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Custom ski boots -- great, pain relieving idea or ridiculous expense for the non-serious skiier? - Page 2

Poll Results: Custom Ski Boots from Sure Foot -- worth it for people with imperfect feet and bodies, or crazy expense for the non serious skiier?

Poll expired: Feb 29, 2012  
  • 35% (24)
    Worth it baby...changed my life!
  • 7% (5)
    So not worth it -- I or my friend did it and it was a disaster!
  • 56% (38)
    Don't know, but I'm curious myself.
67 Total Votes  
post #31 of 118

I agree with the gist of almost everything here except OldJeep's comments (which may well be appropriate to his own situation).  I think you should look for a quality bootfitter, set an appointment, and be willing to work with him/her for several hours the first time and then maybe again a bit.  I think Surefoot is selling a service at a premium that may or may not be any better than  a "regular" bootfitter can provide.   I paid less than retail for my boots cuz they were on sale at the boot fitter's shop (he could have steered me to the non-sale boots, but he was looking out for my best fit and my best interests) and got extensive fitting, grinding, punching, and aligning as part of the purchase price -- in the end, personalized top-of-the-line boots cost me only $420 and it is the best investment I ever made in my skiing life.

 

If you would ever go to Southern VT, I cannot recommend Nick Blaylock at Mount Snow more highly.  If you are willing to be serious, he is worth the drive.... whether he has boots on sale or not.

post #32 of 118

are you folks being ripped off on the other side of the pond? ive just had a new set of foot beds made, the foot bed was molded to my feet and they put addtional support under the arches and heels where i suffer from pronation, £65 uk pounds,

post #33 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by rossymcg View Post

are you folks being ripped off on the other side of the pond? ive just had a new set of foot beds made, the foot bed was molded to my feet and they put addtional support under the arches and heels where i suffer from pronation, £65 uk pounds,



 Sounds about right - 65 British pounds sterling = 102.7845 US dollars

post #34 of 118

I think it depends on the person.


If by some miracle you just happen to have model feet, and you can just grab a pair of rental boots off the shelf and ski all day and your feet don't hurt,  


So maybe once you get a particular model of boot that seems great for you and maybe you just throw in a pair of off the shelf superfeet insoles and that's all you need.

 

But if you know you are not the "model" legs/feet that the boots were designed for, then maybe you need the other stuff.

post #35 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldjeep View Post


 

May be different where you live, but you don't get free boot fitting when you buy boots around here - so you pay either way.

 

As for the only idiots buy boots on the interweb from Sinecure - thanks for your opinion - what exactly are you an ambassador of?
I assume some of you folks posting in this thread are seeing huge proform discounts as well, not everyone has $1K to spend on a pair of boots.

 



FWIW, Sinecure has some merit to what he's saying, mostly because he has seen a lot of people with miserable "bargain" boots.

Heck, in the short time I've been teaching, I've seen several students struggle to ski just because of bad boots.  

 

Most bootfitters will offer fitting services with the purchase of a boot from them, with the alignment and footbeds being extra.  Most services cost more if you don't buy your boot from them, which makes sense to me. 

 

I did not get pro form on the first few pair of boots I got from a fitter, and I still thought it was worth the price to get it done right. 

 

post #36 of 118

Hi Nancy, 

 

Welcome to epicski! 

 

Boots, when fitted by a bootfitter, can go a long way towards alleviating foot pain. Also, when you're fitted in a snug boot, you'll be able to ski stronger and possibly longer. I advocate researching ski shops in your area and the bootfitters there, and spending a couple of hours getting fitted. Lots of good advice on the forums about picking out a bootfitter. Also, I agree with other posters that surefoot generally isn't necessary. Fitters can really modify shells and liners, and good fitters can create a good fit with the vast majority of foot shapes (and nearly everyone has a unique foot shape) without resorting to a foam injected liner.  

