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Need help with boot model and shop selection

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for a new pair of boots. I shopped around a little last season, but realized I didn't really have the budget for a good pair of boots. The guy at my local ski shop measured my foot (but didn't do a shell fit) and recommended a 24 shell, but didn't have any boots that size in stock. He had me try on a few 25.5 boots to get an impression of which boot might be the right shape for my foot. I tried on a Tecnica (don't remember the model) that felt too tight in the heel, and a Nordica Beast 8, that felt pretty good (like there wouldn't be any particularly tight spots in a slightly smaller size). He said he could order the 24.5, but that I'd have to buy it. They guarantee the fit, which (they say) means they'll do whatever adjustments are needed to make the boot fit, or exchange it for a different model if they can't make it fit, but I still didn't like the idea of buying a boot I hadn't tried on. I'd also have to pay their regular price for the boots, which isn't much lower than retail (they almost always have some sale that makes the prices semi-reasonable). I passed, thinking I shouldn't spend the $485 without shopping around some more.

A few weeks later, after an especially uncomfortable pair of rental boots, I picked up a pair of Rossignol Axium boots in 25.5 (a mistake, I know) for $150, thinking they'd at least be a step up from rentals until I had the money to spend on a pair of good boots. In the couple days I spent in the boots, they packed out a noticeable amount and there seemed to be a significant amount of play between my feet and the skis.

I'm 5'1" 160lbs (not obese, like that implies, but not exactly skinny), and using Heavenly's criteria, I think I'm a high level 7 skier. I'm comfortable on just about any blue slope, but want to get more comfortable on blacks and become a decent all-mountain skier in general (moguls, off-piste, etc.). I have wide, relatively flat (but obviously short) feet. Based on the research I've done so far, and how the Beast 8 felt, I'm planning on looking at the Nordica Speedmachine 10/12, Supercharger Enforcer, and whatever the boot fitter suggests. The maximum I'm looking to spend is $600, although I can go a little higher if that's what the "perfect" boot costs. fwiw, I have a pair of downunders footbeds that I bought over the summer and would plan on using in my new boots.

I'm looking for any suggestions of other boots to try. I'd also like some opinions as to whether the ski shop's policy is legitimate, or if I should look for a place that actually has some boots in my size in stock (or won't make me buy them in order to try them). Any other suggestions/ideas are welcome. Thanks
post #2 of 18

Not a lot of shops stock mens boots in the 24/24.5 shell size. I would make some calls to surrounding areas and see who has what. Depending where in MAryland you are, Langhorne Ski & Sport, Dansiezen & Quigley, Salters are three shops in the Philly area that are some options for you with good reputations.

Once you do find a boot that works, I suggest my advise from this thread. Buying boots, a 5-10 year plan
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks Phil. I definitely like your idea in that thread. I'm in Baltimore, so Philly is about 2 hours from me. I'd be willing to go that far if I can't find anything around here or in the DC area (I noticed that there's a recommended boot fitter in DC).

Am I in the right ballpark as far as potential boot models to try? I know trying on the next bigger size isn't ideal for picking boots, but is it useful for figuring out if a boot would fit in the correct size? I realize you have to put a lot of faith in the boot fitter, but I want to make sure that I'm at least slightly educated so I know what to expect.
post #4 of 18
how big is a 25 shell on you?

trying the next size up is a starting point, not a great one, but a starting point.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mntlion View Post
how big is a 25 shell on you?
My current boots have ~2.5-2.75cm (not quite 3 fingers, but definitely more than 2), behind my heel with my toes touching the end of the boot. The fact that they're "comfort" boots doesn't exactly help with the fit either.

I'm also wondering how to determine which boot in a given line (ie: speedmachine 10 vs. 12, supercharger enforcer vs. blower) I should be looking at.
post #6 of 18
Let me ask one more question? Just where do you intend on spending time skiing this season?

Langhorne may be a good compromise as Phil suggests ... but .. if you are having a hard time getting a fit, there are some on mountain shops like GMO at Stratton where you can ski out and then have the boots adjusted over the course of a few days ... since you can ski right to their back door.

If you have a "normal foot" and just need a reasonable initial fit with an interim adjustment or two you may have to make the drive to Langhorne a few times.

