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Do The Boot Stretching Services Work?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hey folks,

 

I bought a new pair of boots about 3 or 4 years and that I've only used a handful of times.  Unfortunately they're just too tight (tighter than they should be) and my toes hit the front a little bit.    After a couple of hours of skiing this way it gets painful.

 

My local ski shop says they've got some machine that for $75-$150 (depending) can somehow stretch it out and increase the size and make it "the most comfortable fitting boot I own".  Question is, do these machines really work?  If so, does it last, or will they contract again within a year?

 

Thanks

post #2 of 22
Yes, yes, yes

It's possible to make a boot almost 1.5 sizes bigger with grinding and stretching. It depends on the boot but most boots over $399 can be modified in many ways. The key is to find a reputable shop with all the necessary tools and someone competent to run those tools.

Plastics vary from boot to boot and manufacturer to manufacturer but most of the time if you punch a boot it wil retain that punch for a long time as long as you don't get the boot incredibly hot (leave it by the fire, locked in a trunk on a warm sunny day, etc).

Where are you located?
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

That's good to hear!  I'm in Boston.  A new ski shop opened near me that looks pretty nice.  I stopped in and they said they have "The best machine for boot fitting that's on the market or that money could buy".  Of course I have no way of disputing or verifying that claim.  I also have no way of knowing how good the tech is that would be doing it, but he seemed knowledgeable when I talked to him.

post #4 of 22

I'm not sure which machine your local shop has, but if it is like the one at my local shop, it should work.  Just make sure, as mentioned, it is used by someone competent enough to use it.

 

I had my new boots stretched at the fifth metatarsal heads, and my boots fit great.  The stretches were very subtle, but they made the difference.

 

Do you have orthopedic insoles in your boots (either drop in or custom)?  The reason I ask is that some shops won't touch a pair of boots unless you have them.  Stock insoles do not support a foot whatsoever, whereas, aftermarket ones do.  By properly supporting a foot, the aftermarket insole will control the spread of a foot.

 

Good luck,

Dennis

post #5 of 22

If you are talking about The Ski Stop in Canton, thumbs up. See or talk to Phil, he will take good care of you. Full customization available.

 

 

Dave

post #6 of 22

BTW, for what it is worth, that location is new, they have been around for a good long time!

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

@Denny1969:  I was thinking about adding SuperFeet to them anyway, so this might be a good excuse.  I'll have to ask the guy specifically how long he's been doing boot fitting though.  Don't want to be his second client.

 

@Daveski7:  Not in Canton, but next time I pass through there I'll be sure to check them out.

 

Thanks!

post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSmith79 View Post

Hey folks,

 

I bought a new pair of boots about 3 or 4 years and that I've only used a handful of times.  Unfortunately they're just too tight (tighter than they should be) and my toes hit the front a little bit.    After a couple of hours of skiing this way it gets painful.

 

My local ski shop says they've got some machine that for $75-$150 (depending) can somehow stretch it out and increase the size and make it "the most comfortable fitting boot I own".  Question is, do these machines really work?  If so, does it last, or will they contract again within a year?

 

Thanks


It is more than works and is essential for good skiing as far as I'm concerned.  However your price of 75 to 150 seems quite high.  I'm am in the village of Whistler and just had mine done at a shop 100 feet from the gondola for 20.

 

post #9 of 22

Msmith, Canton and Westwood.  No disrespect to the other Ski shop, just thought you were referring to the one I mentioned.     Dave

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper View Post


However your price of 75 to 150 seems quite high.  I'm am in the village of Whistler and just had mine done at a shop 100 feet from the gondola for 20.

 


 

Oh really?  Wow that's good to know.  They told me that it's usually a 45 minute consultation to determine all the problem areas and another hour or so of work to actually do it, so the price seemed right.  Is ~$20 the price others are paying too?

post #11 of 22

Yes, they work, but sometimes you need to get multiple stretches to make it work.  Sometimes the first stretch doesn't go far enough, etc.

 

 

That said, that price is outrageously expensive for stretching shells.

 

 

I might look into another shop who would do it for less (if money is a concern for you).

post #12 of 22

A boot punch should cost $35.00 or about $60.00/hour.  No more.  Some premium locations with expert bootfitters- rarely further more than a few steps from the lift-  may charge up to $100.00/hour.

 

Some punches recede.  If I do a punch, I will gladly re-punch for free if it shrinks too much.

 

 

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 

Sorry, my last reply got delayed because I'm a new member.  Thanks everyone.  I'll call around.  My quote was from Boston Ski + Tennis.  Maybe I'll make a trip to that Canton shop though.

post #14 of 22

The Westwood location is off of 128, whichever is closer to you.

post #15 of 22

Boot customization really helped me a lot, but if the price starts pushing $150, you may be better off with  set of new boots on sale and free customizing that most shops offer on new sales.  

