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need advice--buying boots online: a disaster?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm looking to buy my first pair of boots (and skis too, hopefully.) (I've just started skiing this winter, but have completely fallen in love with it, go to college 20 minutes away from a ski resort, and plan to ski a lot in the future.)

Since the season's pretty much over, REI.com has some amazing boot sales, which are really enticing, especially since I'm on a college-student's budget and it'd be difficult to buy boots for full price. Additionally, other than the over-priced store at the resort, I'm don't really have access to any stores that have sell ski boots (I don't have a car). I'm hesitant, however, since I've heard that boot fit is really important.

So here's my question: should I take a chance and buy the boots from REI, or wait until next season, get fit for boots, and pay two or three times more?

post #2 of 12
Yes, boot fit IS really important. There's another alternative- not very nice to your local ski shop, but on a tight student budget you can afford to feel a little guilty and make up for it when you have an income. See what's on sale at REI, go to your local shop (if it is a chain store, you can feel less guilty), try on a few of those boots, hopefully with the help of a competent bootfitter, then buy the boots that fit best from REI. You may still need to pay for bootfitting and adjustment (which potentially can wipe out some or all of your savings- be forewarned!), however. Around here, at least, everything is on sale anyway by this time of year, even at the resorts, so the prices at your resort shop could possibly surprise you. Maybe they will even bargain with you. Bottom line is that you really need to try things on and be properly fit, or the bargain may turn out to be false economy.
post #3 of 12
I would say spend more $$ later to get a proper fit. I understand the motive to save now, but with properly fitted boots your enjoyment of skiing will be rewarded.
post #4 of 12
I am not sure where you are but there are REI stores in several major cities. Once you get an idea of what boot (might) fits you is to order a couple of pairs of different sizes.

There are no shipping charges if the boots are shipped to your local REI store. On the same token, the boots that do not fit you can be returned to same store without any hassle.

Just wanted to let you know that the selection and sizes available is limited.

Good luck.
post #5 of 12
Where are you from? Maybe we can direct you to a good shop. Boots are the most important part. I just bought new boots last Sunday. My old ones were two and a 1/2 seasons old, that's about 150 day's. I waited for the end of season sales, but did not worry about the price, fit is the key factor. Spend the extra if you have to. Don't buy boots from just anybody. Use the Boot fitters guide on this site.
post #6 of 12
Almost all the ski shops and retailers have thier boots on sale. I I'm sure that if you found a proper fitting boot and REI had it at a lower price Your local shop might match that price. I have been succsseful with doing that in the past. I tell the shop I havea better deal but I would rather deal with a local retailer. Let them know you are on a budget. Since word of mouth is the best advertizing, tell them you would also be more then willing to direct people to thier shop. get the proper fitting boot first. After that buy a good pair of used skis. There are many ski swaps in the fall. keep reading here and at other web sites as well as asking friends and looking in the ski mags. If your School hasa ski clue or ski team learn what you can from them. In no time you will have a good idea of what kind of ski would be right for you have 3 or for diffrent skis in mind then look for the best deal on a used pair you can find. Good luck and have fun welcome to the world of skiing and epic ski.
post #7 of 12
Originally Posted by justana
should I take a chance and buy the boots from REI
Just an FYI, but REI has an excellent return policy (I returned a road bike with no problems after almost a month and several hundred miles). If the boots don't fit you can always send them back and all you'd be out would be shipping.

post #8 of 12
Another reason to go to a good shop is help in choosing the right boot for your build, athletic ability, etc. You want good performance boots that fit you well if you are going to become a regular skier.Low end boots will not perform well and will have a sloppy fit. A good fitter should get you into the right boot. LewBob
post #9 of 12
A friend was in a similar situation a week ago. We went to REI and they have only 2 boots out in display as they are cleaning up and putting out summer/camping gears, as many sportshops around the area always do around this time of year. Needless to say they don't have his size or the boots that he wanted.

He ended up ordered the Performa 8.0 from rei.com. If they doesn't fit he'll just return them (or have them custom fit later). Since the price is wayy too low now, it's worth a try if you know what boots you want.

post #10 of 12
by the way, there is a great intorduction to what you should be looking for in fit right here http://www.epicski.com/Content/SkiAn...otfitting1.htm
post #11 of 12
Please go to a good indepentent ski shop who sells just skis, boots etc...You will be so much happier. You will get to talk to someone who has experience and understanding about thier product. Not some kid who gets a green shirt and calls himself an....oh never mind. Go to the professionals, go to the masters, see people who know what the hell they are doing.
post #12 of 12
YOU ARE CRAZY TO BUY A BOOT WITHOUT TRYING IT ON! The money you spend today, will cost you tree times as much in the future. One for the ticket you bought and couldn't ski cause your feet hurt, two cause of the gas you spent to get there, and three cause of the drinks you bought at the bar because you were bored out of your mind while your friends are skiing in the boots that were properly fit at the ski shop that charged them $30 more for the same boot.
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