Before you post a thread to the boot guys asking some variation of "Which Boot will work for me", or "can you suggest some brands", please stop. The boot guys cannot see your feet over the internet. The recommendation of a boot requires an evaluation of your foot shape, stance and other mysteries of the bootfitting art.
Original article by Mntlion: Dave Williams at Soul Bike & Ski, Banff, Alberta http://www.soulskiandbike.com/
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Read the bootfitting FAQ, ask questions in the gear forum, but please try to keep questions in this are focused on specific problems, concerns and performance issues. Please read, re-read if necessary, check your boots, and answer the questions (maybe copy/paste the answers in your thread?)
The answer to "WTF is wrong with my boots?"
So your boots hurt and you don’t know what to do?
First thing, find a good boot fitter in YOUR area. Trying to fit boots, problem solving over the phone, or online is VERY hard to do. This is not like making a cake by a following a recipe (and I can’t do that either) but more like being told how to paint (as told by Stevie Wonder)
So a few questions that you can answer that will help this out.
1) What is the shell fit like for length? Remove the liner, put your foot in the shell only, have your toes lightly touching the front of the boot and see how much room is behind your heel and the boots shell. Use a pen as a spacer and measure this for thickness. You want 5-15mm (3/16 to 5/8 inch) of room. If you have more then 25mm (1") stop here
2) What is the shell fit like for width? Now center your foot front to back, (same amount of room behind the toe and heel) and is the width of your foot touching the sides of the boots shell? You want anything from lightly brushing to 2mm per side. If you have 3mm per side stop here.
Related article: Returning your liner into the boot
3) Do you have any footbeds? Most people find an off the rack, or full custom footbed more comfortable, and helps to hold the foot in place better, Get one.
So if your boot is within all of the above parameters we can go on. If your boot is just too big it is not worth working on. Your foot will still move around; you have to over tighten the buckles, and cramp to foot and cut off circulation (cold toes). Your boots are too big, and nothing will make that much better. Don’t waste your time, and money fixing a broken leg with bandaids. You need boots that are 1-2 sizes smaller. If you really want work on what you have, a boot fitter can do some-things, but it will not get much better, and will be $50 - $150 for not much progress.
So now that your boot is within a workable size range in length, width and with a supportive footbed we can go on to getting more info.
Check List for Fitting
1) You just have one, thin, clean ski sock in the boots
2) You just have a sock in the boot? (no thermals, jewelry, etc)
3) Your toe nails are trimmed short?
4) They are YOUR boots and not borrowed?
5) You are just skiing in your ski boots? (not walking, driving etc)?
6) You dry your liners out at night either with a dryer or remove liners?
7) The left liner, the left footbed are in the left boot and this is on the left foot?
8) You are loosening the buckles if you are not skiing (while standing, on lifts, etc)
9) You are not skiing all day in new boots? They need time to break in
10) Buckles are pointing to the outside?
So your boots are the right size, AND you are doing everything else right, but still the boots are not 100% right. These questions will help a boot fitter will have a better understanding of the problem and can start to help you:
Things to Ask: Better Or Worse = (BOW)
1) BOW with the buckles tighter or looser?
2) BOW with thinner or thicker socks?
3) BOW with any footbeds (custom, stock, none, etc)?
4) BOW skiing, standing, or feet un-weighted (hanging off a chair lift)?
5) BOW throughout the day (and when does the pain start?)
6) BOW on the first vs the third day?
7) BOW on harder or easier terrain?
8) BOW with the power straps (Velcro straps) tighter or looser?
9) BOW if you do any particular movements, or actions?
10) Any medical, health, or weight changes since you used them last?
So what width boot do you want to buy?
First of all, this is very general info, and just a guess. Different boots will fit differently. Even if they have the same numbers, they will not necessarily fit the same. Also, different people want, need, expect different things from their boots. So when in doubt, please ignore all this and TRY THE BOOTS ON.
So basically, the published boot widths are based on a standard size 26 (both mens and ladies) and are the measurement of the width of the widest part of the forefoot. So a 95mm width foot is narrow and a 104 is wide, right? Not really. This is because the width is proportional to the length, and the length is based on a sample size of 26. So if you have a 100mm wide foot, but wear a 23 boot, that makes your foot wide. If you have a 100mm wide foot, but wear a 29 boot, you have a VERY narrow foot/boot. To remain at the same 100mm width, you need to change 2-3mm per size up. So a 100mm/average width actually measures 95mm in a size 24, and 105mm in a 28. So, this makes it all clear as mud, right?
All this is assuming that all companies measure from the same place on the foot, are using the same angle, and are they measuring the foot or the inside of the shell of the boot, and is your foot touching this shell anyways? This is also just the width measurement, and doesn't take into account the overall volume, the vertical height of the forefoot, and the heel cup size, or a host of other things.
So yes, this can give you some info on your foot/boot, but is just a very small part of the equation. To get good help, please see your local ski boot fitter, to get an idea of what actually works for you. At most stores, you are best to call ahead, bring in your old boots, some very thin socks, and any footbeds you have.
What Does a BootFitter Do?
Video of boot fitting with Lou Rosenfeld: