First of all, thank's in advance for all the advice that has been provided here. I've been looking for boots for a year now and this site has given me a lot of good knowledge about what to look for. Unfortunately I have not found a good boot fitter who I can trust. Right now I'm near Salzburg, Austria, if anyone knows good people in that area. I wish I was closer to some of the regulars here, I would go there in a heartbeat.
I have smaller feet and seem to fall right between a 24/24.5 shell and a 25/25.5 shell, so it's not that easy to fit me. Last year I purchased Jah Love boots in 24.5 from a fitter in Stowe, VT. I didn't ski much but they never really felt right on the slopes. I was hoping they would pack in and trusted the fitter, but they never really did. Also I wasn't living near the bootfitter, so I couldn't go back to make adjustments.
This year I skied on the Jah Love boots once and it was incredibly painful. There isn't much room in the toebox, which forces me to tighten the top 2 cuffs a lot so I don't slide around too much as I would easily hit the front of the boot which is very painful when the toes are numb and cold. I feel some pressure on the instep which likely contributes to the poor circulation leading to numb toes and may be the real culprit of all of this, although I think a tiny bit of extra room in the front would help too.
As mentioned I'm currently in Austria, and I've been to a ski shop which came highly recommended. The people said the 24.5 is too small, and they convinced me that a 25.5 is the right size. They also didn't seem keen on making any adjustments to my 1-year old boot, like grinding the front a tiny bit to get some extra space. I've also gone to another shop here where I heard something similar, that they don't really grind or stretch, which seems odd to me because I've read here and elsewhere that these adjustments can be made.
In any event, after they convinced me into the 25.5 ( it was a Lange RS 110 boot) I tried them out on the slopes. To make a long story short, they were terrible. Much too big. I was sliding around in them with the top 2 cuffs at maximum tightness, and this on the first day. Needless to say I'll be bringing them back, and it seems clear the a 25.5 is just too big a shell.
So one of my questions is this. If you fall between sizes (which I can't imagine this is that rare) do you go with the smaller one and try to get some extra room, or go with the bigger one and fill it in some? I'm fairly certain it's the first option but I would just like to confirm.
Also, is grinding the toebox to get some more space lengthwise really that rare and not recommended?
Third, the shop here has these custom foam liners from Strolz and Boot-Doc which could potentially fit into my old boot and maybe give me a much better hold and grip, contributing to better circulation and potentially alleviating my problem. Or would custom liners not be recommended in this case? The reason I ask is because I don't think I'm a big fan of the liner. I understand that the Jah Love has the same shell as a dobermann 130 with the only difference being the liner, which is more padded for freestyle skiing. I assume therefore that the liner is a bit thicker than a dobermann race liner. The difference may be what I need to have a better fit, but that's purely speculation. Any thoughts?
Some info about myself. I've skied for many many years and I ski very fast and agressive. I try to ski 20-30 days per season. My street shoe-size is a 7.5-8 US and I'm in my mid twenties. I ski on and off piste, although given where I'm usually located on-piste is more common. No park skiing. I have superfeet insoles, which I am using again now. Previously I put in a heated insole because my toes were always cold, but it didn't help much and they make the toe-box even smaller, not to mention offer less support. Prior to the Jah Love's I mainly had the Tecnica TNT line for many years, but as it turns out they always were too big for me too.
Thanks for any advice.
1) When between shell sizes, what is recommended. Take the smaller size and customize it?
2) Is it rare to grind the toebox on a non-plug boot to get some extra room, or am I just being fed inaccurate information?
3) Are custom liners (one is from a company called Boot-Doc here) any good, or is it not recommended unless you buy a pure Strolz/Surefoot?
4) Good bootfitters in Austria?