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Thread: Bootfitting [Rant]
12-17-2007, 12:09 PM #1Registered User
- Join Date
- Mar 2006
Long Post - be warned.
Not so much of a rant really, but I had a frustrating experience at the bootfitter yesterday and wanted some educated opinions.
Me: 210lbs, technically strong, agressive. I suck at almost all your typical mainstream sports, but I am a very good skier.
Everyday ski - Titan Pro
Others - Praxis 195, Bandit XXXX, CR Lab, GS & SL.
Family and Job mean I'm currently a 20 day a year skier. I have skied at W/B exclusively for 30 years.
I went to one of the local experts for bootfitting. I chose the shop based on good feedback locally and from TGR, plus they have a shop in town and on the hill. I went to the main shop in the city, thinking I would buy the boots and have the fitting tweaks done on hill.
I told the fitter I wanted a race boot, and was even considering plugs. I told him that if a plug boot was too stiff, i could have it softened, but that my understanding was that it was hard to stiffen a boot. I also said that all things being equal, I liked the red color of the Head Raptors.
The guy was great (apart from a bit of expected eye rolling at my mentioning the plug), and he and a colleague had a look at my foot. As expected, it was deemed to be about medium width, but they were caught off guard by the height. Apparently I have thick feet. I had not heard this before, but it was consistent with my previous experience with boots.
Every boot was first shell fit with my bare foot, but not in the typical toes to front/heel clearance method. It was heel to back, then careful examination of my foot in the shell. Apparently the 'traditional' shell fit method does not work.
The first boot they brought out was a Nordica Top Fuel. Not a race boot, but still high end. I asked what size and he dodged the question by telling me it was a 326mm bootsole. I was surprised, as my exisiting boots are a 301mm. Needless to say, the boots were huge.
We went on to some Head Raptors and some Dobermans, in a 'better' size (304mm) and I thought we were getting somewhere. He then told me that neither boot would work for me and that they would not guarantee the fit. He noted that I came for their reputation, that they fit national team members and to "trust him". He talked about how super close fitting boots were not ideal, and that feet needed to be secure in the heel and across the top, but should be allowed to flex for optimum performance. I agreed and told him I'd go with his recommendations
We ended up with what felt like a too big Falcon Race. It wasn't crazy big like some of the first ones, but it required a lot of buckling to get the secure feel I'm used to. I was worried about the liners packing out. Still, the fit was guaranteed so I was comfortable that if it didn't work, I'd be covered.
I was surprised when the fitter told me that my best option was to try another shop. He felt that the Falcons COULD be made to work, but it wasn't ideal and that there might be better boots around. I left feeling frustrated, but I appreciated the honesty.
So...what to do? Is there any accepted school of thought that puts people into 'big' boots? I told the guy that he was going against everything I knew about bootfitting (not a lot) and he smiled and said other bootfitters are getting it wrong.
The fact that he sent me away makes me feel that he definitely wasn't trying to make a sale by putting me in big boots that felt great in the shop.
WWMD? I know the other shop I'll go to, but I assume that I'll get a much more traditional approach. It will be impossible to compare.
12-17-2007, 12:18 PM #2
Sounds to me like they did you a service. The fact that they didn't try to force you into one of their boots is a good sign IMO.
12-17-2007, 12:21 PM #3
Was he a youngish guy with a French accent?Martha's just polishing the brass on the Titanic....
12-17-2007, 12:53 PM #4
He did the right thing by suggesting a different shop that may carry a boot that fits you better. It sounds like he's a good boot fitter.
12-17-2007, 12:58 PM #5
If the shop in question is the same shop I went to, then the bootfitter is out to lunch. The guy I got tried to fit me into a shell 2 sizes too big as well, saying fitting boots big was the way to go. I told him what I wanted and he said he wouldn't guarantee the fit if I went with a boot that he thought was too small (25 and my foot is a 8 1/2 to 9 street shoe). I walked out, went to another shop, and am now in a comfy size 25 boot (same boot he said wouldn't work) with a performance fit....
Last edited by milkman; 12-17-2007 at 01:02 PM.Martha's just polishing the brass on the Titanic....
12-17-2007, 01:06 PM #6
I can't get pass you saying you liked the red color of the head boots...who cares!
12-17-2007, 01:15 PM #7
I was a ski bootfitter for a pretty long time. Here's what I think about boots
The most important part of bootfitting is that the interior of the plastic shell matches the contours of your foot as much as possible. There are tons of ways to modify within the shell (stretch, grind, lift, soften ect) and stock liners will mold and stretch, but if you do not get a shell with a heel pocket, toebox and instep hight that is a relatively good match for your foot, you will have problems.
Footbeds are a must. Just get them.
As for a shell, you may have to mess with is a bit, but that very much depends on how much you pay attention to the shape of your shell.........and what route you go with the liner
Lost of people get a shorter length shell because they want lower volume in the heel and ankle. This is good because the boot will lock you down better, but bad becase you get black toenails and your skiing is affected if you go too small. You dont have to fuss with this if you are willing to shell out some $.
