To me, demoing high-end boots seems kind of silly- if I am interested in getting new boots, I ask my bootfitter what he thinks will work with my leg structure. I then purchase the right size for me ( a little less than 1 finger width behind the heel) and let him do his thing. So the narrow race boot wasn't very comfortable when I tried it on-after a little grinding and softening/straightening for my anatomy, along with a lift to compensate for leg length discrepancy-voila! It seems that almost any high-performance boot out there would work for me with modification-just as long as it isn't too soft or too wide, anything else can be changed to fit your foot, which will have to be done if you are serious about your alignment or you were born with perfect alignment and need no modification. I would ski like crap in any demo boot, simply because it hasn't been tweaked for me-too much forward lean would put me straight in the backseat (all boots seem to have too much forward lean these days, although Head's new RS and RS 100 (race-plug boot and race consumer boot) are much more upright next year (96mm width for those interested, compared to 97mm for the N97)).
Demoing mid-range/comfort style boots would be another story-we demo Head Edge series boots here (nice and wide) in our rental/demo fleet as part of a package, and as a result, the retail versions just fly off the shelves. They feel like a bedroom slipper. For that customer, comfort is everything, and they aren't likely to pay $50 an hour for bootfitting services by a pro. I agree with L7's assertion that demoing boots that have been tried on several times will give customers a good feel as to what the boot will feel like after 10 days. Unfortunately, most decent boots have heatfit/memory foam liners these days, so a demo boot will be more packed out (different feet skiing it) than the one a customer buys (after he/she gets 10 days on it). I feel kind of silly selling a customer a 104mm wide boot when she has narrow foot, but if she is after the comfort more than performance, who am I to tell her otherwise? Her idea of a nice day on the slopes is basking in the sun, spending time with family/friends, and being comfortable. That means comfortable boots and short skis. For those people, boot demos are invaluable. We will be expanding our line next year-it simply sells boots, especially to those people who never even thought of buying boots but were wowed by the comfort.