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Buying boots from REI

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I am looking to buy new boots, because the ones i have are too big and bruise my shins very badly. I have two options locally (i'm from Illinois), an REI, and a small ski shop. I suspect the ski shop will be more expensive than REI, so i was planning on going to REI to get new boots fitted.

 

My question is, will REI do a good job? I need boots that will fit well, and won't be painful to wear.

 

If not, do you think i can get a good pair of boots for under $500 at a specialty shop?

 

Any advice would be appreciated. Keep in mind i am on a tight budget, and don't want to spend more than $500.

 

Thanks

post #2 of 9

I would say, check out what each has to offer.  Either one could have someone who takes their job seriously, and will do their honest best to put you in the pair of boots that is best for you; or point you in another direction if they don't have what suits you. 

 

When I was looking for boots last year, I read a bunch of threads on here to get an idea what questions to ask and what I could expect from a decent boot fitter. So check out some of the other boot fitting threads.

 

edit:  Want to add.  Perhaps there is a well regarded boot-fitter you could visit while on a visit at your mountain of choice. 

post #3 of 9

Read this.  Take notes.  Believe what it says.

http://www.epicski.com/a/boot-fitting-which-boot-will-work-for-me

 

Go to both stores.  If the shop person does not do a shell fit, and does not seem to know what he/she's doing, buy from the other shop.

REI is probably not going to have someone who can do that, but you never know.....  The local real ski shop may not either.... in which case

read your notes over and over and try to make the very best decision based on what that link tells you.  

 

Bootfitting is a complex art, and getting the wrong boots is more likely than getting the right ones.  Ask me how I know. 

Best of luck.

post #4 of 9
Go to the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum and check the "Who's Who." There are two fitters listed by name in Illinois, one in Crestwood on Cicero Avenue which must be a suburb of Chicago. The other is in St. Charles.

I watched two different sales people totally f**k up fitting boots at REI's flagship store in Seattle about three years ago. Neither did a shell check and when I asked them they had no clue what I was talking about. The odds aren't in your favor going there and the prices won't really be that much different.

This is something that you want to do right because if you do it wrong, you could easily have another "too big" boot in a year and the money you spent is then wasted. Spend the money to get a boot that fits correctly, even if you have to go over your budget. In the long run it will be cheaper than buying a $300 closeout boot that's still too big. Boots that are a size too big will feel fine when brand new, but about 10 ski days later they will start feeling loose and that only gets worse. There is more to properly fitting a boot that just getting the length correct. I can wear just about any 25.5 boot made, but the only ones that fit me properly are those based on a 98mm last, anything wider and my feet start sliding side to side.
post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by pljensoberg View Post
 

Hello,

 

I am looking to buy new boots, because the ones i have are too big and bruise my shins very badly. I have two options locally (i'm from Illinois), an REI, and a small ski shop. I suspect the ski shop will be more expensive than REI, so i was planning on going to REI to get new boots fitted.

 

My question is, will REI do a good job? I need boots that will fit well, and won't be painful to wear.

 

If not, do you think i can get a good pair of boots for under $500 at a specialty shop?

 

Any advice would be appreciated. Keep in mind i am on a tight budget, and don't want to spend more than $500.

 

Thanks


Welcome to Epicski!  How close are you to O'Hare?  I have family who have had good experiences with a ski shop on that side of Chicago.  A good ski shop with a boot fitter that's been in business for while is not necessarily the most expensive approach.  Especially if you are interested in "new old stock" from previous seasons.

 

When I was an intermediate starting to ski more, my first pair of 4-buckle ski boots came out about $350 during an early season sale.  After I was skiing enough to have become an advanced skier taking a trip or two out west every winter, I got better boots, I think that pair was about $400.  They were a discontinued model.  But what was important was that they were the right fit for my feet, body size, and skiing style.

post #6 of 9
I lived in Chicago for 40+ years before moving out to CO. I had my boots fit by Rick Barton when he worked at the Vertical Drop in St. Charles. I don't think he's been there for a few years. He used to post on epicski under the name rockfordskiman but I don't think he's been actitve for many years and not sure where he's working now. Dennis at Viking Ski Shop in Chicago has a good reputation. I'm not a fan of their one year fit guarantee though. It should be much longer. Viking is one of the biggest shops in the Chicago area and probably has the best selection of inventory.

Rick at King Keyser in Hinsdale is a good bootfitter. However, it's in downtown Hinsdale so pretty pricey unless you can find a new boot that's a couple of years old. Many years ago I bought a pair of Rossignol boots they had in stock that were new but left over stock from about 3 seasons prior for about $150. With the internet these days, it's much less common for shops to keep around stock from more than 1-2 seasons back so those types of deals are rare now. King Keyser is a smaller, famiy owned shop and I've always gotten really good service there.

Williams Ski Shop in Glenview also has a good reputation and has a pretty big inventory. I've never worked with any of their bootfitters but have always gotten a good tune from them.

I think the shop in Crestwood (Snowcrest Ski Center) has been closed for a few years. I went there when looking for boots a number of years ago and did not like their service. There was a weird and really bad interaction between the fitter I was working with and the shop owner. It gave me a bad vibe. I haven't been in Chicago for just over three years so I'd call the shops first to confirm that those bootfitters are still working there. Happy shopping.
post #7 of 9
Vertical Drop, Snowcrest and Two Seasons have all closed.
Two Seasons just closed a month ago and you probably could have gotten a really good deal.
I'd at least try some boots on at Viking or King Keyser..
Where do you live?
What level of skier?
What shoe size?
post #8 of 9

The shop my relatives go to is the Scandinavian Ski Shop in Glenview.  The relative who skis the most does not have easy feet to fit.  I've been in the shop a few times and been impressed by their inventory and the knowledge of the owner.  Jeff took over the shop from his father, who opened it in 1964.  It's not a big shop, but clearly they know what they are doing.  One of the ski purchases I made early on was a pair of skis that were offered on eBay during the summer.  At the time, I didn't know about the shop.

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

Read this.  Take notes.  Believe what it says.

http://www.epicski.com/a/boot-fitting-which-boot-will-work-for-me

 

Go to both stores.  If the shop person does not do a shell fit, and does not seem to know what he/she's doing, buy from the other shop.

REI is probably not going to have someone who can do that, but you never know.....  The local real ski shop may not either.... in which case

read your notes over and over and try to make the very best decision based on what that link tells you.  

 

Bootfitting is a complex art, and getting the wrong boots is more likely than getting the right ones.  Ask me how I know. 

Best of luck.


Yes, and...

 

Here are some excellent videos from an Epic contributor:

http://lous.ca/services/

 

About your budget...be flexible, and be open with the salesperson.  They may have a good returned pair in back that you can have for a very good price.  Or last year's color.  You should get boots that are just right for you in your budget...here are some retail prices from a shop in the Seattle area...https://www.sturtevants.com/istar.asp?a=3&dept=BOOT&class=MNS&pos=0&numperpage=15&sortby=RECVDATE

But...do not choose boots by the price.  Choose them by the fit and the suitability.  Race boots in your price are not suitable if your ability doesn't match them, for example.  As Lou shows, race boots may be right someone with the fit, then the shop softens them and makes them suitable for the lower level skier.  If the clerk has no idea, head for the door.  Do not trust that REI adequately trained a bootfitter.

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