Foam injected boots are a lot better than people think if you want a snug fit but dont want to go the traditional "get a size small and make it work" route. The foam will conform to your foot better than other liners can, resulting in a better fit, and a stiffer flex than the boot would regularly have. It will also last longer than a regular liner would because foam does not break down as fast.
The downside (besides the $) is you need a guy who knows how to do a good foam, otherwise you're going to waste your money. Its all in the process. I know that most surefoot stores tend to do pretty good foams as its pretty much they're whole game. But you'll have to deal with their sleazy salesman attitude. It will run you about a grand, unless you can convince them you deserve pro price, then it'll be 700 (shell, liner, footbed). This is a lot, but foam liners are sick. I have a very high arch like you. Regular boots put my foot to sleep for 3 weeks, then they're fine. For you, this is a long break in period as you only ski 20 days. Thats why if I were you I might think about foam. I have foamed a lot of pros, and just good skiers, and they never went back. You can find good production liners, and heatmolded ones are good too, but if you want a really tight fit and dont want to sacrifice your toes, or more days fucking around customizing, foam (by the right guy) is the way to go.
12-17-2007, 01:25 PM #8worm turn
- Join Date
- Dec 2004
go to a different store
2nd a lot of what Shasti said...
having a thick foot just means you might need some grinding/footboard lowering- not a big deal.
if you could ski in a 301mm boot, than a 324mm boot is 2-3 sizes too big. period. sounds like the bootfitter is out to lunch. when a bootfitter tells you he doesn't have something for you, you sure as shit shouldn't buy anything.
Bode Miller has a sz 11 foot, and was skiing in a sz 8 Nordica shell- do you think he wanted his feet to flex in the boot?
go to a resort bootfitter w/ a long-established rep. get footbeds. demo the boots that the bootfitter recommends, and then communicate what you are feeling to him. try different models. purchase the one that is the closest to the shape of your foot, and then the bootfitter will grind/modify to eliminate pressure spots.
Foam liners are good, and some people pretty much need them to get in boot, but you probably just need a footbed, the right shell, and some grinding or liner mods.
if you want some info, check out bootfitters.com
12-17-2007, 09:41 PM #9
Some stores like to fit people a bit bigger then other stores do, The ideas might work for some people, and others can be taught to like the oversized/can flex the foot idea, but for most skiers it is not right for them. Might be right for a current technical skier, who is perfectly balanced front to back, but someone who is not, or who skis off the groomers it usually doesn't work.
shell fit with toes to the front is the standard way to fit (5-15mm), also checking that the feet are lightly touching the sides of the shell with the foot centered or just off a bit (0-3mm), and then the right footbed.
Sounds like you know what you like, I would hunt around to other stores and just get the staff to get you boots. If you run into a good fitter great.
Also ask some of the local racers who they use.
12-17-2007, 11:34 PM #10
As a boot fitter myself I have come up with these major rules - "3 F's"
1) FIT - It must fit great and it must fit in the shop
This means comfort and support as to help out the skier without butt
loads of work.
2) FUNCTION - This translates into the quality of the boot, buckles, liner,
power strap, etc. Wanting a "plug" boot means you want it STIFF
3) FASHION - Only for those who don't know how to ski so forget about rule
#3 and remember rules 1 & 2 are the most important
Unofficial rule by me - "All boots suck, you just need to find the one that sucks the least."
Welcome to boot fitting hell. If you are a charging son - of - a - gun
then find something worthwhile and consider an intuition if you have bigger volume feet, or some sort of comformable silicone or foam injected bad boy. A true "Plug" boot does not have anything but a thin liner in a narrow shell.
I would agree that they did you a service and you should keep looking since you are wanting to find that optimal weapon of choice. Don't look too long and hard as you may find the right thing by taking some time at another shop, getting a custom insole (quality damnit), and considering a custom liner. Be prepared to drop some coin.
Ever come out to UTAH - or was your experience here in the Beehive State?
12-22-2007, 10:26 PM #11
Plugs need a LOT of work, mine need anywhere from 4-10 fittings and touch ups to make them perfect. I don't see why everyone and their mother wants plugs all of a sudden. They're purely performance and near impossible to make comfortable. My feet are a mens 9.5 ladies 10 or so and I'm in a boot size mens 7 or 25.0/294mm. I also have heelspurs and multiple foot issues. When I got orthodics made this year they made a case study out of me and didn't charge because my feet were so fucked up.
Snowcovers generally a good call.
12-22-2007, 11:18 PM #12Registered User
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
- North Vancouver/Whistler
Put it this way. If it was Snowcovers they have a deservedly terrific reputation. Regardless of what shop it was, in the end it's your feet and you have to be satisfied.
To me, it actually doesn't sound like they're doing you a disservice.
