Any help is good help thanks,
Hah! Most of these replies are in the 'true' ball-park. Boots are a big subject to learn to pick the closest to right-fitting boot and that means trying on MANY boot brands and models and in a one size up and one size down method...and consider model with Flex Index around100 to 110 . Custom foot-beds will save a whole season in the learning to ski curve as boot set-up is critical to keep your ski bases moving in parallel. Buy your boot fitter lots of beer.
After you get home with your new boots, warm them up a bit with a hair dryer, put 'em on a do a little house work and wear them until you finish vacuuming ... I wander around home a couple of weeks before ski season, getting my feet back in shape. First times out with cramping feet is no fun - this goes especially for ski weekers and god help those in rental boots. My balance gets better after a few days of walking around... and balance around icy parking lots and plazas is crucial.... not to mention actually skiing.
As many post here regarding boots - find a good boot fitter and get to know him on first name basis. Boots is the most important piece of ski equipment you will ever own.
Foot cramps can also result from improper technique & balance.
Lessons goes a long way to correct your technique.
Balance wise - SMJ mention clawing at the slope with your toes and M99's buckle too tight. Both are common mistakes and have easy fixes - just don't do it.
Seriously, a good way to over come both of those two issues is to ski a easy run with all the boot buckles open (leave the power strap closed).
Your foot and body will find center / balance real quick. Ski feel at this point should be fantastic.
Then try it on more challenging terrain & snow condition.
Work really well to clean up your skiing on ice, bumps and especially powder. Do it right and all your crutches will be gone.
Will bring smoothness to your skiing like no other drill.
Joe, you want boots with two very important attributes...comfort and control. Not just comfort. Any soft, cushy, too-big boots will be comfortable. And your skiing will never get any good.
Try for an intermediate level boot. Not too stiff, because even if they are comfortable, they'll transfer every movement you make to the skis, incorrect movements as well as correct movements. You won't know why you're so rarely in control. Not too soft, because you'll soon exceed the performance the boot can give you.
Ask around ski shops about which boot salesman to bring your "friend" in to who has problem feet. When the staff tells you that they are all bootfitters, play deaf. Ask who is the best for real problem feet. If you can find out who that is, then find out which hours they work. Go in with two or three hours to spare and try on the boots this person suggests. If the shop does no boot fitting--heating, pressing out tight spots, grinding away tight spots--leave.
Make a posting in the "Ask The Boot Guys" forum giving your location and ask if they know of any good bootfitters there. A good bootfitter will look at your feet and ankles and stance and know which makes and models of boots will fit your feet and suit your skiing ability. The bootfitter can make too-tight boots fit. There is nothing they can do with too-big boots. If the boot fits most parts of your feet and is tight in one or two spots, good, those can be customized as part of the price. A boot salesman will try to sell you anything he has in stock that doesn't cause pain while you're in the store.
The problem could be the fit of your boots, but I will second the "hanging on with your toes" possibility. (I know from personal experience). If your feet hurt on easy (for you) terrain and conditions, then its probably your boots. If it depends on what you ski, it might not be.