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A Good Bootfitter - The Most Valuable Asset

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
For this season, I wanted new ski boots, so I did some research on a few boots, what kind of boot I wanted, and headed on out to various retailers to start trying on boots. Ultimately, I found out that finding a bootfitter who knows his stuff may be the single most important step in equipment purchasing.

First, I went to Bob Smith's Wilderness in Allston, Massachusetts (next to B.U.), and the kid fitting me didn't seem to know his *** from his elbows, and I was essentialy 'on my own' when it comes to boot selection -- and that's not a good place for me to be . (btw, this isn't to demean Bob Smith's, I've heard they have a top-notch bootfitter formerly of Killington -- but he wasn't there).

Anyways, after going to some mom and pop stores that also didn't seem to know how to fit me properly, I bit the bullet and went to Ski Market in Braintree.

However, the bootfitter who fit me knew his stuff! (unfortunately, I can't remember his name). I told him I wanted a comfortable AMC-type boot that would fit well, and not abuse me too much.

After doing an expert job measuring my foot, he brought out a Lange Vector 7 and a Salomon X7 Ultrafit. He told me right away that the Lange would probably be a better fit, since I have a real narrow heal. I tried on both boots, one on each foot to see how they felt, and I told him that the Lange felt tight everywhere and the flex seemed a little too loose. He responded that the boot would gain a 1/3 of a size in use, and that the store was 72 degrees, and the boot would be much stiffer on a cold slope. Over time, I noticed that the boot felt tight but comfortable, with no slippage, and a much quicker feel than the X7.

He even took the boot liner out to check out the shell size with my foot in it. He later recommended I get (rather affordable) after-market foot beds, which did wonders around my narrow ankle. I bought those.

Ultimately, I ended up with a perfect fitting boot, one that I hadn't anticipated I'd buy, for a price point way below what this guy could have sold me, and what I was prepared to spend.

I'm sure people in this forum know how important a good bootfitter is, but I never knew JUST HOW important it was. It made a world of difference.

I will never buy a boot again without finding a good bootfitter first.
post #2 of 4

After a few days skiing the fit of your boot may not seem right.This is not unusual. In all likelyhood this will be due to a compaction of the boot liner. It is Ok to return to your boot fitter and have him "tweak" the fit some more based on the changes in your boot.
post #3 of 4
Great post, Terrapin. The worst place to seek a "bargain" is in purchasing ski boots. A good bootfitter is worth his/her weight in gold. Most high-end shops not only have good bootfitters on staff, but they also guarantee the fit when you buy the boots from them. Considering that feet change, and boots change, that alone will be worth the premium price you pay at these shops. Of course, you can always find these top bootfitters AFTER you buy bargain boots, but at $30+ per hour, it won't be long before you've more than paid what you originally "saved." And those boots still may be the wrong size!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Ironically, I had been "prejudiced" against Lange boots from the beginning of this task (and eventually ended up with a Lange), because I had earlier lost a big toe toenail to a Lange boot. I had blamed the boot, when I should have been blaming the bootfitter.

Lesson learned, eh?

Now, off to watch the snow come down in New England!

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 08, 2001 05:19 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Terrapin ]</font>
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