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Tiny little feet: searching for 22.5s

MontanaMom

Certified Ski Diva
#1
So I thought I was a 23.5, I've even skied in a 24 that the rental place stuck me in! But after reading a different forum about how boots should fit the first day, and going to try on 5-6 different 23.5s I think I've discovered I'm really a 22.5-23.

So history: I bought used boots. I think they're getting packed out, the ankle pocket isn't tight enough at all. I can lift my foot 3/4-1" before my ski moves. I tighten them down as tight as they'll go but there is still room. Here and there the rear of my ski will fish tail and there's just slop In my boot around the ankle. Three days of blue/black runs and my knees HURT. So, I'm on a mission.for new boots.

Local (within 2 hours) stores don't have any 22.5s except 1.

They have 1 Head Adjust Edge 80 W in a 22.

The other is a Head Raptor 90 jr race boot in a 22.5.

Anyone have experience with either boot? Anyone have tips or suggestions?

Can I just wear thicker socks and go in a 23.5? My current boots feel snug initially but I was wearing a wool blend sock that was pretty big and they've said I shouldn't.do that with new boots.

I haven't tried these on yet, I'm headed there now. Just wanting advice before I get to the shop. It might take me a while to find the right boot. I can order online and have the local shop do the fitting work, but who gets a good fit on the first boot?

I loved the k2 mind bender but it was way too roomy everywhere but the heel. It felt great in the heel.

How do I know how much of my ski progress is equipment and how much is technique? I seemed to have done better on harder black runs a year ago then I did on easier blacks this year. I'm wanting to believe I've out skied my gear but maybe that's wishful thinking. I'm not horrible, sometimes I'm working to get out of the back seat, I still use my body to turn, sometimes I really like to ski like I'm surfing. Im still not good at bumps.
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#2
I would tend to maybe shy away from a junior race boot unless you *really* need it for a narrow foot, only because they can be clunky and cold and tend not to have good traction for walking. But if they work for you they can be a great solution. Do you know your foot width and volume, or has a shop recommended a last size?

I would definitely try to get to a shop to get measured and see if they can point you toward specific boots.

If you know what sort of flex and width you need and you have the means to do it, you could order a few boots from someplace like Evo.com, which seems to have a good selection of 22.5s, and return whatever doesn't work. It's not an ideal approach, but it might get you into something that, while perhaps not perfect, is much better than what it sounds like you're in now, and you can find some good deals this time of the season.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
So I thought I was a 23.5, I've even skied in a 24 that the rental place stuck me in! But after reading a different forum about how boots should fit the first day, and going to try on 5-6 different 23.5s I think I've discovered I'm really a 22.5-23.

So history: I bought used boots. I think they're getting packed out, the ankle pocket isn't tight enough at all. I can lift my foot 3/4-1" before my ski moves. I tighten them down as tight as they'll go but there is still room. Here and there the rear of my ski will fish tail and there's just slop In my boot around the ankle. Three days of blue/black runs and my knees HURT. So, I'm on a mission.for new boots.

Local (within 2 hours) stores don't have any 22.5s except 1.

They have 1 Head Adjust Edge 80 W in a 22.

The other is a Head Raptor 90 jr race boot in a 22.5.

Anyone have experience with either boot? Anyone have tips or suggestions?

Can I just wear thicker socks and go in a 23.5? My current boots feel snug initially but I was wearing a wool blend sock that was pretty big and they've said I shouldn't.do that with new boots.

I haven't tried these on yet, I'm headed there now. Just wanting advice before I get to the shop. It might take me a while to find the right boot. I can order online and have the local shop do the fitting work, but who gets a good fit on the first boot?

I loved the k2 mind bender but it was way too roomy everywhere but the heel. It felt great in the heel.

How do I know how much of my ski progress is equipment and how much is technique? I seemed to have done better on harder black runs a year ago then I did on easier blacks this year. I'm wanting to believe I've out skied my gear but maybe that's wishful thinking. I'm not horrible, sometimes I'm working to get out of the back seat, I still use my body to turn, sometimes I really like to ski like I'm surfing. Im still not good at bumps.
Listen to Otto on Ski Talk. Trust me. I have been round and round with trying to make boots with too much volume work for my 22.5 feet that are impossibly narrow. Hopefully the shop you are going to today will measure not just the length, but the width and the instep to determine what size and boot(s) would be a good choice for you.

Do NOT rely on socks to take up volume as a long-term solution. If they carry you through for the time being, that's fine. Hopefully the shop you go to won't sell you the closest fit that really isn't a good fit, but will instead pad things up a bit to help in the interim.

Yes, a lot of technique issues can be attributed to sloppy boots. I have I believe 8 pair of 22.5 boots in my basement that are all "low-volume" but not low-volume enough! Too bad you aren't closer, you could come shop my basement. Some of them are barely worn. I can't just send some out or sell them because they've all had canting work done, so they have been specialized to my alignment issues.

I'm now in a 92 last junior race boot that I still have to use aftermarket liners in for it to fit snugly. But the improvements I've made in my skiing since getting into these boots is remarkable.

