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Some Basic Thoughts on Good Ski boot Fit

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The number one "sin" of skiers is skiing in boots that are ill-suited to their foot anatomy and/or far too big.  Most skiers are led far astray by the stock liner and how that liner makes the fit feel in the shell.  The primary goal must always be to find the shell that fits your foot best - and best means really tight and closely matching the contours and volume of your foot.  Once you find the shell that's the best match then move on to finding the right liner - a liner that will work with your foot, shell, and footbed of choice. 

Duly noted the time I was doing dilligent "try-ons", wearing each prospect around the store for 15-20 minutes but again, sans an experienced fitter. I was naive about the actual fitting process in terms of "shell fit" other than too big is no bueno.
I have a fairly narrow (98.4) low volume foot, narrow heel and slender calves. The problem I ran into with shop inventories is that 60% or more of the stock in suitable flex range are designed for "comfort" and wider feet. Most others were race fit (well "fitting") but 130ish to 150 in flex. A bit stiff for my intended use and weight at 139lbs.
Only after joining this forum did I learn the real importance of professional bootfitting and some consumer based things I could have done to mitigate a poor purchase choice. I didn't go cheap and buy the "bargain booster" selection as I feel like generally one gets what they pay for in most cases. I think the Sal Impact 100cs is a good boot, although yet to be determined by a fitter, perhaps just not good for me.
I've learned a ton from the experienced dialoguers in this thread alone. While I can't garuntee I won't have another boot debacle, I can say the info gleaned here has significantly reduced the chances.

Dan..I felt the same way with regard to the article. The words were "purdy"....the substance kind of wondered in the vein of tarot reading.... 8)   I hear what your saying tho. There are sooo many variables (it seems to me) in that each skier views their needs through their own prism of limited or substantial experience, while the fitter must extrapolate what the skier thinks they need vs what they really need, as viewed through the filter of the fitter. Quite a paradox.
One thing, I  will definately halt the fitting process if my fitter pulls out a stainless reciprocal saw...... :o


--- Quote from: byronm on December 30, 2012, 12:53:11 am ---I have a fairly narrow (98.4) low volume foot, narrow heel and slender calves. The problem I ran into with shop inventories is that 60% or more of the stock in suitable flex range are designed for "comfort" and wider feet. Most others were race fit (well "fitting") but 130ish to 150 in flex. A bit stiff for my intended use and weight at 139lbs.
--- End quote ---

Byron, I hate to say this, but your Impacts may be too wide for you.  They are a 100 mm last.  Did you do a shell fit when you tried them at the store? My rough guideline is about 1 or 2 mm wiggle room on either side at the forefoot, with the foot centered fore/aft in the shell, for a comfortable performance fit (less for a really snug performance fit).  BTW, in this regard I disagree with the Beckman guy, who states that 1 cm side-to-side is acceptable -- that is a massive gap, IMO. 

It used to be true that the only narrow-lasted boots available were 120 flex and higher.  But this has changed, and you can now get 98 mm boots down to 90 flex (lower for the Krypton boots).  I wouldn't rule out junior race boots either.  They used to be made with really crappy liners, but some of the current ones are using the same liners as in adult boots.  Eg. my wife has the Lange RS110SC, with the SC meaning "short cuff" -- this is listed on the Lange site as a junior race boot, but many women and smaller guys are buying them for their performance and fit.  They are identical in every way to the adult RS boots, including the liners, but just have a (slightly) shorter cuff and softer flex.  FYI, she is 5'7", 130 lbs, and has no trouble making that boot boogie.  To paraphrase Dan:  the geometry works.  In case you want to check that one out, they have a rather narrow heel pocket and slim cuff area for slender calves.  Might be an excellent fit for you if the Impacts are a no-go.

Cheers, and good luck with this. 


--- Quote from: dan.boisvert on December 29, 2012, 11:14:53 am ---I think it's a great example of what I see as the biggest problem with bootfitting, to be honest--namely that there are a ton of incredibly nice and very well-intentioned guys out there who each have their own take on the timing of when the patient should be bled relative to the mandatory leg amputation for patients with an ingrown toenail.  Guys doing the bootfitting equivalent of this get tons of recommendations from skiers who've never experienced anything better, and don't realize that the bootfitting equivalent of "modern medicine" already exists.

So, how do you find the really, really good ones?  I know the Harb-trained fitters are outstanding, and all use "modern medicine".  If I remember right, jbotti has spoken highly of Jim Schaffner at Start Haus in Truckee, and jbotti's had enough experience with Harb-trained guys that I'd consider him a qualified reviewer.  Aside from that?  I have no idea.  I've been through a couple of fitters who were on the super-highly-recommended list on other fora and magazines, and they were still practicing Civil War-era medicine.  I've also seen boots from a few others that were brought to my fitter to be fixed because they never skied right, and heard the explanations of what was wrong, and why.  I wouldn't go to any of those guys, either.  It's a really tough situation all around.

--- End quote ---

Dan,  would you mind elaborating a bit on what you said? I think it might be extremely helpful and enlightening for those of us who aren't savvy to this, just what you mean by "modern medicine" vs. 19th century butchery.  Specifically, what do they do wrt. pre-purchase assessment and boot selection, and then post-purchase modifications, that other less-knowledgeable bootfitters don't do? With this in our back pocket, it would help screen the bootfitters we encounter and get an idea of their ability.  And perhaps help us to self-evaluate (if possible) if a boot is a good choice for us or not, if the advice from the shop is lacking.

As a more general comment, I completely agree with you that a truly good boot fitter is a rare bird indeed.  I think that of all the stores I have visited to try on boots, or have my family try on, I have encountered perhaps only 3 or 4 guys who really knew what they were doing.  That's a pretty small percentage, considering that I'm talking about ~15+ stores and dozens of shop guys.  Or at least those 3 or 4 seemed to know their stuff -- from your comments above, I am wondering if this was even true.  Looking forward to your reply to shed some light on this....  Thanks!

Gary:'re right on target regarding shell's HUGE. we're all different but with the liner out, I want the sides of my bare fore foot just lightly touching the plastic (not buckled). I also want the heel to feel nice and snug, I don't want any instep pressure, I want the 2 lower buckles with a light push of my fingers to snug up the fit, I want the right stance, correct alignment, I want to feel balanced in my boot, centered over my arches.

I want a bootfitter that knows what I want and how to get there. So even though I'm not certified (maybe certifiable nuts) I know enough because of boot errors in the past from fitters and ski shops alike....what I do know is that I've done things to make my boots perform and fit better for me.

I believe having a basis of knowledge, being able to verbalize what you feel in the boot....all makes for that much closer to getting it right.



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