 

Keep in mind that the $100-200 premium of a boot in shop includes the fitting services, and without the help of the local shop, you'll never get a good fit. But to get your money's worth, make sure to inquire about who the good bootfitters are in your area. It's worth the effort when your skis finally start doing what you ask of them! 

 

edit: oops, looks like I was late to the party in hitting "submit". oh well!

post #37 of 118

I am not sure if it is posted here anywhere, but on TGR, there is a thread, likely multiple threads, on how to correctly shell fit a pair of boots.  With that info in mind and assuming your feet, legs, posture are not a mess, it is fairly simple to get some correct fitting boots, that at most may need a few adjustments.  As far as the insoles go, for me the fancy $150 insoles did little that I could notice but make the boots a tad tighterrolleyes.gif.  Rather than the insoles for my high arches, I was better served by replacing my dead liners with moldable Intuition liners.  Those made the fit much better than my old liners with a fancy insole and I molded them myselfwink.gif.  Granted, you may need a higher level of assistance than me and consequently have to pay for it, so do as was suggested and go see a good boot fitter for a second opinion.

post #38 of 118

I bought top of the line boots from the Surefoot store in Val D'Isere 3 years ago.  I thought I was getting the Rolls Royce of ski boots.  They're OK but next time I will probably go to a different boot fitter.  The Lange boots (best shell they had at the time) they sold me hurt like hell the first 2 weeks I wore them and even now I have to ski with each buckle on the loosest setting or they choke off circulation.  A friend of mine later told me that Lange boots are known for being a tight fit.  Wish I knew that before I bought them (I have wide feet and big calves).

 

Surefoot's technology is impressive but one problem with the setup is that you don't get to try on the final product until you've already bought it.  I think I would be better served by trying on as many different boots as possible and letting the fitter make any needed modifications.

 

I would gladly fork out $1,200 to $1,500 for the world's most comfortable ski boots.  Unfortunately, that's not what I got.  I bought a Rolls Royce and got something along the lines of a Buick.

post #39 of 118

Maybe you can tell us specifically where you live.  Did you look at the list of fitters on the link I posted?  If not, I question how serious you are about this.  There is an excellent boot fitter in NYC, he even posts on here as drbalance.

post #40 of 118


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

Fiitters can really modify shells and liners, and good fitters can create a good fit with the vast majority of foot shapes (and nearly everyone has a unique foot shape) without resorting to a foam injected liner.  


Yes!  An injection liner is based on heel hold goals (as in zero heel lift). This is a performance goal and should not be sold as comfort fit independently.  They are exacting and while are fitted precisely to every crevice of your foot, there are easier, lighter, warmer and cheaper ways to get comfort.

 

Also, if the shell fit isn't great, you are basically pumping in a bunch of foam to mask the problem.

 

It might help the OP to understand the difference between a foot bed molded to the mechanics of your feet in a ski boot vs. something like Superfeet.

 

I have high instep arches and pronate a little bit.  Pretty similar for both feet.  I can use Superfeet and they feel the same on both sides.  The mechanics across my metatarsal arch are very different.  My foot specialist, a.k.a. boot fitter was able to tell me which side my turns where stronger on by evaluating my feet.  Did the same for my wife.  Tell me more, please.

 

A lot of buckle cranking is compensatory for foot movement, e.g. pronation, when you have a performance shell fit.  I was doing a lot of cranking or my left foot would twinge severely at the forefoot on my left foot when pressuring the ski - this with $50 Superfeet beds, mind you.  By twinge I mean excruciating sharp pain.  Cranking cut circulation and warped shell fit.  Pain or cold, pick your poison.  I am street size 11 in a 26.5 boot, 100 mm last.

 

Time for orthotics.  To build these, I stood on a soft moldable surface, kind of like sand under excercise ball material.  This was in a skiing position for the correct pressure in this stance, and Lee (my fitter) aligned my legs and feet.  Press a button and it felt like when you stand in the ocean in a wave and your feet sink in.  Then the material hardens up and you are now standing in a mold of your feet as they should be in perfect alignment in your boots.

