I really enjoy skiing and am trying to get myself to the next level, so in hopes of finding a solution to this painful boot problem, I'm going to provide the entire story. This may sound more like a ski problem at first, but I'm pretty sure it's actually a boot problem.
I'm 27-years-old, 5'8", 205lbs, have skied about 15 times (planning to go 5-6x this season), and mostly ski blues and blacks in the mid-atlantic (Whitetail, and Snowshoe). My left tibia has a significant curve, which makes my left shin about 3/4" wider than my right shin; also, my left foot has almost no arch (but never had any foot pain even after years of wearing cleats for baseball, football, and lacrosse). Both of my feet are significantly wider than average. Everything on my right leg/foot is normal.
About a year ago, I purchased a pair of new Nordica Cruise 80 ski boots. The fitter at the shop fit me for a size 27.5. During that same week, I purchased a pair of used K2 Comanche Sport 167cm skis. The skis were a bit beat up, and the longest I had ever skied previously were 163cm.
So I'm at Whitetail a few days after getting my new gear, and from the very moment I took my first steps in the boots with the skis attached, I felt something was wrong; everything felt way too heavy. Sure enough, I found myself unable to manipulate the skis and was falling down the slopes all day long. The skis felt much heavier than what I was used to, and I also assumed they were too long, since I was having so much trouble turning (but is there THAT much difference between 163cm and 167cm?). This was just 1 week after using rental boots and 163cm rental skis on the same slopes hitting black diamonds, moguls, and some short jumps without any problems whatsoever. I left that experience feeling that the 167cm skis were too long, and that ended up being my last time skiing for that season. I didn't think to myself that the boots were the problem.
This season I decided to make a greater time investment and try to improve my skills by skiing at least 5-6 times, and hopefully more often in future seasons. So I purchased my first pair of new skis, K2 Photon 160cm. The guy at the shop urged me to go with the 166cm, but based on last year's experience with the 167cm, I decided to play it safe and go with the 160cm.
After purchasing the skis, I brought in my Nordica Cruise 80's to have the bindings adjusted, and I happened to mention to the guy at the shop that perhaps the boots weren't the right fit. So he pulled out the foot measuring device and sure enough my feet were a 26.5, and the boots I had were a 27.5. The first thing I thought to myself was that maybe the used 167cm skis were totally fine, and that it was the boots that were the problem all along. Perhaps the skis felt "heavy" because of the pull of loose boots? Anyway, the guy at the shop recommended a pair of Tecnica size 26.5 boots; I tried 'em on for a few minutes and they felt good, so I got 'em. The specific model is Tecnica "Mega+ 8 Ultrafit" (cost $249.99). Since it was the same shop I purchased the poorly fitted Nordica boots, they let me exchange, even though it was a year later. Even though I wondered if the used K2 skis I got a year ago were fine for me, I decided to play it safe and get the Photon anyway. I left feeling pretty good about everything.
Two days later (this was 2 weeks ago), I was at Snowshoe walking in my boots getting ready to ski for the first time that weekend, but after about about 200 yards my feet (especially my left foot) became so sore and numb that I could barely walk anymore. I painfully wandered into one of the ski shops, took the boots off, and found that my left foot was almost purple. So there I am, massaging my foot back to life and wondering if I'm going to be able to ski at all that weekend. Thankfully, the boot fitter at the shop happened to spot me and offered to help. What an awesome guy. This guy worked on my boots for about 15 minutes (I had no clue how many different adjustments you can make to ski boots) and when he put 'em back on me, they felt like a totally different pair of boots. He pretty much saved my life that weekend. He did mention that these boots were probably not what he would have chosen for wide feet like mine, and that I should get an insertable sole (which I plan to do; they just happened to be out at the time).
Right after that, I hit the slopes and everything felt pretty good, initially. But after about 2 hours of skiing, my left foot was once again in a considerable amount of pain (right foot was in a little bit of pain, but not much..figured it was the normal amount of pain for new boots). While the left foot was in a considerable amount of pain, it wasn't nearly as bad as before the boot fitter helped me out. For the rest of the weekend, I was able to ski pretty well, but was having two problems: (1) I was still having a lot of pain in the left foot, and (2) I felt like I was having a hard time getting my shins forward against the boots. After awhile, I realized that it helped to be unbuckled while walking and riding the lifts (and I just read this on your forum a few mins ago). At one point, on day two, I had to sit down on the slope, take the left boot off for about 10 minutes, and loosen everything up before continuing.
Is this normal with new boots?
Am I just in a bad situation because of the shape of my left leg and the flatness of my left foot; and if so, is there something I can do to remedy this?
Any suggestions on which adjustments I should make to my boots?
Do I need different boots?
When I put on my boots, should I be pushing the tongue downward, or pulling it upward before buckling?
I know this is a ski question, but did I screw up by getting the 160cm K2 Photon instead of the 166cm?
I know this is a ton of information, but I figured if I give ALL the info, it'll be easier to diagnose the problem/come up with a solution.
Your help is much appreciated!