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Surefoot Review/Bootfitting(long)

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
This is not just a review but also a long and well thought out post outlining my past frustration with boot fitters and the elation of finally seeing things come together for me. Sorry for the book - I wrote this up on my 3.5 hour return flight from Denver.

A little pre-review background information:

I have very unusual anatomy - a heavy supinator, heavily knock kneed, and a 3 degree outward tibia rotation on my right leg. I have EEE sized forefeet with a thin ankle that is very bony as well as a prominent and bony navicular. To this point skiing has been a struggle with more pain than fun. I was about to call it quits and decided to give the boot fitters one more try then if that didn't work I would simply sell off my skis and be done with it.

I have been to numerous fitters including big names such as GMOL, PJ Dewey at race stock sports, and big name Utah shops/fitters. Each visit produced different solutions like cant and cuff cant measurements that were wildly divergent from one another. Each time I visited a new fitter I got completely different measurements and solutions. It didn't help that some touted as pros came across as exceedingly arrogant and condescending and seemed more interested in telling you how they fit world cup racers or used to work for Lange rather than what they can do for you - the average Joe Q Skier.

I have gone through boots, footbeds, heel lifts, toe lifts, and all kinds of services like they were candy. A whole lot of money has been spent on a lot of 'expert' fitters whose end result was nothing but more pain and discomfort.

Some of the things I have been told along this journey: 'you are in the wrong boot' , 'you need such and such degrees of cant work', 'Your cuff should be canted inward','your cuff needs to be canted outward', 'you need a neutral cuff alignment', 'your footbeds are the problem','your arches are too rigid','you need more arch support', 'you need less arch support;,..'you need new footbeds..the ones you have are garbage'. 'you need heel lifts..that's the ticket'..and on and on.

Also many instructors have been to quick to blame my problems on poor technique despite my objections. I knew I simply could not control my right leg efficiently. Even when walking my right leg likes to rotate a little. I anyone to try skiing when your right leg likes to rotate a bit inward and see how far you get without getting burned out. When skiing my right ski always washes out when edging unless I really exaggerate my stance. This causes further issues with other parts of the anatomy. It took a lot of effort to manage this issue and compensating created a lot of discomfort and fatigue.I could ski but it wasn't fun.

Anyways, I have tried ZipFits, Intuition Liners,Cork beds, Superfeet, Microaveables, footbeds made with plastic vaccum wrap - you name it and some fitter has tried to put them in my boots.You don't even want to know the total bill. Needless to say none of it worked. The pain and lack of control remained.

Enter this season. Business trip to Denver. Break out the skis and boots. The excitement builds..until I get on the hill...maybe this year I can overcome the control problem with the right leg? is still there and I am not having fun. I decide I am going to ski down to the base and that's that. Skiing just isn't for me any longer. Why waste any more money?

I was really despondent because I really wanted to enjoy this sport.
As I walked to my car at the base of Keystone I passed the Surefoot store in the village area. I remember reading about them and seeing a few reviews and comments here.

I walked in and talked to one of the assistants. I explained my problems and was a little bit irritated when he asked me if I ever tried the services of a professional bootfitter. I was thinking ok here we go again..another sales pitch by an 'expert' fitter who can solve the worlds problems. I literally stated 'professional fitters have done nothing for me but take my money' and he obviously could sense that I was a little hostile. After a detailed explanation of my troubles he went and got the manager - Tyler Cataldo.

Tyler is very easy going and friendly - a welcome change from the fast paced and aggressive East Coast fitters I have been too. I was actually shocked when he greeted me with a smile and a hand shake. There were people coming in and out of the shop and it was a little busy but he still took the time to talk and listen. He told me he could tell by the way I was standing in my boots at that moment that I was out of alignment. He said he could see visually obvious cues. I was thinking ok here comes the sales pitch right? I was very up front and frank and told him of my distaste for bootfitters in general based on my experiences. I have already forked over a lot of money and if I fork over any more I darn well better get results. Even though I obviously came across a little hostile he remained very friendly.

I asked lots of questions and he asked a lot back. He didn't shove any particular boot or service at me and simply said if I wanted we would start from scratch with an assessment and go from there. He basically asked me what I wanted from them, not what are all the things they could sell me. I explained my goal is to have control over my right ski and not be in constant pain. He told me something no other fitter had in the past- if my problems are as bad as stated I might always have to deal with a few issues but the pain and fatigue can be kept to a minimum or thrown out altogether. He did not promise the magic bullet as all other fitters have in the past. I showed him my current footbeds and setup. Unlike some other fitters he didn't say they were 'crap' or bash the work of other fitters who I worked with. He simply asked me specific questions about the feel of the footbeds and hot spots ect. He asked how I skied, what I enjoyed ect
He said based on what he sees and what I am telling him his view is past work done by fitters probably solved some issues but created other new problems that could make pain issues even worse. He had no explanation as to how I could get such wildly divergent measurements from different fitters but he was very complimentary of the fitters I have seen in the past and had nothing bad to say about them(I wish I could say the same). He said what I am experiencing is not an unusual problem in bootfitting. Often folks with problems like mine get the usual cant and bed work but this leads to other problems due to the way the anatomy is structured and how it interfaces with the new alignment.

