Jeff, thanks for giving your time and expertise here.
I have a few questions about fitting a pair of Atomic "B-Ride" or "Beta Ride" 9.50 boots that I picked up in new condition at a recent ski swap. Size = 27.5. Here's a link to a site showing the boot: http://www.outdoorreview.com/cat/ski...3_1544crx.aspx
My info: 5'9", 175 lbs, 44 y/o male skier. Street shoes: 9.5. Current boots: Technica Rival RX9 in 27.5, about 4 seasons old (70-80 ski days). Wide forefoot, high arch; typically wear New Balance EE running shoes. Ski mostly east coast groomers / crud; advanced but not expert skier; prefer fast, aggressive skiing but also turn it down when skiing with my kids.
1 - am I correct thinking the B-Ride is a good choice, based on good results with the Rival RX9 (after a little tweaking of buckles and adjustments at the local shop)?
2 - am I correct thinking the B-RIde will be a higher-performance boot - a little stiffer and more aggressive?
3 - Here's the big question. B-Rides seemed perfectly comfortable walking around for 1/2 hour with crappy stock footbeds. Then I transferred my "zip-fit" footbeds from the Rivals to the B-Rides, and walked around for 1/2 hour in the house with much arch pain and cramped little and 2d toes. Yuck. Painful, can't imagine skiing like this, thought about grinding out the front of the boot, or getting a custom footbed. So as I was pulling the Atomic apart to put the footbeds back in the Rivals, out popped this black plastic insert that went beneath the Atomic's liner. It was on the bottom of the boot, above the shell and beneath the footbed, and is probably 3-4 mm thick, flat on the top with little ridges underneath. Just to experiment, I kept that black plastic out of the boot, then put back in the liner and Zipfit footbed, and voila! It feels PERFECT now. Now I'm thinking no grinding, no custom footbeds, it feels just right without the insert under the liner. So my question is, what's wrong with this picture? Does that plastic insert under the foot, between the shell and liner, do anything so important that I ought to keep it in, and go to a real bootfitter to grind out the forefoot or get custom footbeds? Or can I save a little money here and get what I think will be the higher performance of the Atomics, without spending extra bucks?
EDIT - did a little searching and have found -- DUH -- that these inserts are called "footboards" or "base boards". And there are several posts that talk about grinding / modifying the footboard to create additional space. So my big question - perhaps a stupid question - is, more precisely, what if I just take out the footboard altogether? And if that's not advisable, how much should I expect to pay and how long would it take for a competent bootfitter to grind down or modify the footboard to give me the space I need?
Thanks in advance for any feedback.