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should I visit a bootfitter?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I know, the obvious answer to this vague and not very provocative thread title is yes. But I've done some searching here and I want to get some more information.

I committed what I know to be a cardinal sin and purchased boots on my own. Not even at a store, but off ebay. Nonetheless, I wasn't a complete idiot, as I had read a lot, including these forums, and I felt I knew what I was searching for. Namely, I was aware that I had wide feet, from buying a pair of running shoes from a store which advises you, so when I saw a pair of ATomic B:11s on ebay for cheap, I just said screw it and jumped at them.

I know Atomic doesn't really have the best reputation in ski boots anymore, or so I've been told. But I'd like to start with the premise that I'm going to do everything in my power to make these boots work for me.

Ok, onto the "problem". Skiing in the past in boots which weren't considered wide, I'd always get a ton of soreness/pain in the arches of my feet and on the outside of the foot where the arch is. I'd assumed that this was due to having wide feet and them being unable to really breathe as I went skiing. However, the pain in the Atomic's was precisely the same and in the same place, in spite of my having more room, so now i'm quite confused, which is probably why there are professionals to do this. Now, I've only skiied these boots twice (thanks, mother nature for this warm NE winter), so I expect that they need time to 'break in'. Hence, my question, should I visit a bootfitter with my current boots? What exactly can they do for me at this stage, when I'm in a brand new boot? Also, what is the turnaround time, can I walk in today and get fitted and have my boots adjusted and walk out? I've never done this before, and I apologize if this is one of the more common threads which are seen on here, I'm not trying to spam with the obvious.

edit: I should note that I'm a completely average in every way skiier. I'm very athletic with a high tolerance for pain, so for me to really find something discomforting enough to even raise the issue means that it is quite bad. However, I'm certainly also a bit overweight and I probably compensate quite a bit on the mountain with my athleticism and balance over proper skiing technique. I wonder whether a bootfitter will actually be able to improve this type of pain, or whether I simply need to lose 15 pounds and tighten up my form and the pain will go away on its own.
post #2 of 15
Do you have a custom foot bed ? The The ones that come with the boots are not very good. You also may not be in the right size boot. Buying boots on line is always a gamble. sometimes you win and sometimes you loose. See a fitter and be prepared to pay for the work that might be needed.
post #3 of 15
Originally Posted by Utah49 View Post
See a fitter and be prepared to pay for the work that might be needed.
Be prepared for him to tell you that your boots just aren't compatible with your feet as well.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
while I understand that my skimping on ski boots leads you to apparently believe i'm a cheap bastard, I'm not worried about the costs. I'm willing to go, and if he simply says there's no way these boots will work for me, I'm willing to listen. But I'm not experienced enough here to know what I'm looking for in a boot fitter, and what kind of improvements can actually be made. I don't like to simply trust an expert, I like to relate to what they're saying and know the what and why of what they are telling me. So, again, I'm asking what sort of improvements I can realistically gain from a boot fitting session, what the timeline of doing that actually is, and whether I might be better advised spending my money on a lesson or two and trying to tighten up form instead of expecting my boots to just deal with whatever i'm doing on the ski
post #5 of 15
First of all teddy I would say you need to stop eating oreos when you play poker because its a wicked bad tell.

Second I would say that based on your description of past boot fits compared to these Atomics you just bought that you probably have one of three things going on. First would be that your foot is being squeezed side to side in the boot width and this could be from 1. a boot that is too narrow or 2. you buckling the boot way tighter than you need to or 3. your foot pronates and gets wider as a result.

Obviously if its 1. too narrow then you need to find a wider shelled boot. And if its 2. buckled too tight you need to realize that the boot needs to be buckled only tight enough to hold your foot still when you ski. If its 3. your foot is pronating then you need some sort of foot and arch support and thats why your arches are cramping.

The best solution to figure out what is your problem would be to go see a bootfitter yes. But dont just go to any bootfitter because some of them dont know what theyre doing. I think theres some kind of EpicSki bootfitters list somewhere on this website so I would check there for someone in your area. On your last observation about working on your technique try to remember that paying for a lesson is pretty much wasted money if your boots dont fit right.

A good bootfitter will start by checking your bare feet as you stand and as you flex at the knees & ankles in skiing positions to see what your feet do and then in your case with existing boots should check your bare feet inside the shells. Assuming the shell fit test is acceptable then the fitter should check to see where are your hotspots which usually is done by having you wear the boots for 10 mins or maybe longer preferably in a standing skiing stance with some knee & ankle flexing to mimic skiing. The hotspots will tell the bootfitter where your problems are and where the boots dont fit well. From there the fitter should be able to recommend modifications to the Atomics if they might be fixed with mods or he might tell you the fit is horrible and not worth mods to the boots. If the fit is horrible be prepared to ditch the Atomics in favor of boots that fit your foot properly. As I said above if your boots dont fit its a waste of money to work on your technique.
post #6 of 15
teddykgb, yes, you should.

Where do you live and where do you ski?
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
ramshackle, thanks for the advice. I can't give up the oreos, they're just so damn good!

I actually wonder if I'm undertightening my boots, and maybe allowing too much movement in the boot, causing soreness. I tend to leave them as loose as possible, because they tend to hurt so much.