 

From there the moldable orthotic bed is heated up and placed in the mold of your foot, and you stand on it until it cools.  When you see the result of this, even with normal looking feet like I have, you realize that the actual shape of your foot and its associated mechanics when skiing is nothing like the shape of store inserts.  Your foot has so much greater shape and potential movement.

 

Time to ski.  Buckle normally, just a two finger fit.  No cranking.  No pain.  Drastically improved control and skiing performance.

 

The reality is you have no other shoe that is designed for zero sole flex.  Your foot is going to move around unless the footbed is the mirror image of your foot or you have sausage stuffed into a super tight shell (and still....)  If you want a comfortable fit without stability loss, I cannot recommend orthotics highly enough if you trust your evaluation.

 

My fitter gets referrals from orthopedists, so bear in mind that what I am describing is not a Surefoot branch outlet as he does medical level inserts and hiking boots as well.

 

Also keep in mind that I will spend a premium for a solution that I believe will work for me for a long time.  The two boots I bought from chain shops like REI where I got a shell fit cost 80% of my entire custom setup and caused me exceptional amounts of pain and aggravation.  Shell fit cannot fix foot mechanics, it can only limit their expression to some extent, which is why so many people ski off the shelf boots and crank 'em down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #41 of 118

Nancy00,

 

There are several things you might consider:

 

- Getting Value For Your $.  I am lucky enough to fit into a Head Raptor and the old Langes without much work, meaning I can buy a year or two old "new" technical boot very cheaply on online.  Your feet don't conform to the manufacturers molds, so buying online is probably a waste of money.  If you have to spend your hard earned money for a good fit, make sure it fits right.  It is worth traveling a few hours to find a bootfitter, or to make an appointment to see a recommended one on the first day of your next ski vacation.   Believe it or not, a custom boot (e.g., Daleboot) can cost a lot less than some off the shelf boots with the add-ons (better liners, custom footbeds, etc.).

 

- Durability.  Most boots should last you a VERY long time.  An intermediate to advanced skier should not readily break down the plastic.  You can always replace the liners if they become packed out in a few years (you aren't skiing 100 days per year).  It might be beneficial down the road to find a boot with a sole or parts of a sole that can easily be replaced (making contact with the binding better) if it wears from walking on pavement.  I always buy the extra toe/heel sole parts for my kids boots (handed down from kid to kid) before the manufacturers stop stocking them.  Custom manufacturer Daleboot--pretty much a component boot--makes replacing the soles easy because the soles pop on and off using a flat head screwdriver for leverage.  This makes canting and replacement super easy.

 

- Locale of the fitter.  Obviously, finding someone local or near where you ski is optimal since you can always go back for additional fine tuning.  The problem with the custom manufacturers is that they are not located where you live.  They can do a great fitting by mail (I can testify to that), but then you miss that watchful eye of the master boot fitter.

 

- Priorities.  I could be very happy skiing the groomers--particularly this year-- with the boards I owned a decade or two ago provided my boots fit and performed right.  If my feet hurt, I'd be miserable with any ski.  Spend your money on good boots first and then find skis.  You can always save 50% or more by purchasing the previous years model  of whatever ski you like.  It may end up being the exact same ski with different top, anyway.  So save on the skis and spend on the boots. 

 

- Innovation.  A member of my family hasn't bought boots in at least 20 years, despite skiing far too well for mediocre rental equipment. This year he started looking for a pair, and was overwhelmed with the choices.  Making matters worse, he can afford any boot meaning the Apex, Fischer Vacuum Fit and every custom and semi-custom option is on the table (he may simplify things by going to the Start Haus when he visits in March).  My point is that innovation has improved the boots since you last skied in the 1970's.  Don't accept anything other than a great fit.

 

 

post #42 of 118

I bought my boots I wear now of the Internet and they fit great!!!

