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The limitations of bootfitting?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I'm flirting with the idea of buying a boot online. We've all heard the line "buy your boots locally" a zillion times. That said, there are so many good deals to be had online that it's tempting to make a boot guestimate based on the last measurement, flex indexes and so on. I could buy two pairs of good boots online for the price of one pair locally. So how far would a guestimate get you given that you can find a competent bootfitter? If you have a fairly narrow foot with a narrow heel, is it reasonable to buy, sight unseen, a pair of race boots in your normal ski boot size, or maybe a bit smaller, and have your local shop pad punch, grind, and blow out the boot to make it fit? How far can a bootfitter take a smaller boot? Is there any situation, short of already having tested the boot or when an unlimited return policy is available, in which it is safe to buy online? 

post #2 of 16

The difference in cost will be minimal once you take boot work into account. You usually get this free for buying at a shop. They charge a lot for boot work for this very reason.

 

Dunno about you, but to get the fit I look for i never fit a boot right out of the box.

 

One thing I will always buy from a shop regardless of cost. Perfectly fitting boots make skiing a zillion times more fun.

post #3 of 16

+1

post #4 of 16

I share the sentiments of the others, and strongly recommend buying from shop with an experienced boot fitter, They will be more interested in getting you in the best boot for you and ensuring it fits and skis well, whereas if you buy online, you will most likely go into a shop to fix a problem. It’s better off to start with the boot an experienced fitter and you agree on.

 

That said, I have bought online, but it is a boot I already ski and I’m buying a newer version (and it's a great deal).

 

Good luck

post #5 of 16

One of the best boot fitters in this area (Boot Doctors Telluride/Taos) will work on your boots for about $35/hr.   They have a policy with new boots that they will fit them when you buy them for free, but if you want a guaranteed fit where you can keep coming back for free until they are right you have to buy custom footbeds with the boot (discounted to $125 for new boot buyers). 

 

Bottom line is that if you buy a pair of boots on the net, or anywhere else, they will get them to fit for $35/hr, provided you bought the right size to start with.  I like to support local shops, but if you buy (or have your boots fitted) at a base area store you can get your boots tweaked, ski them for half a day, and then go back for more tweaking, and ski them again.  My experience after many years of skiing and many pairs of boots is that  you can solve most major problems in the shop at purchase, but if you want a boot that feels good all day you will need to go back to the shop at least twice after you have skied them a while. 

 

Money for good boot fitting is the best ski related money you can ever spend.  If your boots hurt or do not perform correctly, it does not matter what else is going on, you are not having a good time.


Edited by mudfoot - 8/20/10 at 8:42am
post #6 of 16

Seriously?  You're like the 5,000,000,000th person to say "Man, I know I've heard a thousand times that I should buy boots locally but they're so cheap on the inturwebz maybe I should just do that!" 

 

Don't do it. 

 

Buy the boots from somewhone who is an Epic or TGR-recommended pro in your area.  I tried the eBay boot spin-the-fit-wheel and had to scramble to find something else and sell those last minute, and it was a huge hassle.  Unless you have already been fit by a pro and know EXACTLY what you should be getting, fughettaboutit!  The ONE THING you shouldn't be cutting any corners and scraping for deals on is boots.  END OF STORY.  Whether you're a noob or a pro, you still can't build without a foundation and in skiing that is your boots!  Flexes, last dimenstions, foot boards and canting angles aren't the end of the story with boots and it takes someone with an eye for the trade and their wares to know which shell will fit your mangled hooves properly, and where to take it from there based on your needs.

 

Just trying to help you here, man.  Take it from me that while the call of the sirens may be appealing, the rocks are just under the surface!   

post #7 of 16

If you have a good boot fitter who could fit the boots for you,  then you should show him your feet first and ask him if you should buy the particular model of boot your thinking of buying and in what size.

post #8 of 16

I think this is all good advice.   Often with sponsorships/pro deals, you are forced to commit to boots months before they are even available so after a while you get good at picking boots wihtout tyring them on.  In fact, I am about 98% convinced that if you know what you are doing this is an even better way of getting boots as our minds play tricks on us...what seems comfortable in shop often isnt on the hill.

 

But having said that, it takes more then a few years to develop that skill and you still rely heavily on accurate information on lasts from the reps....so is it doable?  Definatley.  Do I reccomend you try it?  Not really...unless you have a boot you know works for you, and you can find out what new boots are made from the same last....which is by no means impossible, but you need to know that base line last that works to do this.


