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I have a million boot questions. (LONG)

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I wasn't sure if I should post this here or in the ASK THE BOOT GUYS forum, so I decided to start with here so I can get the most opinions, seeing my questions are wide and varied. I can always readdress some questions :P

 

 

 

 
Okay, this is probably going to wind up being quite a long post, as I have a bunch of questions, then I'll ramble on about my experiences with boots so far. I apologise in advance for the lengthiness of this post. I just had a lot of questions (even after reading lots of threads) and thoughts and blurted them all out!
 
 
 
1) I've been measured more than once on a measuring board as being a 23.5, but I seem to wind up with 24.5 rentals. Why? Am I doing it wrong? The only 23.5 rental boot I tried on anyway gave me immediate pain on the top of my foot, so I handed it straight back. But I've been fitted for a 23.5 boot in a store (tried it on and all) and it seemed okay. I've tried a bunch of 24.5 rental boots and even some of those feel too tight. I don't understand why the difference! If anything I'd expect to fit a smaller rental boot as the liner has probably packed out?
 
 
2) How do I know if a bootfitter is good? I live in New Zealand, so all the online lists of GREAT/EXCELLENT/PRODIGIAL BOOTFITTERS IN AMERICA AND MAYBE CANADA! are fairly useless to me, and I wouldn't know how to judge if I'm getting a good service or not. From my reading it seems they can range a lot, and it could be the difference between getting a boot I love and a boot I hate. I'm not long out of uni and I don't exactly have a high salary, and the thought of wasting a ton of money on a boot I turn out not to like just sounds painful!
 
3) How much should I expect to pay for a pair of boots? What can I do to save money apart from buy cheap boots that don't fit? Do you guys usually wind up waiting for good specials or fitting them in the store, buying cheaply online then going back for custom footbeds etc, or what? Do most people who buy boots from a bootfitter wind up having them modified in ways other than just getting a custom footbed?
 
The cheapest boots I've seen in stores are NZD$500, with one place saying their most popular boot/s were around NZSD$800. OUCH, OUCH, OUCH. Oh, and he mentioned they do $150 custom liners with all boots too. I'd feel like punching myself in the teeth if I paid a grand for ski boots, especially considering....
 
 
4) When to buy boots? I don't know how to rate my level as I don't have much to compare it to. Based on some lists I've seen on epic and other sites, I'd say maybe level 4? 4.5? advanced beginner? Can link turns on easy blues, according to a friend my skis go parallel during the turn, I'm not a really confident skiier, but I've only had a couple of days :P Anyway - I won't be going 50 days a year or anything, we live a long drive from a mountain and it can be difficult to find people who have the money to go, I'm not looking to be a world-class champ or anything, just to have a lot of fun - I find it difficult to justify spending a lot of money on a hobby. I'd have to go a hundred times before the cost of renting equalled the cost of buying! Ack! Am I looking to buy too soon? confused.gif
 
 
5) CONCERNING FEET AND KNEES: First - I've been told by everyone who looks at my feet (couple of fitters as mentioned in my long blurb-story below, physio who I saw for chronic knee problems I developed..) that I have pronated feet/ankles. I think I've got a pretty average in-step at least. What should I expect in a custom footbed for these? Is it best to just have something that moulds to the shape, or something which actively supports and un-rolls my feet/ankles?
 
Secondly - I have chronic knee issues which give me pain with things like cycling, walking up six flights of stairs, and skiing (I couldn't wait to learn better turning once I realised that constant wedging was aggravating my knees to the point of tears). I just use a ton of anti-inflamm gel, a fairly basic knee brace on my worst knee to encourage the patella not to move so much, and ski around the pain :P what are the chances this can be improved by proper ski boot fitting / footbeds? I'm a tad worried I'll eventually have to stop skiing because my knees will explode or something. D:
 
For the record, here are my ugly feet (no one has pretty feet!) - http://imgur.com/7bg2l
 
 
6) Am I 'obligated' to buy boots from a fitter after they've spent a bunch of time finding a boot that fits well? Is it really terrible etiquette to say "alright thanks a ton man, I'm gonna go sleep on that and not make a snap decision" ?
 
 
7) What do I do when one store I visited tried only one boot on me (clearance stock as end of season, they had a couple in my size but only tried one) and another had nothing in my size at all? Just wait for next year? Is it pretty common for places to not have much at the end of a season?
 
 
8) does flex matter? I'm a 5'3", 115-120 pound female who doesn't ski aggressively. I'm not sure what this translates to in terms of boot flex.
 
