Getting a pair of boots that fit perfectly is the key to having a good day on the hill.
Having narrowed down a shortlist of suitable boots based on your preferred riding style and features, it’s time to try them on.
First, take an accurate measurement of your foot size. Bear in mind however, that some brands come up longer or shorter than others, so this measurement should only serve as a guide. In the end, how the boot feels is more important than the size it says on the box.
Take note of the width of your feet. Different brands will have a wider or narrower fit, which can make a massive difference to comfort.
Loosen the inner and outer laces completely before trying to put the boot on.
Now slide your foot in, and gently tap your heel on the ground to ensure it’s snugly in place. Be sure to put on both boots, since your feet can be different sizes.
You should already have a sense of whether the boots are the right size. Your toes should very gently brush the end of the inner, without bunching up. You should also feel a little space above them, without any undue pressure anywhere around the top or sides of the toe box.
Next, firmly tighten the inner boot, ensuring the heel is pulled right back into the corner.
Now securely fasten the outer laces, just as you would when riding.
Stand up straight and, keeping your heels flat to the floor, gently bend your knees. If the size is correct, you should feel your toes come slightly away from the end of the inner as you bend.
At the same time, your heel should stay locked in place at the back of the boot. If it begins to lift more than a centimetre or so as you flex, you may need to look for a narrower style or a lacing system that better suits your foot.
Don’t just buy the first pair you try on. Even if they seem to feel good, try on the rest of the boots on your shortlist to see how they compare - it’s amazing how the fit changes from brand to brand.
Don’t be tempted to cram your feet into a super tight pair of boots thinking they will pack out. At best, this process will take several weeks, and at worst you’ll end up in pain. With modern boots, the fit should be comfortable from day one.
If the initial fit is not quite perfect, then some brands offer heat moulding in store. Alternatively, consider purchasing a specialist footbed.