Finding the best ski boots is vital for comfort and performance on the snow. However, it’s often difficult for skiers with high arches to find the right fit for their foot shape.
Here at SnowSunSee; we are very aware of the boot fitting problems that having a high instep can bring. During our many years spent working on the snow, we have seen countless skiers suffer due to poorly chosen ski boots.
However, it doesn’t have to be doom and gloom. In this guide; we will share our expert advice, knowledge and analysis of the best ski boots for high instep feet.
Ranking The Best Ski Boots For High Instep
- Technica Mach 1 120
- Salomon S/Pro 100
- Atomic Hawx Magna 130 S
- Rossignol Track 80
- Full Tilt Ascendant Approach
Best Ski Boots For High Instep Comparison
Forgiving and comfortable beginners boot with a high instep and gerously wide last width
Reliable intermediate boot that combines power with comfort for feet with high arches
High-quality advnced ski boot with a highly customizable fit that's ideal for high arches
Stiff and responsive expert level ski boots that provide instep space without compromizing performance
Incredibly comfortable hybrid touring ski boot with plenty of instep space for hard hitting freedriders
Comfortable, high instep height, generous last, forgiving, can also suit basic intermediate skiers
High instep, good foot stabilization, adaptable last, consistent flex, comfortable, supportive
High volume instep, customizable, ideal last width, reliable performance, comfortable, good control
Responsive, powerful, generous instep, precise fit, high arch, customzable, stable at any speed
Comfortable, generous instep, progressive flex, large walk mode ROM, snug fitting liner
Too wide for some, stiff for true beginners
Ankle too high volume for some
Expensive, might be too HV for some
Expensive, can feel inside edge biased
Freeride specific, expensive
Why Do I Need The Best Ski Boots For High Instep?
When discussing ski boots; instep refers to the area of the foot directly above the arch of your foot. It is usually measured from the base of the heel, around the top of the foot and to the other side of your heel. Once a measurement is taken; a boot can be classed as having a regular, medium or high instep.
If you have feet with high arches; you will most likely need a high instep ski boot. The shape of your raised arch will push the top of your foot upwards, meaning it occupies a greater vertical space.
If the ski boot instep height is too low; it will likely cut off circulation through the top of your foot, resulting in ‘tingling’, numbness and cold feet. In addition, the undue pressure can cause severe discomfort.
Every boot has a specific size and shape that is best suited to a different type of foot. In this guide, we have only included footwear that ideally suits high instep feet to make your ski boot search simple.
How To Choose The Best Ski Boots For High Instep
Instep height can vary dramatically between different ski boot brands and models. Some brands typically have a snug and ‘low-volume’ instep, while others provide a generous fit.
Most ski boots with a high-instep are designed for ‘high volume’ feet. It means the overall size of the boot has been increased to accommodate the largest and widest foot, ankle and calf sizes.
If you’re somebody that has narrow and ‘low volume’ feet with high arches; your options can be more limited. However, it is possible to find boots with a snug and secure shape that can still accommodate your instep.
Every boot listed in this guide has a high instep and anatomy that is perfect for skiers with high arches.
Fit (Sole Shape)
Any skier with a high instep will require increased arch support. The underfoot shape of the boot and footbed is fundamental to making sure your feet remain stable.
Most ski boots are generally quite flat underfoot. Although it’s a basic shape that will accept any foot anatomy, it is less than ideal for those requiring added support.
Some ski boot brands naturally tend favor high arched feet and provide an element of natural support. In our experience; Atomic, Technica, Lange, Rossignol and Salomon (among others) have traditionally produced boots that are suitable
The importance of a good insole should not be underestimated. The stock insole that comes with a ski boot tends to be thin, flimsy and substandard for skiers requiring arch support.
Using an aftermarket insole is often the best solution to high instep feet requiring stazilization. If you’re interested in taking your fit to the next level; we have also written a guide listing the best ski boot insoles and footbeds.
The term ‘last’ refers to the width of a ski boot around the forefoot area. It is measured in millimeters, with most ski boots ranging between 96-106mm.
Getting the right last width is paramount to ski boot comfort and performance. If it’s too narrow; the pressure will undoubtably cause pain. If it’s too wide; you will suffer from reduced performance and responsiveness.
