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Purchasing a Bootfitting Service

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
As the internet increasingly brings great deals on ski boots, I assume I face the same dilemma as many other skiers: how can we take advantage of great online deals on boots but still get the care of a custom bootfitter?

To this end, I was thinking I might go to my local bootfitter (the best in town) and ask if I might pay them $50-$100 simply for a bootfitting service. This might include giving me access to their in-store boot selection and their advice and guidance. Of course I would also pay them to customize the boot once I purchased it. My thought is that rather than pay them $700 for a great 2007 boot, I can find a similar great 2005 or 2006 boot online for hundreds less.

Would such a proposition be taboo or are other people doing this?
post #2 of 27
The boots are the only piece of your gear that has to have a good happy relationship with a part of your body since they have to fit snug and without any places that hurt or make your foot go numb. Now if thats the case dont you think you would want to pay for the expertise of someone who spends his time fitting people to ski boots and dont you think that the things that look like internet bargains arent bargains if they dont fit see if they dont fit how are they a good deal?
post #3 of 27
You will pay the difference IF you need a few adjustments from any pro.Better to purchase from shop and know all adjustments big or small are included.
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
I understand the value of expert bootfitting. My question is whether I could purchase only that service for maybe $100 from my local bootfitter and then buy the exact same or quite similar boots online at discount. I would prefer to pay an expert bootfitter $100 for advice and fitting and then pay only $300 or even $400 for boots then pay $700 or $800 for both from my expert bootfitter. For example, imagine I can buy 2005 Atomic race boots for $200. If I were to spend an hour or so with an expert bootfitter and conclude that Atomic race boots are a great option, we could determine my size and a good model and I could try to buy that same model and size but two seasons older online.
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
What adjustments are you referring to Skid? My shop will surely charge me extra for custom insoles, griding/blowing, etc., anyway. I'm quite sure they won't include that in the price of the boot.
post #6 of 27
When you pay a shop full-retail price for a boot, you are also paying them for all the labor required to fit that boot to your foot. i..e, punches, grinds, balancing, footbed creation, etc. It can easily add up to two or three hours worth of labor. You could easily be looking at $200, $300 worth of consulting and labor charges, at which point your deeply discounted internet store boot doesn't look like much of a deal anymore.
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by chvynva916 View Post
I understand the value of expert bootfitting. My question is whether I could purchase only that service for maybe $100 from my local bootfitter and then buy the exact same or quite similar boots online at discount. I would prefer to pay an expert bootfitter $100 for advice and fitting and then pay only $300 or even $400 for boots then pay $700 or $800 for both from my expert bootfitter. For example, imagine I can buy 2005 Atomic race boots for $200. If I were to spend an hour or so with an expert bootfitter and conclude that Atomic race boots are a great option, we could determine my size and a good model and I could try to buy that same model and size but two seasons older online.
If you already know the answer to the question then why are you asking it I mean wouldnt you have more fun driving your chevy nova 916 instead of asking a question that you know might get some answers that tell you your opinion seems kinda selfish or shortsighted and even knowing that you plan to ignore what they tell you I mean really it doesnt make much sense to me like I said sure go ahead and buy boots that dont fit because you think theyre a bargain but to me its no bargain if they dont fit.
post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
The question ramshackle wasn't whether this method of buying boots would work. It would since I would theoretically be receiving the same expert bootfitting and the same boot; I would simply be purchasing them from different vendors. The question is whether anyone has done this and whether bootfitters might be amenable to such a proposition. I'm offering to pay them for their service; I would just like to decouple that service from the product they would then want to sell me.

If there's any argument against my plan, it's Kevin's. But I have a difficult time believing that I can't save money this way; bootfitters can charge a premium for their boots even excluding the service charge since once you enter a shop and receive their service, you presumably buy the boots from them. Also, I've never needed custom footbeds, only a bit of punching in the front (which is cheap).

What exactly about my opinion is selfish Ramshackle? Wanting to get the best deal on both bootfitting and boots themselves?
post #9 of 27
I think that your idea is a good one, let's be honest, you're gonna buy boots online. The savings are obvoiusly important to you, more important than anything else. Paying for a consultation and subsequent work is a very good way to start off with a bootfitter, and the investment can(will) save you money in the long run. If you are upfront and honest about your motivation to be in the shop and offer to pay for fitting service they should be happy. They may even 'find' a boot deal for you.
post #10 of 27
Okay look chevy nova man heres why I said its selfish its because you didnt talk about whether you know enough about boots to buy a pair online that would fit pretty well see if you just choose based on a bargain then find they dont fit well and you take them to a bootfitter and expect the bootfitter to fix the bad fit your being selfish in the way you assume that you knew better than the bootfitter which pair to start with. See most boots will require some mods to fit most feet its a rare person who can wear a pair with no mods and have them fit the best those boots possibly can fit him.

