How to replace ski boot liners

How to replace ski boot liners

After many days on the slope, ski boots begin to “pack out”.  This means that the padding of the liner has been compressed.  The volume of padding can be far less than what you started with.  Now your once snug fitting boot is a very sloppy fitting boot.  A good tight fit in a ski boot is very critical for top performance while skiing.  Replacing the liner is an easy fix.

Before spending money on a new liner, ensure that your shell doesn’t need to be replaced.  If you spend a lot of time walking on concrete or rocks to get to the lifts, your toe plastic is likely to be worn down.  If the toe piece (or heel), tapers to a quarter of an inch on one side, it is considered to be unsafe for use by the binding manufacturers.  Some boots come with replaceable heel and toe pieces.  (This is definitely a feature worth looking for in your next purchase.)  If they are not replaceable, the shell is garbage, and it’s time to buy new boots.  As long as you keep your heel and toe in good condition, by avoiding walking on hard surfaces, the shell of your boot can last a life time.  The liner, however, has a life span.

To remove the old liner, hold the back of the boot shell with one hand, grab the back of the liner with your other, and pull them apart.  Now you’re ready to track down a new liner.

The first question to ask yourself is how much money are you willing to spend?  Without a doubt the best option is a custom liner, but they are not cheap.  Surefoot is a very reputable shop if there is one near you.  Custom boot fitters take a generic moldable foam liner and heat it in their oven until it’s very pliable.  While still hot, they assist you in sliding your foot in and crank the buckles down.  After they are sure the fit is perfect, you walk out with a boot built precisely for the contours of your foot.

If you are more concerned about your wallet than a custom fitting liner, your best bet is still likely to be these fancy boot shops.  People buy brand new boots and immediately purchase the custom liners.  They typically have no use for the stock liners that came in the boot, so the boot shop throws them in the back storage room.  It may be in your interest to shop around for a bit, displaying interest in a big dollar purchase, and becoming friendly with the boot man.  Then ask what happens to the stock liners people replace with their new custom ones.  Chances are, if they have your size, it will be an incredible bargain.

You can call the boot manufacturer and ask about replacement liners.  Most boot companies are based out of Europe.  Currently the Euro value compared to the dollar, makes anything imported very expensive.        

When replacing liners, the brand name doesn’t necessarily have to be the same.  As long as the size is right, and the height of the liner is sufficient, mismatched brands is not an issue.

If you buy a new stock liner, start the toe of the liner into the shell.  Then grasp the back of the boot in the Achilles area with your thumb on one side, and fingers on the other, and push into place.  Don’t forget to swap out the foot bed from your old boot if it is one you are fond of.  At this point, you must test out the new liners.  So go skiing.


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