It’s worth noting the high arched feet are often deceptively wide. The foot anatomy of having a raised instep often causes the ball of your foot to be pushed wider then you might expect.
You can easily measure the width of your feet at home. Start by tracing the outline of your foot onto a piece of paper, then measure across the widest portion of the outline.
Once you have a measurement, you then know what last ‘ranges’ are suitable. In order to make your life easier, we have included the below table that categorizes foot width:
The ‘flex’ rating of a ski boot refers to its overall flexibility. It’s a numeric value that references the amount a boot will flex when put under pressure, with most boots ranging from 60-140.
- Soft flex ski boots are best suited to beginners and lightweight skiers. The flexible design provides maximum comfort and is incredibly forgiving, although they can lack precise control.
- Medium flex ski boots are perfect for intermediates or mid-weight skiers. They usually have just enough flex to combine comfort and control. However, they can lack support at seriously high speeds.
- Stiff flex ski boots are best suited to advanced/expert or heavy skiers. The stiff shell will provide ultimate control, precise energy transfer and support on any terrain. However, they are often the most uncomfortable and expensive choice.
Picking a ski boot that’s suitable to your ability level, weight and ambitions is vital. If your boots are too flexible; you will suffer a loss of performance. If they are too stiff; you will find them unmanageable.
Ski boot flex can generally be categorized into ‘ranges’, which we have included in the following table;
Beginner - Intermediate
Intermediate - Advanced
Advanced - Expert
Expert - Race
Ski boot size is measured in ‘mondopoints’. It’s a measurement of the length of your foot, which is taken in centimeters.
You can easily measure your mondopoint size at home. Start by standing on a piece of paper with your heels against a wall and your weight planted on the foot you would like to measure. Then, draw a line in front of your longest toe and measure the distance from the wall to the line. Be sure to measure both feet, as they could be unsymmetrical.
When trying on a ski boot, you should feel like your longest toe is gently resting against the end of the toe box. It should be tight enough so that when you push forward with your shin, your heel remains planted on the sole of the boot.
Some skiers will prefer a ‘comfort’ fit and choose a boot that’s slightly larger. Although it’s ideal for less intense skiers that are sticking to basic slopes, it can sacrifice control when pushed to the limit.
Expert skiers should look to reduce mondopoint size by ½-1cm if they want maximum control. Despite the decreased comfort level, you will gain maximum precision and support on serious terrain.
In order to help you navigate the ski boot sizing system, we have included the below table that correlates mondopoints with shoe size:
Best Beginner Ski Boots For High Instep
Many beginner ski boots use a high volume fit that can accommodate high insteps, but few provide the precise fit offered by the Rossignol Track 80. It’s a comfortable ski boot that is a great choice to take you from the beginner slope to the gondola.
The boots use a generous 104mm last and high instep design that suits feet of all shapes and sizes. However, unlike many beginner boots, the Track 80 still remains snug enough around the calf and ankle region to promote control and performance.
As you might expect from the 80 flex rating; the overall performance of the boots is forgiving. The comfort offered on and off the piste is second-to-none in our review, making it a great choice for those still acclimatising to mountain life.
Any beginner with high arches that’s looking for a comfortable ski boot will be impressed by the Rossignol Track 80. It’s a reliable boot that is supportive enough to help new skiers and basic intermediates improve their skiing.
- High instep
- Accommodating last width
- Solid enough for progressing onto intermediate slopes
- Precise enough fit for performance
- Easy step-in
- Switch between ski/hike mode
- A bit wide for some feet
- Too soft for some heavy beginners
- Not a precision fit for most skiers
Best Intermediate Ski Boots For High Instep
Salomon’s S/Pro range has become incredibly popular in recent years thanks to its reliable performance and adaptable fit. The S/Pro 100 is the best of the bunch for intermediates and has a superb shape for feet with high arches.
The boots feature a high instep design with mid-volume calf width; providing space for your feet without feeling sloppy. The padded last width is size adjustable between 100-106mm to accommodate feet of all shapes and sizes.
The overall performance of the S/Pro can be described as consistent, reliable and trustworthy. Using a 100 flex that’s ideal for blue and red slopes; they do a great job of combining comfort and control.
