Originally Posted by c2ski
Background: Male, 27 years old. Height: 6'0" (long legs). Weight 150 lbs (yes, light). Expert (Level 8/9) skier. Typically ski ~25 days/yr, mostly soft snow (west coast), off-piste, steep terrain (i.e. not racing on hardpack). EXTREMELY narrow foot, 11 AAA (especially narrow in forefoot), low arch, chicken legs. Current boots: Salomon Integral Equipe 7.0, size 28.0, circa 1994, with standard superfeet insole in addition to stock insole.
1.) Can you explain the general bootfitting process for an "extreme" case such as myself? Are fully custom liners a possibility/requirement?
2.) I've seen your recommendation of the Nordica Dobermann for other people with narrow feet - is this what you'd recommend in my case? Any other recommendations for a good "starting boot"?
3.) Can you give a ballpark estimate for the cost of the necessary bootfitting by a reputable bootfitter?
4.) Am I likely to notice a large difference in my skiing with new, properly fitted boots? To be honest, I'm a little hesitant to spend a large some of money for boots that may not be as comfortable as my old slipper-like (too loose, I'm sure) salomons.
Thank you very much for the advice!
All hail the king of the chicken skiers!
Wow, 11AAA is truly narrow. Not people write in with narrower feet than mine. I am going to write some advice and then answer your questions.
First, you need the narrowest/ lowest volume boot you can find, preferably as short as is still reasonably comfortable. Ideally, they will not be too stiff. Some good choices are the Head RS 96, Dolomite Z 110, Nordica Dobermann WC 150 (avoid the Pro models), and Salomon X2 (their full race boot is very tight in the toes). A long shot is the Atomic Race Tech TI in an XS flex. (It is super snug in the heel, but roomier in the forefoot.) Rumor is they will have a foam liner available this year. Then, after you find your shell, have them ground if you have any pressure spots.
From there you may want a different liner. The ideal situation would be to find a thicker liner from another boot (obviously, test it for comfort) that will hold your foot better. Sometimes you can find leftover production boots that work well. If this does not work, you may have to go with a foam liner, but do not be surprised if you lose some feel for the snow with this option.
Then get the boots professionally aligned. Use the best tech you can find, and become friends with him/ her because you will probably be spending some time together.
1. Covered above.
2. Covered above.
3. Cost will depend on how much work you need. If you are lucky, you will not require any major canting, so costs will be limited to footbeds and fitting. If you are very unlucky, you will require foam liners, canting, footbeds, fitting, internal ramp work, binding ramp work. This might require a second mortgage. I really do not care to guess on any of the prices, either way.
4. Yes, you will be amazed at the difference. Imagine driving an old american car with a loose steering rack. You turn the steering wheel, but the car does not move. Both turning and going straight are difficult. That is similar to what you are using now. (Still, you could have done worse with your boot choice.)
Now picture driving a new Porsche down the road. Every imput you make to the steering wheel is transmitted to the car. You think move, and the car goes where you want it. This is what you could have. (Assuming you make the right choice, and get a good boot tech.)
Lastly, what I would really prefer is if Dalbello would make a narrow plug version of their Krypton boot. That should be able to hold your foot, and ski rougher terrain beautifully. I think everyone with low volume feet should ask them to do just that. IMO.