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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ask the Boot Guys › Characterization of boot brands and how they fit
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Characterization of boot brands and how they fit

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Over the past 44 years, I've skied on boots ranging from old lace ups to high-performance "racing" boots (I wish I still had my old Munari double lace boots to hang on the wall). Each time I buy new boots it's always an adventure because while I know what I want the boot to feel like, I don't really know (since the fit / feature / performance of boot lines can change from year to year) what to expect as I start my boot search.

One thing that might be useful for all of the EpicSki members is a brief summary, from your perspective as boot fitters, of the basic fit characteristics of the more popular brands in the marketplace, as to fit characteristics (wide v. narrow, ramp angles, "built-in" forward lean) and the type of foot each brand "out of the box" is generally designed for, so as to narrow somewhat the beginning of the search process.

I ask this because I was "convinced" that the new Lange WC Comp HP would be perfect for me based upon everything I had heard, read, studied. However, when I tried the boot on (25.0 shell) I could tell immediately something wasn't "right", although I couldn't put my finger on what that was (generally the boot felt a bit too wide in the forefoot although I wear a men's size 8 D). It may have to do with the fact that I tried them on without the custom foot beds I had made by my current bootfitter.

post #2 of 9
How about some much more productive advice:

Find a bootfitter you TRUST, work with him/her, listen to what they have to say about initial fit vs. final fit, give good feedback, don't have any preconceived hangups about brand loyalty and you will end up with a great boot.

That will help more people than a list of generic 'fit' descriptions that will cloud people's judgment... the average person really doesn't have much judgment to spare.
post #3 of 9
what whiteroom said:


this link might help more then a boot fit list
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

As you may have noticed given that I have custom footbeds, I do work extensively with a bootfitter who has worked with many ski professionals including members of the US Ski Team and am happy spending my money to do so. Clearly I'm not going to go off half-cocked and buy a boot without his advice in advance.

Perhaps you missed my point, as the question I posed wasn't necessarily intended for my eyes only. I would venture that a very large majority of skiers buy a boot without any input at all other than what they read, hear from the salesperson at a store, or think they know. For those people, general tips from experts such as the EpicSki "Ask the Boot Guys" would be helpful in my opinion.

post #5 of 9
Hello Mike,

You make a very good point. There are however some inherent problems in trying to classify boots in that manner. First of all every boot supplier has a minimum of 4 shell lasts that are produced in 10 different, in multiple flexes, with liner differences by pricepoint. That means that there is no way to describe any Fit by brand. In todays market there is no such thing as a "Lange fit" or "Nordica fit", etc. Each manufacturer has multiple fits in their line.

There are not enough days in the year to be able to catalog and describe to the public decent sizing descriptions on all the different models in the market. More importantly you would never get 2 Epicski boot experts to agree on what color the sky is, much less how any given boot is shaped.

The other inherent problem with trying to match descriptions, and boot tests, magazine articles, threads on epic, and friends advice is you the skier.

You call me on the phone and tell me that you have a really wide foot and want to know what boots I have for your wide width. I can tell you what wide boots I have, but how do you, or I know that you have a wide foot, other than you said so. There is a human element that makes matching what you think you have(shape of your foot) with what you think a model or brand of boot has based on a verbal or written description. It would be much easier to just go to see a great bootfitter, with a great selection of models, sizes, and flexes of boots.

So back to Whiteroom and mtnlions comments, go see your guy and he will either help you to make the right choice or help you to modify your choice so that it is perfect for you.

PS: check the footbed trim and fit in any boot you try before you jump to a conclusion. At our shop we never put a boot on a skier without either their footbed that fits the boot, or an off the shelf trim to fit that gets trimmed to fit the boots that they are trying.
post #6 of 9

Starthaus sums it up pretty well, there are too many variables to make it anywhere near accurate, then what happens if some misguided soul goes off and buys something on the strength of a review which is not 100% or that they took to mean something else

like all have said, work with your boot guy and let them guide you through

good luck
post #7 of 9
The reality is bootfitting is much more 'Art' than 'Science'. Is science involved? Sure, but it is, in the end, an interface with a human being... that leads to personal taste and preference. In the end there is no 'Right' and 'Wrong' generalizations that hold water, the end user needs to be happy and reasonably comfortable. Take two skiers with identical physiology, one might be perfectly happy and comfortable skiing in a race fit plug boot. The other might scream bloody murder until they are put into a 'bucket boot' that is not creating any presure at all. The relationship between skier and ski boot is ALWAYS unique.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

What you say about "Art" versus "Science" is definitely true, and I agree with the comments of all of you bootfitters... as what you suggest is what I already do.

On the other hand, perhaps my original question wasn't appropriate, given all the brands, lasts, fits, etc. and the difficulty it would be to characterize the various boot brands. What I have found in my own experience as a ski instructor and ski school trainer is that very few students (and instructors for that matter) really know how a ski boot "should" fit. I would venture to say that most students and casual skiers are swimming around in a boot that is much too large for them.

On the other hand, as TDK6 pointed out in another thread, he had a bootfitter tell him to buy a shell 2 sizes smaller than this shoe size and "deal with it" as I recall.

Perhaps for the benefit of some of the lesser experienced skiers who visit the forum it might be interesting to hear what a bootfitter is looking for (in terms of fit) when working with a client.

post #9 of 9
Such a hard thing to characterize or generalize because it is inherently subjective and preference based. People have very different expectations for what they perceive to be a 'good' fit. In my experience... for the customer it is something that evolves over time - with mileage, skiing skill development, equipment changes, and several pairs of boots. People end up discovering what they like. I listen, educate, let them try on lots of boots and encourage them to decide for themselves. Aim for a 'firm handshake' and generally err on the side of buying the smaller size. Then go ski, shape the shell, and align as needed. The usual .
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