The main objective of ski boots is to transmit a skier's leg movements directly to his or her skis. In the beginning of skiing boots weren't even considered ski equipment. Skiers wore everyday winter footwear that were warm and comfortable but provided minimal ankle support and gave a skier no control over his skis.
Today's boots are maximized in comfort as well as functionality. Boots used for skiing are designed to provide support and rigidity to the foot while enabling the skier's leg movements to be transmitted to the ski. Modern trends in design use a high tech, relatively stiff plastic. The boot shell consists of two main pieces of plastic that are hinged together which divides the upper and lower portion of the ski boot. The sole of the boot is stiff and flat at the bottom with a thickness specifically designed to accommodate the binding. The upper portion of the boot may have a Velcro powerstrap for additional support.
The inner boot refers to the lining underneath the shell of the boot. This lining is made of a pliable, cushioning material that provides insulation and a maximized fit. The material used can be a gel or synthetic that molds itself to the foot over extended use or it can be a material that, when heated, provides a custom fit instantly.
Some boots have features designed to enhance adjustment. A cant adjuster allows a skier to change the stance of the boot by changing the angle of the cuff. A forward flex adjuster lets the skier vary the fore-aft stiffness of the boot depending upon the expected or current ski conditions. Experts generally recommend ski boots that have a relatively soft lateral flex.
There are three basic boot types: rear entry boots, overlap boots and mid-entry boots, also called central entry. Rear entry boots are the least expensive but fail to perform to the higher standards of expert skiers and ski racers. Overlap ski boots are considered the most versatile and the one that best performs while mid-entry boots are designed with the convenience of rear entry boots as well as the comfort and versatility of the overlap boot.
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