As the day was winding down we made an appointment for the following morning. He told me to bring my boots, socks, skis, and a pair of shorts. Seeing I was skeptical and had such bad experiences in the past he assured me there were no obligations and I didn't have to buy a thing. He also made a promise not to try to sell me anything I didn't need or want.

Next morning the first thing he did was again examine my current boots and then asked to see my socks. He cautioned against using too thick a sock and said mine were fine. He then shell fit my current boots. I am a size 10 street shoe and wear a 27.5 boot. He said the boots were OK as far as size(this is about the only thing right I have received from past fitters). We talked about how my foot interacts with my current footbed and asked me if I was ok with them. I said no...they crunch up my arch and I believe they are too rigid. I was expecting the immediate sales pitch about footbeds again but honestly he said it was up to me. I was told I need to decide what I was feeling and comfortable with. Again another first for me - it seems the very first thing every fitter has done is immediately lambaste my current footbeds as crap and try to sell me theirs as the only way. He had me point to where I was getting the cramps and pain and what exactly was occurring. He examined my feet and arches. I told him I definitely wanted a footbed that had a lower arch and was a bit softer. He said if I wanted to begin with trying footbeds and see how that works then we could start there. No obligations if it doesn't fit or work. I can just walk out.

He had me step up to a gadget used to create a topo map of the foot. It is a platform with soft little spongy sticks that rise up from the bed and adjust to the contours of the feet and arch - one foot at a time. He had me roll my ankle left and right while taking a few measurements. He then played around with the postion of the foot on the bed and repositioned the ankle in the bed and took more measurements. The results indicated that I am a major supinator and the monitor displayed a detailed top map of all the details and nooks and crannies. He pointed to the problem areas and how a footbed could be milled to even things out all the while creating a lower arch as requested.

He then said he would mill the footbeds and I am not under any oblation if they did not meet my needs. I went out for a coffee and 15 minutes later returned to the store. At that time a keystone ski patroller and an instructor were in getting some work done by one of the other techs on duty. We were talking about fitting issues and my experiences and the patroller said give Surefoot a chance as they have done nothing but wonders for many skiers with serious problem feet.

Tyler came back with my footbeds. As requested the computer milled the beds with one of the less rigid materials they use. You actually get to choose the level of stiffness of the bed. I never saw the machine that did the milling as it was in the back. He popped the footbeds in my boot and had me stand in them unbuckled. My first impression was wow...no mashing of the arch. The boots were then buckled up and I walked around. Very firm but comfortable and absolutely no excessive pressure on the arch. I was starting to get really curious about this whole thing and my confidence in a fitter to do something positive for me started to increase.

I immediately said I definitely want the footbeds. He said I can purchase them and ski on them and if I have any problems come back for adjustments and if they just dont work out get a complete refund. At first I was reluctant to go any further than footbeds at this point based on past experiences but as my confidence increased I then had him make some more recommendations. He said based on my wide forefoot, bony ankles and acicular etc a foamed liner would probably be a good options and next step and eliminate some of the pain and pressure points I was experiencing. He stated this wouldn't help a lot with my alignment problems but the foam would eliminate all the little pressure points I was describing. Again no obligations. If I try them and they suck or cause pain just return them for a new fit or simply get a refund. What the heck.

Next step before foaming-align the cuff. Then the big problem surfaced. - apparently the last fitter who had adjusted my cuff alignment had stripped off the plastic flange screws that drill into the cuff on the right boot. On the Fischer MX9 the cant bolts are these cheap plastic sockets that apparently are easily stripped. He tried but simply could not get the bolt to turn and it was just stripping down even further. I tried as well and it simply would not budge and was totally stripped from the housing. Plyers would not even be able to turn the thing as you couldn't get a grip. At this point cuff adjustment is impossible and my cuff was canted the wrong way by the last fitter. He told me I would be out of alignment and have major problems with foaming since the cuff needs to be canted correctly before the process and I am very knock kneed with my shins curving inward - I would always be pressuring the outside walls of the cuff without correct alignment.

