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Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm looking to buy a new pair of boots and had a few questions. I've been using equipment purchased 7 years ago when I was in high school from a sale at our local ski hill and had no concept of proper fit beyond matching sizes to my feet. Therefore I always considered the extreme tiredness/soreness in my feet at the end of the day normal even though I'm in good shape and not overweight.

So I went to my local ski shop yesterday to see about boots and the first 2 pair I tried on caused that same feeling of tiredness right under the balls of my feet. The 3rd pair was magic: The Salomon Mission 7 boots. Now I would have purchased those right away but they are $330.00 and I hate purchasing things at full retail without having done a little homework. After researching I found that these are beginner/intermediate boots. How important is that when I believe my skill level is approximately a 7+. I'm using these primarily for annual trips out west and trips to NY. Out west I like steep blacks and occasional moguls.

Also, after researching online, I've found places where I can buy last year's model boots (high-end, like xwave 8's) for $150-$200 brand new. The problem is, my size is 27.5 and it's difficult to find an exact match. How much does the thermo-formable layer make up for any incorrect sizing? Like, if I got a size 10, would the thermo-layer constrict to my foot size?

I read the sticky at the top detailing the importance of proper boot fit, and I can attest to that first-hand, but I still hate the idea of paying through the nose just to get the current model. Plus, if it turns out that those boots aren't good enough for my skill level, from everything I've read if you want higher performance you pay more--almost like a punishment for being more skilled. So I basically would have to look at boots around $400+ for my skill level. Any thoughts on what I should do? Suck it up and pay, or worth taking a risk by ordering online? If I did that, should I try getting a slightly larger, or smaller size? The sticky said smaller I believe.

Thanks for any advice.