Are Ski Boots Worth Buying? (Rent vs Buy)

Ski boots are one of the most important bits of kit when skiing. They are your connection to the ski and wearing a bad pair of ski boots can make or break a ski trip. However, many beginners may wonder if ski boots are worth buying, or if they should rent them instead.

Ski boots are worth buying instead of renting if you are an avid skier and ski multiple times per year, or go on extended trips, as it will mean you have a pair of boots that are comfortable for you, and it can save you some money. But if it’s your first time skiing, renting ski boots may be best. 

Below, we will not only explore if ski boots are worth buying, but we’ll also give you some benefits as to why it might be wise to rent a pair occasionally. Read on to learn everything you’ll need to know when considering if ski boots are worth buying. 

Do You Need Boots To Ski? 

You do need ski boots to ski. In skiing, the two most important pieces of equipment that you need are a pair of skis and a pair of boots. Your ski boots are your connection to your skis, and they are the only things that will click with modern ski bindings, making them absolutely essential. 

Ski boots are how you control the ski which is why they are typically made from a hard plastic shell and are designed to help you get the best performance from your skis, as long as you have the right stance and technique. 

Should You Rent Or Buy Ski Boots? 

Deciding whether to rent or buy ski boots depends on a few things. You need to consider if it’s your first time skiing, and if you plan to ski multiple times per season or for extended periods of time. If you’re a first-time skier, renting is best, but if you plan to ski a lot, you should buy boots.

If You Are A Beginner 

If you have never skied before and you are reading this, then it is wiser to rent than buy ski boots. This is due to a couple of factors. First, you might end up hating skiing, and it can be hard to get a refund on used items. Most people won’t buy used ski boots.   

Second, it’s better to get a feel for ski boots and the rest of the equipment so you are aware of what you will want your ski boot to be able to do for you. The type of skiing you do may alter the type of boot you choose. For example, maybe you are aggressive and like quick turns, or perhaps you’d rather enjoy more of a cruise as you ski down the slope. 

If You Go On Multiple Ski Trips 

If you are an avid skier and like to go on multiple ski trips, then you should probably buy. It will save you money in the long run, and you will find that your experience skiing will be a lot better and even improve while using your own boots rather than renting them constantly. 

Benefits Of Renting Ski Boots 

As mentioned above renting ski boots is your best option if you are a beginner. This is due to the boots being designed to help facilitate learning, but that’s not to say there aren’t any advantages if you are an advanced skier. 

You Are Traveling From Far Away 

If you are traveling a long distance to your ski resort, it can be a bit inconvenient to lug around all your ski gear, especially if you are flying and have a limited baggage allowance. This is where rentals are perfect as ski boots have a very unforgiving, cumbersome shape and that is before you account for the fact that a pair can weigh anywhere from 3.5-4.5 pounds.   

A lot of people opt to carry their boots in additional boot bags, but these are usually giant things themselves, impacting what you can bring with you on your vacation. Helmets, gloves, goggles, and outerwear all take up a lot of space, so it can be wiser to rent boots rather than have them taking up precious space

Your Ski Trips Are Infrequent 

If you are only able to go skiing once every couple of years, then it might be worth renting instead of buying. This is mostly due to the fact that the price of rentals vs buying over a long period of time will be comparable, and it can save you some buyer’s remorse if you find yourself looking at your boots in the back of the closet having only used them once in the last 5 years. 

They Are For Kids 

It is no secret that a child’s body can grow fast. If you are going on a family ski trip once a year you don’t really want to buy new boots for your kids every year. It will be a little different if you live in an area near a resort where they can ski all season, but otherwise, they are just going to grow out of their boots.   

It is better to rent ski boots for your kids until you know that their feet have stopped growing, even if only to stop yourself from accumulating several pairs of children’s boots. 

Benefits Of Buying Ski Boots 

No one likes sticking their feet inside of a pair of boots that has had who knows how many feet inside them beforehand. This is one of the reasons that buying your own pair of ski boots may be a benefit to you. Below are 3 more reasons that may sway you when deciding whether or not to buy ski boots.  

It Comes Out Cheaper 

It’s better to buy if you can work it out to be far more cost-effective than renting every time you go on a ski trip. Let’s imagine you plan to go skiing twice in the winter season: once around the holiday period and once again closer to the start of spring.  

