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A guide to keeping your Nordica ski boots fit for life

Congratulations and thank you for choosing Nordica! Your ski boots are the most important equipment in your kit. They connect you to your bindings and help you drive your skis with precision, power and finesse. They keep your feet warm, comfortable and dry while protecting them from sharp edges and hostile elements. Give them the attention and care they deserve, and they’ll reward you with a lifetime of memories. Here’s how.

 

EVERYDAY USE AND CARE

 

   

1. Save your soles
Your ski boots are made for skiing. Period. Their soles, notably the toes and heels, are designed and manufactured to exacting ISO 5355 standards to ensure their compatibility with ski bindings. Worn out toes and heels can compromise a ski binding’s normal operation and your safety. All Nordica Racing and On Piste boots have classic, one-piece soles that transmit energy instantly between your feet and your skis. Detachable Cat Tracks  can save your soles from wear and tear on rough, abrasive surfaces while making it easier to walk in your ski boots. Always carry a re-sealable plastic bag for storage, as Cat Tracks can and will get messy. Nordica All Mountain and Sport Performance boots have plastic and rubber ISO 5355 toe and heel inserts that can be replaced as needed.

 

2. Think warm, clean and dry
Basic ski boot care is like a great day on the slopes. It starts and ends with warm, clean and dry feet, socks and boots. The key words are clean and dry.

Begin every ski day with clean, dry feet. Most of our sweat glands (circa 250,000) are in our feet. Sweat + cold = cold feet. While sweat, per se, is odorless, sweat + bacteria from dirty feet or socks can quickly add up to smelly feet + smelly socks + smelly boots. A speck of prevention = a pound of cure.

Ski socks, like ski boots, are made for skiing. DO NOT wear them to get to the hill or shovel out the driveway. And only put them on once you’re ready to get into your boots. Ski socks come in different thicknesses or weights and are made of wool, silk or synthetics that wick sweat away from your feet to keep them warm. AVOID COTTON AS IT RETAINS SWEAT. Ideally, you should buy several pairs of ski socks identical to the ones you were wearing when you bought your new boots. Changing to a thicker sock can change how your boots fit and feel. If your feet sweat a lot, apply an antiperspirant or talcum powder before you pull on your ski socks, and change into fresh ski socks at lunchtime. Make sure they’re free of any wrinkles or bunches that may cause pressure points. If you’re skiing consecutive days, wash your socks daily and let them dry overnight, so you’ll always have a fresh, dry and clean pair.

Few things are worse than slipping into ice-cold boots at the start of an otherwise perfect day. Warm, clean and dry feet + ice-cold boots = condensation = cold, wet feet + cold, wet boots. NEVER leave your boots in the car, the back porch or the back of the pick-up overnight, especially if you’re planning to ski in them tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

3. Getting into your ski boots
Skiers can be very particular about how they put on their boots. Some always start with the left foot, others, with the right. Some buckle up. Others buckle down. Old schoolers kick their heels down into the heel cups before they start buckling. New schoolers use the loops on the tongues and/or the backs of the liners to pull their heels into place. Whatever you do, always open the upper cuff and check that your foot is properly seated, the tongue is properly aligned and the overlaps are in place before you start buckling. Buckling your boots with the tongue protruding the overlaps can damage both the tongue and the shell.

The most critical buckles on any ski boot are the one(s) that pull your ankle back into the heel cup and hold it firmly in place. (Buckles two and three on classic, four-buckle, overlap boots and the middle buckle on three-buckle boots with external tongues, such as the Nordica Ace series.) The sooner you close them, the quicker you can dial in your fit.

 

4. Everyday après-ski boot care
At the end of every ski day, towel-dry and buckle up your boots before stowing them in your boot bag.  Wet, dirty boot bags can lead to bad odors, mold and mildew. Once you’re home, get in the habit of cleaning and drying your boots’ liners, foot beds and shells before putting them away. Any moisture in your boots combined with heat can, over time, lead to bad odors, mold and mildew. And nobody wants to deal with that.

 

5. Caring for your liners
Après every ski day, remove the liners and foot beds from your boots so they can dry properly. Here’s how:

  1. - Undo the power strap, unbuckle the boots, and twist the bails away from the hooks.
  2. - Hold the back of the shell with one hand and grab the back of the liner with the other.
  3. - Gently push the top of liner toward the toe of the boot until it pops out of the shell.
  4. - Towel-dry the liner exterior, remove the foot bed and let it air-dry.
  5. - Push the tongue forward and let the liner air-dry.

