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Don't buy your boots on sale... Part I

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Just reminder...

Think twice about buying your boots on sale.

As the fall season approaches, many ski shops are are cleaning out inventory as room is needed for the 08-09 equipment arrives. What seems to be a great deal for you wallet may turn out to be a horror for your feet.

Every summer, people come into the shop and ask for the hot boot from last season, one which we were sold out of in popular sizes in February. They scan the boot wall and try to get something to fit- usually only table scraps are all that remain.


In brand X, the only sizes available are 24.5 and 30.5 and in Brand Y, the entire run is available, you have to ask, "Why?".

Yes it is possible to find a boot on sale. Yes you can get a screaming deal on a great pair of boots. It just doesn't happen that often.

Be honest about the fit. Does a great price trump fit? Rarely. Get a qualified boot fitter to look at your feet.

IMHO, get everything else on sale: skis, helmet, gloves, jacket etc. But pay full boat retail for the privilege of getting to try on four pairs of boots that fit your feet.

I know this has been probably covered before, but just the other day a customer was trying to get a boot to work that was clearly the wrong choice- but the price was right.

Part II to follow.
post #2 of 17
I guess I fall into that category that is lucky enough to get a good (...and I mean good) deal on a pair of boots.

I can't remember, I've been on my Nordica Speedmachine 14's for either two or three seasons now, and here is the story of how I got them.

I went to the ski store one summer, right when they moved from one location to another. Being that my dad and I were friends of the guy who ran the shop, he gave us a grand tour of the new facility. When we went into the basement to see where their storage and everything was, I saw a pair of beautiful Dolomite Rage X10 boots. I asked the guy about them and he said that they were demos used for like 3 days so I was like "shit, how much you want for them?" So I tried them on and they were a perfect fit. He gave them to me for 50 bucks being that I was a 'racer' and friend, and they were demos.

Took them home and loved looking at them, and when ski season rolled around, I went to the shop to have the liners molded for my feet. Something must have gone wrong or they overheated the boot or something, and some plastic in the liner was rubbing my foot, so after some wheelin' and dealin' he said, "for all of your trouble, just come in at some point this season and look at the shelf and you can have any pair of boots for free." I went and tried on pair after pair. Nothing fit me properly, so I asked if I could on "those red ones!" and I put them on and it was like a glass slipper. Perfect fit. Problem was, the sticker said $795. He couldn't just give those to me, so he said something along the lines of, "since they're so expensive, just gimme a hundred bucks and we'll call it even." They day I went home happy with a top of the line boot that fit beautifully, and paid only 150 plus tax for them!

Unfortunately, when it is time for new boots, I am guaranteed sticker shock.
post #3 of 17
I'm "on the other hand" story too, as I found a pair of Raichle F1s with Thermoflex liners when I last bought boots ($99 ), and now I have over 350 days in them. I'm planning on replacing the packed out liners with Intuition Powerwraps this fall.

There is nothing wrong with looking for bargain boots, but be honest with yourself about how they feel on your feet. Take the time to wear them around the store for an hour or so, after being sure to shell fit them, and check the liner fit with the liners out of the boots too. Ask the boot guys here for specifics on the various tests before going into the shop so you'll have your own body of knowledge to augment, and counter-balance what the guy at the shop tells you.

I certainly agree with the OP, that price cannot be the primary consideration, if a really suitable boot is what you want. Of course if you find a great deal on shells the right size and flex, but in which the liners aren't what you want, you can take the money you save, and put it into Intuitions or other thermo liners too, for a foot formed fit.
post #4 of 17
Regardless of price, getting a ski boot to fit properly is either painful and time consuming, expensive, or both. If I leave the store with boots that feel "nice" they will feel at least a size and a half too big in a month. If I buy a boot that feels a size and a half too small it will usually feel just right after having it on my feet for about 24-48 hours. But, it will hurt like heck until it loosens up. If you haven't been buying and maintaining your own boots for quite a while I recommend a dealer with profesional boot fitters. They know all the tricks it will take you years to learn if ever. If you're in to saving money, bring on the pain cause the right boots are gonna hurt at first IMO.

The less painful way is to get the boot that doesn't hurt and keep adding to the outside and bottom of the liners as they loosen up to take up the slop. Duct tape, extra footbeds, and spoilers have filled many of my boot shells.
post #5 of 17
I have another success story. Bought a pair of boots at full list at Fanatyko at Whistler two years ago, and they're no doubt the best I've ever had.

As I keep 3 quivers at different locations around the country, I found two pairs of the same boots for $150 / pair at Evogear, so now there's skis AND boots on the least coast, SLC and Whistler.

