How to Break in Ski Boots For a First-time Skier

How to Break in Ski Boots For a First-time Skier

You’re excited to wear your new, unique ski boats that are warm enough to give you happy feet. There’s just one problem, you need to break your new boots in. Although wearing your new shoes is easy, breaking them in is not. The process is inevitable and depending on how you break the shoes in, the process will take some time.

The faster you break them in, the faster you will enjoy the slopes. Luckily, here are some tips to help you break in ski boots and hasten the process.

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Breaking In

When you buy new ski boots, you’re bound to feel slight discomfort when you try them on for the first time. This is because they are incredibly sturdy and have not yet formed to the shape of your feet. 

If your feet are hurting too much, it could mean that the boots are too small. Depending on your problem, it’s best to choose another pair of boots or a new liner. If the pain is minor, then it only needs to be broken into. 

Yes, even your new modern liners that are heat molded around your foot will feel the same way. It’s just your body’s way of getting acquainted with your foot. You’ll need to break them in for your feet to be happy.

Reasons to Break Ski Boots In

If you want to feel comfortable in your new boots, then you need to break in the ski boots first. They need to fit nicely around the contours of your feet, and this takes some time. Breaking them in also relieves the pressure on various areas of your feet and ankles. 

If not, you could end up with bunions and heel spurs. Wearing broken-in boots also makes it more comfortable for you to navigate the slopes while skiing carves.

The Timeline

If you’re going the normal way, it’ll likely take about five to six days of skiing to break in a new pair of boots. This is the time that your liner material will pack out and form around the contours of your foot. 

This means that your feet will press and compact the liner of your shoe in specific places during this time. The liner will then spread out and settle into the boot shell. Before this happens, your feet will be too tight in the current boots.

How to Break in Ski Boots

There are two main ways to break in your boots. It’s usually best to do this technique before you set out on your skiing trip so that nothing will hinder your progress while skiing. 

  1. Break them in at home by yourself. 
  2. Use the help of a professional. 

Although the second method is faster, it is not free. Breaking in your pair of boots at home will not cost you money. Here are the steps to follow for both.

How to Break In Ski Boots For the First-time Skier

How to Break in Ski Boots at Home

Stretching your boots in at home is a great way to break them in. Here is the way to do so before you use them with your all-mountain skis.

Walk Around Your Home in Your New Boots

Wearing your new boots regularly at home is a great way to get started on the break-in process. Make sure you wear the boots for at least one hour every night. While doing this, make sure to tighten the boots that you would under normal circumstances. 

Flex the boots back and forth while you have them on and wiggle your toes in them. It’s best to stomp around the house and although it may not be fun, you’ll be able to break your boots in at a faster rate.

Wear Only the Liners

This step is easy and will help shape the foam of your ski boot liner to your foot. While you’re at home, wear your new boot liners like your favorite slipper. You’ll have to pull them out of your boot to do this.

Put The liners Back In

After walking around in your ski boot liners for a bit, it’s time to put them back in your boot and then wear them. But this time, don’t tighten your calf straps. 

Instead, tighten your lower straps and buckles, and then walk around for 10 to 15 minutes. At this point, you should start to feel a little uncomfortable, so loosen your boots to let your blood circulation build up again. Repeat the above steps multiple times until your boot feels more natural because it will mold the boots properly to your feet. 

The heel pockets of your boot will enlarge and hollow out, pulling your toes from your boot front. This gives your feet more ankle range motion in your boot and will make the cross-country skis more comfortable.

Try Using A Shoehorn

You may encounter some difficulty getting on your shoes. If this is a problem for you, a shoe horn should help you get more room in the ski boots. Slip the shoe horn behind your heels to allow them slip into your boot with ease.

Try not to force your feet in too much at this point. If it’s still tricky to wear with a shoehorn, you should get a larger size.

Use Heat Molding

When you buy your new ski boots from the ski shop, ask them if they include heat molding in the package – most shops will. If they don’t or you are planning to order your new boots online, you can also mold your boots at home.

This video will show you all you need to know about safely heating, molding your ski boots at home so you don’t damage it.

Breaking in Your New Boots with A Professional

If you have a shorter period to break in your boots, you should consider using a professional. Sometimes, breaking in your boots at home might not also work fully for you, leaving you with some pain. A professional ski boot fitter will do the trick here.

Whether you can use a professional ski boot fitter or not depends on your boot model. Beginner ski boots, and sometimes intermediate, can be harder to stretch because they are made of softer materials. 

The chances of them getting damaged in the process is high. Expert level and high-end boots are easier to stretch because they are usually made of stronger materials, which means that they can typically handle the force that professional boot fitters will use to stretch your boot shell and alter the shape. 

Here are two common types of boots: a mono injected ski boot and seamed ski boot, where one is easy to stretch with professionals while the other is not.

The Mono Injected Ski Boot

The mono injected ski boot is a type of boot made of only one material or mold. These boots are very easy to stretch because of the material or mold.

The Seamed Ski Boot

If you get the seamed ski boot, you may have to search a bit for a skilled boot fitter willing to try stretching out your type of boot because it features two varying types of seams or plastics in their boot shell construction.

How A Professional Breaks in New Boots

Professional ski boot fitters conduct two steps when breaking in your new boots. First, they heat your boot, and this is usually done by placing your boot in hot water. 

The professional then locks your ski boot into place with a vice or boot press and then applies pressure in various parts of your boot. This pressure causes your ski boot to expand in multiple regions and could mold the heated plastic of your boot fitter to get a more ideal fit for your foot.


If your ski boots need breaking in, that’s because you bought new boots from the store – congratulations! Rental boots do not typically have inner liners that need to mold to the wearer’s feet. Breaking in your new boots will take time and while it’s uncomfortable at first, you should feel great once it’s broken in. 

If you don’t notice any improvement in how your boots feel, especially after a few days of skiing with them, you might have to return the ski boots. At that point, the boots could either be remolded to have the fit adjusted.