The shape, fit and feel of the Salomon S/Pro makes it a standout choice for mid-level skiers with a high instep. It’s supportive enough to explore the mountain but still maintains a forgiving feel that will aid your learning process.
- Secure mid-volume shape
- Generous instep height
- Adaptable last width
- Solid intermediate performance
- Stable enough at speed
- Lack support for narrow ankles
- Last width can naturally change over time
Best Advanced Ski Boots For High Instep
Technica has become one of the most trusted brands on the market for hard to fit feet. In producing the ‘Mach 1’ series, they have looked to optimise fit for feet of all volumes to make sure you’re skiing with pain-free precision this season.
When dissecting the wide range of options available available; we found the Mach 1 120 HV was the pick of the bunch for advanced skiers with high arches. The overall high-volume fit is incredibly accommodating and customizable for increased instep height and foot width.
The impressive performance of the Mach 1 also matches up to its highly-tuned fit. It has a powerful yet accessible feel that feels supportive at speed without compromizing enjoyment.
Upon review; the Mach 1 120 HV stood out as our favourite boot and a superb aquisition for advanced skiers requiring a high instep boot. The precise fit is second-to-none and combines perfectly with its great all-round performance.
- Precise fit
- Great instep volume
- 103mm last suits most high arched skiers
- Highly customizable
- Very comfortable
- All-mountain performance
- Stable at speed
- Forgiving enough for the occasional mistake
- Expensive for an ‘advanced’ boot
- Could be too HV for some
Best Expert Ski Boots For High Instep
Expert level ski boots have a reputation for being tight fitting and generally uncomfortable for skiers with high instep feet. However, the Atomic Hawx Magna 130 S bring superb performance with a fit generous enough to accommodate higher arches.
The overall shape of the boot would be classed as ‘high volume’ in comparison to most expert ski boots, but still offers a supportive performance fit around the calf and ankle. The raised instep height is ideally suited for skiers with high arches, with the underfoot stability also proving more than adequate.
The level of control and performance offered by the Hawx Magna is also superb. The boots feel incredibly stable at speed and hard chargers will love the precision they have when carving.
If you’re an expert skier looking for a solid boot that can accommodate high arches; we strongly recommend the Atomic Hawx Magna 130 S. It’s got the shape required for a precise fit with performance that can instil confidence on any slope.
- Generous instep height
- Precise ankle, forefoot and calf fit
- Stable at any speed
- Very responsive
- Reliable foot stabilization
- Powerful enough to attack any mountain
- Last can be too narrow for wide feet
- Feel inside edge biased at times
Best Backcountry Ski Boots For High Instep
Hybrid ski boots have come increasingly popular in recent years, with more skiers than ever searching for untouched powder. If you’re someone with high arches that requires a boot to explore the entire mountain, we highly recommend the Full Tilt Ascendant Approach.
The boots feature a superb range of motion when in walk mode and feel surprisingly light during the ascent. Once locked into downhill mode, the aggressive freeride performance is well suited to expert skiers traveling at high speeds and stomping big landings.
Another strong point for the Ascendant Approach is comfort. The generous fitting boots have a high instep and enough underfoot stabilization for high arches, while the 102mm last is snug enough for downhill precision.
Full Tilt have been synonimous with park skiing for many years, but the Ascendant Approach shows their ability to produce boots for the off-piste as well. The fit is comfortable enough for any instep height and the performance is great for those looking to attack the entire mountain.
- Very comfortable
- Good instep height
- Switch between skinning and skiing
- Super stable
- Response at speed
- Freestyle and freeride performance
- Lightweight for a hybrid boot
- Very expensive
- No women’s version
- Still too heavy for extended tours
Skiers with high arches need to be careful when choosing their boots. It’s a foot shape that can cause serious discomfort if left unsupported.
The best ski boots for high instep are designed to provide added space and support in all the right areas. The anatomy of each boot offers an expanded instep height that can ensure comfort without sacrificing performance.
Every option we have provided has a proven track record of comfort and control. Since we have separated them into categories based on skill level; it should be easy to find a boot that’s right for you.
James is the founder of SnowSunSee. He started skiing when he was five years old and has been a qualified ski instructor for 8 years. He has taught skiing in many countries, including UK, Europe, Japan, China and Malaysia. When he’s not on the slopes, James spends his time travelling the world one trail at a time.