If you ski a lot, a boot dryer is a great investment. It dries your boots without using direct heat by circulating the air inside them. DO NOT use a hair dryer or leave your liners or foot beds directly on or too close to a heat source. All Nordica Racing, On Piste and top-of-the-line All Mountain and Sport Performance boots have cork liners that are custom molded to your feet. Heating them can ruin that custom fit.

 

6. Caring for your shells
Ski boot shells and cuffs are made of plastic. The type of plastic varies with the type of boot. All Nordica Racing, On Piste and top-of-the-line All Mountain and Sport Performance boots use Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) because of its stiffness and excellent rebound properties when flexed. Boot fitters love TPU because it’s very stable and easy to work with. Softer and more forgiving Polyether keeps manufacturing costs and retail prices down, which is why it’s found in most women’s, intermediates’, beginners’ and children’s boots. TRIAX is an even softer, lightweight plastic that’s easy to work with and is used primarily in making ski boot uppers or cuffs.

For all their strengths, these plastics can degrade when exposed to direct heat and UV rays. NEVER place the shells directly on or too near a heat source that can melt, alter the shape or cause the plastic to become brittle and crumble. DO NOT store your boots under direct sunlight as it can fade the color and, over time, degrade the plastic as well.

After every ski day, wipe down the cuffs and shells, inside and out. Then let them either air-dry or use a boot dryer. If the shell is especially wet after, say, pond skimming, remove the boot bed or Zeppa to check for any moisture. Left unchecked moisture in the shell can degrade the liner and lead to mold, mildew, smelly liners and smelly boots.

 

7. Reassembling your boots
Once the foot beds, liners and shells are dry, it’s time to reassemble your boots.

  • - Make sure the shell is unbuckled and that the bails are twisted away from the hooks.
  • - Place the shell on a solid surface (the floor or your thigh) and hold it firmly in place with one hand.
  • - Holding the liner just below the ankle, insert the toe into the shell and gently push the liner down into the shell as far as you hand will go. 
  • - Remove your hand, tuck it inside the liner and gently but firmly push the liner into the shell until it’s in place.
  • - Use your hand to ‘see’ that that the liner is properly seated in the shell and ready to accommodate your foot.
  • - Tuck the tongue fully inside the liner, so it doesn’t obstruct the plastic overlaps on the shell.
  • - Open the cuff to make sure that everything is properly aligned and in place. Buckling your boots with the tongue protruding the shell can damage both the tongue and the shell.
  • - Tension the buckles just enough tension to keep them closed.
  • - Do up the power straps.

 

APRÈS SKI SEASON CARE

1. Preparing your boots for summer 
At the end of the ski season, wash the shells (inside & out) with hot water and a mild detergent such as dish liquid. DO NOT use harsh detergents or solvents that may harm the plastic. Air-dry the shell. You’re in no rush.

With a damp cloth, wipe down the outside of each liner and the bottom of each foot bed. Let air-dry. DO NOT MACHINE OR HAND-WASH Nordica liners and never use harsh detergents or solvents that may damage them.

Once everything is dry, inspect the shells, liners, foot beds and buckles for signs of wear and tear. Make sure all the buckles work properly, and that all rivets and Allen screws are snug and in place. Replace or repair any missing parts.

2. Storing your boots for summer
Once your boots have passed inspection, place them in a clean, dry boot bag and store them in a cool, dry place. Avoid places (cottage attics and garages) where your boots may be exposed to nesting mice, chipmunks or ground squirrels. 

Ski hard, take care, have fun!

 

 

 

 

Any other questions?

1. ISN’T THIS A BIT EXCESSIVE?
THEY ARE YOUR BOOTS. If you get in the habit, you should be able to remove the liner and foot bed and reassemble a boot in under a minute. Not counting drying times. Now ask yourself, what’s a lifetime of great ski memories worth to you? 

2. HOW LONG DO SKI BOOTS LAST?
Legend has it that Ingemar Stenmark, the greatest Alpine skier in history with over 86 Olympic and World Cup victories, raced his entire adult career in the same boots. Conversely, many skiers and ski pros religiously replace their boots every year.

So, how long should your ski boots last? The answer largely depends on you. How often do you ski? Where do you ski? How much do you weigh? How hard are you on your gear? The list goes on… That said, if you take proper care them, you should get a good, make that a great, 150 days in them before the liners start to break down, the flex starts to soften and achieving a good fit becomes difficult. 

 

 

 

Dave Fonda

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