are generally stiff, composed of a two-piece shell and cuff, which doesn’t allow for a lot of flexibility but is ideal for classic on-piste skiing.
- Race boots: These are generally stiff boots with thicker shells and oversized power straps to help with high performance and racing speeds.
- Adventure/Off-trail boots: These are a newer invention, designed to cater to increasingly popular sports like off-piste or backcountry skiing and alpine touring. These boots have a cuff which can be detached from the rest of the shell, creating a ‘walk mode’ which gives increased range of movement for hiking and uphill walking. They also tend to have soles with extra ‘grippiness’ for walking over rocks or icy ground.
Flex, Stiffness And Skill Level
Ski boots come in a range of flex levels. The flex of a boots describes the level of softness or stiffness a boot has.
Softer boots are best suited to beginners or recreational skiers, while intermediate skiers should look for a slightly stiffer boot; experts or racers will need a very stiff boot. Flex is measured on a specific scale from 50 (softest) to 130 (stiffest).
A boot with a flex rating of 70 is fairly soft and will make a good starter boot, while advanced skiers might look for a flex rating of 100-120.
Size And Fit
Without a doubt, the boot you should buy is the one that fits you best. Ultimately, you need to forget about style and extra features, and just go with the one that feels most comfortable.
This is especially important if you have large or wide feet which can be hard to fit. Here are some tips for trying on boots:
- Enlist the help of a professional boot fitter. These experts know what they are doing and can make a real difference in finding your final fit. Some high-end boots come with custom shells or liners which can be heat-molded to your foot, using special machinery. You will need a professional to do this for you, and a good fitter can even further stretch or shape a shell to tailor your boot to your individual foot. Fittings can take up to two hours though, so don’t start one if you’re in a rush.
- When looking online or browsing the shops, look at the shoe measurements. Ski shoes are measured by foot length in centimeters, which is then placed on a “Mondo Point” scale. Online conversion charts are readily available for you to check your estimated size. Please be aware that this is only an estimation, however, and does not replace a proper fitting. The width of your foot is also a factor, as this dictates the ‘last’ you will need. The last is basically the width of the boot. A last of 102-106mm is usually aimed toward wide feet.
- Buy the correct gender. Often, women will choose a man’s hiking shoe or trail runner over a women’s model. In the case of ski boots, it’s worth it to buy a pair that has been designed specifically for your gender. The stiff and unforgiving nature of shoes means that they do not ‘break-in’ a whole lot and should be mapped as closely as possible to your foot and calf shape. Women and men have differently shaped feet and legs, and this will become very obvious if you end up in a pair of ski boots that haven’t been designed for your anatomy.
- Wear thin socks when shopping. With liners to keep you warm, thin socks are recommended for increased control when skiing these days, and you should do your fittings in socks similar to the ones that you wear on the slopes.
Ski Boot Reviews: Top Picks
Now that you know what type of boot will suit your needs on the mountain, here are some of our favorite selections. These particular boots may or may not suit your current ski ability, so make sure to check out the related models for similar features with different flex levels.
Tecnica Ten.2 120 HVL
Specific Features: 106mm last width; rigid polyester shell and cuff; polyester shell inside an Ultrafit High Volume liner can be heat molded; EVA Ankle Protector; anatomic footbed; 120 Flex Rating; Bi Material ISO 5355 sole; four micro adjust aluminum buckles; Oversized 45mm powerstrap i-rebound flex adjustor.
Best Use: Advanced skiers, rougher trips, all mountain skiing, large and wide footed skiers.
Description: With a generous 106mm last, the Tecnica TEN.2 120 has been specifically designed for people with large feet. HVL stands for High Volume Last, meaning it’s designed for skiers with large, wide or hard-to-fit feet.
But just because it’s made with a larger fit doesn’t mean it’s a second-rate ski boot. Quite the opposite, this is a long-time favorite among larger footed skiers for its excellent features and ski capability.
The shell fit can be modified with four micro-adjustable buckles to further fine-tune the sizing for foot and calf. The liner is also high volume and includes heat sensitive panels that will mould to fit you as you wear them, by responding to your body heat.
Easy entry and exit are enabled by a tongue pull and a softer piece of plastic in the instep to allow for your foot to move easily. This is a stiff boot designed for heavy duty and expert skiers, with a rigid spine and an oversized power cuff for high performance.
Advanced skiers who have never had a boot big enough for a comfortable trip, definitely try this one out.
Related: Need a wide boot, but don’t have skiing expertise? The TEN.2 70 is a good recreational boot for beginners or casual skiers. It’s similar to the 120, but with a smaller power strap. It also has an i-rebound spine, which includes a metal plate for increased support and flex-resistance.
