There is another thread in this forum that seems to have a bit of and I want to add another perspective so maybe we can get some of .
First - I love this forum and always read it. I've gotten great info from it and have a great respect for the boot fitters that seem to answer the same questions over and over and over. This forum has enabled me to go to ski shops and talk to the the resident boot fitters that have been doing this for over 20 years and realize they fit boots (for comfort) but aren't boot fitters. I think I even started a thread here about a year ago that asked how to figure out who is a real boot fitter. I have difficulty figuring it out until I'm in the shop and they start the process and I've read every thread I can on this site and others and have had countless conversations on the subject.
I'm far from an expert and almost know enough to be dangerous, so I can imagine what the folks that don't have OCD (according to my wife) like I do and are trying to get the single most important thing done for their skiing.
The problem that I and I would guess many consumers run into, is that anyone can say they are a boot fitter and by time you realize they really aren't, you can be out several hundred dollars. I even went to a shop that people referred me to as "the best in there is". I guess they meant in that store or the referrals only wanted something comfy.
I kept putting off going to a "real" boot fitter because it meant close to a 3 hour drive. Granted there were others closer but I had received as many bad reviews about them as good. When I finally went, I ended up leaving a very happy customer, albeit much lighter in the pocket that holds the wallet. The boots that I was fitted to weren't bought in the shop and the real boot fitter told me they were a perfect fit for my feet and he wouldn't try to get me in another boot; and they don't' carry that brand. And I bought them via the Internet from a real boot fitter that posts at epic. I have been told I have a "off the shelf foot". Maybe I was just lucky. 'nuff said.
Brought my daughter to the same real boot fitter with a pair of new boots that I had purchased locally with the understanding between the local shop and me that I was taking her to a boot fitter and she would either be fitted to that pair of boots or another. Both shops knew that I was having difficulty finding anything in her size and the real boot fitter wasn't sure they would have her size. The local shop wasn't able to do the type of fitting she would need.
At the boot fitting for her, they explained why the boot that they were selling would be better for her than the one I bought. Fine. I bought those boots, did the fitting and returned the boots bought locally.
This past season I did quite a bit of business with the two shops I'm referring to and was honest with both of them up front and they charged me as appropriate. I believe when you buy boots from the fitter there are some things thrown in that someone that BYOB pays for . What's fair is fair.
So boot fitters, know that you are making progress but most folks don't know what they are missing and many have to invest not only money but a lot of time and hope it turns out right. I have a hard time buying just regular shoes now because of the education provided here. It is also very easy for a skiing consumer to get caught up in in a lousy boot fit. This past season I stopped a shop from working on my boots because I realized after what they were doing was wrong. I did pay them for their time. They would have ruined my boots. The real boot fitter told me that I didn't need any of that and they didn't know what led them to believe I did. I believe the $150 to plane them "at least 3 deg" they were going to charge me led them to that.
Folks buying boots, The best thing to do is hunt down and stick with a really good boot fitter. I know it isn't easy to find one especially if you don't live in a ski area. If you want to do it "My Way" like I did, tell all involved parties what you are doing. The end result is worth it but it is important that everyone involved gets their fair share.
If you are going on a skiing vacation at a location with real boot fitters, do the fitting there. If you're going to be there for a week get it done the first day and if they need any tweaking you can probably ski right to their door. Starting your vacation with boots that are broken in but not perfectly fitted aren't near as good as boots that still need to break in but are perfectly fitted IMHO.
Do as much shopping around as you can unless you are fortunate enough to go to a know reputable boot fitter (i.e. one that posts here).
Don't know if this will help or hinder but felt I had to do it.
I edited for clarification and to fix grammar and spelling
Edited by L&AirC - 7/20/10 at 8:55pm