 
And finally - my experiences with bootfitting. I can't judge if I got good service or not. Opinions?
 
 
 
 
I have tried on one pair of boots - I wandered into a local place which sells primarily snow gear in the winter and surf/etc stuff in the summer, as they had 30% off their end-of-season boot stock, and said I just was interested in checking out the boots. The guy there measured my foot length and decided 23.5, noted my pronation and mentioned something about buying different footbeds, eyeballed their stock (I said I was a beginner but didn't want something that I'd 'grow out of' straight away) and grabbed a boot. He pulled the liner out and told me to stand in it with my toes touching the end, looked at the distance between my heel and the end of the boot (I'm not sure what the distance was, I presume okay) then told me to put my heel against the end of the boot and looked at that and said the shape looked fine. I also stood on the stock/piece-of-felt footbed, I guess to see that it was a good shape/size, then he put the boot back together and buckled me into it, and I flexed forward a few times to pull my toes back as they were kind of turning to mush at the end of the boot, other than that they felt pretty decent - snug, very snug, but without pain. I felt much further forward than I had on rentals (lower leg was pointing more forward if that makes sense), I don't know if that is good or bad.
 
I stood around for a minute or so at which stage the guy started kind of going SO HOW DO THOSE FEEL? FEEL COMFORTABLE IN THOSE? and started telling me about payment options at which stage I went AS A MATTER OF FACT I CANNOT BUY ANYTHING TODAY BUT THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE AND I MAY BE BACK AT SOME STAGE! YES THESE BOOTS FEEL GOOD! and escaped (though I did buy an icebreaker top on sale, which was my main motivation for visiting the store tongue.gif), as I sort of hate being pressured into buying things like that, and it lessens my trust in the advice I've been given.
 
For the record the boots were Nordica Sportmachine 65's. I don't remember details of how they fit as I've since learned more things to think about; I do remember him re-tightening the power strap and commenting that my calf muscle began higher up than most females. I have pretty narrow calves.
 
 
 
The only other bootfitting experience I've nearly had was visiting a place in the town right beside the mountain after a day on said mountain just yesterday (after having a very frustrating experience with rental boots on the mountain. The best fitting boots I found were still too wide for my calves but we yanked the power strap on them til they fit better :P at least I didn't have as much foot movement or heel lift as in other boots! I also noted the model - Salomon Irony 660).
 
The guy there took out a more interesting measuring device which seemed to measure three things (he wrote down 5.5/5/AB on a piece of paper) then measured my foot length, went "OH NO, 23.5. I'M AFRAID I CANNOT SELL YOU A BOOT TODAY!" and then went on to comment that I had a more uncommon foot size (small.) and when they do their ordering of stock they only order one or two in that size (and lots of 25.5 and 26.5 or something), and they had none in any models. bah. so my boot fitting pretty much ended there. but he then did chat with us about boots and showed us a machine with two blue squishy pads which they use to make custom footbeds (he said something about vacuums. Truly I have no idea what its magic was! but he did also comment on my pronation and something about how custom footbeds give the foot more support so it doesn't spread out and hurt at the sides), which they charge $150 for (and sell with all boots to ensure an excellent fit). He also mentioned something about heating up liners then standing in the heated liners to shape them to your foot, but I don't know if that's a fitting service they charge extra for or what. He did comment that they did rentals too, and try to ensure a good fit with rentals, so I may go there next time to rent, at any rate.
 
I'm not really sure what else to try. I had a vague idea of finding a place with a bunch of boots to fit me really well, then maybe see if I could order something 'cheaply' (or cheapER) online at the end of the American season, then go back to the bootfitter for custom footbeds, adjustments if needed etc. This hasn't really worked out well due to the lack of actual boots.
 
 
 
TL;DR: why do I fit bigger rental boots than store boots? how do I find a good bootfitter in tiny NZ? how much $$? how soon to buy boots? how messed up are my feet and what do i need for them? can I fix my knees with boots? flex? STORY ABOUT BOOTS.
 
answers or comments to some or all of my newbie questions are much appreciated smile.gif
post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by fgor View Post

I wasn't sure if I should post this here or in the ASK THE BOOT GUYS forum, so I decided to start with here so I can get the most opinions, seeing my questions are wide and varied. I can always readdress some questions :P

 

 

 

 
Okay, this is probably going to wind up being quite a long post, as I have a bunch of questions, then I'll ramble on about my experiences with boots so far. I apologise in advance for the lengthiness of this post. I just had a lot of questions (even after reading lots of threads) and thoughts and blurted them all out!
 
