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I plan to buy boots but do not have a "home mountain". Surefoot or independent quality bootfitter?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I've grazed the forums about boot fitting, rent vs buy etc,  but have not yet come across anyone talking about this. . .

 

As background, I am an advanced skier but only get 5-10 days per season on average.  I seek out steeps, moguls, trees, powder.  (I admit I couldn't always keep up with UP Racer but I followed his crazy a*s all over Jackson Hole including side country and Corbet's).  Based on the assumption that any boot I purchase will be better than rental, I allowed a local "bootfitter" (Alabama!!) to sell me some Dalbello's.  I skied in them 3 seasons, lost a big toenail a couple times, had cold feet, had painful feet.  Skied anyway.

 

I had not done my due diligence, unfortunately.  In retrospect, the kid was not at all qualified to fit me in boots.   On the trip to Jackson Hole last season, UP Racer took out the liners, put my foot in the shell, shined a flashlight in the back and just laughed.  Ridiculously too big.

 

Given my understanding that boots are the most important piece of equipment, I have resolved to buy new, properly fitted boots.  So I am headed to Whistler 2/17, landing in Vancouver 1:55pm local time.  My dilemma is whether to go to Surefoot since they have stores all over the continent, or go to a local independent shop where I will prob find better prices and quite possibly a more qualified bootfitter.  I tend to go to different resorts every season, so future adjustments would need to be considered, I presume.

 

Any comments would be appreciated!

 

 

post #2 of 13

I would recommend George McConkey at McCoo's.  He takes 4 appointments per day and you have to call ahead to get an appointment (604-932-2842).  He fit me and my wife and we both love our boots.  Went to another shop in the village a few years back and had a similar experience as yours.  Don't have any personal experience with Surefoot, but reviews I have read are mixed.  Some of the locals up in Whistler call it "Sorefoot".  I would go to a boot fitter with a great reputation that is recommended from someone with personal experience.  There are others in the Village, but I have never used them.  I would not go to a big name shop and expect the random person you get to fit your boots to know what they are doing or to do a good job.  If there is an individual at Surefoot that someone recommends to you, then go for it.  Also depends on if you want foam liners or Intuition.  Surefoot uses foam, McConkey uses Intuition. 

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks very much for the recommendation.  I will definitely give them a call.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawaii50 View Post

I would recommend George McConkey at McCoo's.  He takes 4 appointments per day and you have to call ahead to get an appointment (604-932-2842).  He fit me and my wife and we both love our boots.  Went to another shop in the village a few years back and had a similar experience as yours.  Don't have any personal experience with Surefoot, but reviews I have read are mixed.  Some of the locals up in Whistler call it "Sorefoot".  I would go to a boot fitter with a great reputation that is recommended from someone with personal experience.  There are others in the Village, but I have never used them.  I would not go to a big name shop and expect the random person you get to fit your boots to know what they are doing or to do a good job.  If there is an individual at Surefoot that someone recommends to you, then go for it.  Also depends on if you want foam liners or Intuition.  Surefoot uses foam, McConkey uses Intuition. 



 

post #4 of 13

Have you read this thread? http://www.epicski.com/t/88128/best-boot-fitter-in-whistler-village  There is a lot of good information in it about Whistler bootfitters.

 

I highly suggest you work with someone in Whistler so that you can get things tweaked while you're there.  If you go to a fitter in Van you can't take them back in to have any adjustments you may need.

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks, that thread helps.

 

I've made appointments for the wife and for me with George McConkey at McCoo's.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post

Have you read this thread? http://www.epicski.com/t/88128/best-boot-fitter-in-whistler-village  There is a lot of good information in it about Whistler bootfitters.

 

I highly suggest you work with someone in Whistler so that you can get things tweaked while you're there.  If you go to a fitter in Van you can't take them back in to have any adjustments you may need.



 

post #6 of 13

George is good...but also gets mixed reviews.  He is much better at making boots "bigger"...not so good at fitting narrow feet.  Also George doesnt actually sell boots.  He only fits.  So you will need to buy boots somewhere else, and bring them to him.  His store "McCoo's" only sells goggles, helmets, ski poles, and that kind of thing the entire store is just a touch bigger then a walk in closet.

 

 

A really good guy....and better then George in most people's opinion is Erin Keam.  Erin works at Snow Covers.  Appointment necessary.

 

 

Surefoot is also very popular...yes some call it "Sorefoot", but they do guarantee their work...ie if you dont like it, you get your money back.  George will give you one or two follow ups...but if they dont fit he will say its your fault (bad technique, old injury etc).  Erin will keep tweaking for free until your holiday is over, but ultimatley the shop keeps your money (Erin is not the owner, like George is).  Because George doesnt sell boots (although he somtimes does have a few pairs of Fishers), his track record isnt the best...he "shell fits" from memory.  Erin is better.

 

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/88128/best-boot-fitter-in-whistler-village

 

Some updates here....Alex is good, but not fitting boots this year, currently dealing with a busted leg.  I wouldnt reccomend Nino, dont know anyone who does, dont confuse his arrogance for knowledge.  Can Ski is owned by Whistler Blackcomb, so all WB employees are automatically placed on their referral program (meaning they get free skis and other stuff for referring people to CAN SKI).  That is not to say they dont have a few knowledagle people, they do...Erin and Alex both worked their a one point...but still they are big stores, with numerous locations, so very hit and miss.  Also Erin not likely mentioned there because he wasn't fitting boots for the last few years....had a family.


Edited by Skidude72 - 2/9/12 at 12:32pm
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Skidude,

 

Thanks a lot for the help and the PM.