Head Adapt Edge 90 Mya HF
Specific Features: Adjustable last width (between 102mm and 104m); adjustable 80/90 flex rating; ladies heat-fit liner; thermo-moldable panels, replaceable sole.
Best Use: Intermediate skiers, beginner to intermediate ski runs, downhill skiing.
Description: The Head Adapt Edge 90 is a good choice for beginners or experienced skiers who want a simple boot. This is a comfortable boot which is easy to put on and remove, with a wide fitting toe and ankle.
If you have slim ankles, you may have some issues with lacking support or heel lift, while others will find this to be no problem. The stand-out features of this model are the size adjustability capabilities, such as 4 buckles with micro-adjustability for better shell fit.
Wide-footed ladies will especially appreciate the adjustable toe width, which can be modified by turning a screw on the sole. Although a bit on the stiff side, you can also change the flex by turning a bolt on the spine of the boot, depending on how much flexibility you prefer.
The liner has been molded specifically for women’s calf and foot shapes, with additional thermo sensitive panels which respond to your body heat and sculpt themselves to your individual shape. This makes for easy breaking-in and a comfortable fit.
Another nifty feature is the replaceable sole, so you should be able to get plenty of wear from one pair of boots before they wear out. While this boot may not be have all the bells and whistles of some other options on the market, it is correspondingly more affordable, which is always a factor, especially if you are just starting out.
All in all, this semi-custom boot is a clean, straightforward option which provides comfortable fit for easygoing skiers.
Related: Fellows who are looking for an uncomplicated boot should consider the men’s Adapt Edge 90. With a fit more specific to men’s feet and calf shapes, the generous sizing will suit a wide range of foot sizes, including those with wide feet.
With the same adjustment features of the women’s edition, the Adapt Edge90 is a solid choice for either gender.
Dalbello Kyra 85
Specific Features: Low contour profile cuff; volume adjustable; center balanced rocker stance; Ski/Hike System for additional flex; Specs Flex Rating 85; lightweight dbHylite shell material; Last Width 102mm; Three piece Cabrio Design Architecture uses different densities of material;
Split Fit Tongue; Contour 4 Shell Fit; Independent Dynalink Rear Foot Retention buckle; Three micro adjust F516 Aluminum buckles; pre formed Trufit Sport Lady Liner can be heat molded.
Best Use: Downhill skiing, all mountain skiing, intermediate skiers.
Description: The Kyra 85, brought to us by Dalbello, is a solid choice for female skiers. This isn’t just a rebranded men’s boot; Dalbello have produced a shoe by women for women. Intended for intermediate skiers, these are an extremely comfortable boot.
Although the shell is not custom, it has been designed with Contour 4 technology which involves a molded shell interior that provides extra room in the main pressure points including the toe, ankle, heel and navicular areas.
This C4 shaping goes a long way towards creating a comfortable shell without being fully personalized. This boot generally has a larger toe area to suit ladies with a wider foot, but also a narrower heel fit for extra support. It also has an adjustable cuff, which can be tightened or loosened to accommodate any shape calf (a feature which is only included in Dalbello’s women’s line, not in any men’s boot).
The liner of this boot is the real star of the show, however. It can be fully molded, so whatever customization you lose in the shell is made up for on the inside. The liner is made from insulate foam with a faux fur trim for warmth and an added feminine touch.
Coupled with a split tongue, these shoes are extremely easy to slide on and take off. You can also change the incline of your foot by raising or lowering the heel of the boot, which can improve balance, flexibility and ankle support, depending on your needs.
Additional features like a grippy sole for walking and the ability to change from ‘ski mode’ to ‘hike mode’ make this a good choice for women who are experienced skiers, yet still learning.
Related: There are two other shoes in the Kyra line. If you are a beginner or looking to buy your first pair of ski boots, try the Kyra 75, which is similar to the 85, but lacks the heel incline adjustment feature and the customizable lining. Expert hikers might still like a Kyra shoe, but should look at the Kyra 95.
It includes all of the 85 model’s features, but with a TruFit responsive liner for extra support during more advanced maneuvers.
Salomon Quest Pro 90
Specific Features: Ride & Hike technology; Backbone release; 24mm oversized pivot; articulated sensifit; My CustomFit 3D sport liner; articulated liner; extended rubber sole; waterproof gusset; mini plastic sole; flex: 90; 100mm last; 35mm strap.
Best Use: Intermediate-advanced skiers, downhill skiing, resort skiing, backcountry skiing, off-trail skiing, all mountain skiing.