 
 
1) I've been measured more than once on a measuring board as being a 23.5, but I seem to wind up with 24.5 rentals. Why? Am I doing it wrong? The only 23.5 rental boot I tried on anyway gave me immediate pain on the top of my foot, so I handed it straight back. But I've been fitted for a 23.5 boot in a store (tried it on and all) and it seemed okay. I've tried a bunch of 24.5 rental boots and even some of those feel too tight. I don't understand why the difference! If anything I'd expect to fit a smaller rental boot as the liner has probably packed out?
 
 
2) How do I know if a bootfitter is good? I live in New Zealand, so all the online lists of GREAT/EXCELLENT/PRODIGIAL BOOTFITTERS IN AMERICA AND MAYBE CANADA! are fairly useless to me, and I wouldn't know how to judge if I'm getting a good service or not. From my reading it seems they can range a lot, and it could be the difference between getting a boot I love and a boot I hate. I'm not long out of uni and I don't exactly have a high salary, and the thought of wasting a ton of money on a boot I turn out not to like just sounds painful!
 
3) How much should I expect to pay for a pair of boots? What can I do to save money apart from buy cheap boots that don't fit? Do you guys usually wind up waiting for good specials or fitting them in the store, buying cheaply online then going back for custom footbeds etc, or what? Do most people who buy boots from a bootfitter wind up having them modified in ways other than just getting a custom footbed?
 
The cheapest boots I've seen in stores are NZD$500, with one place saying their most popular boot/s were around NZSD$800. OUCH, OUCH, OUCH. Oh, and he mentioned they do $150 custom liners with all boots too. I'd feel like punching myself in the teeth if I paid a grand for ski boots, especially considering....
 
 
4) When to buy boots? I don't know how to rate my level as I don't have much to compare it to. Based on some lists I've seen on epic and other sites, I'd say maybe level 4? 4.5? advanced beginner? Can link turns on easy blues, according to a friend my skis go parallel during the turn, I'm not a really confident skiier, but I've only had a couple of days :P Anyway - I won't be going 50 days a year or anything, we live a long drive from a mountain and it can be difficult to find people who have the money to go, I'm not looking to be a world-class champ or anything, just to have a lot of fun - I find it difficult to justify spending a lot of money on a hobby. I'd have to go a hundred times before the cost of renting equalled the cost of buying! Ack! Am I looking to buy too soon? confused.gif
 
 
5) CONCERNING FEET AND KNEES: First - I've been told by everyone who looks at my feet (couple of fitters as mentioned in my long blurb-story below, physio who I saw for chronic knee problems I developed..) that I have pronated feet/ankles. I think I've got a pretty average in-step at least. What should I expect in a custom footbed for these? Is it best to just have something that moulds to the shape, or something which actively supports and un-rolls my feet/ankles?
 
Secondly - I have chronic knee issues which give me pain with things like cycling, walking up six flights of stairs, and skiing (I couldn't wait to learn better turning once I realised that constant wedging was aggravating my knees to the point of tears). I just use a ton of anti-inflamm gel, a fairly basic knee brace on my worst knee to encourage the patella not to move so much, and ski around the pain :P what are the chances this can be improved by proper ski boot fitting / footbeds? I'm a tad worried I'll eventually have to stop skiing because my knees will explode or something. D:
 
For the record, here are my ugly feet (no one has pretty feet!) - http://imgur.com/7bg2l
 
 
6) Am I 'obligated' to buy boots from a fitter after they've spent a bunch of time finding a boot that fits well? Is it really terrible etiquette to say "alright thanks a ton man, I'm gonna go sleep on that and not make a snap decision" ?
 
 
7) What do I do when one store I visited tried only one boot on me (clearance stock as end of season, they had a couple in my size but only tried one) and another had nothing in my size at all? Just wait for next year? Is it pretty common for places to not have much at the end of a season?
 
 
8) does flex matter? I'm a 5'3", 115-120 pound female who doesn't ski aggressively. I'm not sure what this translates to in terms of boot flex.
 
 
And finally - my experiences with bootfitting. I can't judge if I got good service or not. Opinions?
 