Now if your only asking whether its okay to take boots bought online to a bootfitter and ask for them to help with bootfitting the answers obviously yes indeed its perfectly fine but you gotta be prepared for the chance that you picked a pair online that really wont work for you and if you insist that the bootfitter has to make them work then your going to be seen as too selfish and aggressivly ignoring the bootfitters expertise in other words he could have got you started with something that would work. So if you have the skill or knowledge to pick a decent fit online then yeah man go get them and then take them to your favorite bootfitter.
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
Ramshackle, my plan is FIRST to go to an expert bootfitter and figure out what boots will work best for me, paying him for his time and assistance, and SECOND trying to get the best deal on those boots (or very similar boots) online. THIRD I will go back to the bootfitter for any custom work that needs to be done.
post #12 of 27
I have a pair of boots that I was not satisfied with. I was considring going to Surefoot and dropping a bundle, but folks here talked me into going to a local bootfitter (Jim Mates at Custom Boot Service in Seattle) who made my old boots fit. It cost $160 with tax and he guarantees his work. He does not sell boots, he just adjusts the ones you bring in. Find someone like that in your area and you'll be happy.
post #13 of 27
The store I got my boots guarantees them and the fitting, period. They will also do bootfitting at an hourly rate for boots from other sources. That hourly rate appears to fluctuate based on their mood. My daughter got her boots directly from Technica through her race coach. She got six hours worth of bootfitting and grinding for $40 total. Of course, she had tried to buy from them first and they knew it. And her boyfriend and I had each gotten our boots from them. Another guy they were charging $50 an hour. Now, hopefully, he didn't need six hours of work. A third person they were charging $40 an hour, but they are locals and in the shop regularly even though they got the boots elsewhere.

You pays your money and you takes your chances.
post #14 of 27
A couple of issues here...Trying on a current year boot and then buying a two year old model (per your Atomic example) you may get a different fit. Secondly, I'm sure the shop would be happy to help you for $100, but then don't forget the $25 per punch, $20 per grind, the $65 per labor hour. Oh yeah, there would be no guarantee the boot would ever fit perfectly and everytime you need an adjustment get the credit card out.

Your plan would work. Your local shop would even love you because you would most likely be in there quite a lot paying premium labor rates (which is almost pure profit) for work they would do for free if you bought from them. I'm just saying do the math. $200 (boot), $100 (fitting consult), $40 for shipping, and who knows how much in labor for punches and grinds. I think you might find that you hit the $700 for the new boot pretty quickly. Why don't you wait until the end of the season, hit your shop when they have a sale and save a few dollars
post #15 of 27
One thing not mentioned here is that shops, at least in my experience, do the adjustments for the reminder of the season in which you purchase the boot. Sometimes they'll say for one year after you purchase the boot. Any work done outside that time frame is paid for at the hourly rate + materials.
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElkMountainSkier View Post
...shops, at least in my experience, do the adjustments for the reminder of the season in which you purchase the boot.
In my experience they have guaranteed the boot for as long as you own it. Ask.
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post
In my experience they have guaranteed the boot for as long as you own it. Ask.
Have asked. They say 'for the season' or 'for one year'. What you experience amounts to a lifetime guarantee on adjustments, that is a nice arrangement if you can get it.
post #18 of 27

Speaking from experience...

You can walk into any shop that specializes in boot fitting, and after an examination of your feet and legs they will, based on a number of different factors recommend one or more boots; they'll even let you try them on for size, all for no charge. Usually, you can find the same boots elsewhere for a much better price, bring them into that same shop, and for a fee, they'll fit them for you. How big a fee depends on how much work's involved; if it's little more than footbeds and some padding without a lot of followup visits, you may indeed come out ahead. Anything more extensive than that and your savings will quickly evaporate.

All the good fitters guarantee their work, but there's a big difference between a guarantee from the one who sells you the boot versus someone who just does fitting. Boot fitting is still as much art as science and sometimes even the best in the business can't make "the right boot" work. The first guy will likely replace and refit the boot free of charge. Under the best of circumstances, the second guy might refund your money or fit your next boots for free, but you're still out the price of one pair of boots.
post #19 of 27
I've had ski patrol, ski instructors, etc come in and first thing they say is that "I will be ordering them from company XXX, and will not be buying them from you, will you help me?"