I was confident now and finally determined to get it right from start to finish and inquired about new boots. They have a large selection of models and brands at the Keystone store. I tried a few of the Langes as they come with the Conformable foam liners. I tried on a few models, checked for feel and heel hold etc and pressure points. Based on fit, form, and what I desire I finally decided on the Lange Freeride 100 as it had more room up front and a tight heel. The higher end Langes appeared way too narrow up front. Also I wanted something stiff laterally but with a soft forward flex.

Next comes the cuff cant and then the foaming. I was told it might hurt. The Patroller who was getting foamed next to me looked like she was in exquisite pain. When they unbuckled her she breathed a sigh of relief. She looked like she was sweating and behaved like someone just parked a car on her foot. I was getting a little nervous. My turn came and I stepped on the platform and followed various instructions while Tyler hurriedly started shaking little plastic bottles and mixing up some orange stuff. He the had me push down hard on this titled platform using hand rails while he started injected the foam into tubes around the cuff area then onto the ankle and forefoot areas. Each time he started a stopwatch. The pressure slowly built up inside the boot. He was asking how I was doing. I was thinking what is painfull about this? For those of you who have been foamed take the pain and magnify 2 to 3 times and that is the kind of pain I have been in before in ski boots. This was a walk in the park.

He had me stand in the boots on the platform for 12 minutes I think. When the tubes were pulled out it was like suddenly my feet and shins deflated. It was an odd feeling. When I took the boots off it felt like pins and needles as the blood rushed back. It took about 5 minutes for the normal feel to return.Still I wouldnt call the process painfull...uncomfortable, but not painful.

A little while later as Tyler finished up some other work he had me try on the boots. He buckled them up and had me stand up. My first thought was 'now what...these are way to loose'. I walked around. I then realized the boots were not loose...there simply were no pressure points as I was used to. The heel hold was tremendous and the liner fit like a glove with no gaps, no pressure points, and no footbed pain. I was thinking man I could ski these things unbuckled. I thought foaming meant hard and stiff and the material sure is but these felt like slippers. We compared the new foam to my old liners and the foam liners were 10 times as stiff and supportive but also 10 times more comfortable.

I was really fired up now. On to the alignment. I got in shorts and he used various methods and devices to measure my lateral alignment. He measured me 3 times over about 15 minutes. The final readings were 1 degree outwards on the left boot and 2 degree outwards on the right boot. He then took out some cant plates and had me stand on them and do balance exercises. He noticed the rotation on my right foot when I blanced. Based on the measurements what he saw when I did balance exercises on the cant plates he suggested I do the right boot cant and see how it goes with the left boot when I ski. I also had various grinds and punches on both boots over the course of the day. Over the course of the next 2 days I came back for a few punches in various spots as things started to break in and I also eventually got the cant on the left foot.

I still have a minor issue with my tibia rotation but it is so easily controlled now that I am in balance. I am skiing on BOTH skis using both edges without any pain whatsoever and no discomfort. Fatigue is all but gone now that I am in balance. I finally can edge both skis simultaneously without having to rotate my hips to compensate. I have never felt so totally balanced, neutral, and in control. This is a miracle.

Thank You Tyler at Surefoot ! Finally I am skiing and loving every second of it.

I would highly recommend Tytler at Keystone Surefoot to anyone who has had major issues and did not get them resolved or anyone who wants a quality fitting service. I was skeptical but it really worked. Awesome service and very easy to work with. They were very patient as I returned again and again for adjustments. Also the free return policy took a load off my mind.

If you were wondering about the cost here it is. Not cheap but it is nothing compared to the cash I have put down over the past 3 years on failed boots and services. Also, I did check these in my carry on luggage. I am not letting these things out of my sight.

Footbeds $206

Lange Boots With Foam Liners $755

Cant Work $50

Being able to ski effortlessly and without pain - Priceless.

.................................................. .................................................. ......
Post Script

I have concluded boot fitting is not a science by any stretch of the imagination. It is part trial and error, part quantative analysis, part art form, and last but not least part customer/fitter communication. If any of these traits are lacking in a fitter you may not get the results desired. I found the fitter that came together and worked for me. I am thrilled. I have figured out from experience that there are as many ways to fit as their are boot fitters. Everyone has their own theory and their own methods. You have to find the one that works for you.

My advice to anyone like me: This has been a long and painful and expensive journey into the world of bootfitting. I may not have the level of skill or experience as many here but as a consumer with extensive firsthand experience and having done tons of research this makes me perfectly qualified to offer the following suggestions.

