There's been a lot of debate here regarding flex versus stiffness, but as I'm not a racer (or really much of a terrain freestyler, either), my desire was to lean toward comfort (seems a no-brainer--everyone wants comfortable boots but finding them and still getting function, as well, can be two different things...).
In 2001 on a trip to Alta, a couple of my ski buddies came home with DaleBoots. One, a lifetime skier, was replacing a rather pricey pair of boots that were replete with custom liners and well-made orthotics. He and my other buddy had nothing but glowing reviews of their new DaleBoots when I started looking into what I was going to replace my old Rossis with.
But, the rub was headed out to SLC wasn't in the cards (I live in northern DE, and this year's trip, to Fernie, is far off the range of DaleBoot central). My friends tipped me off that I could do mail order, but I'm no where near being a bootfitter, and with my past history of boot pain, I was pretty nervous about getting out a tape measure and sending off my rough measurements to DaleBoots, especially with time being an issue with this looming trip.
Enter Priority Medical, in New Jersey. Spotted the link at the DaleBoot site under contacts. The fellow used to be a bootfitter in Killington, and sold DaleBoots out of his shop there. But his primary income was always sports medicine (braces, prosthetics, etc.)--apparently he'd roadtrip up to Killington every weekend, and kept a full time staffer up there for the slower weekdays, and eventually, that became more trouble than it was worth.
In any case, I gave him a call, and for an extra `~$75 tacked on to DaleBoot web prices, he does the measurements, then when the boot arrives in ~two weeks, he fits them (heating up the liner and orthotics)--he also provides some very high-end orthotics if you need to go that route, but I decided to give the Dale orthotics a $40 try. As it happened, another in my Fernie-bound group, a friend's wife (he is one of the fellows mentioned above who bought a pair of DaleBoots in SLC a few years ago) decided to do the same and ordered a pair.
From the extensive efforts he took in the initial measurements to yesterday when we picked them up, I couldn't have been more impressed that I was being handled by a bootfitter who really knew what he was doing. His analysis of our stances and the corrections required (I pronate, for one thing) were dead-on. When we went in yesterday, he went the extra mile, especially with my friend's boots, to tweak a lot of things to get her as straight as possible--we certainly got our money's worth that we never would have done if we'd rolled the dice and did the "do-it-yourself" approach.
And, the proof was in the pudding. We'd met with him first thing in the morning so we could bee-line it two hours driving time to the PA Poconos and spend the afternoon skiing in them, concerned as I am about getting things as right as possible before we leave in March for Fernie.
I'm happy to say I won't need to go back for any add-on tweaks! I can't believe I was skiing in new boots yesterday. I had no boot pain whatsover, and this is an issue that nearly drove me from the sport, as mentioned in a previous thread when I was researching which direction to go for new boots. I found, with adjustments, I was able to reduce any unwanted forward flex, so there was no real acclimating/discomfiture to the more flexible (than my old Rossi's) DaleBoot design. I didn't feel I was losing any ski control in the translation (I'm a fast skier), and my stance seemed to be perfect on the skis.
Color me a satisfied DaleBoot customer, and if you're on the East Coast, Priority Medical is worth the trip. My wife came along for the ride yesterday so she could get out on the slopes in the afternoon with us, and never having been satisifed with her Surefoot boot fit (Technicas?), she was so impressed with him she's debating a train ride into NYC to get a refund from the SureFoot there (I wonder if that guarantee is as easy as it sounds...) and then head back over to NJ and order a pair of DaleBoots for herself. She's in bunion city (she'll love me for announcing that!).