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Update to my bad boot shopping experience story [and a few more question]

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone.
I have several questions, would appreciate any help.

After a year on my crappy entry-level Salomon evos, I went to get new boots. After not finding anything decent in several places (where the fitters were mostly kids) I ended up going to the Willi's store at Seven Springs resort in PA where I usually ski.

The fitter (an older guy that seems to have been working there for a long time and spent ages trying to find a fit for my foot) said that even though my feet are relatively short (one around the 25.5, one slightly closer to the 26), I'm better off staying with a 26.5 shell rather than insisting on going all the way down to 25.5 where there's a lot less selection. Does that make sense? I was always told that you wanted it as shorter as possible, but he seemed to be in the opinion that it's actually less critical for modern skiing. True or complete BS?

In the end I bought an old (but unused) pair of 2006 Technica Vento 8s in 26.5. They also had the new Vento 80s for about 150$ more, but he didn't try to upsell which makes me hope it's not a big difference What are the differences between the old Vento 8 series and the new Vento 80s?

I tried the new boots and they somehow feel like they're giving me more control though they're the same size as my old ones. I do still get the same weird pain that I had with my old ones, which is concentrated around the right foot bone joint that matches my little toe. We tried different pads (or whatever it is that they put in the shell to lift) but it didn't help; any idea what could be causing this?

Finally, both my old Salomons and the new boots are 304mm long, so they fit right away into the skis. My skis and bindings have been tested with the Salomons last week. Do I need to get them retested?
post #2 of 26
Did... he... shell... fit... you...?
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdistefa View Post
Did... he... shell... fit... you...?
No, at least if you mean to have me put my foot in without a liner. In fact, I've never been a store (and I've tried boots at quite a few) where they actually bother to do that, at least for non-experts/racers. I have never had or seen the mythical shell fit.

Western PA is not the best place in the world for acquiring boots, since (like everything here), one or two stores has a monopoly.

He looked at my feet for a while because I have a strange shape, and eventually brought a few that he thought would be a good fit. He then adjusted several things, and dealt with a complaint I had on the left by checking my foot against some sort of a flat foot-like pad and then putting some adjustment.
post #4 of 26
Oh dear. Out of interest, what street shoe size do you wear? Foot width? Dare I ask if he actually measured you (weighted and unweighted) on a Brannock device?

It sounds like your best bet is to read up on your own, shell size yourself, try a bunch of boots on (the shotgun approach) and set your own cuffs. Size you're located in bootfitting purgatory, we'll do our best to help.

To answer your question, usual practice is to fit to the smaller foot (especially when there's only a half size difference - which is common), then punch/stretch/grind the other shell as needed.

Your bootfitter reminds me of someone saying they have "30 years experience" when what they actually have is one year repeated 30 times .

To start you off: http://forums.epicski.com/showpost.p...16&postcount=2
post #5 of 26
Matt, you have a way. "One year 30 times"! Nice touch.
Without a shell fit it is impossible, to tell fit period. Beginner, expert, WCer, all the same.

Your Vento is also a great big cave of a boot. Perhaps not the correct approach.

Matt is correct that often we try to fit the smaller foot, but it isn't always possible depending on the customer. However, without a shell fit and knowing foot dimensions it is impossible to make an informed decision.

Lou
post #6 of 26
not a lot more to say, other than good luck
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdistefa View Post
Oh dear. Out of interest, what street shoe size do you wear? Foot width? Dare I ask if he actually measured you (weighted and unweighted) on a Brannock device?
I usually wear a pair of asics running shoes everywhere (good shock absorption), at 8.5 (tight) or 9 (too roomy). Not sure about the width, I don't really run much so I never got a good fit on them.

He didn't use a Brannock device (I only once saw one, at a store in Stowe that 'didn't have anything for my level'). Only the kind of vendor-branded measurement charts that you can find in any store.

In all my fittings here in western PA and in northeastern PA, the approach was primarily shotgun - figure out a few boots, try them on. This guy was actually the first that looked at the structure of my foot and tweaked the boot around, which is unfortunately better than my usual experience with the kiddies here.

At a different place that I visited they just let me look for 25.5s by myself, which is the usual experience.

If I make it to a real ski area in the next few years I'll try going to a better fitter .

but to the point, beside scrapping my investment and making the trip somewhere with normal fitters, what are my options?
post #8 of 26
a USA 8.5 is a UK 7.5 depending on the shell i would think 25.5 is the direction you need to be looking.....to answer your final question lots of socks and some packing but that is a very temporary

your ski trip costs a lot of money, it is not worth not getting it right

sorry
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CEM View Post
a USA 8.5 is a UK 7.5 depending on the shell i would think 25.5 is the direction you need to be looking.....to answer your final question lots of socks and some packing but that is a very temporary

your ski trip costs a lot of money, it is not worth not getting it right

sorry
I looked at a few online charts just now and they list that 8.5US is equivalent to 26.5 mondo, but that doesn't make sense.

