I have a couple threads, one on looking for a boot fitter, and one on being exasperated on finding boots at end of season in a place that isn't conducive to skiing . So the issue is, I'll be in Edmonton for at most 3 hours and have to feed the kids in that time frame and pick up something from IKEA...and I know boot fitting takes a long time. I can't leave earlier to get there as we are driving 10 hours to get to Jasper and Edmonton is the pitstop, so 13 hours total with our break in Edmonton and young kids and such kicking each other in the face from car seats...you get the picture.
Anyway, I found a boot today that may work. It's returnable if I don't use it skiing. So my plan is to take it and then if I can get a fitting in Edmonton and find something better, do so. If I can't, visit the place mentioned in Jasper and see if something is better there, and if not, at least I have something better than a rental boot?
It's a size 23.5 Atomic Hawx 80 W. I measured my larger foot in the shell and I have a lip balm's worth behind my heel, which seems to be 5/8". There may be a bit more room in the low heel area but it was hard to stick the lip balm at that angle. The boot width seems great, I have tons of adjustment if/when it stretches out; everything else I've tried, I have almost maxed out the adjustments. The in step height actually lets my foot get in the boot without pain (tried a Salomon Quest 23.5 and it was a good 2 minutes wrangling my foot at different angles to get it in and the top of my instep hurt so bad after).
My toes are definitely jammed to the front when standing, not curled. I tried them in the liner alone and it feels like my feet are pushing past the length of the liner when standing, but I can tell there is heel space in the liner that is low down. If I lean and press my heel in there, my toes are still pressing into (not just touching) the front of the liner. When the liner is in the boot, I have room to lift my toes and the outer toes aren't crushed. And when I lean forward, any pressure pulls away and while my toes know the front is there, they have definitely moved from the front.
This all being said, I am wearing a knee high nylon; not a real sock. I tried a tall ski sock, that isn't padded, some sort of Salomon sock I have around, not dress sock thin, but not SmartWool ski thick and no padding in it. And the Achilles tendon in my right foot was definitely showing that the boot was too short in that area. This happened in the other 23.5's of other brands I tried on (just two) but those other boots hurts in many more areas. But in the nylon, all seems well.
I am a recreation level and have kids with me but rental boots kill me. No black diamonds for me and my kids are young so I've got one pizza-ing on green runs and very novice level and another than can do moguls on green and is starting to parallel and pizzas on blue. And we only ski max 6 times per year.