Ski boots are a tricky breed of footwear. They’re composition and function are highly technical by design- incorporating numerous components, each with their own purpose and explanation. This can make it challenging for a consumer to connect the dots and navigate a wall of ski boots- unsure which applies best to them. Whether you’re a designer, developer, or in marketing the question becomes: how do you steer the consumer in the right direction to buy your boot? Follow these 5 simple tips and help make their purchasing decisions easier:
A ski boot should operate as a cohesive unit. The best ski boot is the one you forget is on your foot. It should connect seamlessly with your foot, giving the user synchronization with the skis as if it were an extension of them. Designing the shell, liner, and insole to function together is what enables this connection. One method to achieve this is matching the bottom shape of the insole to the top surface of the liner. This creates an interlocking surface free of gaps.
#2 Utilize the right materials
As we have mentioned before (Shape and Material), a great product is the one that sits on the intersection of shape and material. When these two elements are brought together and utilized properly, a shoe can be transformed into a complimentary extension of the foot – enhancing the performance and augmenting its structure. Using the right materials in your ski boot is integral to its performance and feel: the two most important results you want from a ski boot. With the latest in iON materials, you won’t have to sacrifice one for the other. Tested on and off the slopes, we’ve created a comfortable liner feel that still gives you the propulsion and response you look for.
#3 Address pack-out
Whether the result of planned obsolesce or low grade design, the vast majority of liners out there today pack-out. Let’s face it. The snug, sock-like, out-of-box fit of your boot and the loose, rag, broken down feeling are essentially two different products, in fact many liners breakdown and pack out within 10 days of skiing. It is something skiers have to live with and adjust for when purchasing. Higher performance materials at competitive costs exist. They are equipped with the characteristics you’re spec’ing but also have low compression sets- meaning they have low pack-out rates. A lower pack-out rate means an increased durability out of your product and a higher brand loyalty in return. Your users will return to your product time-and-time again, recommending it to their friends, with the knowledge it will withstand the pack-out.
#4 Focus on the insole
Ski boots typically will come with a generic stock insole that is thin and flat; spec’ed in there as a cost saver. In a sport like skiing that involves rapid transfers of weight and force through your feet, an insole with more shape and support can offer an unparalleled advantage by decreasing your transfer time from edge to edge. If an insole is conformed to your foot shape, you’re eliminating the time it would otherwise take push through the unfilled void and make contact with your boot. It is a minimal to no cost increase and can be justified in the performance value you’re adding the product and brand. With the emergence of the Aftermarket insole industry, low-end stock insoles are being sniffed out and replaced by the user. This should be considered as an insult to your brand. It would be like buying a Ferrari and immediately upgrading the tires. High-end tires come stock on a Ferrari and that’s what makes it a Ferrari.
#5 Define your Liner
A good liner is a game changer for a boot. It defines the boot. It is what is felt most when the foot is interacting with the boot. The problem with stock liners today is that they are built with little regard to form and function. Consider for a second the size and scale of the Aftermarket boot fitting/fixing program on mountains and the changes they are applying to the liner (or sometimes insole): better heel hold down, canting the footbed, heat molding etc. The existence of this market signifies ski boot companies are putting out an inferior product. Don’t give users a reason to change out your liner with an Aftermarket liner. Again, it’s a missed opportunity to not make a superior product right out the gate.