How to Break in Ski Boots

You’ve just got yourself a comfortable pair of ski boots and can’t wait to get to the mountains and begin skiing.

But wait! It will take more than a new pair of shiny new boots to go skiing. Ski boots are usually not the most comfortable to wear.

Just like hunting or hiking boots, they need time to conform to your feet. This is referred to as the break-in period.

With ski boots, the period is not easy and it may take longer than you anticipated but when you finally break in the boots, it will be the best experience of your life.

If you don’t take time to break in your new ski boots, you are looking at discomfort, foot pain as well as blisters when you go skiing.

So, no matter how long it will take or how comfortable they may feel, it’s always a bad idea to go skiing immediately after you take the boots out of the box.

Why Do Ski Boots Hurt?

When it comes to comfort, ski boots are never the most comfortable of footwear. In fact, some ski boots are so uncomfortable that you have to deal with constant pain when wearing them.

Fortunately, liner technology and new designs have added comfort to modern ski boots. If the boot fits properly and is well-formed, such boots are not only easy to wear but comfortable.

But why do ski boots hurt in the first place especially when they have not been broken in? Generally, ski boots are sturdy which means that it’s natural to feel discomfort when you wear them for the first time.

Well-fitting ski boots should however not hurt as much. If the ski boots you have purchased are hurting too much, then it means that the size is too small for your feet.

Ski boot pain is usually a result of either a worn-down liner or very tight-fitting dimensions. In as much as you want your ski boots to have a snug and tight fit, consider going for a comfortable fit or a new liner.

How Long Does It Take to Break in New Ski Boots?

Just like other kinds of boots, ski boots need breaking in before you can go skiing. Eventually, ski boots will break in but how long that takes differs.

Generally, breaking in a new ski boot takes about 5 to 6 days during which your feet will compact and press the liner in different areas.

The liner will then spread out to settle into the boot shell which is what makes the boot more comfortable to wear.

When the boot is new, it will feel tight since the liners sit fully in the boot shell and are compact.

Breaking in new ski boots could however take longer than a week depending on what you are doing to break in.

How Do You Break in New Ski Boots?

Whether you have been skiing for years or are new to it, one thing you can’t afford to ignore is the comfort of your ski boots.

New ski boots will always feel tight and if you go out without breaking them in you are looking at painful legs and blisters.

So, always make sure that you don’t buy ski boots a few days before you go skiing. Ski boots need time to adjust to the shape of your feet for a more comfortable fit.

So, how do you break in new ski boots to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible when you are skiing?

Wear them around the house

This is the easiest way to break in new boots and your ski boots are no different. Put on your regular ski socks and step into the boots just as you would when going skiing.

Clampdown the buckles, sink the shins into the tongues of the boots and go over any straps and then start walking.

You can walk around the house or the yard. Ideally, you could also put on the boots and just sit and watch TV for instance.

Breaking in new boots is always a painful and not to mention a long process, so these little time increments can help speed up the process.

For the first few days, wear the boots for 20 to 30 minutes and then increase that time until you can wear the boots for a few hours without experiencing any pain or discomfort.

While wearing the boots in the house will not fully break them in, it’s a good way of getting your feet comfortable.

Wear the liners alone

Wearing the liners is an important step when breaking in the boots. Pull out the liners and wear them alone just like you would a pair of slippers.

This helps the liner foam to shape to your toes and heels. This is one of the most comfortable processes that doesn’t require too much effort.

Put the liners back in the boots

Once you’ve gotten used to wearing the liners outside the boots, it’s time to see how they conform to the feet when inside the boots.

Therefore, put them back in the boots and then wear the boots as you would normally do. Unlike the first step, however, don’t tighten the calf straps.

Rather focus on tightening the buckles and the lower straps. Wear the boots with the liners for about 15 to 20 minutes.

If your feet start feeling uncomfortable, loosen the straps and allow the circulation to build up before repeating the process once more.

Repeating this process allows the boots to mold well to the shape of your feet which adds to the comfort.

The heel pockets will also hollow-out which pulls the toes away from the front part of the boots, adding to the motion range of your feet hence making the boots feel more comfortable.

Tighten the boots

Once you’ve walked around in your ski boots and the lining feels comfortable, it’s time to take it a notch higher.

Tighten the boots going as tight as you can but ensuring that there is no pain and then repeat the first process.

Walk around in the boots whether that is in the house or the yard and see how they feel. If the boots start feeling uncomfortable and tight, loosen them and repeat the initial process. Do this until the boots feel natural when you wear them.

Consider using a shoe horn

If getting the boots on is still not easy, consider using a shoe horn. Shoe horns are designed to slip behind your heel so that the boot can glide on easily.

Shoe horns made for ski boots are usually longer and sturdier making for not only quick but hassle-free insertion.

The only thing you need to ensure is that you don’t apply too much force when doing so. If the boots are still hard to put on even with a shoe horn, you need to get boots that are a size up.

Test the on the mountains

Once the break in process has started at home, it’s time to see how the boots behave on a real ski trail.

Before you head out, you must ensure that the boots are warm before you put them on. Ideally, warmer boots are easier and more flexible to open up than cold boots.

You can warm up the boots by keeping them near a fire or your car’s heater. Once they are heated up, put them on.

You may feel slight discomfort or hot spots that may feel like the boot doesn’t fit properly. Start skiing and see if that will change.

If the boots still need more breaking in, you will find that you will need to take breaks after a few runs. If there is a lot of pain, you might want to repeat the processes from the beginning.

Can You Get A Professional to Stretch Your Ski Boots?

Sometimes you may have bought the best fitting boot and gone through all the stages of breaking in your new boots but the boot still feels uncomfortable.

In such a case, you might want to seek the services of a professional to help stretch the boots for a more comfortable fit.

Whether your boots can be professionally stretched depends on the type of boot you have. Beginner and intermediate ski boots are made of softer materials.

Stretching such boots, therefore, is difficult since there is a high chance that you may ruin them in the process.

High-end ski boots on the other hand are easier to stretch since they are made of much stronger materials.

Professional boot fitters use force to stretch the shell of the boots so as to alter the shape for better and proper fit.


Ski boots are designed for a tighter fit and they may, therefore, not be the most comfortable to wear right off the box.

They need time to break in something that can take anywhere between a few days to a week or more depending on the materials. The easier way to break in new boots is to wear them around the house for a couple of hours every day before testing them on the mountain. The process may not be easier and may take longer than you expected but once you break in new ski boots, you are looking at a comfortable and unforgettable skiing experience.