From straight skis to curved skis to trick skis, the equipment used for downhill skiing is always changing. If you're getting a new pair of boots to go with a pair of skis you already have, your best bet is to bring your skis with you, to ensure you'll have a pair of bindings that will be compatible with your skis. When you do that, you should be able to have the shop adjust your boots to your bindings. You can also do this yourself, but keep in mind that a professional knows how to adjust everything so it's the safest setup possible for your skill level.
Note the boot sole length of your new boots. If you just bought them, ask the retailer for this number, or look for a number on the bottom or side of the boots, indicating their length in millimeters.
Place the skis on a surface that will allow the brake to lie below the plane of the ski. The brakes are located on either side of the heel portion of the binding, and typically have black rubber or plastic at their ends, which sticks down below the rest of the ski. If you don't have a ski table onto which you can place your skis, you can use a set of saw horses or two tables -- you'll just need to make sure to hold onto the skis while you work so they don't move around.
Press down on both bindings' heel levers to open the back binding.
Slip the front of one boot into the toe piece of one binding, and then press down. If the boot does not slide into the back binding easily, you will need to move your binding's opening wider or smaller to fit the new boot. If the boot seems too narrow or too wide for the toe piece, you will need to adjust the toe width as well.
Adjust toe width, if needed. Insert a screwdriver into the screw at the side of your toe binding, and turn it counterclockwise to loosen it. Loosen it slightly and then place your boot into the toe piece of the binding to test the width compatibility. When the toe piece is wide enough for the boot, turn the screw clockwise to tighten it.
Adjust binding length, if needed. Slide a screwdriver under the piece of metal at the back of the back binding, and then lift up gently to slide the binding forward or backward. You should see a millimeter indicator near that piece of metal; use that indicator to slide the back binding forward or backward to match the millimeter length of your boots. Be sure to use this marker, as it will account for the extra space needed between your boot and the front of the toe binding. When you're done, tap the screwdriver on top of the metal piece to secure it in its down position. In some cases, you may not have this metal piece, but instead may have a set of screws that need to be adjusted in order to move the binding forward or backward. Whichever method you use, repeat the adjustment action for both bindings.
Press down on the back lever of your heel bindings to open the bindings. Place your boots in the toe binding and snap the boot into place. If you have adjusted your bindings accordingly, your boots should fit into the binding.
- Your ski boots should also be adjusted for your height, weight and skill level so they come off the boot should you crash -- but for your safety this should be done by a professional ski-binding technician. You can have this done at any ski shop and many rental locations. If you insist on doing it yourself, use a DIN chart to find your DIN, and then turn the DIN screw at the front and back of your bindings to the corresponding number.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.