Edited by Skidude72 - 8/20/10 at 7:26pm
post #9 of 16

Here's my experience. Most shops have boot sellers not boot fitters. I've done it both ways. The first four pair of boots I bought were at base area ski shops. I got a little service for the next few days of the ski trip on the second two. I did not deal with boot fitters, I had boot salesmen selling me "comfortable" boots. I was too ignorant of the process to even seek help on the first two. When I came home I never saw any of them again and non of these boots fit properly. All were too wide - too loose. I read a lot and learned a little and tried a boot over the Internet that was a size larger than the previous two but it soon packed out. It was narrow but too large too. Fortunately I had a teenager with a larger foot who has used the larger boots successfully. During this time I learned more about boots from Epic Ski, Footloose and Real Skiers. I finally learned that there are different width boot shells so I was able to buy a narrow shell to fit my narrow foot over the Internet. With this knowledge I was a much smarter customer and bought a boot that was appropriate for my foot shape. It was close but I also added custom insoles, had it punched twice, canted and eventually changed the liner for a firmer fit. Overall I spent the same I would have if I had bought the boots for full retail and got all the continuing service. I never got service at the same shop twice but I came out OK. Three different ski shops did the work over three years. Since I'm a vacation skier I do not have a "local" ski shop so if my feet hurt I have to go to whoever is available where ever I happen to be skiing. Now I do some of my own boot work. I've added wedges, padding and lifts for comfort and performance. I almost bought some RACE boot this past week over the Internet but in the end I decided they were not enough different from my other boots to justify the cost - even at a real bargain price. I don't think any of this gives me a boot that fits as well as a boot purchased from our boot professionals on this site but I don't' have access to them so I do the best I can considering.

post #10 of 16

If you can afford it, spend the money and go where you can have custom boots made. My one experience was with a very expensive pair of Langes (not that Lange doesn't make a good boot) on the first day of a seven-day vacation in Lech/Zuers. After barely being able to get down on the Lech side, I got on the bus, got off the bus, and walked into Strolz and had a pair of boots made plastic shell, leather liners - made orthotically and specifically for your foot. They were ready the next morning and just needed some minor fine-tuning. That was ten years ago. Since then, I have ordered new buckles (only because I wanted a different color), and in January, I'm gettnig a new pair. Can't wait.

 

Stroz has two dealers stateside - one in VT, one in NH. It's worth the trip to either state. Books are the link to your skis and if your feet hurt, or are unsupported...

 

You get what you pay for.

post #11 of 16

Another consideraton is to check with your local bootfitter on availability of closeout and clearance boot models they may have?  Be careful to not assume a good bootfitter/shop always sells all their boots at full retail!  Every shop I know has older models they want to move and discount these boots to make room for new product.  You may be surprised at the deals you can get and the friends you make and the money you save in the end!

post #12 of 16


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post

Another consideraton is to check with your local bootfitter on availability of closeout and clearance boot models they may have?  Be careful to not assume a good bootfitter/shop always sells all their boots at full retail!  Every shop I know has older models they want to move and discount these boots to make room for new product.  You may be surprised at the deals you can get and the friends you make and the money you save in the end!

post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post

Another consideraton is to check with your local bootfitter on availability of closeout and clearance boot models they may have?  Be careful to not assume a good bootfitter/shop always sells all their boots at full retail!  Every shop I know has older models they want to move and discount these boots to make room for new product.  You may be surprised at the deals you can get and the friends you make and the money you save in the end!





Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post


 


 


X2

 

Heh, this is a time I would love to "close thread". Because the OP had his question answered between Bud and other great answers. 

post #14 of 16

If you close it, how will someone randomly open it in 2 or 4 years to add to something that is completed?

post #15 of 16

I went to Helm of Sun Valley to buy boots a long time ago (10 years), and was hellbent on getting a good deal.  I don't know exactly what went on anymore, but the guy never said, "Listen kid, if you buy these you will hate life."  I wore them and lived with pain for 5 years at Kirkwood, thinking that that was just how ski boots were.  after that, I didn't ski for about 4 years.  Last year, I go to put on the boots I was wearing all that time, and after being on this forum...and jesu cristo, those bastards were at least 2 sizes too big.  I think they were an "11" (mind you I bought these in HS and still growing, and was a 10.5 shoe at the time, so I wanted something to "grow into"), a 285 I believe.  I now wear a 265 and like skiing even more.  Now I know why my toes were always so tore up.  Go to a boot fitter.

post #16 of 16

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