Boots: way more important than skis in terms of performance, but much underlooked. Invariably our customers are looking for top-end skis mated to boots not balanced, nor skiing with a custom footbed.
Skis are much more visible. I agree about most "indie" brands though: the ones I have skied generally have solid product, but it is hard to make an objective claim that they ski universally better or worse than a big brand's ski. They do have the "image" thing going for them amongst a certain group, not unlike how the d'bag guy with the slicked back hair driving the Range Rover had to be skiing AC40's and wearing Spyder a few years ago.....
I can't think of a related image thing with boots. Maybe doing "freeride" colors vs. "race" colors, but does anyone really care?
I wish custom boots were more widely available. Same goes with skis. When you can specify your flex, stiffness, length, and rise/rocker needs w/o breaking the bank, life will be sweet indeed, indie brand or not.