These suggestions are based on my experiences over the past 3 years:

- Because one footbed model or fit solution 'sucked' for one person doesn't mean it will for you. This is NOT a science by any stretch of the imagination. If a fitter tells you their way is the only way - run, do not walk to the nearest exit.

- Use fitter reviews(including this one) like ski reviews - only to decide which one to demo and to make an inquiry. Do not base your decision entirely on word of mouth. I fell into this trap three times. See for yourself before trying. Don't let another skier , instructor, camp, clinic, web site etc tell you this or that fitter is the only way you should go. I don't care who it is - find out for yourself by doing some research. These are your feet.

- If you walk into a fitters shop try browsing the boot selections and ask lots of questions. If they act like you are wasting your time or want you to hurry up and make a decision then walk out. If they cant be patient with a potential customer then how are they going to be when the fitting begins?

- Try talking to them on the phone when you make an appointment. Ask some questions. If they sound too rushed or cocky just politely say thank you for the time and call someone else. If they are not patient with you on the phone then how will they be in person? Will they have enough time to devote to you?

- Don't let ANYONE tell you there is a right or wrong footbed or boot if you have not tried it. YOU decide what is right for you after consulting with the specialist of your choice and trying things for yourself.

- If a fitter bashes the work of other consider this a red flag.

- If you have footbed problems like me try fitters that offer differing footbeds with various shapes, sizes, densities, stiffness. Some shops I have been to had one model only - its my way or the highway.

- Take lots of time and ask lots of questions? If they don't want to take the time to answer the questions then simply leave.
Trust me -.you will save yourself a lot of time, aggravation, and money.
post #2 of 35
I'm happy for you and I hope you now are in a boot that will allow you to ski comfortably and improve your skills. You deserve it after the fitting gauntlet you've been through.
post #3 of 35
Welcome back SkierXMan. We haven't heard fron you in quite a while. I guess you must have been away for the off-season. Its nice to hear from you again.

I'm glad you had a good experience with Sure Foot. Some do and some don't. As you said, skiing without pain-priceless.

I hope all is well with you and that your knee injury from ESA-Stowe last year has not caused you any trouble. What skis will you be on this year? Are you coming to any ESA Programs?
post #4 of 35
I hope you were plugged into one of these while you were typing that. :

post #5 of 35
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by RiDeC58 View Post
Welcome back SkierXMan. We haven't heard fron you in quite a while. I guess you must have been away for the off-season. Its nice to hear from you again.

I'm glad you had a good experience with Sure Foot. Some do and some don't. As you said, skiing without pain-priceless.

I hope all is well with you and that your knee injury from ESA-Stowe last year has not caused you any trouble. What skis will you be on this year? Are you coming to any ESA Programs?
Howdy RiDec,

The post wasd kind of long but I was just a little teed off at all the money I have spent to get things right.:

I am fine. I just had a sprained MCL. The swelling never went down after a couple days and I eventually went to the doctor who gave me an MRI. All I had to do was stay off it for a couple weeks with no strenuous activity. .

Atcually with that and the constant fit and boot pain problems I was seriously considering just giving up skiing altogether. I am glad I gave it one more shot and found the fitter that worked for me. I am elated. Once I got my boots fitted correctly I was fine. The control is trotally awesome. It is night and day. I still cant believe it. Everything I have been taught and tolds now makes sense and falls into place. I wish I could visit Stowe to show y'all the difference as you would probably be stunned as well. I always knew what to do but just couldnt control things. Now it is simply like my skis are an extension of my feet and I don't even think about things..they just happen naturally.

I am riding the new K2 Crossfires I won last year at the event. I tried them in CO. They are very smooth and easy going, easy to turn. It was very icey at Keystone and Copper and they handled pretty well but they got even better when things softened up later in the day.

I probably won't be attending any events this year due to time constraints. I am just going to have fun with the new found control I have and take a few lessons this year maybe.

Talk to you later. Hope you all have fun at the events.
post #6 of 35
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by carvemeister View Post
I hope you were plugged into one of these while you were typing that. :

I had my corporate laptop with me with 2 batteries.
post #7 of 35
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by roundturns View Post
I'm happy for you and I hope you now are in a boot that will allow you to ski comfortably and improve your skills. You deserve it after the fitting gauntlet you've been through.
Thanks....I think the moral of this story is what works for one may not work for another and vice versa. What I have taken out of all this is folks really need to do their homework and shop around for compatibility before getting major bootwork done- especially if you have seriously messed up anatomy like mine.
post #8 of 35

SkierXMan - I've also had bootfitting issues, and very much enjoyed your post.

