Time for new boots?

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Time for new boots?

Postby davidwh_us@yahoo.com » Tue Mar 07, 2006 6:20 pm

Just how much should well-fitting boots hurt?
I like my boots snug. No, tight. Ratcheted all the way down on the right foot and next-to-tightest on the left (I'm a podiatric hermaphrodite or something). I try to buckle them more loosely, but they just don't work. When they're at less than the tightest setting, they feel as if they're gripping me up the shin, not around the foot, and I just can't ski well. I don't mind: I unbuckle at least the right boot for the lift. But after a long, hard run, my feet are killing me and I have to stop and unbuckle and rest. I have Surefoot orthotics in them with a felt volume-filler, and they perform well. Is it time to bite the bullet and shop for boots that both work and don't squeeze my feet into knots? Or I do just have weird, wide but low-volume feet, and have to live with it?
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Re: Time for new boots?

Postby Admin » Tue Mar 07, 2006 6:23 pm

davidwh_us@yahoo.com wrote:(I'm a podiatric hermaphrodite or something)


That's somewhere near the top of the "phrases I never thought I'd see" list.
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Re: Time for new boots?

Postby lookn4powder » Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:59 pm

davidwh_us@yahoo.com wrote:Just how much should well-fitting boots hurt?
I like my boots snug. No, tight. ... Is it time to bite the bullet and shop for boots that both work and don't squeeze my feet into knots? Or I do just have weird, wide but low-volume feet, and have to live with it?


I feel your pain!

High performance boots can be very comfortable. My last pair of boots (San Marco TR2 boots, cork footbed, silicone liners) were the most comfortable footgear I've ever owned--even more so than most of my shoes. Although I have a hard to fit foot (narrow, low volume), those puppies were precise and high performance. So, comfort and performance can be achieved simultaneously.

But having recently fit myself with new downhill and AT boots, I am reminded that a good fit is difficult to attain for those of us who do not have the usual D-width foot. A good, patient boot fitter is essential, and even then, fits may require several on-snow tests to perfect. (Of course, every shop claims to have expert boot fitters, but my experiences prove otherwise.) Ask around with the ski patrol and instructors for recommendations. Also, you should shop at the beginning of the season when shops have their largest inventory--this is particularly important for skiers with extra-small or large feet.

Some fit aids, like silicon liners, have diasppeared from the market. But the thermofit liners seem to work fairly well. But for low-volume feet, you may benefit by adding a custom tongue (if they are still available). A custom tongue will more efficiently push your foot into the heel pocket and reduce your need for tight buckles.

Good luck!
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re: Time for new boots?

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:39 pm

I have a normal shaped foot, below average volume, and very thin ankles. I always unbuckle the boots when riding lifts to minimize compacting the liners.

I have been in Lange boots since 1981 as they had a reputation for being good for low volume feet. For the 1981 XLS I had the lower volume XLR liner plus the felt inserts.

Next boot Lange X9 in 1992 fit perfect out of the box and needed no inserts. It also had a power strap, which was a big help for those of us with thin ankles.

I ordered the next boot Lange Banshee in 2001 by proform. Lange had moved to a more medium volume since the 90's, so Footloose in Mammoth molded hard plastic inserts for the tongue and heel pocket to take up some ankle volume.

I have had the cork Superfeet custom orthotics since 1981. Still going strong after ~600 days of use. I have been told by some other skiers that my getting ~250 days out of a pair of boots is pretty good.
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re: Time for new boots?

Postby skierhj » Sat Mar 11, 2006 12:18 am

The average boot liner is pretty well packed out by 200 days on them. Much over that the boots tend to be shot. lange still makes several low volume boots but most stores stock their medium fit because it is still a lower volume than almost every other boot. Remember that in the shop the boot is brand new and the liner hasn't packed out at all yet. Make sure they are tight enough that they will still fit after some serious ski time
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re: Time for new boots?

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Mar 15, 2006 1:51 pm

Any boot being considerd from purchase should be shell tested. Remove the liner, put your foot in so your toes barely touch, then there should be 2 fingers space behind your heel, somewhat less for a "race fit."

