If rental boots are leaving you with sore calves every weekend, it might be time to buy a properly fitted boot for yourself. Women with especially large and curvy calves have an additional challenge when choosing the right pair of ski boots; the common issues of shin bang and shin bite can be exacerbated if your calves are stuck in boots that don't fit. Look for a highly adjustable pair of ski boots and have a professional fitter match a boot to your foot and calf size precisely.
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Skiers need to lean aggressively to carve the best line down the mountain, and this can leave your calves pressing against your rigid ski boot in uncomfortable ways. Calf pain is unavoidable; traversing back and forth down a slope is the best way to control the speed of your descent, and this constant turning can develop serious soreness if you have large calves. If you are a beginner, you are especially susceptible to calf pain, since rental boots are rarely a perfect match for the profile of your unique feet and legs.
The two most common ski boot issues for women are known as shin bang and shin bite. Shin bang is a sharp pain in your lower tibia from the repeated impact of the boot's tongue on your calf. Shin bite is the pain from abrasion; your calves get rubbed by a poorly fitted boot until the skin becomes painfully raw. The best solution to solve both of these boot issues is to make sure your ski boot is properly fitted and adjusted to minimize rubbing and shifting during your run down the mountian.
A professional fitting is your best bet when it comes to finding a ski boot that doesn't rub you the wrong way. Most women's ski boots only come in whole sizes and use a thicker liner to fill the extra space for people who size in between. If you wear a half size normally, look for a whole size above your normal shoe size so the liner will be less restrictive around your calf. A highly adjustable boot upper will be able to wrap your calf securely without being too tight, or too loose around your foot.
If you're still troubled by soreness in your calves, you can use a few methods to reduce your boot's impact points. A silicone or neoprene pad underneath the tongue of the boot can ease the soreness associated with an imprecise fit, and a thick wool sock fills in some of the gaps while preventing painful rubbing. Since wool naturally manages moisture from perspiration, your skin should stay dry, which can prevent chapped calves after a long day of exertion on the mountain.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Blister Gear Review: Boot Fitting 101
- The Physician and Sports Medicine, Ithaca College: Athletic Skin Injuries
- Skis On The Run: Tips for Finding a Ski Boot That Fits Perfectly
- Skiing Magazine: Four Cures for Shin Bang
- REI: Socks for Hiking: How to Choose
- Bulgaria Ski: How To Ski
- REI: Cross-Country Ski Gear: How to Choose
- Dick's Sporting Goods: Layering Winter Clothing