 
 
 
I have tried on one pair of boots - I wandered into a local place which sells primarily snow gear in the winter and surf/etc stuff in the summer, as they had 30% off their end-of-season boot stock, and said I just was interested in checking out the boots. The guy there measured my foot length and decided 23.5, noted my pronation and mentioned something about buying different footbeds, eyeballed their stock (I said I was a beginner but didn't want something that I'd 'grow out of' straight away) and grabbed a boot. He pulled the liner out and told me to stand in it with my toes touching the end, looked at the distance between my heel and the end of the boot (I'm not sure what the distance was, I presume okay) then told me to put my heel against the end of the boot and looked at that and said the shape looked fine. I also stood on the stock/piece-of-felt footbed, I guess to see that it was a good shape/size, then he put the boot back together and buckled me into it, and I flexed forward a few times to pull my toes back as they were kind of turning to mush at the end of the boot, other than that they felt pretty decent - snug, very snug, but without pain. I felt much further forward than I had on rentals (lower leg was pointing more forward if that makes sense), I don't know if that is good or bad.
 
I stood around for a minute or so at which stage the guy started kind of going SO HOW DO THOSE FEEL? FEEL COMFORTABLE IN THOSE? and started telling me about payment options at which stage I went AS A MATTER OF FACT I CANNOT BUY ANYTHING TODAY BUT THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE AND I MAY BE BACK AT SOME STAGE! YES THESE BOOTS FEEL GOOD! and escaped (though I did buy an icebreaker top on sale, which was my main motivation for visiting the store tongue.gif), as I sort of hate being pressured into buying things like that, and it lessens my trust in the advice I've been given.
 
For the record the boots were Nordica Sportmachine 65's. I don't remember details of how they fit as I've since learned more things to think about; I do remember him re-tightening the power strap and commenting that my calf muscle began higher up than most females. I have pretty narrow calves.
 
 
 
The only other bootfitting experience I've nearly had was visiting a place in the town right beside the mountain after a day on said mountain just yesterday (after having a very frustrating experience with rental boots on the mountain. The best fitting boots I found were still too wide for my calves but we yanked the power strap on them til they fit better :P at least I didn't have as much foot movement or heel lift as in other boots! I also noted the model - Salomon Irony 660).
 
The guy there took out a more interesting measuring device which seemed to measure three things (he wrote down 5.5/5/AB on a piece of paper) then measured my foot length, went "OH NO, 23.5. I'M AFRAID I CANNOT SELL YOU A BOOT TODAY!" and then went on to comment that I had a more uncommon foot size (small.) and when they do their ordering of stock they only order one or two in that size (and lots of 25.5 and 26.5 or something), and they had none in any models. bah. so my boot fitting pretty much ended there. but he then did chat with us about boots and showed us a machine with two blue squishy pads which they use to make custom footbeds (he said something about vacuums. Truly I have no idea what its magic was! but he did also comment on my pronation and something about how custom footbeds give the foot more support so it doesn't spread out and hurt at the sides), which they charge $150 for (and sell with all boots to ensure an excellent fit). He also mentioned something about heating up liners then standing in the heated liners to shape them to your foot, but I don't know if that's a fitting service they charge extra for or what. He did comment that they did rentals too, and try to ensure a good fit with rentals, so I may go there next time to rent, at any rate.
 
I'm not really sure what else to try. I had a vague idea of finding a place with a bunch of boots to fit me really well, then maybe see if I could order something 'cheaply' (or cheapER) online at the end of the American season, then go back to the bootfitter for custom footbeds, adjustments if needed etc. This hasn't really worked out well due to the lack of actual boots.
 
 
 
TL;DR: why do I fit bigger rental boots than store boots? how do I find a good bootfitter in tiny NZ? how much $$? how soon to buy boots? how messed up are my feet and what do i need for them? can I fix my knees with boots? flex? STORY ABOUT BOOTS.
 
answers or comments to some or all of my newbie questions are much appreciated smile.gif

1) 23.5 is the length of your foot. It has nothing to do with the width or height of your foot. If some part of your foot does not fit in a rental boot of the correct length because it needs more room (say high instep, prominent ankle bones, wide toes, etc., the usual option is to get a longer boot which is bigger. If some part of your foot does not fit in a boot that you buy, the usual solution is to modify the boot to make it fit that part of your foot, after finding the best fitting boot from the models available in the correct length.

2) I wish I knew. Having the same boot fitter who makes the boots for your national World Cup athletes, might help biggrin.gif. , other than that, its word of mouth advertising, keep asking, and asking and asking.

3) Always be on the look out for left-over boots a couple of years old. I have found some great prices on way-small boots that shops couldn't sell (my wife has small feet). Early season sales will have the most availability, but late season the best prices, but nothing as good as the above.

4) I think its best to get the customized boots, but I'm not a professional, just my experience.