Mind you I tried alot of boots on in shops to find them, now don't go saying I wasted the time of the shops. I never asked for assistance and when I did buy them I would have bought them from the shop but 250 on line was way better then 650 in the shop, had the price been within 100 dollars I would have got them at the shop. ( couldn't believe I got them that price at the time)

Now I have worn alot of boots and I know what a good fit is for me, My last boots were V4s ( custom injection) that I had re-blow 3 times before the boots started having real issues.

LS bought the fisher vacuum and really likes them for 900+ with the foot beds.

I guess if ya have lots of cash get the blown boots if ya don't get something that works and you can afford. (The couch I have hurts my neck a little after watching TV for a few hrs, usually fall asleep, if I had lots of dough maybe I'd get a new more comfortable one. But for now this one works OK )

post #43 of 118

I have Sure Foot orthotics/footbeds so I do have some experience with the company but in general I think most folks would say Sure Foot is on the high end of the $ scale for shops selling boots so some would say there are better options for the money. I found the staff young, well trained and probably with limited experience. You mention spending $200 for the orthotic. Do you know you need a custom orthotic? Do you use custom orthotics in your other shoes, your everyday shoes, running shoes, hiking boots. If not there are a lot of good supportive off the shelf footbeds that sell for about $50. Do you have fit problems that lead you to needing the foam injected liner. They're expensive and probably only used by 1% of all skiers. I currently use both custom and stock boot liners. It's my observation that the stock boot liners are getting better every year. Your most important issue is to get a boot that FITS - that's NOT TOO BIG, that's SMALLER THAN YOUR SHOE SIZE. If you get a shop that will get you into a boot that fits and then make a few minor adjustments you will have a boot that you will be happy with. It need not cost you an arm and leg.

post #44 of 118

Honestly Nancy00 if you are in nyc, I'd recommend seeing drbalance- Jeff Rich at UsOrthotics,  and getting a recommendation for what boot etc.

You then could do things the most economically. He does not sell boots, but fits them.  He could size up your foot/leg and recommend a few models to try.

I will say his footbeds are great but are very expensive. You could go the off the shelf route.

Seeing him will save you hours. It will cost, but there is no more knowledgeable person on boots in nyc area, that is for sure. Also most of entire coast.

post #45 of 118

If you are serious about skiing -read on. If you just want to skid around and go for lunch, then go for lunch.

First principal is This: ENERGY STORAGE DEVICE

Your boots have to be dialed. Period. Performance over whimpy comfort. IT SHOULD NOT HURT YOU... Even if its full time.

You can't be a good skier or at least ski at your best if you don't have the story of how your foot works in your ski boot. This leads to having the right boot. You have to get this story from years of trial and error or much more quickly from a good boot fitter.

 

Second: BRANDS DON'T MATTER...FIT DOES. This leads to the specific Model of boot. Generally and especially over the last few years boots have evolved to resemble each other and the Lasts used to make the shells have become very similar. " Plug Boots " are on old legend and Flexes are the big determiner of performance. Too Stiff will hurt your skiing by freezing your ankle and making your butt move up and down to compensate. Four buckle/overlap shells now rule. Perhaps a punch to start with but you should not have to grind the shell and do many punches... The one finger 'Race Fit' is a crock unless you only do a two run race event.. and have the team boot fitter in your hotel at the race venue.

 

Third: Foam Liners and Custom Heat molded foot-beds that let the arch flex and the foot roll - as in walking or running - will connect you to the boot- which is an ENERGY STORAGE DEVICE. You may not need a foam liner -eg Conformable but you will ski better with one. The new Intuition liners with the hard tongue and boot sole look good too.

The choice is arrived at by trying on at least a dozen boot MODELS in a few different shops and then getting an appointment with the BOOT WIZARD. El Professori who will give you the real story and devine your boot model. Learn how to fit your boot - at least at a basic could make it work level, for future reference at ski sales.

Custom stuff sounds expensive but the foot-beds last for 600 to 700 days... that's six or seven years of 100 day seasons. Foam liners are shorter lived... 400-500.? ?