Could you please share your thoughts on bootfitting/Surefoot two years later??

post #9 of 35
Surefooy spends more time, energy & effort in training their staff than anyone in the ski industry... and they seem to attract some of the most experienced boot fitters as well. Those people that have "problem feet", need to invest the time to get a good fit, ski boots have to be made to adjust to the many different foot, ankle, and leg configurations we humans have... tought to do with hard plastic...

Glad you now can enjoy skiing more, if only more people would invest the time and some times the money to get a "perfect ski boot fit".... I worked with many world cup racers in the '80's and you would not believe how much time they would spend to get the boots exactly right... Skis can be adjusted to a certain technique or physique, but ski boots, just need to fit period...

There are many very good "off the shelf" moldable insoles on the market now, again better than nothing.... but if you have the time and the passion for skiing, spend the time with the Surefoot guy's, or any experienced boot fitter and get it right... I am an old SuperFeet sales & tech guy (1980's), but Surefoot's new system is quite superior...
post #10 of 35
I'm glad you were on a long flight with two batteries. Thanks for taking the time to write the whole story. I found it to be among the most interesting and helpful posts I've read on EPIC.
post #11 of 35
This experience mirrors my own.

I tried everything. I must have visited every highly-touted bootfitter in the PNW, all with different philosophies, and each proclaiming the previous fitter was a dufus, and we needed to wipe the slate clean and begin again.

After a dozen failures, you can't help but feel hostile. The cost was beyond belief.

I finally took refuge in Surefoot. In 42 years of skiing, it's the ONLY boot solution that's ever worked for me.

I now feel rock-solid in my boots. Balance, control and comfort are virtually perfect.

You have to be patient. The process is an art and the foamer needs to be good (Surefoot's staff-training appears consistent). In addition, you may need adjustments to your shell.

But, the process truly works. I can buckle my boots on the loosest setting, and enjoy superb control. I feel confident on dicey terrain because I'm so anchored in my boots. It makes a suprising difference.

I'll never ski in non-foamed boots again.
post #12 of 35
I had a very similar experience in looking for good bootfitters. Lots of smoke and mirrors.
post #13 of 35
I wasn't at all happy with the fit of my surefoot liners, the attitude or skills of surefoot employees, or much else about them.
But they are very very comfortable, and I kept them for that reason, instead of demanding my money back.
They delivered only one of the many things I need in a boot - comfort - and that was enough.
I tape molefoam to my feet under my socks to compensate for the places where the surefoot liners are packed out.
post #14 of 35
[ instead of demanding my money back.

A year or two out in Vail when my buddy was getting fitted I witnessed a customer try and get his money back. Surefoot will spend hours with you before refunding any money in an effort to satisfy. This guy didn't want to go through that process and wanted it to be quick and simple and get a refund and it didn't happen.

He was PO'd beyond belief, but the shop didn't compromise their policy and he left very upset and mad.
post #15 of 35
My girlfriend started skiing last year, and took to it like a duck to water. She played soccer in high school, so she's pretty athletic anyway, but she dropped into Resolution Bowl with me and held her own on her 13th day on the hill. She tried it out in the early part of the season with rental equipment, and decided she wanted boots before anything else (she got the skis for Christmas). Found a pair of Salomon boots that fit her really well, but she broke her ankle playing soccer in high school and the boots were just uncomfortable enough that she just couldn't handle skiing on them. After 1 run we went straight to Surefoot at Copper. They fitted her with footbeds and as soon as she stepped into them she said it was night and day. Went back a couple times over the weekend to make minor adjustments, and dialed them in just right. We know the staff by name and bring them cookies on colder weekends when the put her shells into the hot tank to warm them up for after lunch. Great service, and made her skiing experience possible.
post #16 of 35
Never tried Surefoot. I have heard both positive and negative comments about them.

Bootfitting has been hit or miss for me. I have also been through the mill and have very difficult feet. I have been to GMOL in VT and a couple shops out West. I have also had the fitters tell me the previous work was junk and only their methods/footbeds/measurements will work. And then the next fitter I end up at tells me the same -- lol.

I don't think its smoke and mirrors but just the reality of so many diverse anatomical features and foot types along with fitters usually sticking to one particular methodology. You have to find the approach that woirks for you. One size does not fit all IMO

