Along with the swiftly spreading interest in distinctive training programs for women, there’s a growing trend among manufacturers to design gear and equipment specifically for female skiers. For example:

Boots

For years it was customary in the boot industry to mark smaller models “F” and larger models “M.” However, many companies now make boots shaped particularly for women, who have a narrower ankle, longer toes, a higher instep and arch, and longer calves, which extend farther into boots than a man’s. Hint for a woman shopping for new boots: If they’re too tight around your calf it’s probably because the particular manufacturer is still packaging a smaller-sized man’s boot with a softer inner lining, col
oring the snaps pink, and calling it a woman’s model, rather than offering a design specifically for a woman’s foot.

The key to a good fit is to find the one closest to your own foot. Try at least three different makes of boots when purchasing, regardless of whether the box they come in is labeled male or female. The lable does not ensure comfort. A proper fit does.

One boot-buying technique recommended by the experts at Snow Country magazine is to sample different and smaller sizes, regardless of what the boot salesclerk measured you for. “Make sure,” says Snoiv Country, “the salesperson pulls out the inner boot and fits the empty shell to your foot. This practice provides the most accurate sizing. Even if one size boot seems to fit properly, try the next size down to be sure you’ve found the smallest shell that fits comfortably.”

Try on boots only with the same socks and, if possible, underwear and in-the-boot ski pants that you wear when skiing. The ski shop has a dressing room.

Since many women have difficulty putting forward pressure on their ski tips because they carry more of their weight in their thighs and backsides, it will help to buy a boot with a soft forward flex. Heel lifts, as well as orthotic inserts, can also be used to increase the pressure on the boot tips.

More expensive, but more effective, is to have the boot customized and performance-tuned by a skilled technician. This often means manipulating such things as the foot and the heel height, or adjusting the forward lean and cuff alignment, or even mounting the bindings 1 to 3 cm forward of the mark, to increase pressure on the tips.

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