 

Compared to skis and cool ski attire boots are boring and boot work is a drag. Do it.

Alignment checks and boot sole shaving and other boot fit stuff is a way to get at the last few percent that change the skid to an on demand carve.

Discount the anecdotal except to build a statistical data base.    

 

post #46 of 118

I read some of the responses...some informed, some not.

 

My experience with skiing, is this:  No matter how good, or how bad you ski, everyone appreciates comfort.  Can you afford it?  Up to you.  Is there cheaper options then Surefoot?  Probably.  Is Surefoot worth it?  Well I can say this...Surefoot does guarantee their work.  Others claim to, but none in my experience do it as well as Surefoot does.  Others will just keep tinkering for free, usually unitl you get fed up with it...but ultimatley they keep your money.  Surefoot offers full refund if you are not 100% satisfied.  So it is a fairly low risk trial.

 

Also it is definatley preferable to have the fitter local...if you need some tweaks done, you can just pop in and get it done, if the fitter is 2 hour drive away, well tweaks are alot harder to do.

post #47 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Honestly Nancy00 if you are in nyc, I'd recommend seeing drbalance- Jeff Rich at UsOrthotics,  and getting a recommendation for what boot etc.

You then could do things the most economically. He does not sell boots, but fits them.  He could size up your foot/leg and recommend a few models to try.

I will say his footbeds are great but are very expensive. You could go the off the shelf route.

Seeing him will save you hours. It will cost, but there is no more knowledgeable person on boots in nyc area, that is for sure. Also most of entire coast.


This is true, the only bad thing I hear about Jeff Rich is the cost.  But the man is a master and offers lifetime adjustments to the boots and orthotics he fits.  He can recommend a boot for you which as Tog noted he does not sell.  He has also trained a good portion of people who call themselves boot fitters.

 

post #48 of 118

nancy00

 

I live in Maine

Where do you live?  there is a good bootfitter outside Bethel, Maine.   He also works with a shop near Portland , maine  Shawn is his name

post #49 of 118

Spend the effort to find a good bootfitter.  Then get him to recommend the correct boots and make you some custom foam-injected liners and custom foot beds.   If he works at a shop and includes his services in the price of the boots so much the better. 

EDIT: Flawed Poll!  My option isn't there, only surefoot, no and don't know.


Edited by Ghost - 2/3/12 at 3:53am
post #50 of 118

FWIW My bootfitter is happy to do work on boots that I have not bought from them. No one shop can carry every boot out there. And while it is essential that you buy the boot that fits. It's also nice to buy the boot that fits...and is the boot you want.

post #51 of 118


Quote:

Originally Posted by g-force View Post

If you are serious about skiing -read on. If you just want to skid around and go for lunch, then go for lunch.

Well the title of the thread is for the "non-serious skier". Lunch is important.  So is dinner...and breakfast of course.

Certainly one wouldn't talk about plug boots for a casual skier. I'm not sure what "old legend" means in reference to the plugs, I assure you they exist, but that's a different thread.

post #52 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Quote:

Well the title of the thread is for the "non-serious skier". Lunch is important.  So is dinner...and breakfast of course.

Certainly one wouldn't talk about plug boots for a casual skier. I'm not sure what "old legend" means in reference to the plugs, I assure you they exist, but that's a different thread.



I agree " Lunch is important.  So is dinner...and breakfast of course." Plus the apres ski cookies, those are important too. They have to be served AFTER the lifts close though, not before....

 

post #53 of 118

snowfight.gif

Yes, Trapp Family Lodge take note. Lifts close at four pm.  Tea and cookies at 3:30pm doesn't work too well.

post #54 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

snowfight.gif

Yes, Trapp Family Lodge take note. Lifts close at four pm.  Tea and cookies at 3:30pm doesn't work too well.


 

Lifts?     You're using lifts?    

 

  I'm not at all sure you're doing TFL right.     

 

 

post #55 of 118

Quote:

Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post

Lifts?     You're using lifts?    