Bootfitting is not a science IMO. If it was, everyone would aggree on everything from footbeds to proper posting. Nobody would ever be dissapointed with the work of a fitter. It's part trial and error and part creativity. When you find what works for you, stick with it. Unfortunately, for folks like me with difficult feet, you have usually been through many fitters and your wallet is signfiicantl lighter by the time you find what works.
post #17 of 35
Hello there.I am writing this to describe my experience with surefoot boots in Courchevel (3 valleys, FR.) SUREFOOT shop.
First i have to tell you that i am a qualified mountain guide and i have been skiing the last 20 years all around the Europes big resorts.My first experience with Surefoot was in Verbier before 4 years.It was the first time i heard about them from some colleges.
Second time in Val Disere 2 years ago.I decided to visit them to talk about their boots and the possibility of making a custom pair to their shop.
    So i went there and after i explained them that i would like to have custom boot, the big surprise came! they asked me when i leave the resort.I was leaving in next day early morning.So their suggestion was NOT to do the boots, because if i should need any kind of modifications i would not have the time to do them! I found this really profesional advice.A week ago i was in Courchevel.
    This time i had inform the surefoot shop that i would be in the village, so i arranged an appointment with them.
    I went there the first day after a three hour powder skiing ,at the very obvious off piste terrain, under the chair lifts of Chanrosa,Aguille des fruits,and Coqs.It was snowing all night!
    Herve is the owner of the shop, and there are two experienced boot fitters working with him.Xavier, who made me the boots,
and Lui,  who did most of the modificatins, needed to be done afterwards!
   My coment is really short.   FANTASTIC JOB!!!- EXCELENT BOOTS!!!!-MOST FRIENDLY PEOPLE!!!
The all thing lasted about a couple of hours including the talking we did at the same time,we were making the boots.
     Custom orthotic and custom liner in a Lange 120 banchee pro shell. Next morning i was skiing really happy to feel the remarkable precition of the boots.Absolutely perfect.Especially the left one.The right had some problems that they have been solved
with visits to the shop, at the end of skiing.As you should know Couschevel, is a ski in ski out resort, wich means that you are not further than 100 metres from the slopes.The shop is about 50m from the slopes.
      They expand a little bit the toe box in the shell and they grinded a little bit the anle area to make more room.Also they grinded a little bit the orhotic on my left foot because was more suportive than it should be. All these modifications were made at the end of the day after i skied with the boots,and i could have a precise opinion about what is going on ,and wich is the problem with the fit.
       After this the boots where equally, fantasticlly, comfortable!!! No pains no  blood sirculation problems,warm even with thin shocks!
       Conclusion: Making a Sureffot boot its worth trying.And better make them on a surefoot shop, wich is by the slopes! so you can make any modifications needed. I would not advice you to do them anywhere else,and if you can choose ,choose Courchevel or any Europes resort because,yow know, these people, simply inventioned skiing!
       Last think i left to tell you about the price.I have nothing to tell.Skiing in such kind of boots is priceless.You just have to try!
    Thanks a lot guys in Courchevel!
post #18 of 35
 Very nice review.  My experiences have been much more favorable with one exception, and since other skiers like their results from the shop I do not like, I will keep their name to myself.

I have had bootfitting done several times.  The first time I had boots fitted was at a ski shop now out of business, Powder Mountain, in Lexington Park, MD.  Steve gave a moderately good boot fit, but it did not include footbeds, and while it improved things, left much room for improvement,  Then I had another instructor at Liberty, Bill (I cannot recall his last name either) do footbeds and alignment.  The footbeds were good, but I was too far forward.  Next I went to Green Mountain Orthotics Lab at Stratton VT.  They sold me new boots, and modified them heavily to fit my anatomy, including giving me heel lifts inside the boot to accommodate limited dorsiflexion, as well as to lift my calves higher, giving me less forward lean, and toe lifts outside the boot to make me more upright.  GMOL told me my footbeds were just fine.  At the PSIA National Academy, at Snowbird, Kurt Fehrenbach of the National Team told me to try even more heel lift, so I went to the shop inside the lodge and added more heel lift.  This is essentially what I ski with today.  Next I went to Pro Fit in Leesburg, VA with an idea of my own.  I brought a relatively inappropriate boot for me, the Fischer Heat Fire 125, but I had my reasons.  It had the Soma alignment and was relatively stiff.  I wanted to try the Soma alignment to give me more advantage in dorsiflexion.  My idea was to expand the back of the boot in order to accommodate my way oversize calves.  Brian accommodated me, and found that I no longer needed the toe lifts,  He cut down the tops of the boots, and expanded the backs.  These boots were very snug that season, but very good.  The following season I found I could not get the boots to buckle, either because I had gained weight or the material had returned to its original shape.  I have lost weight, but I have not yet been able to experiment with the boots, as I have been pretty busy.  I cannot find fault with any of the bootfitters.  Each did what I asked, and improved things.  As I continue to gain skill, I continue to refine my tastes in boots, and how they might fit.  next year's boots might be very promising, as I have heard they will be more upright.  Time for yet another experiment, perhaps at Masterfit U,.