Noice.
post #6 of 17
I bought my boots at the end of the 2006 season from SierraJim. I wouldn't call them cheap, but they were definitely discount. Its unusual in a high volume store to deal with people with knowledge and commitment to get you into the right boot and make it work, but, that seems to be the expectation with Jim. I got a basic fitting, with grinding and minor adjustment and really liked the boots and they fit great.

Last year at ESA, Bud Heishman got his hands on my boots, and they became "frankenboots". Custom insoles that I have never had in my life and sole grinding to correct a pronation problem, I didn't know I had, and suddenly, my skis had edges. Wow. Why did I wait until my body was broken down to figure this out? Maybe because alignment fitting cost almost as much as my "discount" boot.

I think skiers can be lucky and get a good fit on their boots, both in size and in flex, lean and other important characteristics. If beyond that, they discover the Pro's secret - alignment; then they will have something 97% of all skiers will never know.

A sale price is the least important aspect of picking out boots. Who you work with, makes all the difference in the world.
post #7 of 17
free is good, but perfect is better.
post #8 of 17
Sorry, that's ridiculous advice. If you do even just a bit of research, you can find yourself some great deals on boots that will work for you. IMO, grab the boots on sale, then take them to a good boot-fitter, and you'll still end up spending significant amounts less than retail.
post #9 of 17
This is always good advice (OP). Boots need to be fitted properly by experienced people who can match lasts to foot shapes and have a full inventory of brands and sizes to do it with. Also, most good shops will do any modifications neccissary for the life of the boot to insure a snug, comfortable fit. Another rule of thumb is buy on the mountain where the experienced people are and not at a big city box store (Paragon in NYC comes to mind). Most experienced skiers know this, and it's common talk on this forum.
The exception is if you're replacing a custom boot that you have been skiing in a long time, know what modifications need to be made, and the shells haven't changed year over year, by all means buy the replacement on sale, over the internet, in August, pay half price, whatever.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by thaar View Post
Sorry, that's ridiculous advice. If you do even just a bit of research, you can find yourself some great deals on boots that will work for you. IMO, grab the boots on sale, then take them to a good boot-fitter, and you'll still end up spending significant amounts less than retail.
why is it so ridiculous??

believe me if you come to my place with a pair of boots which are too big that you bought in a sale, I will make sure that you know that they are too big, sure I will try to help you and make them work better for you but they will never be as good as they could be....


I suppose you tell the mechanic what needs to be done to your car when you take it for repair
post #11 of 17
There is nothing wrong with buying boots on sale..AS LONG AS IT IS THE RIGHT (and left ) BOOT.

When trying on boots, I would say, just don't look at the price tag. I would also say if the shop was most concerned with YOUR needs, would start you off in a boot that is on sale. There is nothing wrong with last years boots, other than a bell here or a whistle there, there have been no significant advances on boots recently. Your foot doesn't know what you paid for the boot and if was on sale.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by CEM View Post
why is it so ridiculous??

believe me if you come to my place with a pair of boots which are too big that you bought in a sale, I will make sure that you know that they are too big, sure I will try to help you and make them work better for you but they will never be as good as they could be....


I suppose you tell the mechanic what needs to be done to your car when you take it for repair
If you do your research and understand how your foot works as well as how boots are supposed to fit, then you can really find yourself some great deals. I found a killer deal on my boots after doing some research, then took them to a good boot fitter in town to get properly fitted. Not only do they fit great, but my fitter also said they were a great boot. Perhaps it was dumb luck...
post #13 of 17
What I like to do is this;

While on a ski trip in the mountains, go to a respected boot fitter and get sized and fit, tell him you have to 'think about it' and that 'you'll come back'...

Go home, shop on eBay.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyson Rockwood View Post
What I like to do is this;

While on a ski trip in the mountains, go to a respected boot fitter and get sized and fit, tell him you have to 'think about it' and that 'you'll come back'...

Go home, shop on eBay.
Sorry, not cool


I'm not against a bargain boot if that is what you can afford and it fits well, but taking the time of a professional then buying, based on their work and recommendation, on ebay, is theft of service.
post #15 of 17
I figure out what boots I want long before I'm ready to buy them, then wait and look till I find them for a decent price.
post #16 of 17
There is nothing wrong with buying your boots on sale if:

- They are the right fit.
- They fit your foot.
- They fit your flex desire
- They fit your personality.
- They match your gear
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyson Rockwood View Post
What I like to do is this;

While on a ski trip in the mountains, go to a respected boot fitter and get sized and fit, tell him you have to 'think about it' and that 'you'll come back'...

Go home, shop on eBay.
You get what you "pee" for on eBay:

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=65142
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