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Thoughts on buying online for those on a budget?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I'm on a budget.  Problem is that I'm probably considered an "advanced" skier.  Most new boots in the advanced category seem to all cost north of $600 and my neighborhood ski shop (Chicago) rarely offers deep discounts/sale prices.  I bought my skis two years ago on Evo and had a great experience.  Now I realize that boots are a different story, but I have to admit that it's easier to pay $300 for an '10 high-end boot versus $700 for a '13.  


I currently ski in Technica Icon TNT X boots that have served me well but are frankly pretty old and have never been especially comfortable.  These were bought from a local shop and I went through the whole fitting process as well as ponied up for the custom liners (probably spent over $600).  I ski mostly the back bowls of Vail with the occasional bump run/front side groomer mixed in. Performance is important but not at the complete expense of comfort.  


So if one were to go the online route, I have two questions: 1) any suggestions on models from the last couple of years that might fit the bill and 2) would a local shop even help with a fitting if I didn't buy the boots there? 

post #2 of 5

in answer to the questions

1 nobody on here can tell you what boots will work as we cannot see and assess your feet, there are no bad boots out there, only badly fitting ones


sorry for the blunt answer but it is not possible to do what you are asking.




2 assuming i read your question correctly then, yes most shops will work on boots not purchased from them, they will charge you to do the work and sometimes if this is extensive you will quickly eat up the savings you made buying the boot cheaply, you may also be restricted as to when the work cannot be done, from now until the end of March we don't work on boots not purchased from our store on weekends, as we are too busy selling boots and making any adjustments to the ones we sell.


if i didn't read it correctly and you are asking if a store will measure you up and then watch you walk out the door to buy their recommendation elsewhere then, that is not big and not clever, you may find a store who will help you like this but will probably charge you (or at least they should) if you do it in an underhand way then karma will come right back and bite you on the butt some time soon after.

post #3 of 5

Colin said it well.  We absolutely work on any boots, but will charge and since most people problems start with boots that are too big most skiers that come to us for fitting end up buying new boots.  You buying online without any idea of the fit automatically puts you in the category of skiers that end up starting over again.  Paying twice won't save you a nickel.


But beyond that one of the best fit shops in the country is on top of Vail.  Why not visit Greg Hoffman and his staff on your first trip this season and forget the online issues!



post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

CEM/Lou - Thanks. I appreciate the candid responses.  Just to be clear, I had no intention of having a bootfitter go through the trouble of finding me a good fit and then looking for a better deal online (Karma/decency and all).  But boots happen to rarely fall in price to the point where I'm comfortable paying retail at my LS. With custom footbeds, unless I can salvage the ones I currently have, I'm looking at close to $800.  That's a lot of $ for someone on a budget that's lucky to get 10 days a year on the slopes.  


The other issue with the LS is that they tend to have somewhat limited stock.  This is especially true in flyover country.  If I were in CO, it might be a different story but there are only a few ski shops in/around Chicago, so I'm sort of at their mercy.  


Lastly, there isn't anything extraordinary about my feet/calves.  Normal width, arches, etc.

post #5 of 5

I can't talk about Greg's prices I just know they will be less expensive than buying a boot twice.  I'll also say that 98mm boots can be had in the $500 range and in the hands of a good fitter they work well for many many skiers.  A 98mm shell comfortable fits a "C" width foot.  Footbeds help many people, but if you have to go without for price reasons you're better off in a good fitting boot with no footbed than in a poor fitting boot with one.



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