• Women skiers, this is the place for you -- an online community without the male-orientation you'll find in conventional ski magazines and internet ski forums. At TheSkiDiva.com, you can connect with other women to talk about skiing in a way that you can relate to, about things that you find of interest. Be sure to join our community to participate (women only, please!). Registration is fast and simple. Just be sure to add webmaster@theskidiva.com to your address book so your registration activation emails won't be routed as spam. And please give careful consideration to your user name -- it will not be changed once your registration is confirmed.

Question: Help with boot suggestions - Tulip shaped foot

#1
Can you divas help me translate your great advice into something relevant for a man?
My DH is a reluctant skier who follows me and my 7yo up the hill. He's a beginner, and gets easily discouraged. I would like to get him some boots but I understand the importance of calling ahead to make sure they have his size in models that make sense for him, so he doesn't get cross-sold in to what they have on hand. He can ski about any green, but it's clear he needs a good boot to control his skis. He's *almost* at parallel turns. He is 50yo. 6'0 and usually 200 lbs - but 219 due to a year of covid lockdown inactivity/eating at home.

He has a tulip shaped foot. Fallen arches. Remarkably narrow in heel, ankle, calf. He probably needs a custom footbed, in a **narrow boot** with the bumps ground out significantly on either side of the metatarsal heads.
From you, I've learned we should find him a boot that fits his heel, ankle, instep and calf perfectly first.
From you, I've learned that with his extremely tulip-shaped foot, it "makes much more sense to punch the shell first, and then mold the liner into the punch" afterward, rather than the typical mold first, stretch/grind afterward order.

Here are some model suggestions from the skidiva forum with similar foot issues. Can you help me translate this in to Men's boot models?

Diva suggestions for female Tulip-shaped feet - aka wide or bunions at metatarsal heads and narrow elsewhere:
(These may be older models - taken from an older thread.)
  • Women's Atomic "B" line - w bumps ground out at metatarsal heads
  • Women's Technica Attiva line - w bumps ground out at metatarsal heads
  • Women's Nordica Speedmachine - w bumps ground out at metatarsal heads
  • Women's Lange race boots - w bumps ground out at metatarsal heads
  • Women's HEAD Dream boot - w bumps ground out at metatarsal heads
  • Women's Rossignol Pure or Elite - w bumps ground out at metatarsal heads
  • Avoid the soft Atomic Live Fit boots - too wide overall, in the rest of the foot, too springy to grind out
Are there good *male boot equivalents* that can take the double bump-out? (Again, I want to make sure there are several good alternatives in his size in stock when we go to a fitting, so he doesn't get "sold" into something not as appropriate."

Last issue: I think he has fallen arches. On the arch-measure machine he has a medium arch. And I think the amateur boot sales guy who measured his foot width - did him a disservice. He measured width at 115, but it's more like 108. Maybe less than 108 if his arch is properly supported. This 108 includes the metatarsal #1 bump. To include the metatarsal #5 you would have to use the calipers pretty diagonally, but then it diagonally measures 111. Mondo 28.5 (I think we ignore the bumps if they are going to get ground out and assume he is less than 108, right?
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#2
His foot sounds like mine...Atomic Hawk Prime. Then we blew out both forefoots for the square toe shape. That he may not need.

All your list is old, except the speedmachine.

Maybe someone can suggest a fitter where you live or where you ski the most.
 

edelweissmaedl

Certified Ski Diva
#3
Calling ahead isn't a bad idea, but I'll second @Jilly about finding a good boot fitter. I think you risk getting put in the 'next best thing' if it's not the right shop vs. limited inventory. Hopefully a good boot fitter would send you home before they sold you the wrong boot. A good shop will also be willing to order another boot into the store for you before settling.

Since your list is dated I'll throw in Salomon S/Pro...not sure if my DH has remarkably narrow heels, but he otherwise has a tulip shaped foot and only went back once to punch out one side in the area you mentioned. Inventory tends to get most depleted in the end of the spectrum sizes....like 22 for women. In a 27 or 28 he should be able to find quote a few options.
 
#4
+1 It makes a huge difference. Read the "Why you - yes, you! - need a bootfitter." Ask around - instructors, patrol, random skiers you meet on the lift line - and ask what shop has the best reputation for bootfitter, or which bootfitter has the best rep.

It sounds like he may be hard to fit. So be sure to get him started out right! You don't want to drop $500 on some boots this year that make things worse!

