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Should we go for “women’s boots”?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have a question regarding women’s ski boots.
I am working hard trying to convince my girlfriend into buying her own ski boots. Anyone, a woman or a man, who suffer through measuring wet ski boots (or dry SCUBA diving wetsuit for that manner) at the rental store, knows why.
I fail so far but a painful experience at an Italian store last winter did it for me. :
My problem? I couldn’t find any women’s specific boots at any local store.
My question? Does it make any difference? Should we buy the boots on our side of the Atlantic and enjoy the local service & lab or are we better off waiting for next winter when we go to Europe or the US?
As for her skiing level, she skid the US East coast as a teenager, quit for some years (the kids are teenagers now…) and back to ski, bike & dive with me and her kids. She likes the blue and the green runs and might try some reds next year. I am no expert but I think that a flex index of 60 will be fine. What do you think? Is the so called “Women’s Boots” worth looking for?
Thanks.
post #2 of 11
I have two daughters and one uses an Nordica Beast (unisex) boot and the other uses an Atomic B9 (female) boot.

Many ladies find unisex boots uncomfortable due to the calf muscle interfering with the back of the boot. If shopping for unisex boots, look for models with a removable or adjustable spoilers.

The unisex Nordica Beast required both heel inserts & the removal of the spoiler for correct fitting. This helped the calf fit comfortably above the boot. The heel lift also improves the range of motion at the ankle. The performance of this boot is superb and she now has all-day comfort due to the modifications.

The Atomic has heel lifts, installed from the factory, and the upper shell and liner are much lower than the unisex model. She has no problem with the calf fitting above the boot. The female specific liner is also thicker around the ankle. This boot fits well out-of-the-box, however it is much softer than the unisex model, with a lower level of performance.

If you cannot find a model that fits well locally, it makes sense to wait until you visit a shop where you ski. If coming to the US, visit some of the bootfitters recommended here at Epic.

We made a point of skiing Stratton last year so that we could be fitted at the Green Mountain Orthotic Lab. This investment will provide comfortable skiing for many years.

Cheers,

Michael
post #3 of 11
I never had any particular problem with men's ("unisex") boots, but could not wear some brands because they'd chop into the inside calf muscle.
Womens' boots do have some advantages, especially for women with large calf muscles. I think there's a nerve in that bit of the muscle, and have seen women in rental boots (Technicas spring to mind) in tears, tearing their boots off on the snow!

They also reckon that womens' lasted boots have a wider forefoot, but slimmer ankle and heel, as apparently women's feet tend that way. And some will have a sligtly elevated heel, to accommodate the shorter/tighter achilles tendon, and I guess the centre of mass being slightly back.

Womens' boots are often softer flexing, but these days with all boots getting softer forward flex, it's not such a biggie as it was in the olden days.

I have a personal set against Salomon ladies' models, but it's probably just me. Love the Atomics.
post #4 of 11
buy a boot that fits the best, if that is a "W" boot great, if it is a non "W" boot thats OKtoo.

I'd look in the US for a good bootfitting store and buy what they suggest, after they shell fit you and do someother tests.
post #5 of 11
Personally I can say I've liked my experience with Women-Specific boots. I own a pair of Nordica W8W's. They are my first and presently only Alpine boots. I tried on many pairs of boots when I decided I was going to learn to ski. Yes buying boots before I ever set foot on mountain may seem a little strange, but having been a dancer (you wanna talk about footwear that can be uncomfy let's talk pointe shoes!) and having done some very nasty things to both of my ankles I figured that since I was determined to ski I'd better get the right footwear to start. Plus... the idea of renting shoes just seemed icky to me.

So I went and tried on lots. I tried on a few pairs of unisex boots, tried some of the "soft" boots, etc. The ones I bought were the ones that "felt" best. Now what I was mainly looking for was something that felt good on my ankle in terms of adequate support and good arch support. This is what I got from these boots. I suspect when I replace them I will likely end up with women-specific boots again just due to anatomy, but I'm open to considering whatever the bootfitter recommends.

So my recommendation would be to consider the women-specific boots, try some on with a good boot-fitter and go with what feels best regardless of brand or women specific vs unisex. Just like in unisex boots not all women-specific boots will be built/designed the same. Don't be afraid to shuffle around the store in the boots for a good 15 minutes or more to be sure that as your feet settle into the boots they still feel good, or if they feel tight see if after you settle in they feel better.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

And what about service?

If I remember correctly, what we have around here are the Nordica, Rossignol, Tecnica, Solomon and perhaps another brand which raise another question: Let’s say that we get the best boots for her in Europe or the US. What are the chances that we might need some repair work done on them later on, in the next few years, which will require some brand specific parts? Is it a common thing or is it a reasonable chance taking?
Thanks.
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyal_Shahar
If I remember correctly, what we have around here are the Nordica, Rossignol, Tecnica, Solomon and perhaps another brand which raise another question: Let’s say that we get the best boots for her in Europe or the US. What are the chances that we might need some repair work done on them later on, in the next few years, which will require some brand specific parts? Is it a common thing or is it a reasonable chance taking?
Thanks.
Hi E,

Normally if something breaks on a boot, it's while you are at a resort. Often the local sellers are happy to help the visiting owner, for a fee, of course.

I have never needed help with parts while traveling. I have had fitting adjustments made and this was because the fitters in ski country are far better than the local ski shop staff where I live.

I would not be concerned about service.

Cheers,

Michael
post #8 of 11
Eyal- as previous posters mentioned, fit is critical, and whether a women's or men's boot fits will depend on the owner's feet. Womens boots tend to have a wider and lower cuff (most women have a wider and shorter calf at the height that the cuff hits your leg) and a narrower heel pocket, and will usually fit most women better (but not always).

One of the advantages of fitting with a good bootfitter at a resort is that you can have adjustments made after you ski them- you can take a run or two and then go back to the bootfitter and have the adjustments made right there- immediate feedback and response. Some bootfitters will even go out and take a run with you if there is a problem that is hard to diagnose or deal with. There is a list of recommended bootfitters here on Epic that might be of help (although I think most are in the US and Canada- I don't think there are too many European listings there). ALso, look at the article here on bootfitting- it will give a lot of good advice as to what to look for in fit.
post #9 of 11
i'll pass along the advice i have often given clients.

"if you try on a boot and it feels good it will rarely feel lousy later. the reverse is also sadly true!"

someone mentioned it previously. the best boot is the boot that fits well. almost any good bootfitter can mitigate minor issues.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by barrettscv
Hi E,

Normally if something breaks on a boot, it's while you are at a resort. Often the local sellers are happy to help the visiting owner, for a fee, of course.

I have never needed help with parts while traveling. I have had fitting adjustments made and this was because the fitters in ski country are far better than the local ski shop staff where I live.

I would not be concerned about service.

Cheers,

Michael
Thanks Michael.I am not too concern about that specific service, after all, they advised and sold me my RX4…I guess we'll wait for the next European winter then, unless we cross the Atlantic first.
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyal_Shahar
Thanks Michael.I am not too concern about that specific service, after all, they advised and sold me my RX4…I guess we'll wait for the next European winter then, unless we cross the Atlantic first.
Eyal,

It is always a pleasure to correspond with you!

Cheers,

Michael
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