 

When I called McCoo's, an employee said something to the effect of "will you be having your boots adjusted or will you need brand new boots?"  She didn't seem to balk about me needing new boots.  I even asked about price.  She said it usually costs about $1000 including shell, liner, fitting.  More if a special footbed is needed.  Is it possible McCoo's started selling boots recently?

 

It sounds to me like you  are advocating I consider cancelling my appt and check into Snow Covers.  Given that my next several ski trips will likely NOT be back to Whistler, would you lean towards Surefoot or Erin at Snow Covers?

post #8 of 13

According to their website McCoos does sell Fisher Sonomas now (but you might want to call and double check).  But if that one boot dont fit, Geroge will send you out to get something else and bring them back to him for fitting.  George makes most of his fitting money from fixing other peoples previous bad purchases....

 

At Snowcovers or Surefoot on Canski you will have a range of boots and styles to choose from so you will likley be starting with a shell that either fits, or is at least close.

 

Erin is great and  I would recomend him. 

 

As for Surefooot vs. Erin...I'd say go Erin, because with Erin the money you save over Surefoot would likely cover the cost of any tweaks you need to pay for down the road.

 

 

 

Also the Fanaytico reccomendation above was also good.  If you go there ask for "Shroeder" or ask who he reccomends.

 

 

 

 


Edited by Skidude72 - 2/10/12 at 3:47pm
post #9 of 13

Thought I would add in some boot fitting advice:

 

 

The best way to ensure a good fit is to educate yourself about boots and your feet.  Its not that hard.  I am not suggesting here to go off on your own, but knowing what to look for, and what questions to ask will greatly improve your chances of success.

 

Ramblings:

 

The first goal is to find a shell that matches the shape of your foot as closely as possible.  Learn about your foot.  Is the forefoot narrow? wide? in the middle?  Not sure?  Stand on a metric measuring tape...measure it.  For a mens 9-10 foot, if you are around 95mm you are narrow, 98 medium and around 100 you are wide.  Understand that when you ask the fitter how wide the boot is he will give you typcially a number say 98mm.  However that figure is based on a shell size of 26.  So if you are a 27, your boot might actually be 99.  Yes 1 or 2 mm matter.  I have a narrow foot and ski in a 95.  In a 98 my foot swims in the boot.

 

Get a shell as narrow as you can...but no narrower.  The boot must be wide enough so your foot can sit flat on the foot board.  But no wider.  If in doubt between two...go narrower.  Much easier to punch a boot out and make it wider then it is to make it narrower.

 

Look at your heel...is it narrow? wide? medium?  Look at the shell and compare it to other shells....which heel pocked looks like it will fit you the best.  This is easy to see...if the heel pocked looks wide...it is.  If it looks small, it is. 

 

If you need to make a trade off...get the heel fit as good as possible...easier to tweek the forefoot.

 

Instep hight...is it high, or low...middle?  With your foot in the shell, look at how much space there is between where the top of the foot touches your leg and the shell.  Compare shells.  There will be some room there...but if it is inches, you are in trouble.

 

You want no more then 15mm behind your foot when touching the front....10mm is ideal. 

 

Liners - Liners pack out...alot....quickly.  In 3 to 5 days of skiing a boot will likley feel like its 1 or even 2 sizes bigger then it did in the store.  Remember that when making purchases.  Increasing the buckles doesnt work like many think it will.  When the buckles get cranked the shell gets deformed in other areas, and it doesnt pull in as much as you think it will.  This is less true for Intuition or Comforble or thin leather race liners....but they still pack out as well.  A good test, is to ask for a thin race liner...shove that in the shell you are thinking of buying....does the boot still fit?  If yes...good...if they seem too big now...you are in trouble.

 

Another good trick...bring your current boots (assuming you have some) in with you.  Use them as a benchmark.  Your current boots are too wide/narrow, pinch here/there and compare.  If you think your current boots are too wide...make sure you next pair are narrower...yes you CAN tell by holding them up side by side and looking.  Compare the heel pockets etc.  Also you can take your worn liner and shove it in the new shells to see what your new boots will feel like in a few days.

 

A good fitter will help you here...but you can and should be active in this process.

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

Snow Covers' website had some nice videos on boot fitting.

 

The girl at Snow Covers said they didn't do appointments, said Erin Keam works Sun-Mon-Tues, first-come-first-served.  So my new plan is to stop by their Whistler Marketplace location when he starts work at 2pm on Sunday.

 

I appreciate the advice.  Those videos make it look like they know what they are doing.

post #11 of 13
Something to consider about Surefoot, and I think a huge benefit of going to them, is that you can go to any other Surefoot anywhere for tweaks, mods, etc, for years afterwards. If Whistler is a regular annual trip for you, not a big deal, but if you vary your ski destinations (as it sounds you do), then this is something worth considering.
post #12 of 13

I bought from Surefoot.  The biggest drawback is not being able to try on the final product before you have bought it.  I suggest contacting the Surefoot store you are considering, find out which shells they carry and then research those shells to see if they are right for you.  The biggest mistake I made is that the Lange shells I got are too narrow for me.

post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by chraya View Post

I suggest contacting the Surefoot store you are considering, find out which shells they carry and then research those shells to see if they are right for you.


The shop should be able to advise you on which shells are right for you.  I believe Surefoot or any other boot shop is only as good as the individual fitter you deal with.  A good fit starts with them knowing the products they sell, and generally what foot shape they are suitable for.

 

If any fitter you approach can't or won't examine your feet, start with a compatible boot for your foot shape and skiing ability, shell-fit you without the liner, and then modify the shell as necessary, run.
 

 

 

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