12-23-2007, 11:47 AM #13Registered User
- Join Date
- Mar 2006
Any comments on George McConkey at McCoos?
Can Ski at Creekside is very convenient for me. The other good whistler bootfitters:
In the end, I don't I'll go far wrong with any of these guys.
12-25-2007, 03:24 PM #14Registered User
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
I worked at Wild Willies in Nesters and Creek a few years ago, who had a very good reputation in the past but it seemed a lot of the good guys had moved on. Caleb was the most experienced while I was there and moved to Summit in the Spring - worth giving them a call to see if he's still around. Grant should still be managing the Nesters shop and has been in the game for years.
Snowcovers was our standard place to send folk if we didn't have what they needed, very good reports from them. CanSki is very hit and miss, they have some good staff and some newbies. Same with Fanatykco although I did talk to a few guys there before I did a shop order on my boots because we didn't stock Lange 120s, the guy helping definitely knew his stuff.
12-25-2007, 03:38 PM #15Registered User
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
- North Vancouver/Whistler
Colpitts at Canski Creekside is the only consistent guy at any Can-ski to be trusted. vinnie, kevin and phil at Snowcovers are excellent. I am told that Kevin Kobayashi at Fanatykco is also excellent.
12-25-2007, 04:59 PM #16
I 2nd the custom foam/bed from Surefoot. 300+ days on the foam/footbeds, and my old Salomon shell is spent before the liners. I cooked the footbeds one night by way too hot of a heater ( Read: don't put them next to anything remotely hot), but the foam is the only thing that works for my spurs/bumps/6th toe. I stiffened up the boot with a WC booster, and it's so dialed. Not so stiff that one backseat landing is gonna sideline me for 4 days, but more then enough boot to push around 194 xxl's at speed. I'm 5'11, 200lbs with gear (boots, clothes)
If you are only skiing 20 days a year- I imagine that you'd want each day to be dialed, not screaming in pain from foot cramps/shin bang, ect.
Why mess around with anything but foam?
Current setup-Salomon Impact 10 with WC Booster, Surefoot foam and beds. Perfect setup for me.
I'd invest in a warm air dryer. My liners are starting to rip at the top (where the tounge meets the cuff) from taking the liners out everyday to dry.
Last edited by pointedem; 12-25-2007 at 05:08 PM.
12-25-2007, 05:02 PM #17
I haven't had too much pro boot fitting experience (as in done to me). I consider myself an amateur fitter, I'll help most people, and feel I do a good job, but the real unique or demanding situations I'll pass onto somebody more experienced, or to another shop. I find most average customers coming into the shop though, don't need a super intense boot fit, and there is usually a boot in the store that will fit (out of the box). I'll do some punching for basic work of course.
I just got new boots myself this year, went a size down, and they are hands down better than my 28's from previous seasons. Those things were swimming pools. I went with the Sally Impact Pro's (120 flex) I find them to be plenty of performance, and I have a fairly wide, higher volume foot, and so the boot works great. Had to give 'em a few blasts around the bunyons... but that's about it. Footbeds of course too.
All in all though, as for Vancouver area bootfitters, I hear Snowcovers, Surefoot, are some of the best."It's not that much fun when you can't see where you're going.... It's not that much fun when you're scared for your life"
-Jamie Pierre, (The Waiting Game)
12-25-2007, 07:19 PM #18Registered User
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
for racing i rock a nordica 150 plug, they are a size 8, my street shoe is a size 12
these boots fit my perfectly after only one fitting and full custom foot beds
that said, my feet are really narrow, it is hard to find a running shoe that is narrow enough to fit properlyPreserving farness, nearness presences nearness in nearing that farness
12-25-2007, 08:24 PM #19
2nded 3rded and 4thed for JC at Can ski Creekside, worked with and trained most of the best bootfitters in town. I also agreed that Snowcovers (excellent reputation) did you a favor by not shoving the wrong boot down your throat. Once again spam: if you really want to get your shit sorted take a trip to Fernie and go to Top Shelf Snowsports Bri and Donny will sort you out
12-25-2007, 08:48 PM #20
Spend the cash needed!
Get custom footbed
get foam injected liner!
get a boot air dryer/heater ( Will add years to your liner from not pulling them out every night.
The bad news!
A custom foam injection is gonna take time to break in ( and that can hurt). anywhere from 6-12 days depending on how the fit went!
Undo toe buckles when going up lifts to help circulation!
12-25-2007, 08:56 PM #21
Last edited by pointedem; 12-25-2007 at 09:00 PM.
12-25-2007, 09:05 PM #22
12-26-2007, 03:18 AM #23
All this talk is making me want to get some nice super close fit boots with injected liners. Could I get liners like that for my impact pros? Or are the OE ones going to be just fine? I heat molded them, it's Sally's top end liner too in that boot. I'm getting custom Kork footbeds too."It's not that much fun when you can't see where you're going.... It's not that much fun when you're scared for your life"
-Jamie Pierre, (The Waiting Game)
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