Your issues with arches are quite different from mine, which have almost entirely involved big calf muscles.  I might want a hot spot or two blown out, but all-in-all my boots have worked well from a comfort perspective, except for the pair from the shop I will not go to again, which sold my boots so soft they folded when I pressured them forward.  This was truly dangerous.  These boots also had a zeppa with a built in arch, to which I added my footbeds, which the shop said would be just fine.  This combination high-centered my arch, which was extremely painful.

I think I would like a Surerfoot store to the list of bootfitters I have tried, based on your review, but I also want to keep many of the refinements I have added through the years.  I like the idea of a heel lift inside the boot, and an expanded rear cuff.  If I could add to them a superior footbed and foamed liner that would seem even better.
post #19 of 35
Surefoot has to be the worst ski boot I have ever put on my feet! After spending 2 hours in the Park City store getting "fitted" and describing  my needs to the 22 year old salesperson, I still ended up with a boot that felt like carved-out wood with an old sock over it. Very painful in both my arches and my instep - there was a definite ridge along the top of the boot which was palpable and in the toes it was too tight to have any comfort. There was no way I was going to shell out $1000 for something as bad as that! Overall, it reminded me of the first rental boots I put on when I started skiing in Austria 25 years ago. Surefoot must be the K-Mart of bootfitters - I recommend instead finding a reputable shop with some expertise in fitting and staff that are knowledgeable enough to respond to customer needs.
post #20 of 35

Wanted to post this after reading SkierXMan's story.  Last weekend, I walked into the NYC Surefoot store to get a new pair of Rossi Squad 120s kitted out, and met Tyler Cataldo, who is now the manager in their NYC store. 


A couple hours, a pair of orthotics, some 6th toe shell expansion work on both boots, and two well-fitted foam liners later, I walked out with boots that feel like nothing I've ever skiied in before.  I cannot wait to try them out at Breck later this month, and Surefoot has a happy customer who will definitely look them up for future work as needed.


Given the apparent experience level of a few of the other shop clerks that were there, I could see how Surefoot sometimes gets a 'McDonalds of bootfitting' reputation.  But for those of us on the East Coast, it seems like the NYC store currently has a very capable manager.

post #21 of 35

Great story SkierXman, and thank you for sharing it!

post #22 of 35

I want to tag onto this as well.....


For 2010-2011 Surefoot has a new foam liner. This week I decided to update my boots with their new foam liners and I splurged for a new footbed.


I'm very pleased with the process. The fit is superb. The service was great. Kudos to Russ and his staff at Surefoot Vail.

post #23 of 35

Even a blind pig finds an ear of corn occasionally----

post #24 of 35

Just seen these comments and have one of my own.   Over the years I certainly have had so many pairs of ski boots I cannot count, going back to the old days where they had laces with the old bear grip bindings before the days of safety straps!  Most have been OK to good and even excellent and first two pairs I had from Surefoot, Whistler  were very good, but the last pair I had from them were the worst I have ever had.  Just goes to show that there can be great variation in quality of fitting even from the same store over time.   I show below a previous comment I made on episki about these boots and I will let you know what they say when I return there shortly:



Well, I am a doctor and I have skied for over 55 years, taught and guided, and the last three pairs of ski boots were from Surefoot, Whistler.  The first two were no problem.  The last pair was very bad.   They were painful.  Two of my toes turned black, one of my toe nails subsequently fell off as it had undergone necrosis.   The people insisted that the size and fit was correct and they tried to remodel it a number of times with no success until I ran out of time.  The first two pairs are a size larger than this last pair but they still say this one is the right size!   Does this mean that they measured the last two pairs incorrectly?  Or have they measured incorrectly the pair where my toes fell off?  

I shall be revisiting the Whistler store when I go back in a few weeks and will let you know what happens.   Watch this space.

If anyone wants pictures of my feet I would be pleased to send - not a pretty sight!!!

post #25 of 35
Originally Posted by Ski Animal View Post

Just seen these comments and have one of my own.   Over the years I certainly have had so many pairs of ski boots I cannot count, going back to the old days where they had laces with the old bear grip bindings before the days of safety straps!  Most have been OK to good and even excellent and first two pairs I had from Surefoot, Whistler  were very good, but the last pair I had from them were the worst I have ever had. 

I've been a SureFoot fan for years. Purchased originals at Park City...Sun Valley shop worked on them..Whistler shop worked on them (old Whistler shop not new location)...PC shop replaced boots, bed, liners for free...they skied great for years....finally the liner is breaking down...Steeps Clinic at Whistler does them in...have two days left to ski at end of season...figure what the hey...get new ones at SureFoot Whistler...two days to tune them up if needed. 


