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Interested in a career as a boot fitter (midlife career crisis)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm in my early 40's and have become tired of my 9 to 5 cube farm working life. Lately I've learned to do fitting work (punches, grinds and liner molding) on my own and friends boots and had good results. I've been an avid skier my whole life with many connections in the local skiing community and it got me thinking how satisfying it would be if my work lined up more with my passion for skiing and the outdoors. As someone with "problem" feet I've always been interested in boot fitting and believe there's nothing more important to someones success as a skier than being in a comfortable properly fit boot. I've had varying degrees of success with local fitters and have ideas on how the experience could be improved that I believe could make me stand out in the local market. I'm patient, a good listener and problem solver which I think would fit (no pun intended) well with being a boot fitter.


My questions for the boot fitters out there:


- How did you get started? Formal training or apprenticeship or just learning the hard way?

- I realize this is sort of a midlife crisis moment =). I don't mind learning something new and making less money than my current career but I don't think I want to start in retail at some random ski shop. Am I being realistic?

- Is it worth doing a full Pedorthotics training course or is something like MasterFit University good enough to get started?

- What's the best part of being a boot fitter?

- What's the worst?

- Are you in business for yourself or do you work for a shop?



post #2 of 7

Masterfit is definitely a good start. Where do you live?

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm in Oregon.

post #4 of 7

Hmmmm!  Masterfit doesn't cover any of the foot biomechanics that are important to understanding what is really happening inside a boot.  Nearly everyone on this forum has had that training in one form or another.  Several are Pedorthists, I have an MSc. in Biomechanics, others are high level skiers that took the time to educate themselves and skied well enough to feel the changes they were making.


 I own a shop as do several of the others.  


Where do you live in OR?



post #5 of 7

MF is a good place to start if you have not done any boot fitting or have done a little playing about, but as Lou says it does not do in depth biomechanics, for this you need to either do a C Ped course or start by reading a few books on biomechanics (remembering that what happens in walking or running gait is a bit different to what happens in a ski boot)


as for money, you can make a living but you sure as hell ain't going to be a millionaire in the next couple of years..... it is said that to make a small fortune from the ski industry you need to start with a large one!


best part of the job is working with people who actually want to be helped, those who have a problem and need a specialist adjustment to a boot which allows them to ski pain free and better than they have in the past, not about winning medals for most of them, but getting down a slope which they couldn't tackle for whatever reason.


worst part is having to deal with arrogant ass holes who treat you like something they stepped in as you work in retail, and expect you to work miracles for them instantly... these people appear in all walks of life but skiing seems to attract them as it involves money .  these people think a ski boot should fit them straight out the box, their heel be held in concrete and there be nothing toughing their toes, (without any modifications to the boot) they go ski and then if it hurts don't actually want help, they just want to moan about you to the next poor fitter they happen across. 


but hell it is a great job, i love it for most of the year, but be warned unless you are based slopeside you don't get much time to ski, your customers will expect you to be at the fitting bench for them when they want you there!

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the perspective Lou and CEM. It sounds like that the C Ped courses would be a good idea as the bio-mechanics is important beyond just does the boot fit right. It's also the part that I have the least understanding of beyond my own skiing experience. I'm at a point where I can take the time and money to do the C Ped course and open my own business if I decide to go that route. I volunteer to teach some skiing and backcountry education courses locally and I do get a huge amount of satisfaction helping others progress in their skiing or backcountry skills. Hopefully that satisfaction would carry over to helping people ski better through a well fit boot.


I live in Portland and/or Hood River, Oregon.

post #7 of 7

- What's the best part of being a boot fitter?

- What's the worst?

- Are you in business for yourself or do you work for a shop?


Best part for me is having someone come in who has suffered boot pain for quite a while and they walk out with comfortable boots, that are the right size, shape and model for them,  it could also be because I have modified their existing boots, or if required sold them a new set that fixes the problem, I also love meeting new people and getting to know them a little better, boot fitting takes a while, so you normally get to chat for quite some time, often doing a bootfit is the first contact with a new long term customer, who then comes back year after year for other items, and often with friends or family.


Worst part and it happens daily, is seeing someone come into me because their boots hurt, only to find they are 2 -3 sizes too big or totally the wrong shape and model for them, almost always they have bought them based on price rather than seeing a boot fitter.


I own the shop that I work in.



I found Masterfit to be a huge help, although I am not young and have been fitting boots for about 35 years, so at first I just learnt the hard way, having a passion for foot anatomy as well as being an advanced skier and snowboarder certainly helps, I still attend every boot fitting course that is offered, such as Masterfit, Sidas and others, you will always learn something new each time and boots are still evolving.

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