The first trip is a longer trip around 10 days and will cost around $250, which isn’t too bad as most places will package the boot and ski rental together. However, your second trip, which may be only 3 days, will cost around $160. In total, you will be spending over $400 in rentals for just 13 days of skiing. 

You could easily buy your own pair of boots for around that price and save money on any subsequent trips, at least until such a time that you needed to replace your boots (which depending on usage and care usually occurs about every 5 years). This means the only thing you will need to worry about in the future is acquiring skis. 

Improved Fit 

Most ski boots can be heat molded to your feet. A comfortable boot is key to helping you have a long and enjoyable day of skiing because you won’t have to worry about your feet hurting after a few tough runs. 

An important thing to know is that when you buy your boots, you should either get them at a retailer that can properly fit your boots, or find a retailer that will provide this service without requiring you to buy from them directly. This is essential if you get your boots online or from an outlet. 

A Boot Specific To Your Needs 

Aside from having a better fit than rentals, another benefit to buying ski boots is that it means you can buy the perfect pair of boots for the type of skiing that you want to do. This is where going to a dedicated boot seller will come in handy as they will be able to answer questions and give you the best recommendations for your style.  

For example, if you want to take up racing, you are going to want a stiff race boot to help support your ankle during quick turns. If you think that you are going to be spending more time in a park, then a more flexible boot will be ideal. 

Is It Worth Getting Your Own Ski Boots? 

It is worth buying your own pair of ski boots if you are planning to go skiing regularly throughout the season for many reasons, and it’s often more cost effective. Knowing you don’t need to worry about getting boots when you arrive at your ski resort can also make it worth buying them. 

While getting your own ski boots may seem expensive at the outset, not only will it save you money in the long run, but it will make your overall skiing experience so much more enjoyable.  

Why Are Good Ski Boots So Important? 

Good ski boots are so important because they are fundamental to your skiing experience. Having the right pair of ski boots for your feet and style of skiing is essential too, because a bad pair of boots can easily ruin a ski trip, and a good pair can even improve your skiing performance.

They Can Improve Your Skiing 

Your ski boots are how you control your skis, so having the right pair is vital to how well you can ski. There are different types of boots you can get depending on the way that you ski. Your boots will allow you to have pinpoint control over the way you move your skis, feet, legs, and upper body. 

Better Comfort 

If you are out skiing from dawn to dusk, you are going to want to wear a comfortable pair of boots all day. This will help you for the duration of your trip and prevent you from hobbling around when you are finished for the day, leaving you envious of the snowboarders who don’t seem to have any issues. 


A good pair of boots can help keep your toes warm. Often rental boots are worn out from all their use, reducing the insulation and leaving your feet cold. You don’t want to have to put on multiple pairs of socks for your day of skiing! A good pair of ski boots will keep your feet warm and nimble.

3 Things To Be Aware Of With Your New Ski Boots 

1. They Shouldn’t Cause You Pain 

If you feel any pain in your feet, it can indicate that your boots are not the right size for you. It is easy to get the wrong size fitted, so make sure that you wear the socks that you are planning to wear while skiing when you fit your boots.  

Just like in a normal shoe, you don’t want your toes to be tight as they can force your foot to curl inside the boot, which is not exactly ideal when you need to stand with your weight spread evenly across both your feet.  

When buying your boots, you want them to be snug enough to support your leg and ankle while your foot is just about touching the front of the boot. Also, you should be aware that each brand of ski boot has its own size chart, so try before you buy if you can. 

2. They Shouldn’t Give You Cold Feet 

The second thing to be aware of is that your feet shouldn’t be constantly cold. Yes, skiing is a winter sport and there are cold days that will make you think that you no longer have toes, but that shouldn’t be the case all the time. Make sure that your boot isn’t too tight, cutting off circulation to your feet. 

3. New Boots Need Breaking In 

Like most new shoes, ski boots do have a breaking-in period. They will feel snug for the first couple of uses as it will take a little while for the foam in the boot to compress. Unfortunately, if they become too loose this can impact your skiing, which will restrict the amount of control you have with your skis. 

Make sure that when you buyyour boots, they are tight, but not uncomfortable. Also, bear in mind that they will get looser over time. 

Final Thoughts 

Ski boots are worth buying if you ski regularly. Buying your own boots will offer the most comfort and you’ll be able to get the best performance while you are skiing. It’s also more cost effective to buy ski boots than rent them if you plan to ski a lot. Renting is better for infrequent skiers.