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Boot fitting questions

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I am relatively new to the sport of skiing and will be buying my first pair of boots soon. So-far I have used rented boots from pretty much all common brands and found that each pair generated extreme levels of discomfort. There was one exception to this rule (Dalbello), but even this pair hurt my feet quite a bit.

I, therefore, made my mind up to go to a good bootfitter and get a properly fitted pair with insoles. However, none of the recommended fitters in my area (Southern NH) seems to carry the boots that had a reasonable fit. I now have the following questions:

1) Is there any bootfitters that you would recommend and that carry Dalbello boots in the area (I'm close to Portsmouth and willing to drive several hours)

2) Would it be possible to get the ill-fitting ones from other brands to fit me?
The most common problem seems to be that they
cut into the outside of my ankles and that they generate a lot of pressure on the bottom (outside) of my feet.

3) Is there good bootfitters out there that would take boots bought at another store and fit them (for a fee off-course)

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 33
Dear Semmend,
My advice is to go to Feet First in Plymouth, NH. They are one of the top New England boot fitters. Plus they do custom orthotics.
post #3 of 33
Hiya Semmed. Welcome to the best sport in the world! Boots are so important to skiing, that I recomend folks get boots first, and keep renting skis for a while if they are not sure of the commitment to the sport early on.

I'm curious, what hurts your feet? Do you have foot pain doing any other sports? I mean specifically. What size shoe? Do you tend to get shoes a little large to accomodate the comfort thing?

Since you liked the DalBellos the best, is your foot pretty wide? Ski boots are a 3D fitting game, much different than shoes.

Darn things are not slippers, and most people tend to make a mistake with their first pair of boots, geting a pair that is too big. You should be able to stand wearing them without wincing in pain though. And of course they "pack out" after a few days of skiing, so a boot that is comfy at the shop can quickly become sloppy.

Some of your comments lead me to believe you may be a person with a supinating foot, meaning your footbones (ankle in particular) roll to the outside. Your outside ankle bones might also be in a different spot than the norm.

A footbed is very important with a rolling flexible foot. And modifying an existing boot may not ever get you to the right place, on that fits really close "out of the box" is the best place to start.

You came to a great place for help! Bunch of skiing die-hards here...

Visit me here >>>SnoKarver
post #4 of 33
like snokarver said. welcome, and good tips. nothing really to add except that get the footbeds after you find a good fit. The fitting time is worth it.
post #5 of 33
They are called footbeds because your feet always fall asleep. God gives us two perfectly good items called feet, and then we go stuff them into something called ski boots! (and you thought Chinese thumb screws were bad!) Then we tie these things down with metal clamps, to boot! (pardon the pun)Once the feet go to sleep you say, "Where did my feet go?" On top of all this we then stick these boots on top of a couple of sticks, slide downhill and run into things! All this makes a lot of money for medics, boot fitters, ski makers, lift operators, resorts, and bars. The latter is a place you go to order your favorite brew and complain about all this; which makes you wonder why you didn't come here in the first place!
But we'd rather not be doing anything else!!! Welcome to the family.

Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #6 of 33
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the welcoming words and tips


I have a long history of ankle, knee and hip problems that, I'm told, are all symptoms of an over-pronation problem in combination with loose ankle ligaments and my tendency to overdo sports activities.

I do wear orthotics in my walking shoes; they do a great job, even though they are not the most comfortable things in the world.

I have size 10.5 feet and do not buy oversize shoes. I'm pretty limited in the brands of shoe that my feet feel comfortable in: Timberland and Ecco for walking/hiking and Asics Tiger for running. I sometimes buy other brands, but find that they end up catching dust in the basement. Nike is an
absolute disaster for me (although I'm sure they are fine quality shoe). I hope that this gives you a little extra info...
(BTW I run without the orthotics)

I have no idea whether my feet are wide or not.

Other sports: inline skates give me similar problems as the ski-boots, but nowhere near as extreme. In cycling shoes I tend to get pain on the outside of my feet as well, but again not nearly as extreme.

As far as ski boots go: most had me in absolute _agony_. A pair of Salomons that I tried actually had me break out in tears; I really dislike boots that are too large as I like the feeling of control that snug boots give me, but I did end moving up in size in these ...what a terrible day of skiing that was...

The ankle bone location statement rings a bell. The orthopedic that I see once mentioned as an aside that my ankle bone sticks out quite a bit, on both the in- and outside.

