Best Ski Boots for High Instep (Arches)

Cori Gramms
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For this article we talked to our buddy Mark Byl. He's a ski boot break-in specialist and an authority on ski boots, and we consider him the guru when it comes to ski boot custom stiffness.

Mark has done a lot of research, countless hours of boot builds, and one-on-one boot fitting sessions with new skiers. He understands the need for comfort and stability for all leg types and skiing styles.

As Mark has discovered, there’s one element that helps improve the fit for a wider variety of feet: side and top buckles that are adjustable.

Mark designs and manufactures ski boots that are relatively easy to order and have a fixed and adjustable upper buckle to better stabilize the cuff of stiffer boots for all types of skiing (torch your ankles!). In addition, he builds ski boots with an adjustable side buckle as an option if you have very high arches … the place where most skiers have boot problems. Because high arches creates a high instep, a side buckle at the top of the instep helps stabilize the foot within the boot. Let's see what he thinks are the best boots for this scenario on the market today.

NameCategoryProduct
Atomic HAWX Ultra 100Best OverallAtomic HAWX Ultra 100
Salomon Quest Pro 90 Ski Boots Mens Sz 9.5Budget PickSalomon Quest Pro 90 Ski Boots Mens Sz 9.5
Tecnica Mach Sport HV Ski BootsUpgrade PickTecnica Mach Sport HV Ski Boots

1. Atomic HAWX Ultra 100

Our rating: 9 / 10

Atomic HAWX Ultra 100

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Pros:

  • Amazing feel
  • Extreme comfort on the inside

Cons:

  • On the tighter end for high instep arches

For most people who have opted for skiing as their serious sport, it is a reasonable guess that you won’t find a better ski boot as the Atomic HAWX Ultra.

The initial impression is that the Atomic ski boots are both technically sophisticated and amazingly appealing. The lighter, more dynamic design ensures a smooth transition through the most difficult turns.

Although the Atomic HAWX is made for serious skiers, we wanted to include it in this guide as a tribute to the beauty of the design and craftsmanship. It's just a great ski boot and even beginners should look forward when they can one day upgrade to an Atomic HAWX Ultra 100.

2. Salomon Quest Pro 90 Ski Boots Mens Sz 9.5

Our rating: 6 / 10

Salomon Quest Pro 90 Ski Boots Mens Sz 9.5

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Pros:

  • Custom heating system
  • Very soft on the inside
  • Dual-density, directional rubber
  • Shell is made from a lightweight but durable material
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Super stylish

Cons:

  • Men’s size is limited (only 1 size)
  • Little flexibility in outter shell

Salomons are known for making good intermediate to advanced skis, so when looking at their ski boots, you can expect that same quality.

They also have a fantastic reputation for catering to the larger skier. With some of the best quality, widest toe boxes and plenty of support. This comes in handy for high arches as well.

This model may be for you if you have a high instep. The Salomon Quest is purposely designed for high-recovery soft-flex skiing. They do this by allowing for ample space in the toe box.

3. Tecnica Mach Sport HV Ski Boots

Our rating: 8 / 10

Tecnica Mach Sport HV Ski Boots

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Pros:

  • High volume fit
  • Self-warming liner technology
  • Super rigid high back
  • 4 buckles
  • Good heel hold

Tecnica is one of those companies that really makes their products with the end users in mind, and their Mach Sprt HV ski boots are no exception. The upper of the boot provides a great deal of support for high arches.

The opening design makes it easier for people with higher arches to get into the boot, and the ratchet outer cuff makes the boot easy to put on and get off with one hand.

The self warming liner technology is pretty unique in that there are 13 crystals in the material that reflect your own body warmth as infra-red radiation. It's pretty much a fancy way of saying they keep you very warm!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the best ski boots for high arches?

First, I think you need to understand your own body and your arch type. A high arch does not necessarily mean high insteps, even though they often go together. High arches can be the most difficult type to fit. If you have high arches, they cause you to bend over more which can cause your calves to get exhausted. So you may need extra material under your feet in order to reduce the arch pressure. Insoles might be right for you. Think of your high arch like a bow, you need support to hold it up.

How do you get high instep boots on?

Take a deep breath. Start at the top of the boot, swing your toe under the liner and wiggle it as you work your foot in. It sounds like more than it actually is. You’ll get the hang of it very quickly.

If you do a lot of online shopping, you probably know that a high instep can cause some issues. You might even end up with a pair of boots that you can’t wear because you just can’t get your foot in. This is why we put together this list, hoping it will also help you navigate the ski boots landscape with high instep arches. In our experience here is what you need to do to buy, get comfortable and have a pair you can always wear.

Why is my instep so high?

It’s caused by a few different things. Your foot may have begun to pronate excessively while walking. Or your knee may be abnormally internally rotated. This causes your foot to pronate excessively. Or maybe you are just a high-arched foot shape. Some people have very high arches no matter what they do. That is just a normal shape for their feet.

How do you measure instep for ski boots?

The instep is the measurement from your toe to your instep, which is pretty much the width of your foot at the heel.

Conclusion

If you have a high instep, finding the best ski boots for high instep can be a challenge. You can often get boots that fit everywhere else perfectly, but they won’t cut it because the instep (top section of the foot) is too tight.

So you may need to trade some overall comfort for a good fit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great boot.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Atomic HAWX Ultra 100Best OverallAtomic HAWX Ultra 100
Salomon Quest Pro 90 Ski Boots Mens Sz 9.5Budget PickSalomon Quest Pro 90 Ski Boots Mens Sz 9.5
Tecnica Mach Sport HV Ski BootsUpgrade PickTecnica Mach Sport HV Ski Boots