No more “shrink and pink:” Snow brands finally get serious about women’s ski boots

ski brands get serious about womens gear woman skiing
While many people point to skis as the most important part of their snow gear quiver, a properly fitting pair of boots tend to matter much more. Of course, boots connect wearers directly to their skis and if they happen to inadequately fit, the impact it has on even the best skiers is a negative one. For women, who often have fewer boot options designed specifically for them, the issue is amplified.

Take the general anatomy of a woman compared to a man, for instance. Women tend to feature longer calves, wider hips, a lower center of gravity, shorter femurs, and so on. Taking just this structure into consideration, there’s absolutely no reason for men and women to wear the same style of ski boot.

“As recently as 5 years ago, women were not necessarily seeking women-specific skis and boots,” said PSIA National Alpine Team member, Robin Barnes to Digital Trends. “In the past 5 years, more high-end women-specific products have emerged as women are adventure skiing more often, joining expert skiing groups, etc.”

ski brands get serious about womens gear tecnica boots 1

This growth in interest by women only helps the case for more specific products. Selkirk Sports’ Josh Parry recognizes this growing trend, classifying it as a “real need for women-specific boots.” Parry is a boot fitter by trade, though in his close circles he’s referred to as the Boot Doctor. Not only does Parry spend his days manipulating boots to fit people but he’s an expert at figuring out what works and what doesn’t. As any avid skier would attest, this skill is priceless.

“The number one mistake made is buying boots too big but there are a lot of different factors that go into it,” Parry added. “Women often have smaller skeletons than men, so they will have narrower ankles. Another big factor is women’s calves tend to attach lower than on men and this has the tendency to cause pain, or cramps, in the calf.”

Rather than “shrink and pink” like many sports brands have done in the past, the ski industry now takes women’s needs very seriously, as they remain a fast growing market.

“Bottom line, if a boot doesn’t fit correctly, it’s not going to be warm or comfortable, and it certainly won’t perform,” added Tecnica market manager, Leslie Baker-Brown to Digital Trends. “Women’s anatomy is different, so it is absolutely necessary to build boots based on this anatomy. Women make up about 40 percent of the market. We felt we could better address this market with better products and messaging, by communicating and educating women to make skiing a better experience for them.”

best ski gloves woman jump

According to SIA Snow reports of 2015, sales of women-specific snow products and gear saw a stark rise in popularity. Tecnica took this data to heart, starting a European focus group and a North American focus group to test, develop, and enhance equipment. The women in these focus groups helped create the Blizzard Black Pearl, the best selling ski in the country for any gender over the ’15-’16 season.

Tackling the design of its boots was also a central part of the company’s new program. Tecnica Italy partnered with the University of Verona to test performance on snow. By using sensors under the footboards, Verona measured where a woman’s balance point is regarding their favorable stances.

“One of the major issues is the lower leg,” explained Brown. “It generally is larger and sits lower on the leg, so it’s difficult to fit. At the same time, there are women with skinny calves that have the opposite problem. We created a solution to be able to adjust the upper collar of the boot and liner so it forms to the shape of the female’s lower leg – whether it needs to allow for a larger calf or a smaller one.”

As demand grows and technology expands, the future of proper-fitting women’s products only figures to become much brighter.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Wearables

Our favorite fitness trackers make it fun to keep moving

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Outdoors

Conquer the cold season with the best heated clothing and outdoor apparel

If you're thinking about going outside this winter, heated apparel is a must. Luckily, we've rounded up some of the best heated clothing, whether you're looking for battery-powered gloves or heated insoles.
Outdoors

Crush your next workout with the best Fitbit for every activity

Fitbits are amazingly helpful tools for setting fitness goals and tracking progress. However, different activities require different metrics. We've gathered a list of the best Fitbits for running, swimming, biking, and other activities.
Emerging Tech

Warm ski beanie instantly hardens into a head-protecting helmet upon impact

Wool hats are way more comfortable than hard helmets. You know what they're not? Safer. That could soon change, thanks to an innovative new ski beanie which instantly hardens upon impact.
Smart Home

Tired of running outdoors? Check out the best treadmills of 2018

Running can burn up to 900 calories per hour, melting away fat and strengthening your muscles.  Compared to running outdoors, you're safer staying indoors on a cushioned track. We've rounded up the best treadmills on the market
Outdoors

Need gift ideas? Here’s what to get the skiers and snowboarders in your life

You can't purchase snow, but you can grab your favorite skier or snowboarder some sweet gear this holiday season. We've hand-picked some of the best available that'll wow even the most well-equipped terrain park junkie we know.
Outdoors

Puma revives its classic 1986 smart shoe, complete with high-tech heel hump

More marketing stunt than serious effort to dominate the smart shoe space, Puma is about to re-release its classic RS-Computer Shoe. The high-tech footwear from 1986 was a breakthrough at the time, despite its unsightly heel hump.
Photography

These are the best action cameras money can buy

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.
Outdoors

Drink what nature provides with the best water purifiers

Looking for reliable water purification? Staying hydrated is important, especially when you are hiking or camping far from civilization. Check out our picks of the best water purifiers for your camp, backpack, or pocket.
Outdoors

Google Maps makes it easier than ever to find a Lime bike or scooter

Google Maps has added a new feature that helps you find a Lime bike or scooter in just a few taps. The feature currently works in 11 U.S. cities served by Lime, with more coming next year.
Outdoors

Snooze soundly anywhere you lay your head with the best sleeping bags

A proper sleeping bag has the ability to make or break a camping or backpacking trip. Here are our picks for the best sleeping bags on the market to help you choose the correct bag for any type of outdoor adventure.