Skiing. On a chair lift

Skiing with Orthotics

A common question among skiers who wear orthotics, is if orthotics should be worn in their ski boots. There are cases when orthotics can provide a noticeable benefit while skiing. This may not be necessary in all cases.

Recreational Skier

For those who recreationally ski a couple times a year, an orthotic device may not be necessary in all cases. Because a ski boot is solid around the feet and ankles, the amount of movement at your legs is reduced.

If the pain you experience without your orthotics is not present in your ski boots, the boots may be holding your ankles enough to prevent pain.

For additional comfort and support, an over-the-counter insert can be a great place to start. Because the ski boot reduces motion at the ankle, a generic arch support can help reduce the motion at the arch while the boot keeps the ankle in place. Some people prefer having arch support in their boots. This could be to improve the comfort under the arch and fill the boot if it’s too loose.

In more severe cases, a custom orthotic may benefit in the ski boot. This can benefit if there is pain or excessive motion at the legs while skiing.

Avid Skier

If you are skiing many times over the year and/or are constantly trying to improve, orthotics can provide a noticeable benefit.

Even though the ski boot can reduce motion at the ankle, there may still be motion. This can be noticeable in the form of pain or slight performance issues.


When pain develops in the feet, knees, hips or lower back during skiing, the feet are a good place to take a look at. If the feet roll in or out, the lower and upper leg will respond the same way. If this motion is enough, structures in the body can overwork and/or rub to cause pain. The knee is a common pain area because each turn exaggerates stress at the knee joint. For example, if the right knee joint is worn out on one side, every time you turn into that side of the joint, it will increase pressure. If you only have pain when turning one way, this can be an indication that one side of the knee joint is affected. The custom orthotics would have addition correction to open up the injured side of the knee, to reduce pressure on each turn.

Performance Issues

Slight performance issues can arise because of the feet during skiing. They may not be noticeable until performance is being fine-tuned. For example, if the feet roll inwards, the lower leg and upper leg can rotate inwards as well. This reduces the mechanical advantage on each turn. This can be more noticeable if one foot rolls in more than the other. In this case, the correction on the orthotics are specific to the ski boot. This is to optimize how the knees and muscles operate above the ski boot, rather than focused on how the feet are looking.


Orthotics can be a benefit for skiers, but it may not provide a noticeable difference for the recreational skier. When getting fitted for orthotics specifically in ski boots, it is best to bring the ski boots for the assessment and fitting.


For more information, contact us or book an appointment!

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