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far from slopes: best way to buy new boots?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
When I got my ski boots 4 years ago (they were a gift), I had just started skiing, and didn't understand how they should fit.

I am also very difficult to fit. I have tiny feet (a 4.5 women's street shoe) with a high arch and muscular calves. There were only 2 ski boots in the store that were close to fitting -- one was slightly loose in the foot, the other was tight in the calf. I chose the tight in the calf boot, and started a merry round of excruciating boot repair that culminated in getting 2-3 inches sawed off the top of the boot.

The problem is that the liners have packed down (about 40 ski days later), and now the boots are again too loose. I did get custom footbeds made in Utah, and they have definitely improved the fit (now even with my high arch, I can feel the boot under my arch). But I have to buckle them down so hard that I have to unbuckle the boots to stand/ride in chair lift with them, or my feet will fall asleep.

I am NOT looking forward to buying new boots next season what with the pain/adjustment cycle.

Sorry. Long prelude to two short questions.

(1) My original sad boot experience was with Sporting Life in Toronto. I have since bought ski equipment at Sign of the Skier. Any other Toronto Bears have a better recommendation? Should I go up to a fitter in Collingwood instead?

(2) Because I'm so far from a slope, it makes it very hard to figure out whether boot adjustments have helped or not. Would it make more sense to buy the boots, and then get them fitted during a trip where the fitter will be on slope? This is how my first pair of boots ended up getting adjusted, and it worked better in the short term. But the problem was that even that bootfitter knew that the boots I bought did not really fit -- but he had no alternative. My size really is not common -- I'm in the junior range -- and I'm afraid of getting the wrong boot altogether.

Sigh. Stupid feet.
post #2 of 6
If you can wait for a week long trip, I would hold out for a slope side fitter.

As you mentioned it's hard to tell if a fit adjustment has an affect if you can't ski right away.

For hard to fit feet, you need to get to the store early in the season which unfortunatly means higher prices but if you find a fitter/supplier that can meet your needs it's worth the extra price.

post #3 of 6
With your feet and lower legs, you'll be hard pressed to find a boot which will slip right on and work. A woman specific boot with a wide low tulip cuff might get you close. I don't know how many retailer options you have in the Collingwood area. Though not convenient from your location, a town like Whistler would be your best bet, since every boot brand is retailed here, and there are some excellent fitters. There should be a boot out there which will work eventually. If you get to Collingwood, try Squire Johns. Sporting Life does have a location in Collingwood too, but they might not have a boot which will work for you. Though after 4 years, they might have one now. Using a retailer who has a convenient location to your residence and one at your local ski hill is quite nice when going through the fitting process. It allows you to get the majority of the work done in the city, and tweak it when you ski.

Sorry I can't be more helpful. Good luck.
post #4 of 6
The Toronto boot guru (john something I think) used to work at Sign of the Skier and my sister's family dealt with them. He then went briefly to 'skiis and biikes' or something like that. Yes I think that's how they spell it. Now he is at Sporting Life and my sister's gang deals there due to arrangements with the national academy where my nephew skis. Sporting Life is huge and should have a vast selection, the flipside is they have an enormous staff. Dial into this guy I'm talking about or someone senior that he has trained thoroughly. I didn't know sporting life had a collingwood location now. You could get main work done in TO and minor adjustments should be able to get handled at their Collingwood location. All the athletes at the academy are dealing through SL so I'm sure they have able fitters at that location as well. Start in Septemember so you can get at a full selection in your size. I think selection will be a big factor for you and waiting until slope side for a holiday may not make that easier.
post #5 of 6
I second the recommendation by dchan above to buy early in the season.
Also, I have had luck calling ahead (or you could visit this time of year and wait until next) to let a good shop know what you need: in your case, small size, large calf, high arch, etc., and give them time to locate/find a few models that have those general characteristics. This requires a very dedicated and reputable shop, and you will more than likely pay top dollar, but it will be more than worth it if you find an ideal fit.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks very much for the advice -- and the names, and to those who PM'd.

What you're all saying pretty much jives with what I was thinking. The risk-weighing is between getting the widest selection of boots by buying in September, but then being stuck with buying boots in Toronto/Collingwood, or being able to refine the fit with an expert fitter on a ski slope.

What I've settled on is trying as many boots as I can stuff my stupid tiny feet into in September, starting at the Sign, moving elsewhere in Toronto or Collingwood if nothing feels right but being *incredibly* picky about the fit around the calf and foot. If by October, nothing feels right, then I guess there'll be nothing for it but a week-long trip to Whistler in November or December .

I guess I've reconciled myself for a certain amount of pain, both around my calves/feet and my wallet.
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