Go into the Whistler Surefoot...sit down...people coming in and out...sit there...no service for near an hour...timing it.   Listen in on the conversations of the staff to customers...a lot of talk about how it is part time job...what they are doing for work after Surefoot...transient nature of the work..and likely their expertise.


Use the iPhone to email SureFoot HQ about bad service...get dressed and walk out...not a word from the staff.  Going back up the Gondola...email from Whistler Mgr to come back at 2PM when he is there...(went from corporate in PC to Whistler in 10 minutes). 


Made me think that unless you get one of the permanent staff, SureFoot is a crapshoot despite the good intentions of SureFoot Corporate.


Going with McCoos in Whistler next year, make an appointment for George McCoo, book a week at Whistler so I can ski them and tweak as needed and see how that compares to SureFoot.

post #26 of 35

I've been back and forth all off-season about Surefoot.  This discussion has been extremely helpful.   


Last year tried a local master boot fitter here in MA (SkiStop in Westwood).   The staff there was truly great.   They spent a few hours with me and came to the conclusion that there was nothing in their shop that was going to work for me.  I didn't feel like anything was pushed on me.  In fact I offered the to pay for the service but they wouldn't take my money despite the time the spent with me.  I was told I have the trifecta of tough fitting issues: wide foot, high instep & large calves.   The tech said that with any 2 of those issues, he would be able to make something work.   But with it all three, it would be a problem.  His recommendation was DaleBoots.  To be honest, these make me a bit nervous.  I hate buying a pair of boots that I don't get to try on.   I think they were in the neighborhood of $825.   


Salomon came out with a new series that I tried on at a local shop.  The shell is custom moldable.   Again, this strikes me as a little iffy.   What if the molding doesn't work?  Now I own a pair of $600 boots that don't fit correctly.  


So after reading all your posts, I've made the decision to head to SureFoot in Killington, VT.   Any recommendations for the process?  Has anyone been to that shop and have a recommendation on the tech to use?  I'm excited about having boots that will enhance my skiing rather than detract from the experience.   As an instructor I spend about 100 days a year in them.   I need them to be comfortable!  

post #27 of 35
Originally Posted by zudnic View Post


Salomon came out with a new series that I tried on at a local shop.  The shell is custom moldable.   Again, this strikes me as a little iffy.   What if the molding doesn't work?


You know, you're pretty much in the same boat once you start modifying any boot, and the modification doesn't work.   So don't count out the Salomon just because of the custom molding part.  

But your point is taken that you do need to be to take your time and don't rush before doing any modification.  A measure twice, cut-once type of approach.


I would suggest you also post a new thread in the boot fitter's forum with your questions.  they may have advice for you.

post #28 of 35

True.  But the advantage with SureFoot, from what I can tell, is that they will continue to work that boot until the problem is solved.  If they can't solve the problem they'll refund your money.   Whereas with the Salomon's, once you plunk done your money and they cook the boots, there's no guarantee that they'll work.   

post #29 of 35
Originally Posted by zudnic View Post

True.  But the advantage with SureFoot, from what I can tell, is that they will continue to work that boot until the problem is solved.  If they can't solve the problem they'll refund your money.   Whereas with the Salomon's, once you plunk done your money and they cook the boots, there's no guarantee that they'll work.   

Yeah, but they won't pay you for the travel expense going back 10 times to get work done, nor the hours upon hours of your wasted time, if in the end, the boots don't work out.  I've been that root, not with Surefoot, but the same deal.  Still you gotta do what you gotta do, and if you have problem feet, but demand  and precision performance and control similar to what a racer wants for a race in your all day every day boots, you can count on making a lot of adjustments.  You best bet is to go by reputation of the fitter and make sure he does you fitting work.  That is, if you don't want to be in a lot of pain.

post #30 of 35
IMHO and indicated in the previous posts it all comes down to the fitter you are working with. No boot fit process is so idiot proofed that you are guaranteed a great performing comfortable fit regardless of the fitters skills or lack there of.

No doubt you can get a great fit at Sure Foot provided you are fortunate enough to have a good fitter working with you. But that is not a guarantee that will always be the case. It's worth the investment and time to seek out and get your boot fitting done by the people that have earned the eruption of being the best.

It is tempting to save some money and buy your boots at a big box sporting goods store. It becomes a compromised value in the long run or for that matter maybe as soon as you go skiing next and have a lousy day fighting boots that don't fit.

I am a very avid but thrifty (have some friends that substitute cheap for the word thrifty) , but I will pay for the services of a fitter that will do good work and is motivated to deliver the best fit that is possible with your foot and the boot.
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