(And don't teach him. Urge him to get a few lessons. Trust us.)
 

scandium

Certified Ski Diva
#5
Go to a boot fitter if you can. You might want to have a look around other forums (skitalk/pugski comes to mind) where the overwhelming majority are male. I know a lot of them take their boot fit VERY seriously, and have likely addressed fit issues previously. I would take some of the sizing suggestions with a grain of salt as there are some very good skiers there who go for a very tight performance fit and are happy to have a lot of work done in order to achieve this - which will be very different from what your husband wants, I imagine!

If your husband is close to being intermediate it's a good time for lessons, especially if he's an adult learner. I insisted on it for my boyfriend as I didn't want him to pick up some of the bad habits I am trying to un-learn in my own skiing, and he was (slowly) accompanying me down blue runs by the third day as well as leaving me free to wander off all over the mountain during his lesson time so I wasn't stuck on the beginner slopes all day.
 
#6
You guys rock!! Yes we will definitely go through a fitter, but it would be nice to try out a few first.

We live in Los Angeles and had an appointment with the one bootfitter here - he did molded linings. That was the week that the world closed, back in March. Now that guy has closed up shop for good :( . The closest ski area is Big Bear, I think there is one bootfitter there. I called the shop, and they made it seem like I had to come in fast because they were almost out of various boots. I think we would both feel better if he could actually try a few on rather than just ordering what the fitter recommended. Is that silly? So it would be nice to have a few in mind and ask if they have them.
 

scandium

Certified Ski Diva
#7
I think going in with boots in mind is a bit dangerous, to be honest - sometimes what you have in mind turns out to be completely wrong for your foot, particularly if you have a difficult foot to fit. A decent fitter should never sell you something just because they have it in store. In fact, they should be willing to say if they don't have boots to fit you, and they should try you in more than one pair usually.
 
#8
Yup, find a bootfitter. Some may not be near ski resorts. We have two very good ski shops and the closest midAtlantic slopes are well over an hour and half away. Head on over to Ski talk/Pugski and inquire who may be in your area. There are some really knowledgeable folks over there.

I have difficult feet (very low instep, high arch, wider feet for a woman, narrow ankle, long lower leg but wide calf). I came out with the men's Lange RX120lv. Never would have imagined I would have left in that boot (a stiff low volume boot and a 120 flex). My fitter knew what he was doing tho. They have been amazing and really improved my skiing. I had a baby over the summer and am getting them worked on again on Friday. Most fitters will work with you free or low cost if you buy the boots from them. They don't want you out there in a bad boot and have you miserable and coming back for help again and again. Be open to brands, volume, flex, and any modifications that may be needed. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, our shop too has actually had higher demand and lower supply just because people want to get out there with their own gear and not rent.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
You guys rock!! Yes we will definitely go through a fitter, but it would be nice to try out a few first.

We live in Los Angeles and had an appointment with the one bootfitter here - he did molded linings. That was the week that the world closed, back in March. Now that guy has closed up shop for good :( . The closest ski area is Big Bear, I think there is one bootfitter there. I called the shop, and they made it seem like I had to come in fast because they were almost out of various boots. I think we would both feel better if he could actually try a few on rather than just ordering what the fitter recommended. Is that silly? So it would be nice to have a few in mind and ask if they have them.
There is much you do not yet know about boots and bootfitters.
Your experience in the past may have been with a boot seller, not a bootfitter.

The boot is a tool, the most important one you will buy, more important than the skis. It must fit your foot's shape very well in order for your foot and leg to be able to communicate orders to your skis. If there is any slop inside the boot, even if that slop is taken up by a cushy liner, your instructions to the ski gets absorbed. The plastic shell of the boot and how it aligns to your foot's 3-D shape is the important thing; foot and plastic shell must match.

A real bootfitter looks closely at your foot, it's length and width, plus its height over the forefoot/instep and the circumference of your ankle and heel (volume). That fitter will also check how far forward you can bend your lower leg at the ankle, which will interact with the boot's forward lean.

That real bootfitter knows the shell shapes of all the boots in the back room, and usually brings out three boots to put your foot into to see how the real fit works. The liner will be removed and your foot will go into the empty shell so the empty spaces behind the heel, to the sides of the forefoot, and above the instep can be seen and evaluated. How snug the area around the heel and ankle is especially important. Then the liner will be put back into the best fitting shell and you'll try it on and try to flex the boot. Talk with the bootfitter will be necessary to see how well you tolerate a good fit, since a good fit will be unexpectedly tight. You'll be asked how you ski as well. A very good bootfitter won't short change you here.