From all the advice so-far I have lost any hesitation about spending all the money on getting a properly fitted pair of boots -- empty bank account here I come!

post #7 of 33
Welcome Semmed! Just to complicate things a bit more for you, I have heard wonderful things about Gordon Trey, who works at Bob Smith's Wilderness House in Boston. http://www.solesystems.com

Also, I think that Sunday River has a program where you go out with an instructor who makes an analysis of your alignment and skiing style, then brings you to the bootfitter with some recommendations.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #8 of 33
Good advice from all to you, Semmed...

So you pronate a lot... flexy foot with big angle bones, and (maybe) a narrow foot? Well that's a start... And it makes sense that the Dalbellos and Salomons are probably too wide for you...

However, without making measurements, we can only guess. There is a device used by most bootfitters and many better shoe stores called a "Brannock Device" http://www.brannock.com/

This will give you a start. IF you can find one to use somewhere, let me know, I can give you a quick tutorial on how to get some measurements so we'll have a start. You'll need someone to measure you, weight on and off, each foot in turn. Having a good idea of your foot sizes (they will be different left-right) will help the process. The measurements that change between weighted and unweighted are very key as well.

If your foot pronates a lot, the footbed will need to be "posted", or made thicker on the inside. The amount needs to be carefully measured, and there may be differences between the front vs back of the foot and the amount of flexibility. With care (and a good technician) you will be amazed at the differance...

Making a footbed first is a good idea, because you will have an idea of how the boot will fit with a properly supported foot. The only problem is, that they will need to be trimmed to fit the boot you actually purchase. This could be a problem... as it's tough to add material, if the footbed gets trimmed to short for the boot you purchase. You want it trimmed so it does not move around, and "seats" nicely in the bottom of the boot liner.

Chicken-Egg dilemma. Darn.

Your walking orthotics may help you find the right boot, but of course they are not right for skiing. When we walk, the foot flexes fore-aft, when we ski, that's not a good thing.

The big ankle bones, possibly in a unusal position, may require a little shell work, but it's best to find a boot that fits without that. You may find that a custom silcone injector heat formable liner will help, but if that ankle pocket in the shell of the boot is way off for your ankle bones, it will be tough even then.

Hang in there, don't get discouraged. This will make skiing even more fun! Imagine skiing with COMFORTABLE feet, and more control! It's tough not being "hands-on" to help you, but we can get an educated start with some measurements.

And ummm, yea Semmed, as always, nothing is a problem with the sufficient application of Fund$ ... LOL!

Visit me here >>>SnoKarver

<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by SnoKarver (edited August 06, 2001).]</FONT>
post #9 of 33
Amen to what Lisamarie said, I went to Wilderness House (I think Gordon's last name might be Hay) for boots and footbeds after a lifetime of badly fitting boots. I do, in fact, run in New Balance 2E or 4E, and get the best fit in Salomon boots with footbeds. If you are near Boston, Gordon is definitely the guy to see
post #10 of 33
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for all the helpfull replies, at least I have a much better mental picture of what I should be looking for. This forum is quite a wonderful source of information!

I will be getting footbeds and boots fitted in September, I will let you know what I
ended up with. I will also tell you what the cause of my problems is, if there is a particular identifiable cause or even a problem that is.

PS: gonzostrike, I tried a pair of Heads (ouch) and Tecnicas (one of the better fits - relatively speaking), no experience with Raichles though.
post #11 of 33
Semmed, I like Technica's fit for a lot of people. They are comfy, but quite rotary dominant:

You are quite welcome, I know I speak for all on that! Be careful out there!

Visit me here >>>SnoKarver

<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by SnoKarver (edited August 07, 2001).]</FONT>
post #12 of 33
SnoKarver....great points guy... The silicone liner sounds like the liner I'm looking for, found the right brand of shell..but their(1st year boot's) liner packed out in 5hours!..a Utopia_Morning turned into a slightly painful(on the shins) afternoon...Shop put me in foam...but it's felt too dense for my somewhat fleshy(in places) feet..and my feet *after the foamin'* don't really seem to be landing as flat as before....Live & Learn!... the shell of this boot is pretty close as it is...maybe just *another* thinslate liner will work.
Your description of the footbed's inner vs outer height is just what's missing from mine.

You're not alone buddy...we're all looking forward that *utopia on the mountain* feeling THIS SEASON!!!.....
post #13 of 33
Jim - I would not be too confident in a shop just because they are on that list. All that list means is that at least one person from the shop went to the two day Masterfit University. Having attended one of these, I know just how inexperienced some of the students are. Many shops just send their manager, or hardlines manager. The program itself is very informative, and Gleason and Hoffman, Etc. know their stuff, but I would not have let most of the students touch my feet. Besides, look at the shops that are not on the list, like Footloose in Mammoth. Many of the shops send people to get an introduction to fitting, because they do not have anyone to train them. Our shop actually had one of the jr. Masterfit instructors running hardgoods, and do a pretty high level of fitting every day, so for us it was more hearing different takes on fitting.