I was looking for 25.5 (and 26s) but they barely sell any in my area of the US, everyone here seems to be giants with 29+ feet

I agree about the expense being worth it, except that I don't get to go on nice expensive ski trips places, I drive two hours to a 600ft vert ice hill. If there was a real bootfitter anywhere around here, I would have gone to them...

Maybe if I get to visit Philly or NY at some point I'll try and see what a real bootfitter can do for me. The one experience I had at Stowe (the only real place I've been to) was fairly bad.
post #10 of 26
You are right about the charts. Interesting that you would find it and most ski shops still don't get it. The chart conversion is not correct. Off by one size. 8.5 U.S. = 25 mondo

Lou
post #11 of 26
Quote:
I was looking for 25.5 (and 26s) but they barely sell any in my area of the US, everyone here seems to be giants with 29+ feet
sorry to say it but any shop that sells more 29s then 26s is probably not fitting boots
post #12 of 26
Pittsburgh used to be a highly industrialized area. Perhaps we are seeing an effect due to pollution that causes out of proportion size feet.

I smell a doctoral thesis in the works. "Affects of environment on foot size" Or "Sasquatch real or myth, does the answer lie in Pittsburghs water"?

Lou
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou Rosenfeld View Post
Pittsburgh used to be a highly industrialized area. Perhaps we are seeing an effect due to pollution that causes out of proportion size feet.
Lou
I wish I was kidding about this. Maybe they're prepping out football players, maybe it's the ethnic german-italian-irish mix, but I'm between 5"7 and 5"8 which admittedly is short for a guy but in six years here I have rarely met anyone around my age who was as short.
post #14 of 26
25 is right I think
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mntlion View Post
25 is right I think
Is there 25 for men? I've never seen less than 25.5
post #16 of 26
same shell 25.0 /25.5 ...infact many companies make a 24.0/24.5 shell for men...just not that many stores stock them
post #17 of 26
what CEM said.

funny my store has a 27 as the middle size, and we sell more 24 then 29's by far.

I would re-think that store/boot fitter and try again.....
post #18 of 26
You may not be tall for a guy, but you would have to get one hell of a lot taller to typically need a 29 boot. I'll go with 6'5".

I'm 6'2" and comfortably wear a 27. I looked through last years records and for men the most common size up north here where lack of sunlight evidently stunts our growth most common size was 26 for men. After that 27 then 25.
post #19 of 26
Uricmu, I'm going to make a radical suggestion that you consider traveling across the state. I know that most yinzers are reluctant to cross a river or mountain, but you may need help. PM to Cantman (Billy Kaplan) in the Philledelphia area. If you are on a budget Philpug works out of Wicks over there and is bringing experience you don't normally get in large sporting goods stores.

Check out the bootfitter Who's Who by region and see if you can make an appointment. Your boots may be returnable (I hope).
post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 

Update to my bad boot shopping experience story [and a few more question]

A couple weeks ago I was telling a story about boots that I bought at our "reputable" Willi's ski shop at Seven Springs, PA
(Essentially an older guy that argued that I would be ok at 26.5 ventos even though I thought I needed much smaller, but also told me that I could get Salomon Rush's which are "just the same" and "for men" which is complete BS)...

I went this morning to the store branch that is closer to my home and talked to the manager, since they offer a "boot fit guarantee". I got him to shell-fit me, and lo-and-behold, he could easily squeeze 2.5 fingers in the shell that I got. So he argued that I would indeed be better off in 25.5. I got him to also measure my foot length and he said I was on a wider side for a short foot, at about AA.

The store didn't have much more in stock except for a Salomon Impact 8 that I've tried before and fit (although with slightly less than a finger on my larger foot). He said that the Salomons would be a good fit for me because of the foot width.

Because I don't trust this chain anymore even though everyone in the Pittsburgh metro is essentially born to shop there (just like we are born to forever have one grocery chain), I didn't make a decision right away. Going to the Salomon Impact 8 at their overpriced prices would mean adding another 250$ on top of what I paid for the old Ventos (300$).

I asked him what he could find in the other branches at 25.5, and there's another branch that has last year's Salomon Foil's in that size and that they would be a good fit. He argued that they're just like other boots but just "with different graphics" which I believe is utter BS because they are meant for park-and-pipe and likely have a completely different feel (though I didn't try them on yet).

