Originally Posted by sinbad7
Factory footbeds are usually pretty ordinary. A decent off-the-shelf footbed should cost about $40-50, and will be 1,000% better. A custom footbed will be that bit better again, but the amount of improvement you get (over an off-the-shelf product) will depend on your foot and stance. Custom beds here cost between $150 and $180. $400-700 sounds about right for new boots. You *might* be able to do a deal on an older model boot, assuming the store has the right pair available in your size and is willing to give you the deal.
I didn't get custom footbeds until recently . . . after it was clear I'd become an advanced skier and was going to keep skiing 20+ days per season. Even when I was skiing on rental skis when I was skiing less than 10 days a season, I've always had my own boots. Not very good ones, but better than rental boots.
My first experience with a boot fitter was to replace an old pair of rear-entry boots from the 1990's with a 4-buckle boot geared for beginner/intermediate (softer flex) during early season sales in 2008. I was an intermediate spending a fair amount of time skiing with my young daughter at little hills in the southeast at that point. That pair of boots "new old stock" meaning new but from a year or two before. The boot fitter knew how often I was likely to ski, what region, and what type of terrain, so took that into account as he pulled out boots for me to try. When we found a good candidate, I stood around in them for 20-30 min before making a decision to buy. Added an off-the-shelf footbed without hesitation. In my case, I got out the door for about $300. Needed a little tweaking for one hot spot afterwards, which was the advantage of going to a boot fitter near a mountain that I was going to every so often.
By the next time, I'd discovered there was a good boot fitter relatively close to my house. A little unexpected in central NC. Once again, got new old stock. Went shopping during late season. Out the door for something like $600. Added a customer liner, Intuitions, at Alta the next winter.