One cannot emphasize enough on how important it is to wear the right size boots for cross country skiing. For starters, a perfect fit will ensure that you stay comfortable, warm, and perform at an optimum level, during cold temperatures and high physical exertion. This guide aims to educate you on everything you need to know about cross country boot sizes and fitting.
How Should a Cross Country Ski Boot Fit?
Choosing a size smaller than the regular one can be useful. This tighter and athletic fit ensures that the feet remain stable and grounded, to make those glides or maneuvers more effectively. Do not get a bigger size than the normal, it may be loose or uncomfortable, the additional room may lead to blisters due to irregularity in warm temperatures.
XC Ski Boot Sizing – Chart
More often than not, cross country ski boots can only be found in Euro sizing. This makes it difficult for skiers who are non-Europeans or who do not understand Euro size to easily choose the best fit for themselves. To make life easier for all those skiers, you can either learn or understand how Euro sizing works or go for the easier option, i.e. refer to the Cross Country Ski Boot Size Chart as reproduced below. This chart will give you the Euro size and the relative or comparative sizes in the US (for men, women, and kids). We also provide you with a Mondo point size for a global audience who are used to this.
Mondo point (Mondo means world) was developed in the 1970s by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to simplify the shoe sizing across the globe by creating a universal footwear sizing system. Mondo point is an official calculation of your foot’s length and width in millimeters.
We hope you find this boot sizing chart helpful and convenient.
|US Men’s||US Women’s||US Kids||Euro||Mondo point (mm)|
Cross Country Ski Boot Binding Types (NNN, NNN BC, 75mm/3 Pin & SNS)
The most important aspect whilst picking up skiing boots is to ensure that they are compatible with the bindings. Below we have listed for you the different types of a cross country ski boot binding types and their corresponding compatibilities that are featured on ski boots:
NNN Boots – stands for ‘New Nordic Norm’. NNN cross country ski boots come with a toe bar on the toe and sole of the boot. It also has two finer grooves on the boot’s sole allowing it to sit nicely over the binding when the skier is standing flat.
NNN BC Boots – have two smaller grooves on the soles of each boot, however, they need a NNN BC binding. The boot will have a thicker toe bar and wider grooves on the boots’ sole that adds to the stability and balance of the skier, particularly when practicing on a trail in the backcountry.
75mm/ 3 Pin Cross Country Boots – are fairly outdated now and not a preferred or first choice for skiers generally as they hardly get manufactured now. They provide you with the least amount of control. This is because it is premised on very old mechanics, providing limited support to the skier.
SNS Boots – are your best bet for classic skiing and on groomed tracks and sides. They come with a single toe bar that gets locked within the toe piece of the binding. They provide a larger single groove that fits nicely into the boot’s sole, allowing it to sit nicely on the ski when the skier is standing flat.
XC Ski Boot FAQs
How Tight should Cross Country Ski Boots be?
Cross Country Ski Boots are meant to fit the widest area of your foot comfortably. They should never be too tight. If you have bought a larger boot (for whatever reason), your foot is bound to be moving around inside, and you will not have any control.
The tip of your toes may not touch the front part of the boot if your socks are thick, and that is fine as such if you are comfortable with it. If you are looking for a long term performance boot, then always ensure that it gives you a snug fit. A recreational fit that is slightly loose will be more comfortable and more apt for non-competitive skiing. Your safest bet is a snug fit.
With continued usage, the liner of the boot may stretch and break-in. Once that happens, try buying a thicker pair of cross country socks to ensure you don’t get blisters and that there is no loss of performance.
The heel area is meant to be the most important part of a Cross Country Ski Boot Fit. The heel needs to stay securely fastened inside the boot, particularly at the time of kicking and gliding. If this is not ensured, you can easily develop blisters on your heel that can be very painful and discomforting. This will spoil the skiing expedition or perhaps more that you were meant to enjoy.
Always try the boots before you pay for it in a store. If it is an online purchase, make sure you keep it in original condition until you have ensured it is the perfect fit for you, and do not try them outdoors in the snow until then.
Try using the same socks that you would wear for skiing and before lacing it up, do stand up and try adjusting your feet to check for the fit and comfort. This will also give you an idea of the width of the boot vis-à-vis your feet’s width.
Kick your heels back to ensure that your heel is back in the foot. You can now lace up the boots and give it a proper try by walking and moving around. See where your toe is once all is in place – ideally, they should slightly be brushing the front of your boot for a perfect skate and fitness cross country skiers, and a bit more room would suffice for recreational skiers.
What Size Cross Country Ski Boots do I Need?
Cross country ski boots are measured in European sizing (almost invariably) and there are rarely any exact conversions of the relevant US size. The fractions in the European sizes do not provide much assistance vis-à-vis the typical XC boot dimensions. The guesswork is then confined to picking your closest size in Euro and then rounding off to the next whole number to get as close to your perfect fit as possible (e.g. US Men’s 10.5 converts into Euro 44.5, so you should look for a Euro 45 size).
Please refer to the boot size chart above that is meant to ease the math involved in selecting a ski boot.
What does 3 Point Cross Country Ski Boots mean?
3-Pin cross country boots are also known as NN (Nordic Norm) or 75mm. The name is derived from the fact that 3 pins go into the ‘duckbill’ of the ski boot, and also a bail that can be lowered to lock over the duckbill.
This type of boots is meant to be used for off-track/backcountry touring skis as they have wider tips (more than 90mm) and waists that are wider than 60mm.
This used to be the standard binding for all cross-country skis but was considered to be over binding for current recreational cross-country skiers, who now use more versatile and thinner track sis, such as NNN.
3-Pin bindings do not incorporate cables into their making and have been serving the ski boots segment for decades. They are compatible with standard 3-Pin boots.
Are Downhill and Cross Country Ski Boots the same?
Downhill and cross-country skiing are performed in completely different conditions. For such reason, they require their respective set of unique equipment.
If you look at it from a purely technical perspective, the variance between the two skiing types is that in downhill skiing, the whole boot is attached to the ski with the aid of the binding. In cross country skiing, only the toe part of your boot is fixed to your ski.
Cross country ski boots are way cheaper than downhill ski boots, as the latter needs to be fitted.
Cross country ski boots should fit in a similar manner and size as your traditional athletic shoes would.
It is important to find the perfect pair for your feet to avoid being uncomfortable and frustrated throughout the trip. Needless to say, this will also have a major impact on your performance if you are into competitive skiing.
Once you have bought them, try wearing them frequently and do some practice, before the real deal. Depending on the model of the boot, cross country ski boots may require 5-6 outings before they start adjusting to your feet. It is difficult to return these products once they are used out in the snow. For such purpose, always try them at home without damaging them for a few hours or so to ensure that they sit nicely and comfortably under your feet.