5) Learning how to avoid painful moves is important. I vote against pain medication when skiing; scotch after skiing is fine. I've also had good luck with Sunrider's JOI an herbal concoction sold by a pyramid marketing company (but that's expensive, so I no longer use it).

6) No, you are the customer, he is the salesmen, selling boots is his job. However, it is extremely bad form to go in and waste the staff's time to find the make and model that best fits your foot and then go buy it on line without compensating the staff/store for helping you find that model. The store and staff can take some consolation that the boot won't fit you properly without proper alignment and fitting, which may take many many hours. Fitting is usually included in the price of new boots.

7) You may be able to find a good bootfitter in a store near you who will work with you for a fee, help you order the correct boot on-line and then fit it to your foot.

8) Flex is a personal thing, but I'm guessing a 90 Flex might be good for you; I am not a boot fitter, so I could be way off here.

9) I suspect, you will get answers from better-informed folk in the boot fitter's forum, it will just take a little longer.


10) Divide the cost of the boots you buy over the 20 years they'll last (assuming your feet aren't still growing wink.gif ), and it won't seem like such a hefty sum.
post #3 of 12

One thing I noticed that Ghost didn't answer,

"I felt much further forward than I had on rentals (lower leg was pointing more forward if that makes sense),"

You need to be careful, because a lot of boots have too much forward lean, especially for a beginner/intermediate.

Counterintuitively, it will tend to make you put your bottom too far back and then bend at the waist (because all the joints will rearrange to overcompensate).

The bootfitter can adjust that inside the boot, or in extreme cases by modifying the sole of the boot, but it seems simpler to get a boot that starts closer to the goal.  (See some of the more techical discussions in other threads over the years of zeppa, etc, etc, etc,  but remember your question 2, and in any case how do you know what you want/need at this point?).

 

 

 

post #4 of 12
About that forward lean, you basically want the boot to put you into your normal "home base" position without you having to apply force to the boot. Some boots can be set up to different positions(at least the older ones), other boots are not so adjustable.
post #5 of 12

OK, lots to work with there.

 

As a general rule a high percentage of occasional skiers - be they renting or owning their own boots - will be wearing boots at least one size too large.  Feet are very personal things (as you know) so getting someone's foot into the right size boot will often involve some tweaking to the shell of the boot.  Until those tweaks are sorted out the boots might end up painful through the day.  Rental shops sometimes get around this by putting the client in a larger size (which initially feel comfortable) although as the liner packs out this often means hauling the buckles on harder and harder to get the snug fit you need to properly control the ski.  Hauling the buckles on harder can lead to tingling/cramping as the blood flow gets interrupted.  If the boot were properly set up to start with the buckles wouldn't need such pressure.  You see people with nicely fitting boots click their buckles in with a finger or two and off they go.

 

You say "pronated", but not to what extent.  A significant number of people are mildy pronated (don't know the exact ratio) and a custom footbed generally helps with this.  The process involves standing in the correct stance (careful not to pronate here) on those 'squishy pads' while the machine conforms to the bottom of your feet.  The squishy material then hardens and a softened footbed is placed on the impression the machine has made of your feet.  You stand on the softened footbed (in the correct stance again) while it hardens, and there you have a custom footbed.  The shop should then 'post up' the footbed to stabilise it within the boot.  If you're looking to get a footbed done - a very good idea given your stated problem with pronation - then go ahead and do that first before you try to buy a boot.  It will make a difference to how the boot fits; for one thing footbeds support the arch of the foot and largely prevent that pronation.  Supporting the arch functionally shortens the foot a smidge, and generally changes the shape of the foot within the boot - particularly over the instep.

 

If you're intent on skiing better get yourself a custom footbed first and foremost.  You could even limit yourself to that until you get more skiing experience - just take your footbed along when you rent boots.  Setting your foot properly within the boot could also help with your knee problems, depending on the degree of pronation you're currently experiencing and the extent to which this is addressed by the new footbed.

 

The footbed should last you for years, so the cost is spread out over time.  A great investment.

 

Have to run, but I'll come back and address some of the other stuff later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #6 of 12

Back again.

 

Pulling the liner out and testing the fit inside the shell is called "shell fitting", and is the correct way to get started.  If your boot fitting starts any other way it's possible you've struck an inexperienced fitter.  The way it's been described to me, centre your foot in the boot, touch your toes to the tip of the boot and look at the gap between heel and shell; 10mm is a race fit, 15mm is a tight fit and 20mm is a comfortable fit - anything above that is too large.  The fit width-wise is also a consideration, but the fitter should be across that after measuring your foot.