A boot seller won't be doing any of this, and simply will want to close the sale as fast as possible. If you suggest boots, the seller will bring them because the "customer is always right." Don't be that person, and don't let that seller put you in a boot that doesn't fit.

No general info about any boot given to the public by the manufacturer's marketing department, or given to you here on this forum, can ever replace this interaction between the bootfitter and your feet.

Get thee to a great bootfitter (hard to find), find that person using recommendations here, call and make an appt, and go knowing you'll be there for 2 hours or so. Take your ski socks with you, and wear pants that can be raised up to reveal your knees.

Boots cost a lot for a reason. Included in that cost is custom-fitting beyond what you know about now. Yes, all bootfitters can warm the liners and have you stand in them to mold the liners to your foot. But there's much more the bootfitter can do. If your feet have bulges that push out against the shell, this person can bulge the shell out to accommodate those anatomical bulges. If one foot is larger than the other, the fitter should put you in boots that fit the smaller foot and increase the size of the other boot. This is free. Actually, you've already paid for it. You can return to the shop after a week or two of skiing and ask your bootfitter for more of these modifications, and these should come for free.

Once the custom fitting is done, your feet will be very comfortable in unexpectedly snug-fitting boots.

Most buyers don't know any of this because they walk into the shop with a boot in mind and think cushioning comfort from the liner is the most important thing to focus on.

A good bootfitter is not a person hired to work the boot section part time after school and on weekends. A good bootfitter will not be working in a big box store. A good bootfitter took courses years ago to learn how to fit a boot, and has worked with thousands of feet. That bootfitter has tools bought over the years in the back room, which are used to custom-fit the shell to your foot. Many of those tools are owned by the bootfitter, not the shop.

Some of the best bootfitters work on racer kids' feet (and adult racers too) as well as recreational skiers' feet, in a shop that has a race section. Racers all need excellent bootfit. Shops with a race department usually carry significant stock. They should be able to fit all shapes of feet.

A good bootfitter will take time with you and want you to have the best fit possible. A good bootfitter will not profile you as a woman who wants a pretty color on the outside the boot and fur inside it. A good bootfitter will definitely remove the liners and do a shell-fit and ask you how you ski. And listen when you answer.

Best of luck boot-shopping. It can be fun. It will be eye-opening.
 
Last edited:
#12
You guys rock!! Yes we will definitely go through a fitter, but it would be nice to try out a few first.

We live in Los Angeles and had an appointment with the one bootfitter here - he did molded linings. That was the week that the world closed, back in March. Now that guy has closed up shop for good :( . The closest ski area is Big Bear, I think there is one bootfitter there. I called the shop, and they made it seem like I had to come in fast because they were almost out of various boots. I think we would both feel better if he could actually try a few on rather than just ordering what the fitter recommended. Is that silly? So it would be nice to have a few in mind and ask if they have them.
you got off lucky! That guy was an a$$! Despite his “great” recommendations, his nickname is the boot nazi! He put me in boots that were too big and, for 12 months, I kept going back and saying they were too big. He just shoved more crap underfoot until the warranty ran out and then told me there was nothing he could do for me! He claimed that the problem was my “hypermobility.” My problem is the exact opposite; I have bone inhibited dorsiflexion.

If she's skiing Big Bear then @mustski might be able to help.
There is nobody in BB worth seeing if he has difficult feet, and it sounds like he does. My suggestion would be to travel to either Mammoth or Reno.
Kevin at Footloose sports in Mammoth is very good. I can’t recall his last name. @skibum4ever @WaterGirl

I go to Bud Heishmann in Reno. Both links are below. Reno is still open for lodging and Mt. Rose is only 15 minutes up the mountain from Bud’s shop. Wherever you go, allow a couple of ski days to take care of any major problems. They happen and it’s just part of the process. A good bootfitter will solve big stuff right away but, once booots break in, there may still be some small stuff to fix.

Bud Heishmann

Kevin
 
#13
If we all sound like bad-tempered dictators, it's from years of experience. (A few years, in my case. Decades, in others'.)

A boot seller won't be doing any of this, and simply will want to close the sale as fast as possible. If you suggest boots, the seller will bring them because the "customer is always right." Don't be that person, and don't let that seller put you in a boot that doesn't fit.
i always listen to @liquidfeet , as well as many others here. When you've been here awhile, you'll come to recognize who is super-knowledgeable and really worth listening to. This page has a lot of great advice, but mostly the advice is "find a superb boot fitter."
 