So anyway, I learned to never give any business to "my local ski shop" that does merchandise credit but no refunds, and to either go with a custom bootfitter (which does not exist in my area of PA), or to go with much cheaper stuff on the internet with guaranteed refunds.

But my questions (finally) are:
- Is there anyone reputable in northeastern PA, Philly, or mid-PA who can do a decent boot fitting for someone who's not a pro?

If I can't get a proper boot fit but need something for this season that is better than my horrible 100$ 26.5 Salomons that I'm floating inside:

- Are Salomons indeed a good fit for wider shorter feet?

- Are there differences between previous year and this year's Impact 8s or is it just the color? The manager told me that the impact 8s are new this year, but I already know that is BS. If I buy the impacts, I'm going to buy them online, I'm done giving money to Willi's.

- I've found at REI some very nice and affordable previous year's Impact 7 and Impact 9s in my size, I'm worried about going with the 7 since it may be too low for my skill (I'm an intermediate though I can't get carving right partly because I float in my boots), and I'm worried about the 9 since they are too "expert" for me. Should I aim lower or higher?

- Should I even consider the Salomon Foils as a replacement for the old Vento 8s, or should I just give up? What is really the difference between park-and-pipe boots and downhill boots?

Thanks!
post #21 of 26
I'm to lazy to read the whole thread again

1) buy the right boot. all boots come in 25 mens, some in 24 too, and some mens and ladies boots are the are same anyways (salomon impact/idol andn nordica speed machine/olymipa)

2) if you can't get money back form the 26 boots, and only credit, just buy something else that you need from then that they will fit right. boot bag, ski tune, thermals, hat, goggles, gifts etc.

3) all brands have narrow and wide options. salomon makes the illios that is wide, and the falcon that is narrow.

4) if you buy online, you get no service, but maybe a better price. No boot work, more hassel with warranty, etc. Might be worth it, might not.

5) read a thread on freeride boots. 95% just marketing.
post #22 of 26
Feet get narrower as they get shorter but the Brannock device takes that into account. AA is hardly wide regardless of foot length. I would say very very narrow. Not a good combination with the boots you are considering. The advice to head across state was good.

If you are going to purchase on line suggest you elevate your budget by about $400.

Lou
post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mntlion View Post
3) all brands have narrow and wide options. salomon makes the illios that is wide, and the falcon that is narrow.
I'm confused, aren't the Elios running shows? Did you mean the impact?

I have the option of an affordable impact 9 or an affordable falcon 9. Would the impacts be more wide and the falcons less wide?

Is there some way I can measure my feet at home to have a general idea of whether my feet are actually wide or narrow ?

I'd like something that fits ok out of the box, and that I can customize at a professionals if I ever get to one and if I ever get to ski after this season (full time job and family)...
post #24 of 26
You said your feet are AA. That is narrow. No need to measure at home. If not correct then have them remeasured with Brannock.

Lou
post #25 of 26
Quote:
I'd like something that fits ok out of the box, and that I can customize at a professionals
unfortunately if they fit out the box they are most likely too big and the professional will be very limited as to what can be done, the only way to establish the correct size is to start with brannock measurments and then on the shell check, working from shoe sizes and guestimates will probably result in an expensive error

good luck
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by uricmu View Post
I have the option of an affordable impact 9 or an affordable falcon 9. Would the impacts be more wide and the falcons less wide?

Is there some way I can measure my feet at home to have a general idea of whether my feet are actually wide or narrow ?

I'd like something that fits ok out of the box, and that I can customize at a professionals if I ever get to one and if I ever get to ski after this season (full time job and family)...
Hi uricmu,

The Salomon Impact series is a 100mm width shell (at ball of foot).
The Salomon Falcon series is a 98mm width shell(narrowest you listed).
The Tecnica Vento 8 HVL series is a 106mm shell (a large bucket).

If you do indeed have a AA width foot(have this checked) go for the narrower boot, It will also have a better liner and be a boot you can grow into technically
(buy up--not down)(take lessons). Your foot length discrepancy is insignificant so the 25 should work in the Salomon. By the way we have had folks come in from the Pittsburgh, Pa. area on the way to Fla. etc.

just a thought on measuring width---place two blocks beside your forefoot and measure between them in mm., do it weighted and unweighted if you are close or inside the narrower width when weighted, go for the 98mm boot. Get a footbed!

Happy Holidays

miketsc
cped/master bootfitter
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ask the Boot Guys › Update to my bad boot shopping experience story [and a few more question]