 

The liner is basically a foam of varying types.  Some stock liners can be molded at pressure points after being heated up, and this is usually a free service when you purchase the boot.  Even after this process, over the course of a day or three of skiing your liner will "pack out" in pressure areas, and therefore conform a little to your foot.  This is one reason why second hand boots can be problematic - they've shaped to the previous owner's foot.  The shell, on the other hand, actually hardens a little (to varying degrees) as the temperature drops, and therefore becomes less capable of dealing with a bad fit on the snow.  On the other hand, shells can be punched, blown out or ground to conform to your foot in problem areas.  That's what I meant above when I said "if the boots were properly set up to start with".  Some people can achieve a good fit with boots straight out of the box (like my first boots), and others require some work (like my second pair).  Once they've sold you the boot most shops hereabouts will work with you, punching areas and playing about with the shell until the boots are right for your feet.  You may get to a point where you say "These are the best boots I've ever tried, except there's a pressure point right here <indicate area> on each foot ...".  At this point the shop will say they can punch out that area if you're happy to purchase the boot.  Your call.  They won't punch out a boot unless you're going to buy it.

 

Ultimately you'll own your boots for years, so trying for the latest model of boot doesn't make a great deal of sense from a cost pespective.  Tell the boot fitter your experiences to date with rental boots, and the fittings you've had done.  Try out a selection of boots from back-vintage, on-sale stock.  At 23.5 you could be lucky, although (as you've discovered) you could find that stores don't stock a lot of that size.  Be prepared to spend hours stomping around the store testing the fit.  Problems don't emerge in the first five or ten minutes - usually takes fifteen to twenty before circulation issues turn up as a "pins and needles" feeling.  I've heard it described that boots should be like a firm handshake - gripping your foot firmly all over, but not painful in any particular spot.

 

There is no need to feel pushed into buying if you're not totally happy.  If you let the store know you'll be buying something (once you find the right pair) they'll likely be happy to put in the time.  Unfortunately, even on sale a decent pair of boots will usually run you up towards $350 - $500.  Add on the footbed and you're starting to pile up the cost, but think of it as an investment.  To drag out a terrific quote from this forum, nobody ever came off the hill because their skis made their feet hurt.  The right boots make a world of difference to your skiing, and your enjoyment of the day.  Lastly, don't believe anyone who says their boots are like slippers - they're snug for a reason, and it's always great to get them off at the end of the day.

 

Working with a boot fitter to get a good fit and then buying elsewhere will be frowned upon (and rightly so) and it's likely the money you save will be eaten up the first time you need a fitter to punch out the shell.  Have a fossick around at local NZ ski forums, if there is one, to get recommendations about the right fitter.

 

Given your pronation and knee problems I recommend going with the $150 for a custom footbed as a first step.  Try to find a reputable store for this - something dedicated to skiing, with trained staff, a large selection of boots/brands, and one that will work with you on the fitting when you're ready to buy boots.  Paying up for a footbed will give you a lot of time to discuss what you're after with the boot fitter, and give you some cred with the store.  Allow some time to get it all done - even when the footbed sets there's still some work to do.  The footbed often needs to be trimmed to fit neatly inside your boots, so if you're not immediately going to purchase boots let the fitter know how you intend to use them.

 

Best of luck.

 

post #7 of 12

"OH NO, 23.5. I'M AFRAID I CANNOT SELL YOU A BOOT TODAY!" and then went on to comment that I had a more uncommon foot size (small.) and when they do their ordering of stock they only order one or two in that size (and lots of 25.5 and 26.5 or something),

 

This is the part I don't understand. My skiboot size is 23.5 and my feet are very average size, 38 euro.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Wow -- you guys did a great job of answering my questions :O Thanks so much for the lengthy answers!

Interesting, I did not know that about forward lean. All the other boots I've tried have felt 'normal' in that sense, just that one boot felt like it was forcing my knee to bend more to stay upright. At the time I thought 'hey, maybe this is just how ski boots should be' but evidently not necessarily! Not that I know what my normal 'home base' position should be exactly, but since most boots seem more upright, I presume they are roughly correct.

I now understand why I was renting boots a size too big - makes perfect sense now.

I'm asking around for reputable bootfitters on a general NZ snow forum to see what people come up with, so will hopefully be able to rustle up someone who can take a look at my feet and know what's good for me. So far someone actually mentioned a person at the place I found which had no boots in my size at all :( damn end-of-season-ness.