Iwannaski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
If we all sound like bad-tempered dictators, it's from years of experience. (A few years, in my case. Decades, in others'.)



i always listen to @liquidfeet , as well as many others here. When you've been here awhile, you'll come to recognize who is super-knowledgeable and really worth listening to. This page has a lot of great advice, but mostly the advice is "find a superb boot fitter."
So, we have a similar challenge. Husband is taking this year off, because he tore his second Achilles last February and still wants to recover before returning to skiing. He hadn’t skied in about 15 years before this, so it will be a real return. (But he’s athletic, see also that he’s torn both Achilles’ tendons in the last ten years... ;) I’m fine, it’s fine, I don’t have ptsd from his recoveries...maybe.)

Here’s my question... we live in Wisconsin. I am insisting that he get boots fit before he returns to any slopes. He’s a men‘s size 14 (Mondo 32?) and has very narrow and slightly flat feet. Is Chicago our best boot fitting bet? I like our local ski shop, but I’ve not seen a bootfitter yet, just boot sellers. How do I find a good boot fitter? We’ll get him back onto the slopes and then travel, but I want confidence that he is in the best boot for his situation.
 
#15
@SnowHot ? @liquidfeet ? @Jilly ? @mustski ? @WaterGirl ?

Who else should we page? And try going to the Gear forum and looking for the bootfitter threads. Do you have a favorite place to ski?

(But he’s athletic, see also that he’s torn both Achilles’ tendons in the last ten years... ;) I’m fine, it’s fine, I don’t have ptsd from his recoveries...maybe.)
Girl, we hear you! And you are more than welcome to download some of those PTSD symptoms on us here. We all get it!
 

WaterGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#16
As others suggest, finding a boot fitter with selection is best. I have not used anyone in LA, I do work with Kevin @ Footloose, but he had knee surgery this summer, may want to check to see what his hours are, I did not see him last sunday when I was there. At this time Mammoth Lakes has a ban on short term rentals/ hotels due to the stay at home order, so @OleTimeRiverGuide may not be able to secure lodging. She may be better off going to Tahoe and lodging on the NV side and working with a boot fitter there.

I wanted to see where she skied and where she may have rented for her DH. For purposes of just seeing if there is something better for him to rent/ demo to use at local mountains in the mean time she may want to check out Sports LTD https://sports-ltd.shoplightspeed.com/ski/mens-boots/ or REI in Woodland Hills. Warning if you are pant/ jacket slut you may get lost in the $$$$ women's section at Sports LTD ;0
 

Iwannaski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#18
@SnowHot ? @liquidfeet ? @Jilly ? @mustski ? @WaterGirl ?

Who else should we page? And try going to the Gear forum and looking for the bootfitter threads. Do you have a favorite place to ski?



Girl, we hear you! And you are more than welcome to download some of those PTSD symptoms on us here. We all get it!
Thank you! @liquidfeet suggested I start a thread with our peculiar issue, so I did... I also informed DH that I was seeking “professional advice” and he would be expected to comply... LOL.

Luckily, I think he’s a little jealous that I’ve been getting to ski with the kids...so that should make it easy.
 
#20
Well now guys, kinda hard to tell how much you love this stuff! This is truly so helpful.

@liquidfeet - Thank you so much for that well written argument. It really hit the "You can't know what you don't know- but it's nice to get a glimpse" nail on the head. I will take it to heart.
@mustski - That guy did seem a bit dictator-like when I spoke with him on the phone. Thanks.

My head is spinning from all the possible places to look for a bootfitter. We are spending the next week in Big Bear, so we will have to rent him something. (Rentals seem like a situation where boot recommendations may still help a lot.) There is this guy in Big Bear-- anyone know how he is?
Jim Morris | America's Best Bootfitters (Goldsmiths)

Mammoth is 5+hrs, Tahoe/Reno is 8+hrs, but damn, who wouldn't want to hang out for a coupe hours with someone named SnowHot or Philpug? If those are just screen names don't disabuse me of the idea --riverguides are often known only by names like "Goat head" and "Firestarter."

Mammoth and Tahoe are too far for day trips but Big Bear can be done in a day, during covid restrictions... so that's going to be most of the season.
Hopefully in March we will go to Utah. Is it Alta or Deer Valley? The one that is skiers only - no snowboards. Do you think Utah is too far from home to visit a bootfitter? We probably would not visit there every year after he got the boots. Maybe also it's a place to try some demos...

@WaterGirl - Sports Ltd seems awesome if they actually demo a big array of those boots... but they are the opposite direction. I'm not sure we will make it there before this trip. I will check them out though.