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Stiff boots vs increasing ability?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I notice that some of the best reviewed/recommended boots are also the stiffest.  Certainly in these forums, the top ranked boots are the stiffest.  Makes sense, but what about someone that isn't already an expert, but hoping to improve?  I consider myself a Level 6 skier, and after sloshing around in way-too-big-and-wide Salomon boots, I'm absolutely upgrading to a PROPER pair of new boots this year.  With new stiffer skis I've bought now as well, I’m planning on picking up speed and carving harder since I'm only on East Coast groomers. 


Should I be looking for stiff boots (>110) that I can "grow into" in terms of ability? Would they pose problems now though?  I don’t mind spending some good money on great boots and a custom fit, but I’d prefer if they can last for awhile and wouldn’t need to be replaced when I’m better in a year.  Is there a brand/model of boot that’s more versatile in terms of adjusting the stiffness, or are those just gimmicks?  I’ve researched some very good boots but I’m suffering from info-overload in trying to narrow my needs/preferences.  Should I just go with a stiffer boot right off the bat, etc or are some more versatile?


Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 3

Boot performance is all about fit, which is going to be personal and specific to you. Flex ratings are something quantifiable that can be used to differentiate boots in marketing, but it just isn't very important really. It's easy to soften the boots flex to tailor a high performance boot to a lighter skier. Stop your research, well, change your research to finding a great shop that does topnotch boot fitting, then let them help you get the best boot for your foot. Having preconceived notions about which boots are 'better' will honestly make this harder.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

I took your advice and went to a highly recommended shop and wound up with a bootfitter that was like some Jedi Boot Master.


He measured me up....length, width, relaxed, weighted.  Checked alignment, arches, stance, you name it.  Turns out.......my feet are more complicated than I thought.  Not only are they different lengths, but different widths, right ankle twists differently as well.   Apparently this makes things a bit complicated in terms of trying to pick a boot that can work for both feet, so he recommended one with a custom fit shell by going with what looked a Salomon Impact CS (I think?), either a 110 or 120.  That way he can custom mold each foot and then work from there.  He said exactly what you said, that the flex wasn't nearly as important as the fit, especially because my feet are so screwy.  So it sounds like the custom molding ability will help get each foot/shell properly fit, then finish off with new footbeds that will help my flatter feet and provide better arch support.


So I think this was probably the best move I've ever made for skiing.


Thanks for pushing me in the right direction White, much appreciated!

Edited by Gunnerbob - 7/6/11 at 6:27pm
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ask the Boot Guys › Stiff boots vs increasing ability?