Sure you’ve heard of flex, but do you know what it means? Flex rating for ski boots is an important thing to know so that you can use it to your advantage. Having the right ski boots can make a tremendous amount of difference when it comes to your performance on the slopes. Using the right type of flex will make turns easier and allow you to exert more control over the skis. Or, if you want to increase the amount of flex and make your boots a little softer, you can experience more comfort and ease as you explore skiing as a beginner.
We get it, flex is kind of confusing at first. That’s why, in this article, we’ll let you know what flex is all about—what the ratings mean, what they’re based on, and how you can use them to improve your performance.
Having the Right Boots
Ski boots connect your body to your skis. So yeah, they’re pretty important. Finding the right boots is a crucial part of preparing for a ski trip—and should be one of your top priorities. When it comes to finding the right boots for you, you’ll also want to explore boot flex to see what’s best for you.
Boot flex will play a big role in not only comfort, but also performance. It will be dependent on things like your weight and height, as well as how advanced you are as a skier. Personal preference will play a big part in finding the right flex for you but flex rating for ski boots will also really help.
Flex Rating for Ski Boots: What do the Numbers Mean?
If you remember one thing about flex rating, it’s this: a higher flex rating means a stiffer boot. However, it’s also important to note that flex ratings for ski boots are not determined by an industry-standard. One “soft” flex boot could be totally different from another brand’s “soft” flex. They’re not exact, but will give you a general idea of what to look for when shopping for boots. In the end, though, it’s recommended that you do your own flex tests when you try them on in the shop.
Boots with a soft flex are cozy and warm. These are best for beginners or skiers who stick to the well-groomed blue and green runs. One thing to keep in mind: a softer flex makes it a little harder to control the ski. If you’re looking to improve your performance, try a boot with less flex.
Boots with a medium flex are better for intermediate skiers, those who are ready to graduate from soft flex. As these boots will be a little firmer, you’ll be a little more responsive when it comes to turns and control at high speeds. If you’re ready to explore blue and black runs and ski on ungroomed snow, try medium flex.
Ready for some advanced skiing? Try some stiff flex boots. These will be way more responsive than boots with softer flex. If you’re confident and ready for peak performance (while compromising some comfort), stiff flex is the way to go.
Flex Rating – Women’s
- Elite: Super stiff (120-130)
- Expert: Very stiff (110-120)
- Advanced: Stiff flex (85-100)
- Intermediate: Medium flex (65-80)
- Beginner: Soft flex (50-60)
Flex Rating – Men’s
- Elite: Super stiff (140-150)
- Expert: Very stiff (130-140)
- Advanced: Stiff flex (110-120)
- Intermediate: Medium flex (85-100)
- Beginner: Soft flex (60-80)
What to Consider When Determining Flex Rating for Ski Boots
There are a lot of factors that go into the flex rating for ski boots. Typically, a softer flex boot is better for freestyle and freestyle skiers as there’s more movement to allow them to practice different techniques. Experts will want a stiffer flex which will give them more control.
1. Men and Women are Different
Generally speaking, women need a softer flex—simply for the fact that they’re generally smaller and, as a result, lighter. There are obviously some exceptions to this rule but if you’re just starting out with experimenting with flex, you may want to keep this in mind.
2. Height and Weight Play a Role
This makes perfect sense but a taller, larger person will put more weight on a boot than a shorter and smaller person. That said, a heavier person will want a boot with a higher flex rating.
3. It’s All About Personal Preference
Boot ratings can only get you so far. At the end of the day, the type of the flex that suits you will be based on your personal preference. So go ahead, try it on and see how it feels. In the shop, the plastic components of the boot will be a little warm and more flexible than they would on the slopes. Make sure that you’re able to comfortably bend the boot while putting your weight on one leg.
4. Consult a Professional
If you’re really hoping to optimize boot flex and find the right flex for you, don’t be afraid to ask for help. A boot fitter or podiatrist will have the knowledge and experience to guide you in the right direction.
Finding the Right Flex
Hopefully, after reading this article you feel more confident about flex rating for ski boots. You now know that flex is very important, especially when it comes to performance. Just to recap, flex ratings are based on gender as well as height and weight. You’ll want to choose based on where you currently are as a skier. If you’re just starting out, a softer flex will be better. If you’re more expert, you’ll want something stiffer—although the boots might not be as comfortable.
It’s also important to remember that there is no industry standard that governs flex ratings. That said, it’s important to try the boots on to see what feels right. When you’re inside, the boots will be warmer, so they’ll be a little more flexible than when you’re in the snow. Keep all of this in mind as you try to find the right flex!