Sure. it takes about 60 minutes, charge $90 - pro discount so about $60 total, and then charge them for any work needed to the boots after. Works out that the store makes just about the same profit in the end.

I just like that they tell me right from the start, that way I can just focus on brand XXX, not on others, and get them what they need faster.
post #20 of 27
mntlion, what if brand XXX is not the best fit for their foot?
post #21 of 27
First of all you need to develope a long term relationship with the best bootfitter and his shop. You will save more money over time then you will by buying last years boots and hoping he can make them fit your feet.

Trust me I know what I'm talking about. I have been using the same shop for over 15 years. I recommend this shop to everyone who ask's.You would not believe the things that just get taken care of at no charge.
post #22 of 27
If the deal is from XXX, the boot is ALWAYS from XXX.

I just had this (Mntlion's) scenario last night, except the onhill rep didn't mention he was a rep (I happen to know who he is, though), he wanted his girlfriend to try on boots. While I was buckling up a pair I casually asked "...so are you going to order these on your account or on form??". Dick.

Pay a consultation fee, it's the honorable thing to do. Tell them what you want to do and make it worth their time, this doesn't need to be big money, just compensate them for their time.

Max, that's because you are probably a very good customer. I have 'friends' that come in all the time, chat about ski conditions, talk about gear, etc. Then they show up with new skis (purchased elsewhere, always 10min. before closing) and a six pack and expect me to drop everything I'm doing to mount their gear so they can ski the next morning..."c'mon, I'm a good customer!!" Thanks, if you have to tell me you're a good customer, you're not. If you think I'm not aware that the skis came from another shop, I am. At least give me the CHANCE to match a price if you're my 'buddy'...sorry, off topic.
post #23 of 27
Whiteroom, my last skis were purchased from them at the end of last year. The bindings I got on shop form through the Mt's shop. The Tech mounted them on the skis I bought from them for free.

But Yes, I buy all I can from them.

The next ski purchase may be difficult, they don't carry the brand I'm thinking about buying. I'll talk with them and see what they can do. I'm sure they could hook me up some how.
post #24 of 27
Buy what you want. Always do whats right for you.

Just understand that it stings a little when a 'good customer' walks in with gear purchased elsewhere. We get over it, quick. It is the way of (at least) the immediate future, getting advice from a shop and shopping online then getting service from the shop. The problem is that we, as shops, haven't adjusted to this. We all offer 'free' advice in the hopes of a sale. Maybe this needs to change, and service needs to be a bigger portion of the business plan, I don't know. Customers will need to be reprogrammed to accept this also.

The idea of announcing the plan to shop online and paying upfront for advice is ahead of the curve.
post #25 of 27
This happened to me:

I wanted new boots. I went to my favorite local shop and they couldn't fit me. The sales guy even told me so. I went to another good local shop. Same thing. I read up on boots and focused on finding Dolomites because of my foot shape. I found some in another local shop, but one I don't trust to do decent work. I tried on and bought the Dolomites from them and then took them to shop 1 for some adjustments. The boot guy gave me grief for buying boots at another shop. He said, "You should have come here first!"

He didn't look happy when I replied, "I did." It wasn't very pleasant and I'll never go back to that blowhard again.
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post
This happened to me:

I wanted new boots. I went to my favorite local shop and they couldn't fit me. The sales guy even told me so. I went to another good local shop. Same thing. I read up on boots and focused on finding Dolomites because of my foot shape. I found some in another local shop, but one I don't trust to do decent work. I tried on and bought the Dolomites from them and then took them to shop 1 for some adjustments. The boot guy gave me grief for buying boots at another shop. He said, "You should have come here first!"

He didn't look happy when I replied, "I did." It wasn't very pleasant and I'll never go back to that blowhard again.
Another case of professionals not living up to their name. There are major costs of doing business associated with maintaining inventories of stuff. When a customer doesn't need that inventory and just wants service all those extra costs go away in theory. Service isn't pure profit but it does makes it easier for the shop to have better cash flow. :
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat View Post
mntlion, what if brand XXX is not the best fit for their foot?
then I tell them that too.

if they have been skiing on XXX brand for 10 years, get all the stuff for free or darn close, then they are not going to reck that if the boots are a bit off, or will take more work

If they are a one shot only pro deal, then they might try on brand YYY and see if the price difference is worth the fit difference, people in the ski industry make no money so I understand that a boot for $400 that is 90% vs a boot for $800 that is 100%, I think I might save the $400 extra too.
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