Originally Posted by mntlion
ARGHHH tooo many ladies have been in my store and HAVE to have ladies boots. This is my rant...The whole idea of woman's gear is a crock. Women don't need different gear, specially made for them. All people do...A beginner skier, with a narrow foot, that is non aggressive will need a soft, narrow boot. That particular boot might marketed as a "ladies" boot, might be a "Jr. boot" or might be called a beginner boot but, why can't an intermediate adult man use that boot if it fits him? Why not label that boot as a "soft and narrow" boot ? People with large calf's need boots that fit lower and larger on the leg, people with a limited range of motion in the ankle need a boot that is stiffer, people that are lighter and less aggressive need a softer boot...
This goes on, but you can go back and read the OP. Will take this very belated opportunity to tweak MntLion about boots and then duck and cover: Don't know much about boots, and he's an expert. How stupid can I be?
Well, pretty stupid, but I do know something about measurements of bodies, including feet, and he's fundamentally wrong in his assumptions. Mntlion assumes that there is this single distribution of foot shape, and it will encompass all kinds of feet if only people took care in choosing boots and companies made enough versions. Well, in fact there are two distributions and they do not entirely overlap. Put another way, women's feet do not have the same range or type of variation as men's. Women's feet are not simply scaled down male feet, nor will their variation be encompassed by taking male lasts and making them softer or narrower.
Women's feet are more gracile (smaller bones at same length), they have more protruding bones (less fat and muscle over bones than males), and they have disproportionately smaller heels and longer toes relative to a male with the same length foot. Even to a male who considers himself to have a narrow heel. They also average larger calf circumferences for tibial length. (Alan Alda famously said that men had chicken legs; typically he was right.) And there are numerous smaller sex differences in the shape of specific bones. Women even suffer different markedly rates of pathologies such as bunions or hammertoe brought on by the shoes they wear every day. This is all available for inspection in the standard anthropometric data sources such as Army publications, specialized anatomy texts, or the various longitudinal growth studies.
Bottom line: Women DO need boots that are designed specifically for female feet, rather than just brands that modify a universal last derived from male feet. We're not just one big happy unisex foot family. And women should not take flak, especially from an excellent boot fitter, for wanting some realization of this...