Ski boots are the smartphones of the slopes—they connect you to your skis, helping you communicate with them. If you have a sloppy fit or hotspots on your sixth toe, it’s like having poor cell reception. If you have a solid fit and the correct flex, you’ll have full bars all day long.

The smart thing to do when shopping for new boots (after reading up of course) is to visit a qualified bootfitter who studies your foot and specific physical needs, dialing that in with your skiing ability. The great news for both you and your bootfitter is that customization is the buzzword in the boot world, and many companies have developed technologies that help customize hard-to-fit areas.

When shopping for boots, however, it starts with finding the correct last size or the inner shape of the boot. Narrow fitting boots have lasts around 98 mm and are usually the choice for experts who favor a tight fit and stiff flex for power and precision. Medium fitting boots have lasts that hover around 100 mm to 102 mm and have several models that range from stiff to medium flex. It’s here where you’ll find all-mountain features like hike/ski mode and technologies that reduce weight without skimping on performance. Wide-fitting boots—typically upwards of 102 mm—have padded liners and comfort features. Furthermore, women-specific boots often have lower or sculpted cuff options along with anatomically correct lasts.