 

But I cannot stress enough how much you need to find a  good boot fitter.  If you boots don't fit right, you may spend  a lot of money without any improvements.  For example, if you go into most stores and complain about tightness, they will stretch the boots wider.  If you go to a good bootfitter, they will  spend some time to make sure you really need the stretch.  For example, if your boots are too big (very common), your feet may slide around and hurt when your feet bang into the shell, and stretching the boots will just make it a lot worse.  So if this is your problem (not saying it is, but just giving an example), you will be spending money and getting worse fitting boots.  In general, I think that the boot should fit pretty well, with the bootfitting making it just right.

 

Alternatively, the boots may fit fine, but you made need other work.  For example, if your feet flatten out, the boots will feel really tight, but the solution is a footbed and not stretching the boots.

post #16 of 22

I prefer grinding (if the shell thickness allows) to stretching. often times stretching shrinks back up some.

 

Grinding can be much more precise.   The last thing you want is too much room.


Edited by Atomicman - 12/21/11 at 5:43pm
post #17 of 22

The tool is one thing but it needs to be in the hands of the person who know how to use it. A footbed (at least a Superfeet) along with the right sock could solve a good portion of the issues. I agree, in that make sure that you are in the correct boot to even start off with. A good shop can make more off the work than a sale of a new boot, so if the shop recommends a new boot, it should be a strong consideration. 

post #18 of 22

as Phil says, the fitter makes the difference...

 

but try the simple stuff first

 

socks, if you're in heavy or medium socks, go much lighter - good circulation makes a difference in warmth, so a lighter sock might be just as warm...

I'm real finicky on the type of sock. There are light socks with very heavy heel and toe pockets - they cause problems because they don't allow proper full contact on my feet. Socks with less spandex and more wool content work best for me. I avoid all synth socks like the plague - they don;t absorb foot moisture and eventually rub me raw.

 

good, supportive insoles, of course

 

How you buckle your boot makes a huge diff in fit. Each boot/model may work/fit different depending on how you buckle.

where and how you store makes a difference, if it's a comfortable place for you, it'll be good for the boots...

 

sometimes the boot liner is problem and with some easy work, will give the toe room you might wish, after getting the other stuff, above, handled.

 

last thing is to resort to boot mods - they work, when everything else is the best it can be

 

 

post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSmith79 View Post


 

Oh really?  Wow that's good to know.  They told me that it's usually a 45 minute consultation to determine all the problem areas and another hour or so of work to actually do it, so the price seemed right.  Is ~$20 the price others are paying too?

 

Your price is high for a punch, but reasonable for a proper fitting consultation and boot work.  Just doing a punch without the consultation is not something I would recommend unless you already know exactly what you need done and can explain it to the guy doing the work.

 

post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSmith79 View Post

Sorry, my last reply got delayed because I'm a new member.  Thanks everyone.  I'll call around.  My quote was from Boston Ski + Tennis.  Maybe I'll make a trip to that Canton shop though.



Another vote for Ski Stop.  I got my boots from them and was mighty impressed with their expertise.  I didn't have any modifications done for my boots as they're the Fischer Vacuums and are custom molded but if I do end up needing a punch or stretch I wouldn't hesitate to go to them for that 'traditional' boot work.  I went to the Westwood location and worked with Phil and Gerhard.

 

BTW, I've been to Boston Ski and Tennis and they have a great selection of clothing and other gear.  I don't know anything about their bootfitting services, though.

post #21 of 22

Your quoted price might seem high because the shop doesn't know the extent of the punching or stretching required and are making a range estimate based on a minimum and maximum number of areas requiring stretching or punching.  My fitter charges by the number of areas being ground, stretched or punched... so if you need four areas worked on it will be 4 X whatever the per punch rate is.  I generally need three to four areas stretched or punched in each of my boots, so it generally runs me about $80 per boot or around $160-180 for the pair.

 

When you look at the numbers in that way, the quotes being referred to in this thread ($75-150 or $20/punch) could both be accurate because one is the estimated total cost and the other is the cost of getting a single area punched (there's no way a boot fitter will do a bunch of work on your boots for only 20 bucks unless you've bought him a pile of beer or he's sleeping with your sister).


Edited by exracer - 12/21/11 at 6:11pm
post #22 of 22

One thing the ski industry is never short of is advice. The problem is always that it is all over the board. News flash.....Feet are different and they want to be in their own unique position to function the way they are designed to work. So much of the voodoo black arts does nothing but lock the foot up to not function properly, then the boot fitter responds to the problems rather than actually getting to the base of the problem. You need a boot fitter that understands feet in addition to then finding the boot that will properly accommodate your foot. The first thing to look at is the way each ski boot boot board interacts with your feet. If your feet are not balanced on the boots boot board everything that is done to that boot from that point forward will be an attempt to make something ,"less worse", (to use bad grammar). To give you and example there are wide feet that will feel better in a Head Raptor (high boot board) then a Lange RS wide 110 that has a lower boot board if his or her feet want or need to have a higher heel height. There are tests that you can do to properly assess which your foot needs. This knowledge going into a situation with a boot fitter can be powerful as to not allow the boot fitter to do un-needed work that in the long run may really not make your feet that much happier...

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