Ok, I may have jumped the gun a there a bit. It was based on your conversation with snowfun3 and the seeming tone that your OP had that caused such a reaction. I guess I also proved the point that no matter what is asked for in a thread, it really is much less than binding, LOL.
Without going into a long story about my own experiences with a bootfitter (it's not actually a long story, but I reflect on many aspects of it), I will just get into the nitty-gritty and tell you about the boot that you might have interest in. My main pair of boots are the Atomic RT FR 100. I use them in the smallest shell size: 24.5. It is the predecessor to the Atomic Nuke series, or rather, the Nuke is just a slightly-refreshed Atomic RT FR/CS. The FR, CS, and Nuke all feature identical 98mm-width lasts. They are obviously narrower than the Salomon XWave last, which is 102mm-width (this was my prior boot). If the XWave was giving you bunions due to their width, the Atomic RT FR/CS/Nuke is probably going to be worse.
That said, at least in relation to my own feet, the XWaves shells were far from anatomically-designed. For example, the highest point of the instep was closer to the center of the boot than that of the RT FR/CS/Nuke's, which were located more inboard. Look at your feet. Where is the highest point of your instep? The XWaves, despite being touted as "high volume, which is right your your high arch and instep," by my old bootfitter, actually required more work on the tongue to accommodate my instep. The RT FR/CS (both of which I own) required no work whatsoever, despite being a considerably lower-volume boot. Granted, I was at the end of their range of accommodation in terms of shell overlap, but the point is that they fit, and fit well due to their more anatomical shape, at least as it related to my feet. In conversation my current bootfitter (who was not the one who fitted me for these particular boots), he mentioned that the Atomic RT CS/RT/Nuke fits a particular type of feet well, and that he carries them because sponsored racers that frequent his shop (this is a full-bore race shop) require them for sponsorship obligations. This reads to me that the applicability range (as it relates to a bootfitter whose job is to match a near-infinite number of footshapes to a limited selection of boots that he can stock) of these boots are narrow, and that it is not really worth his inventory to have them unless it was for this dedicated clientele. This also reads to me that the boots might be too anatomically-fit for a given foot type for their own good. But if you fit them, hey, you're in luck. :D
He also left me with the advice to "hang onto these boots." Remember that he didn't sell these to me.
Going back to the XWaves, it is easy to understand why bootfitters would stock these en-masse. Their fit is not terribly dependent on the shell shape, but rather on the thickness and malleability of their liners to a large range of feet, given that you're within the ballpark of width and volume, of course. It's too bad though, that Salomon liners (at this relative low-end within their range, pointed out by another shop guy who experienced good durability with his higher-end Salomon liners) don't seem to last too long before packing out completely. It got to a point that my feet swam around in those bootfitter-fitted XWaves in every which direction. I had to crank those down to the point where I was losing circulation (as the distorted shell started putting pressure where they weren't supposed to), and the shell was a leaky sieve. I had to invest in Boot Gloves to keep my feet from freezing.
If there is a point to all this, it's that quantitations like "last-width" or "volume" are quite incomplete in predicting how a boot will fit a given unique foot (not even pair of feet). All you can do is to just try them on.
Other things to note:
There is only about a mm of grinding that can be done with the front of the footboard of the RT FR/CS (dunno about the Nuke, as there is something said about a "shock absorbing footboard") before it starts to dip below the sides of the boots. This will be relevant if you are at the edge of a given boot's range of accommodation/fit, and decide to go for a custom footbed, which tend to add a little bit more height/reduces a little bit of volume.
The heel of the RT FR/CS is also considerably narrower than the XWave. As is the ankle, etc. My current bootfitter's comment in reference to the XWave's ankle: "the barrel".
The lower shell of the RT FR/CS is much more rigid than that of the XWave. Some say this is the secret to how well they ski. Although an imperfect test, I can grab the toe and heel lugs of a boot and twist. The XWaves twist a lot. The RT FR/CS, barely so.
My feet: E width. High instep and arch. Supinator. Meatier/sinewier-than-average feet, as I'm a climber/boulderer and routinely toe and edge on small holds.
Edited by DtEW - 4/22/2009 at 02:30 am GMT