We used to have the Compufit scanner system. What a piece of crap. Actually, it had some fun features, but relied to much on manufacture's fit specs, which were always off. A skilled operator could make it reccomend any boot instock, so it was usefull for backing up a selection. We were all really glad to see it go.
post #14 of 33
Benny who runs Inner Boot Works up in Stowe,VT does something really good. He's got the bottoms of all the Langes and Rossis (I think others too) sawn in half horizontally about the level of the top of the foot. You can place your foot in that bottom shell piece and see instantly the shell fit for the length and width. No fingers, no flashlights needed.

Manufacturers would save a lot of grief if they just distributed pieces of their boots like that to good shops.
post #15 of 33
All of this information is great. Boots are the single most important piece of equipment you will buy, and a good bootfitting is very much a part of that. I had great luck with Greg Hoffman at Green Mountain in Stratton. I also had two good friends who went to Scott at Green Mountain. Both Scott and Greg are awesome, and will go to great lengths to get the fit perfect. I can't recommend them strongly enough. Very much worth the drive.
post #16 of 33
Thread Starter 
I promised that I'd update you when I had
my boots fitted, so here it goes... A long
story, fit only for those with an interest
in bootfitting (pardon the pun).

After evaluation of all the advice given I
decided pay visit to Greg Hoffman, promising
myself very hard to not go over budget (off
course I did go over budget by $75, I'm
trying to tell myself that that is 'just a

I'll try and tell the story of my feet, but
you'll have to excuse me for errors due to
ignorance on my part.

As soon as I had my feet exposed Greg
noticed that I had a 'meaty lateral border'
(the outside part of the foot just before
the little toe aka styloid process) that was
very hard. This is exactly at the location
where I _really_ hurt in most boots. This
immediately limited me to boots that have
room in that specific place, specifically a
pair of Langes, Salomons and Dolomites
The Dolomite Sintesis
didn't make the cut because I could not get
my heels to fit in the designated pocket,
leading to a lot of stress on my ankle bones
(the same problem I had with some Salomon
boots I tried before). The Lange Golds had
the opposite problem, the heel pocket
provided too much room, allowing significant
movement of the heel.

I finally ended up in a Salomon 6.0 XWave,
not only the most comfortable by far for my
feet, but fortunately also the most
affordable (note: this is a relative
term!!!). Note that all the boots that Greg
suggested were stiffer than I would have
expected to fit my ability level -- I am
6'4" and weigh a good 250# and apparently
strong enough to flex almost any
boot. BTW I found it surprising to note that
the Lange Gold was easier to flex than the
Salomon XWave 6.0. The other surprising
fact was that I fit the Salomons a full
bootsize lower than in other brands --
apparently something other people have
noticed with this year's Salomons as well.

Next a little more room was created by
lightly grounding the styloid process area
of the left boot and then the footbeds were
fitted, since I have a 'front-foot varus'
(ball of the foot does not make proper
contact on the side of the big toe) the
footbeds were constructed in such a way to
compensate for this (which again takes some
of the pressure off), furthermore I have
an internal femural and extenal tib/fib

After making the footbed a final bit of
grinding was performed on the styloid
process and the boot cuffs were canted in
(to about 1/2 degree in of the horizontal
to give me a bit more stability at speed).

So all in all none of the issues were special
or extreme, but I guess my combination of
symptons was somewhat unusual, making it hard
to find a good fit.

Thankfully I now have a pair of boots that
fit very well, just reward for a process that
took over two hours.<FONT size="1">

[Corrected message: one of the types of boots fitted were Dolomites not Nordicas]</FONT><FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Semmed (edited September 18, 2001).]</FONT>
post #17 of 33
Congratulations on the purchase Semmed and thanks for the accounting. Enjoy them.
It's good to hear of great fitters..
post #18 of 33
Maybe I'm just unusual, but for the 30 some
years that I've been skiing and teaching skiing, I've never had a pair of boots that
I didn't like. I've never had to have "professional" fitting and have used
many different brands (usually whatever was
cheapest on pro-form). I've skied Scotts,
three generations of Solomon rear entries,
two different sets of Lange's and several
high-end Nordicas. Thirty or forty days
into any of these boots and they all felt the
same to me. Am I adapting to the boot rather
than vice-versa?
post #19 of 33
By the way, welcome.
first off I would say you are the exception. The human body is amazingly adaptable and I would say you probably do adapt to the boot.. You probably have a very close to "average" foot in the sense that the manufacturers use a specific shape to build their boots. The rest of us vary way off the center average. I'm also sure there are people that have good alignment and don't require canting/ramp angle or forward lean adjustments but for the rest of us.....