Description: The Salomon Quest Pro 90 is a new model, brought to market in 2017. According to the manufacturer, this shoe is 20% lighter than other comparable shoes out there, making it one of the most lightweight ski shoes available.
The main advantage of this boot is its versatility; having been designed for both downhill and backcountry skiing, you can pretty much use these for any mountain pursuit you want that has to do with the snow and skis.
The soles are rubber, giving them excellent grip for any walking you may have to do in them, and really help to avoid slips on icy ground.
The adjustable Ride & Hike technology and backbone release give extra comfort while walking and allow for natural movement.
The waterproof gusset will also keep your feet warm and dry, even when walking or skiing in deep snow – a great bonus when you have to wear them on the mountain for hours. Overall, these boots rate very well in terms of comfort, largely due to the 3D MyComfortFit liner which cushions the ankle snugly and mitigates heel pressure.
Unfortunately the Quest Pro 90 doesn’t come with a custom shell, but the three buckles can be used to adjust the fit somewhat. This is a good quality boot, suitable for intermediate skiers with medium to wide feet.
A great choice for people who are thinking about upgrading from beginner-intermediate status and expanding their repertoire to more adventurous ski trips and exploring the mountain in new ways.
Related: The Quest Pro 110 adds a 360 degree custom shell and an aftermarket footbed which can be molded for better fit and comfort, making this shoe perfect for people with wide or unusual foot shapes.
It also has an oversized power strap for better control and force, especially when used with wider skis. This model is quite flexible and has great downhill performance.
Rossignol Alias 90
Specific Features: Easy entry insert; neutral stance; molded PU soft liner; self-shaping tongue; seamless toe box; 90 flex; 104mm last; high calf volume.
Best Use: Intermediate skiers, medium to wide feet and calf, downhill skiing, groomed runs.
Description: The Rossignol Alias 90 is a boot truly made for skiers with a larger build. A 104mm last is the widest that Rossignol makes and will fit many wider feet. The cuff has also been designed to be high volume for a fuller leg shape.
The PU soft liner is custom moldable to your foot shape, which adds to the comfort of this boot. The shell isn’t custom, but has a seamless toe box which claims to mold to your foot after use for a couple of days.
While that may or may not be realistic due to the tough plastic material, it should at least help to eliminate pressure points.
The neutral stance is more upright that many other boots on the market, helping to achieve a more natural feel, more control taking curves, more range of movement and less fatigue.
The easy entry insert makes these super easy to put on and remove, making this a convenient and comfortable choice. A medium flex makes this boot available to intermediate skiers without being unmanageable for beginners with larger feet. If you have struggled to find a boot big enough for your build, these could be the solution.
Related: For advanced skiers, the Alias Sensor 120 boasts the same wide fit, which can be hard to find in your stiffer flex shoes. It also has additional features for high performance, including a power strap.
Atomic Live Fit Lf 70
Specific Features: 2 Live Fit Panels; 35mm velcro strap;3M Thinsulate insulation; Mega Buckles; medium wide toe box (100-103mm); soft flex; flat bottom chassis.
Best Use: Beginner-intermediate skiers, downhill skiing.
Description: Atomic Live Fit 70 is a soft and simple boot, great for beginners to intermediate skiers. Relatively low on features, the stand out aspect of this boot is the namesake Live Fit system.
This involves soft panels on the side of the toe box which stretch immediately to accommodate a larger foot width. Without any custom molding, any foot width up to 106mm can fit into this boot.
Of course, this only helps if your foot is widest in the area where the patch is, but it placed strategically where most people’s feet are at their widest point. If you have particular trouble with fit around your toes, this system is well worth a try.
Mega buckles also allow for some adjustment of cuff size, which is good news for skiers with a larger leg build. The flat bottomed chassis and bronze liner give this boot a natural, relaxed feel. Overall, the soft flex and easy size adaptability of this boot make it best suited to someone looking for an uncomplicated, convenient boot for recreational skiing.
Ski boots are some the toughest pieces of outdoor equipment to get right. Being also one of the most expensive pieces you will have to pay for, don’t make the mistake of buying an ill-fitting pair and ending up several hundred dollars out of pocket.
This is one item where a tiny difference has a huge impact on your comfort, especially if you have troublesome feet. Put in the effort to find a boot which will be wide enough for your feet and calves, even if that means chasing up boots designed specifically for larger feet.
It’ll be worth it when you finally manage to get to the slopes. There aren’t a huge number of wide ski boots on the market; do you think we’ve missed a great-fitting boot? If so, leave us a comment with the details!