Ahh, regarding pronation: I'm not sure what is mild or severe pronation, so I'll guess I have standard mild pronation like everyone else. I took photos of my feet from the front and back. According to a physio I saw briefly for my knee, my left foot / leg-when-walking is more messed up than the right.
http://i.imgur.com/7bg2l.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/m2lWo.jpg
Assuming a picture is worth a thousand words or so.

Speaking of which, I cruised into the place in town today which had the boots with the forward lean, and tried on everything in my size - the guy there wasn't a bootfitter but was happy to get me into a few boots and let me stand around in them to see how they felt. They had a good 4 or 5 boots in a 23.5. I found that a couple of Salomon's I tried actually fit more snugly than the Nordica's (the Nordica's had the forward lean) and reduced my heel lift to nil - all fit well at the toes - but with every snug-fitting boot I tried after about five minutes I developed a growing pain at my instep. The best ones I tried in terms of not having any other pain points were a pair of Salomon Divine 5's, which we eventually put an off-the-shelf footbed in to try out after I suggested that maybe my ankle rolling was causing all the pain. Put the footbed in one foot, stood around for another few minutes, pain didn't seem to be returning, I'm thinking I agree quite strongly with sinbad about beginning with custom footbeds and going from there, if I'm not even going to be able to find a boot that fits without them! It's a shame I couldn't combine the shop with the really knowledgable-sounding bootfitter with the shop that actually had boots in my size in stock...

I didn't realise that most boots wound up being fitted and tweaked more after buying - definitely a good reason to buy from the bootfitter to have some guarantee of fit.

Aaaaand -- so you guys reckon these boots really should last a good while? My feet gave up on growing a while ago, so there's no chance of growing out of them :P Boots all seem to be often marketed as NOVICE, INTERMEDIATE, EXPERT, etc, and I'd hate to grow out of them ability-wise, whatever that means. Blargle. :lack of boot knowledge:
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skise View Post

"OH NO, 23.5. I'M AFRAID I CANNOT SELL YOU A BOOT TODAY!" and then went on to comment that I had a more uncommon foot size (small.) and when they do their ordering of stock they only order one or two in that size (and lots of 25.5 and 26.5 or something),

 

This is the part I don't understand. My skiboot size is 23.5 and my feet are very average size, 38 euro.


I recently bought a pair of (second-hand but only worn once many years ago) size 38 euro figure skates off the NZ equivalent of eBay and they fit like a glove, so we must have the same size foot :P Everyone in my family has bigger feet than me, but I've got other female friends who have the same size foot or smaller than me. I always figured my feet were average-small. (size 6 NZ.) Perhaps skiing in NZ attracts larger-footer females! confused.gif

 

post #9 of 12

You might want to see if there is a dealer for either Full Tilt or Dalbello because some of their boots come with Intuition liners.  These liners are custom molded, using heat, to fit your feet.  I bought Intuition liners for my boots last year and was really amazed at how comfortable and warm they are while still giving me all the control I need to ski black and double black runs.  The type of person you really want to deal with is called a pedorthist in the US.  I don't know if they exist in NZ or not but it is worth looking for.  Custom foot beds can and should correct the pronation problem.

post #10 of 12

"Divide the cost of the boots you buy over the 20 years they'll last..." eek.gif Unclear how many skiers, even here, keep their boots 20 years. Or would want to. Would guess 3-5 is more typical. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fgor View Post

I found that a couple of Salomon's I tried actually fit more snugly than the Nordica's (the Nordica's had the forward lean) and reduced my heel lift to nil - all fit well at the toes - but with every snug-fitting boot I tried after about five minutes I developed a growing pain at my instep. The best ones I tried in terms of not having any other pain points were a pair of Salomon Divine 5's, which we eventually put an off-the-shelf footbed in to try out after I suggested that maybe my ankle rolling was causing all the pain. Put the footbed in one foot, stood around for another few minutes, pain didn't seem to be returning..

...I always figured my feet were average-small. (size 6 NZ.) Perhaps skiing in NZ attracts larger-footer females! confused.gif

 


fgor, your pictures show moderate pronation in both feet (second shot from heel more informative here), but seems to begin in different places longitudinally, so front shot looks like left is worse. A footbed for sure, ideally one that's heat molded to you. As far as the instep issue, not uncommon in women with more bony feet (my wife has same issue). A footbed with good arch support will actually allow you feet to take up less width, so less pressure on sides. That may what you're feeling. OTOH, insufficient height can pinch veins on top of instep, cause numbing or discomfort. Height can be adjusted various ways (bootfitters know all about this). Hard to tell about instep height from your pics, but it looks as if your foot is pretty normal except it rises a bit around the navicular (just ahead of the ankle), so the pain from the top could be from that area, not the more typical proximal first metatarsal bump further forward. You'll need a bootfitter to work this out, but if true, your issues could stem from your heel sliding forward in a too long boot (thinking of your comment about rentals) or out of a too wide heel pocket. That's a different problem than a boot that's truly not high enough over the arch, different solutions. 