If you kiss up to Phil ... he can probably even give you the name of a good person to work with there and you can call ahead to make sure they will be on the floor when you are there.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Questions are more than welcome! My big trip for the season (other than the small hills within ~1.5 hours) is going to be a week (I think I'll have 4 days skiing) at Heavenly in Lake Tahoe the 3rd week of March. I thought about waiting until then to buy boots, but it seems like all the recommended boot fitters are a significant drive from the South shore. I won't have a rental car and will be with a small group, so multiple trips to a shop that isn't at Heavenly would be tough. There's also the concern that they wouldn't have anything in a 24 shell. Time and money (I'm in dental school) will keep me from getting up to New England this season.

I wouldn't say my feet are a normal shape. They're pretty flat and wide for their length. I can measure them to give you guys more info if you tell me what to measure.
post #8 of 18
Billy Kaplan would be about 2 hours out......
post #9 of 18
Sounds like a call to Langhorne and Billy is in order. Get this done well ahead of your trip and then be sure to wear the boots around the house to iron out any problems before heading west.
post #10 of 18
The expanding nature of thermofit can take up extra space in a slightly larger boot(w/in reason) and IMHO is the best fit/comfort around. What about Dalbello or Full Tilt models.:
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Altaman View Post
The expanding nature of thermofit can take up extra space in a slightly larger boot(w/in reason) and IMHO is the best fit/comfort around. What about Dalbello or Full Tilt models.:
The 3 piece shell sounds very cool, but most of what I've read about the Dalbellos seems to say they're for a narrower lower leg/higher calve. I'm willing to try anything, but my legs are pretty wide and, given my height, "high-calve" doesn't sound like it'd fit me. I hadn't heard of Full Tilt until you posted. I'll include them in my internet searching.
post #12 of 18
Intuition liners can be bought after-market for $185-200 and can make an old shell like new.
post #13 of 18
I went here after going to 3 spots in the SF Bay Area and not feeling like I was getting proper attention/service:


These folks were great in terms of taking the time to get me properly fit in a shell. The sad news was after they got me fit and determined the shell size we started looking for low volume and narrow heel options. Ended up they didn't have anything of that nature in my size. So I was forced to go to another shop. The good news is that at least I was armed with a proper shell size and several models to option.

Besides getting recommendations from Epic you can also consult Realskiers.com (http://www.techsupportforskiers.com/boots1.htm)

And this site: http://www.bootfitters.com/

Though I don't know what folks think of it (I used it primarily for the tips on bootfitting so I wouldn't come off like a complete JONG when I went to purchase new boots).
post #14 of 18
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
thanks for all the replies. Based on what you guys are saying, and the other info I've been able to find online, it seems like my two main options within my budget of ~$600 (assuming I can't find a shop with a handful of 24 shells to try) are:

1. buy a boot that's year or two old and discounted, then pick up a set of intuition or other custom liners and take them both to Billy Kaplan to make it all work. With this option, what are the odds I'd end up with a shell that couldn't be adjusted to fit me?

2. pick a model that seems like it suits my ability level, order them through my local shop and (assuming they don't fit right away) hold them to their fit guarantee.

I know the ideal is to try on a bunch of different boots then pay a reputable boot fitter to adjust the one that fits the best, and I still plan to shop around quite a bit before buying (the boots will actually be a Christmas present from my parents, but I'm anal about researching big purchases like this). But, based on the prices I've found, that seems like it could cost close to a grand and I don't have that much money to spend.

Future research notwithstanding, is there another option I should be exploring? If not, which choice would you folks recommend? What would you do differently? If #1 is the best choice, what are some good online shops (in addition to ebay, backcountry, tramdock, sierra snowboard, and altrec) to buy boots and liners?
post #16 of 18
If you go with Intuition(my recomendation), you'll need to find a shop that carries them in order to do a proper fitting.
Don't let them try to talk you into something else(more expensive), some boot fitters are paid on commission.
post #17 of 18
Originally Posted by fischermh View Post
Nick: Both of these look like excellent options. You will want to check on the shell sizes(boot sole length). Maunufactures usually use 1 shell for 2 sizes. Some make the size change on the full-size(ie: 24,25,26,ect) others on the half size(24.5, 25.5, ect). These Fishers may use the same shell. If you get them at a good price, you toss(or resell) the stock liner and get Intuitions.

Make sure the boots have good toe clearance. There's no need to get too short a boot w/ thermofit liners. :

Some other offerings on Ebay, there are lots:



The best deal may be on a womens boot
post #18 of 18
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
Sounds like a call to Langhorne and Billy is in order. Get this done well ahead of your trip and then be sure to wear the boots around the house to iron out any problems before heading west.
Hi Everyone!

I'll be more than happy to help!

Just a note, I'm no longer associated or attached to "Langhorne Ski and Sport"

Get in touch with me through my signature.

Billy Kaplan (cantman)
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