Some people say that if the ski shop tech doesn't routinely do a shell test, you should presume incompetence and go find another shop.
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re: Time for new boots?

Postby skierhj » Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:39 pm

Good call on the shell fit. Always have the tech shell fit you. If they don't they may not know give you a good fit.
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re: Time for new boots?

Postby davidwh_us@yahoo.com » Sat Mar 18, 2006 2:43 pm

Thanks for the input, folks. My current boots went through the fingers fit test, and were from a highly recommended shop (a competing merchant in the same town sent me there, no less). But I'm convinced they don't fit. The fitter, I think, heard me complain of looseness in the model I'd originally chosen, and simply chose a narrower boot. Narrowness wasn't the issue, nor was length. The issue was, and is, volume. My foot rests too far down in the boot, so that the boot doesn't bend at my ankle, but a bit up the shin. I ratchet down the instep buckle, and the fit works, but one good, hard run down a large mountain and it's unbearable. Is there any hope for filling up that volume so that I can buckle a little less tightly, or are the boots simply too narrow?
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re: Time for new boots?

Postby riverc0il » Sat Mar 18, 2006 3:55 pm

if you can buckle a boot "all the way down" (which i assume to mean the highest buckle slot), the boot is either way too packed out or wasn't fitted right. definitely time for new boots! when i got my most recent boots fitted, it was snug buckled at the first hook and way too tight buckled at the second. plenty of room for these babies to pack out.
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Re: re: Time for new boots?

Postby riverc0il » Sat Mar 18, 2006 3:57 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:Some people say that if the ski shop tech doesn't routinely do a shell test, you should presume incompetence and go find another shop.

i agree. i would walk out of a shop if they didn't shell fit every boot they had me try on. especially when showing different brands even if they are the same size.
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re: Time for new boots?

Postby davidwh_us@yahoo.com » Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:37 pm

To conclude ...
I went boot shopping, hoping to save by buying in the spring, getting a few weeks' worth of use before summer sets in, and getting all the tweaking done now so I'd be set to ski come December. Inventory was short, however. My bootfitter agreed my old Rossignols' liners were pretty far gone and the shell was slightly too big and probably too stiff. He said some new custom orthos and a liner would buy another season or two. He also thought a Lange Comp 100 would work ? nice and responsive, but I'm not a racer and am pretty small ? but alas, had none in my size. Later, he had me try on a women's Lange in my size, saying it's similar enough to the men's model to get an idea of the fit. Snug! Too snug in the toes, probably too snug to be tweaked, I guessed, and I'm going to assume Lange makes the women's model a little smaller in that area. I settled on a Tecnica that's being discontinued, and he heated the hot-fit liners. They felt great. Snug all around, and an amazing fit on the ankles, instep, and calf. Unfortunately, they proved, in a day on the hill, to be a bit loose in the heel of one foot, the one that always gives me trouble. I loved the flex, though. It felt as if my energy went into the ski, not into flexing the boot. (Maybe that's just because it came closer to fitting than my old boots). But that was just too much volume to fill up with bootfitter magic. I had the instep buckle tightened to the second tightest notch ? not a good sign on out-of-the-box boots. He took them back for store credit ? my suggestion; he was ready to re-up my credit card - so I'm committed to new boots in the fall. I'm thinking the Comp 100 or whatever Lange will call it then, though I'm going to try on lots. Bottom line: Today's boots are going to work much better than my 8-year-old shoes, and I'm looking forward to it.
Thanks everyone for your advice.
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re: Time for new boots?

Postby hayduke » Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:00 pm

there is no way that a good bootfitter would have you choosing between a technica----WIDE------and a lange--------Narrow.I think you need better advice. I am sure there are some really good bootfitters in the northeast. they will actually save you pain, time, and money.
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re: Time for new boots?

Postby BigSpencer » Sun Sep 10, 2006 1:01 am

Hi David,
Agree with hayduke...and imho, if you have to buckle down more than halfway...it sounds like you can either go down a shellsize or try a different boot(volume-wise) altogether.

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