Quick summary: Epic's shell fitting guidelines, and posts on this subforum, are adamant that there should be no more than 15 mm fore-aft space, and certainly not 25 mm, for a performance fit. Yet my previous and current 24.5 boots (race-stock Rossi Course KX and Dalbello Scorpion SR 130, both fitted by experts) have 22 mm and 25 mm of space, respectively, and I feel the boots fit closely, even with thin race liners (e.g., I don't use the forefoot buckles). Am I missing something -- should I explore downsizing to 23.5 with my boot fitter -- or are these guidelines being presented too rigidly?
I've noticed that both Epic's boot fitting guidelines (http://www.epicski.com/a/boot-fitting-which-boot-will-work-for-me), and posts on this subform, are adamant that a performance shell fit should have no more than 15 mm of fore-aft space, and certainly not 25 mm ("You want 5-15mm (3/16 to 5/8 inch) of room. If you have more then 25mm (1") stop here"). I.e., it's presented as a hard rule, not a starting guideline.
I'd never bothered precisely checking shell fit myself -- I just go to great boot fitters and have them do the shell fitting for me. The last two both have national reputations, frequently appear in best-bootfitters-in-the-US-type-listicles, and fit most of the local racers in their respective areas. They both know I want a performance fit (when I was fit for my previous boot I was racing) while accommodating my high instep. My previous boot was a race-stock 24.5 Rossi Course KX, my current is a 24.5 Dalbello Scorpion SR130. I skied 49 days last year, and 46 the year before.
But, now curious, I checked the shell fit on my 24.5 Dalbello Scorpions using dowels, and found a 25 mm dowel just fit behind my shorter (left) foot. I also checked my old Rossi's; on the L foot they had 22 mm of space (yes, I also have a 22 mm dowel -- martial arts ) (FYI, 284 mm BSL on Rossi's, 292 mm BSL on Dalbellos).
[OTOH, laterally I'm tighter than the Epic shell fit guidelines ("anything from lightly brushing to 2mm per side"), since I feel firm pressure simultaneously on both sides of the heel (just under ankle bones), as well as light touching laterally at the tuberosity of the 5th metatarsal, and light touching medially at the big toe (when I allowed my toes to spread). ]
[Foot dimensions, unweighted/weighted (mm): L 235/237 x 85/89; R 238/240 x 83/87. High instep, supinator, curved foot.]
Yet even with the 25 mm of space in the Dalbellos, or the 22 mm in the Rossi's, I didn't feel the "loss of control" or "sloppiness" that is supposed to result. [Pics of my skiing, in both boots, can be seen by going to my profile and clicking on my avatar; Rossi's are yellow, Dabellos green.] In the Dalbellos (what I did in the Rossi's was similar), I use very thin socks (a bit thinner than the thinnest ski socks from Smartwool), a thin race liner (Rossi Z-series lace-up), a thin custom footbed, Dalbello's low-heeled bootboard (1.5 degree zeppa), and a Conformable foam tongue, and still have good pressure nearly everywhere. Note also that I never buckle the two buckles over the forefoot -- I just leave them open (even the minimal amount of tension needed to keep them fastened is too much, because of my high instep). The only deficiency in the Dalbellos is heel retention could be a bit better, which my bootfitter attributes to the liner -- he says switching to a Nordica race liner should cure that (Zipfit would probably do that as well). And I achieved a similar fit, in a similar way, with the Rossi's (where I also didn't fasten the buckles over the forefoot).
So am I missing something here -- should I approach my bootfitter about the possibility of downsizing to a 23.5? Or is this rule being presented too rigidly? As it is, most 24.5 performance boots barely accommodate my instep, even with a low-heeled footboard/thinly-molded tongue over instep/thin liner/thin socks. And some (e.g., the Head B-series) don't accommodate my instep at all -- I tried a 24.5 B5, and the instep rise from toe to tibia is too flat). The only performance boot I can imagine *might* fit me in a 23.5 is the Lange RS 130, since the 24.5 RS 120 SC was too high-volume for me -- though mostly around the heel and ankle, rather than the instep; plus IIRC its last felt a bit too straight and boxy for my curved foot (also, I like the Dalbello's stiffness, and the RS 130 might be too soft).
Edited by chemist - 10/25/15 at 9:11am