So when I went to what in my area passes for a boot fitting (I live in Detroit. There's literally one ski shop, and their selection is as big as you'd expect by this time of year, being 50+ miles from the nearest ski hill), I found that I'm a snug, but comfortable (not bedroom slipper comfy, genuinely snug, but not tight, and no pressure points) 29.0.
Well, seeing as they only had 2 models of boot in my size until this year's stock comes in, I decided to poke around online to find a decent price on the boots I liked out of their *cough* vast selection - the Technica Cochise 100 or 110 (ideally the 110, but they had none in stock).
What I'm seeing is most online stores I've found (75% or more of them) don't have the 29.0 whole-size, and several of them don't seem to stock whole sizes, at all. Is this just an issue of being so late in the old product cycle that there's no stock left, or is this a common thing?
I've seen some great prices on these boots online, but only in 28.5 or 29.5 near my size...
That said, since the shop is very nice, but not necessarily super knowledgeable, I'm curious. How tight should the boot (with liner) be when I purchase, knowing that the liner is going to shape itself to my foot a bit as I ski? If the ski boot equivalent of a brannock sizer for ski boots said 29.0, is 28.5 going to be a massive problem, seeing that it's what...5mm difference?
On a side note: I know the correct answer is "go get a real boot sizing", where I have a larger selection to try out, and in multiple sizes, but for anyone that wants to guide me down that path, understand that I'd love to, but I'd literally spend twice as much on travel and lodging to get anywhere I can actually do that, than I would on boots. It's not going to happen. So, having read the articles here and elsewhere on sizing and proper boot fit, and watched the relevant youtube videos, whatever boot I buy is going to be something I tried on at either the ski shop I went to, or the REI a few miles from my house, whether I buy it there or online.