 

Now about lasts: Nordies tend to be higher volume overall than Sollies. Sollies are known for having wide forefeet and narrower heels. OTOH, the Divine 5 is particularly wide (104 mm across forefoot), and quite soft. Really a beginner boot. Maybe not the best choice unless you have a very wide foot (which you don't appear to) and/or are not planing to ski much and just want comfort. Point being that each brand has different lasts and design philosophies. I suspect several, but not all, will make your feet happy. As far as store fit, in general, snugger and stiffer goes with better transmission of what you want the ski to do out to the ski edge. Looser and softer goes with less efficient transmission out to the edges, so harder to ski well, but warmer and comfier (although a very loose boot will create banging and rubbing). In the store, snug is what you want, even in a intermediate boot. A plush, comfy boot in the shop will = a sloppy boot a season later onslope. Concentrate on the ankle and heel, bootfitters can expand the front of the shell fairly easily. The correct way to do all this, as others have said, is to take the liner out and measure how much space is behind your heel when your toes are just touch the end of the boot. Should be, for your level, 15-20 mm. Or if you're old school, one finger width + a bit. Then the fitter should look at how the shell is at the heel/ankle with your footbed in. Notice we're not talking about liners yet. Liners lie. They can feel great for a while when the shell's a disaster waiting to happen.

 

Finally, a NZ six is average (7.5 USA), depending on your height (taller folks have bigger feet on average). So women of statistically average height (5' 4.5") run about 7.5 USA. Friends I have in retail tell me that women's feet are getting bigger (they claim 8-8.5 now typical), that could reflect more weight, secular trend in height, or just a weird sample. 

 

post #11 of 12

Not sure where you're based, but if you can get to Methven (Nearest town to Mt. Hutt in Canterbury) there's a very well reviewed fitter for both boots and footbeds. Used to race for NZ I think, but has spent 20 odd years in the fitting game. http://www.wombatskishop.com/

 

Just a disclaimer - I don't work for them, but have been very impressed by Chris' knowledge when I was boot shopping!

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

@mtcyclist : haven't seen any Full Tilt or Dalbello yet, but I've barely seen anything so far! I haven't heard of a pedorthist before - a quick google informs me it is not the same thing as a podiatrist (which I have heard of). All kinds of feet people. They must be rarer here.


@beyond - wow, your knowledge of feet far surpasses mine! I agree that I thiiink I have pretty average instep height - certainly no-one has ever told me that I have a high instep, and I have a pretty arch when I point my feet which doesn't sound like a low instep to my knowledge-less brain. They just wind up low because I roll my ankles all around. :/

Definitely things for the bootfitter to address, especially whoever I find to make me a custom insole, which sounds like it could solve plenty of pain problems all on its own (like frustration with many rentals I've tried either being too big, or giving me nagging pain in the instep/sides of my feet after about five minutes. Silly rentals).

I'm assuming a boot with "high volume" has more room inside the boot for movement (or rather, more room to suit bigger feet)? That would make sense from my experiences with the boots I tried. The wide last explains why the Divine 5 didn't begin to give my foot pain in the area sort of behind the little toe (not directly behind, about an inch behind, my anatomy descriptions are awful). I also tried a pair of Salomon Divine RS CF, which were more snug in the front-of-foot area from memory but they had the aforementioned pain problem. They were $200 more than the Divine 5's so presumably 'higher level'? (they were also the most expensive boot I tried on, at NZD$800. Trying on boots definitely makes my bank balance shudder in fear.) Do wonder if custom insoles would help with the pain there, by preventing my feet from spreading out to the sides. I don't think I have particularly wide feet!

Also totally didn't know they were particularly soft, shows how inexperienced I am :P it's pretty tough to judge just flexing in a store when you don't know what you're looking for.

Definitely need a proper bootfitter to throw some well-fitting boots at me!


@kendal - arg, unfortunately I'm based in Hamilton, 3-4 hours north of Mt Ruapehu. I may be down in the South Island at some stage in the not-distant future but it'll be over xmas break... middle of summer XD

good to know there are definitely some good fitters in NZ anyway :D

 

again thanks for all replies, you guys are increasing my knowledge tenfold :)

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