I live in Boston, MA and work in framingham, ma. I ski at any of the american ski company resorts since i bought a pass on this wretched season and need to make my money back.
post #8 of 15
Originally Posted by teddykgb View Post
ramshackle, thanks for the advice. I can't give up the oreos, they're just so damn good!

I actually wonder if I'm undertightening my boots, and maybe allowing too much movement in the boot, causing soreness. I tend to leave them as loose as possible, because they tend to hurt so much.

I live in Boston, MA and work in framingham, ma. I ski at any of the american ski company resorts since i bought a pass on this wretched season and need to make my money back.
I live north of Boston and ski in NH...I just bought a new pair of boots and had Jeff Bokum of Profile Orthotic Center in Concord, NH (603-491-4917) do work on them.

This is my first experience with a bootfitter so I'm not an authority, but Jeff really seems to know his stuff and he'll try to work with your current boots. If you don't have footbeds I know that he will recommend them, but they will be worth the investment IMO.
post #9 of 15
Definitely go find the bootfitter list, make an appointment with someone. It will probably take about 1-2 hours and they should make you come back more than once. My bootfitter told me straight out, that they make smaller adjustment than they actually think is necessary the first time, because if for some reason, they do too much, it can't be undone (they don't charge for the additional visits, unless they have to do additional "major" work).

Funny thing about boots, they will hurt if they are too small and they will hurt if they are too big. Just like a doctor can not diagnose you on the phone, problems with the boot need to be diagnosed by a qualified professional. Boots are not like a new pair of leather shoes that after a few days adjust to acomodate your feet and walking style. I think you would be surprised at how much a bootfitter can actually do.
post #10 of 15
I can relate...

For years I did the same as you. Tried to buy the best boots I could at the cheapest price possible. I've bought 5 pairs of boots off eBay, none of which lasted a skiing season. I thought I had wide feet and kept buying bigger, wider boots thinking it would help. It didn't...in many ways, my tactic made things worse.

15 months ago (after spending a lot of time learning about plug boots and shell fitting), I bought a pair of properly sized Tecnica XT17's. I couldn't wear them with the iners in them for 15 minutes! My feet actually touched both sides of the shell when I stood in them without the liners. But I knew this was going to be the case and resolved to get up to Stratton and go to GMOL.

If you want to read about my experience there, search for the thread....needless to say, I'm ecstatic with the work and consider the $200 (and a little bit more) that I spent there the best money I've spent on skiing equipment in my 43 years of skiing.
post #11 of 15
I know that this will sound counter-intuitive but there is a reasonable chance that the boots are either too wide or too large a size, or both. Asking the folks here what can be done is not really productive because we can't see you foot, measure it, check the fit in the shell or evaluate your foot structure.

IF the boots really are too narrow (unlikely) that is easy to fix.

IF the boots are too wide or too large, the options are far more limited.

See the bootfitter.

post #12 of 15
OK I'm going to give you the answer, whether you choose to accept it is up to you.

post #13 of 15

See a 'Quality' bootfitter!!!

I've just spent about 5 hours with a bootfitter. The shop is Stefan Kaelin in Newport Beach, CA. These guys, Josh and Jeff, are great!

Josh spent about 2.5 hours with me purchasing the boots. He put me in much softer boots than the 7 year old stiff boots that I had (these were also a custom fit by the Dolomite factory). While we were trying on the boots, Josh kept asking me questions. He was getting to know my skiing habits and abilities. Josh finally had me convinced that the $350 Nordicas were better for me than many of the much higher priced boots. Don't forget this is an upscale ski shop in Newport Beach.

The next day, I went back to have 'Superfeet' custom corked footbeds added. Jeff, who's traveled the world by custom boot fitting pros and tired of traveling, did the boot customizing for me. He customized the footbeds to my feet and he also customized the boot. He adjusted the cant and he removed some of the items on the boot. He removed the calf strap, explaining it just makes the boot stiffer and the new boot I purchased was stiff enough. He also removed the plastic pieces in the top rear of the cuff, which allows me to stand more erect instead of the old school forward lean. He also removed some of the material from the top of the liner. This made for much more of a comfortable fit.

I can go back anytime, if I feel I need a little more adjustment. They actually wanted me to comeback after I took the boots out on the hill.

I learned so much about boots and these are the greatest boots that I've ever experienced. So comfortable and the performance is awesome. If I had bought these boots right off the shelf, they wouldn't be what they are today. Go to a 'quality' bootfitter!!
post #14 of 15
Echoing what others have said, get thee to a bootfitter!!

I had the same problem as you (pain and cramping on the outside edge of my foot) and assumed, as you did, that the boot was too tight. My bootfitter took a look at my footbeds and concluded that my weight was pretty much all on the little toe edge of my foot. He added a couple of foam shims to the footbed under the ball of my foot to allow more even pressure between the outside and inside of my foot.

1st two days with my new boots were painful ... 1st two days after the footbed work has been a dream! No pain .. all gain

Your problem may be different than mine, but a good bootfitter will be able to tell.

See my full review on GMOL here.

Good luck!
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
i just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the advice. I pretty much expected an affirmative answer, but it was good to get some information on what exactly I can expect out of a boot fitter
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