Lucky you.
post #20 of 33
Also looks like you picked (maybe just luck) 3 boot lines that are pretty close in shape. Scott/Salomon/Lange are often named at the same time when fitting certain shaped feet. I think some of the Nordica's also fit the same "shape".

I have had the best fit from Salomon but have also enjoyed a good fit in Scotts and one Nordica. I never really fit the lange well however.
post #21 of 33
Thread Starter 
Hi Sitzmark,

Maybe you're lucky enough to have feet that
are fairly close to the norm? I actually
spent more money on my boots than I did
on my skis. For me the boot matters more
than the ski as I cannot pretend to myself
that I am having a good time while in severe
pain (sometimes I had sore feet for several
days after skiing).<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Semmed (edited September 17, 2001).]</FONT>
post #22 of 33
are you composing in a different program and pasting into epicski or are you hitting the return key everytime you get close to the end of the field? Just wondering why all your posts are so narrow. If you keep typing without pressing "new line" the software AC is using will put in appropriate carriage returns and allow the lines to be different depending on the screen size and resolution someone else is using.
post #23 of 33
Thread Starter 

I do a lot of programming using 'vi' on UNIX machines; vi is a seriously outdated text editor, but comes standard on all UNIX platforms. I have just gotten in the habit of explicitly formatting all the text that I write.

In this text I have made a concious effort NOT to hit the enter key, a daunting task
post #24 of 33
Ah, Understood.
post #25 of 33
Getting great fitting boots, that also work well for the type of skier you are, is probably the most important thing you can do to improve both your skiing and your enjoyment of the sport. I have taught skiing on a full or part time basis for 30 seasons and the vast majority of new and experienced recreational skiers simply don't have boots that are fitted properly or set up right for their stance and style of skiing. The other folks offered some good suggestions for boot fitters. Most importantly, take your time, try things on, and get the orthotics. If you have them made first, take them with you when trying on new boots and replace the factory insoles with your orthotics.

It doesn't end with buying the "right" boot. You have to set them up with your orthotics, find your balance points, adjust the cant and forward lean if you have them and be ready to experiment. A well fittied boot will be warmer and fit your foot snug without having to crank it down all the time. If you buy a boot and your on the 2nd or 3rd buckle the first couple days of skiing, the boot was too big to start with, and your going to have to replace it soon, or settle for lower performance by adding lots of padding.

Take your time!!! and only use a reputable shop and an experienced boot fitter. Much more important than skis..
post #26 of 33
Very cool Semmed, sounds like you got some good help. Two hours is about right, with a tricky foot. Kudos to your fitter. It's so nice to hear that somebody does it right!

You may need some slight tweaking after a few days, that's normal...

jyarddog got his boots tweaked to feel a lot better too, excellent...

Oh, and Semmed...

post #27 of 33
Some more questions for boot doctors:
I have long but narrow feet and high arches and spent hours trying boots on last weekend. All the brands/models I tried felt a little too big either side of my mid-foot. I went for Salomons in a size smaller than usual as these held my heel in place best(X-wave 9.0 womens).

Will I be able to get custom liners for them as I think this would help? (I wasn't sure if these were only available for certain brands or are universal.)
Also what are the pros and cons of silcone vs. foam injected liners?

I'm trying them out on the dry slope on Saturday and I'm dreading it! I kept my last pair of boots for 10 years because getting them right was such a horrible experience!!

post #28 of 33
not a boot doctor but from what I understand the aftermarket liners can be fit to almost all the boots made.

Make sure you get your footbeds made first and see where you are with that. they will make your foot a little narrower but will also keep you from moving and changing the shape of your foot when you apply pressure. Also a good fitter can usually add some padding on the sides without going to the expense of custom liners and might be worth a try before putting out the extra money for the liners.
post #29 of 33
question for the boot fitting experts.

i have skied on raichle boots for about 12 years. last years i bought a pair of salomn x-wave 9.0; i realize they are a med -full boot, but at the time they felt great; comfortable, stiff, nice forward cant

after skiing on them for 2 weeks they really loosened up.

should i bother spending more $$ on footbeds and a custom fitting or should i try and sell them and buy a pair of boots that are less full?

post #30 of 33

Why did you switch from Raichle after 12 years?
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