 

  I'm not at all sure you're doing TFL right.     


Well even when we're downtown having fun, it's a little early for the crumpettes.

 

sherri_chris_leadville-329x238.jpg

photo:Kathy Hansen                                                            http://nasja.com/Pictures.html

 

post #56 of 118

My boots feel like bed room slippers.......all day long smile.gif

 

How does a SureFoot injection boot compensate for when your foot swells, changes, etc.?

I guess for a rec skier who goes 2-6 days a year they'd work.

post #57 of 118

UGGG she wants swell boots, not feet that swell sheesh

post #58 of 118

remember the source: their job is to sell custom from ground up....just as if you walked into a few off the rack/non-custom shops you'd most likely have a retailer poo-pooing custom boots and instead would find one of their stock boots best suited to your idiosyncrasies....so shop around first...'Topshelf'in whistler also does custom (@ $1500!)....

 

i got dalbello cross boots when i first got back into skiing...was assessed by a very good and reputable fitter (this is KEY)...then had custom moulded

footbeds ($180?) put in by another company elsewhere (wow, that made a world of difference for comfort!)...now after a few yrs just got Intuition Dream liners (again a world of difference)

as the stock liners were packing out.

 

so go to a few very good boot fitters and get some feedback...remember they'll try to sell their own brands, hence keep that in mind...then do some research.

but never buy online...esp if you're like most of us, you'll need some tweaking on your boots (punching out hot or cold spots etc).

 

as per surefoot, again do some research on line here (search engine or other) to get their feedback before you put down your hard earned dolleros.

 

and remember if you do go custom (vs off the rack with a good bootfitter) will the time you spend on the slopes warrant the added expense

ie are you a 12 days per season skier  or more serious at 30-50x out?

post #59 of 118

OK, so first off I'm, I'm a fairly beginner skier, so when it comes to ski boots I have no idea what I'm talking about.  I do have an experience to relate though.

 

I started skiing about 5 or 6 years ago but only went once in the last two years.  After my first year renting skis I bought a pair of skis and boots at Play it Again Sports, and really didn't spend too much.  The boots were the kind where they blow hot air in them for a while then you put them on and they mold to your feet somewhat.

 

I have very "flat" feet, and traditionally have worn orthotics.  When I started skiing I wore orthotics made by a doctor, and would put those in my boots.  My feet still got tired and after a few ski days with the new boots I thought they were actually a bit too large and wiggled a bit (felt blisters starting on my ankles), but eh, I don't ski more than about 10 times a year so I just put up with it.

 

In the two years I haven't been skiing, I have started running barefoot (my focus has been on half marathons and shorter races, which I run with shoes).  I have strengthened my feet enough that I skip wearing orthotics most of the time just walking around and never wear them while running if I'm wearing shoes.

 

Yesterday was the first day I've been back on the slopes since barefoot running, and I did not use any orthotic in the boots.  I didn't feel one bit of discomfort in my feet, I really didn't even think about my feet the whole day.

 

Probably not going to help unless you're going to take up barefoot running but take it for what it's worth.  In my experience, I had lost a lot of strength in the feet from wearing shoes and orthotics that is needed to keep them stable inside the boot and distribute your weight correctly and efficiently. 

post #60 of 118

As for buying boots off the internet, its important to note that some bootfitters don't sell boots or may only carry a limited number of brands. A "reputable" bootfitter will not only know their craft but also recommend boots for your feet. Of course if they sell the boots there then that is where you should buy them if they have a pair that fits. But, for example, if they have this years model for $650 and you can get last years model or a model from two years ago for $250 then be upfront and tell them that $$$ is an issue and you can buy these cheaper. But remember, you have to add back the cost of the fitting.

 

I'm not advocating buying or not buying on the internet but rather to develop a trust with the fitter and be straight. Then you can get the best fit and best performance.

 

Also, I didn't think surefoot was custom. Just an expensive fitted pair of langes.

 

Johnny

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