Best of luck to you! I feel your frustration!
 

edelweissmaedl

Certified Ski Diva
#5
Can you wait until Aug/Sept when they’ll have the most inventory? 22.5 can be a tough size to find, but we don’t know much else about your foot. It’s taken me 3 boots in 22.5 to get to a pair that gives me control. The first pair packed out so fast that I could basically twist my whole ankle inside the boot and had shims added all over them to try and make it through an impending trip, by day 3 my ankle was starting to twist again. What I‘m trying to say is if the boot is too big it will always be too big.
Do you have any trips planned this season or next year somewhere where they might have more selection?
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#6
I take a 22.5 boot, too, and I've been very happy in Dalbello Chakras. They have a moldable interior liner, which I really like. Never had a bad day in them, even in the very beginning.

I guess what I'm thinking is don't settle on a boot just because it's what they have in the shop. You'll be sorry down the road. And like @contesstant said, don't rely on socks to take up the volume for you, either.
 

MontanaMom

Certified Ski Diva
#7
So now I'm wondering if I'm even really a 22.5, their measure rug here says I'm a 23 and ky left is slightly longer, but who knows it's a rug not a real measure tool. These are old ass boots to only be 200 bucks off.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
So now I'm wondering if I'm even really a 22.5, their measure rug here says I'm a 23 and ky left is slightly longer, but who knows it's a rug not a real measure tool. These are old ass boots to only be 200 bucks off.
If you measure a 23, you absolutely should look at getting into a 22.5 boot. Most of us are in shells at least one size smaller than what we measure for a reason. I measure a 23.5. You can make room in a boot, but you can't take up space in a boot.

22 and 22.5 are the same size, provided they are a true 22.5. A lot of manufacturers sell a 23.5 boot with a 22.5 liner and call it a 22.5.
 
#9
you could order a few boots from someplace like Evo.com, which seems to have a good selection of 22.5s, and return whatever doesn't work. It's not an ideal approach, but it might get you into something that, while perhaps not perfect, is much better than what it sounds like you're in now, and you can find some good deals this time of the season.
I just learned about this strategy from my bootfitter, who is great but only fits and doesn't sell boots. He has clients that order a few pairs from Backcountry.com, which apparently has a very good return policy, then they bring him all the boots and have him pick what works best.
 

MontanaMom

Certified Ski Diva
#10
Spoke with a guy at an actual ski only shop in a town about an hour and 45 away. He says they fit my local hill's ski team, lol. He also said to absolutely not do a 9 year old jr racing boot. He has nothing in stock but of he could see my feet he could tell me what to get. Asked if they measures me or shell fit me (no) so I'm finally hopeful on my boot search!!!
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
Spoke with a guy at an actual ski only shop in a town about an hour and 45 away. He says they fit my local hill's ski team, lol. He also said to absolutely not do a 9 year old jr racing boot. He has nothing in stock but of he could see my feet he could tell me what to get. Asked if they measures me or shell fit me (no) so I'm finally hopeful on my boot search!!!
Where exactly are you? Anywhere near Whitefish?
 

tinymoose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
If you measure a 23, you absolutely should look at getting into a 22.5 boot. Most of us are in shells at least one size smaller than what we measure for a reason. I measure a 23.5. You can make room in a boot, but you can't take up space in a boot.

22 and 22.5 are the same size, provided they are a true 22.5. A lot of manufacturers sell a 23.5 boot with a 22.5 liner and call it a 22.5.
This. I was gonna ask if you've been measured using a Brannock device, and if you've been shell fit (aka sans liner how much room is behind your heel and the shell). I'm a 23 on my smaller foot and a 23.5 on my larger foot. I wear a 7 in street shoes, 7.5 in running shoes. I'm currently in 22.5 Dalbello Chakras. They're shorter than a lot of 22.5 boots as far as the boot sole length (BSL) so we had to entirely grind out the plastic filler block in the toe area as well as drop/grind down the footboard in both boots, as well as punch out the toes on my larger foot to get them to where I'm not in pain when I ski. They're a very snug fit. I had to do all this b/c low volume feet and I need a shorter cuff so I can flex the boot (smaller size = shorter cuff).

You could be having slop b/c the boots are just not low volume enough, or they could be sloppy b/c too big and you need to go down to 22.5, or some combo of both.
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
Just to add an aside to @tinymoose 's great info, I am always baffled by the charts that purport to correlate street shoe size with mondo-point (alpine ski boot) sizing. According to most charts, I could be in a 28.5. I can't even imagine a boot that size staying on my feet, much less fitting properly.

If you try on boots the first step is usually to pull the liners out, put your feet in the shell so that your toes are just touching the front of the boot, and then see how much room is between your heel and the back of the shell. Two fingers is (IIRK) a "comfort" (i.e., non-precision and possibly sloppy) fit. Roughly one finger width is supposed to be a performance fit.
 
#14
Working with a bootfitter (one who really fits the boots, not looks at your feet on the rug) will save you money in the long term. We have a thread here called "Why you - yes, you - need a bootfitter." I would read that and everything else you can read about it. You could buy bargains that are "almost" right and end up like @contesstant with a bunch of extras in your basement.

It's such a huge investment, skiing. I couldn't have done it while I still had a kid at home (or worse, in college!). I hope you can find boots that work! It makes it all so much better. In year 3 I got my boots worked on with a real bootfitter, and it's made such a difference.
 
#15
I have a 22.5 Dalbello Kyra 95 which works well for me. It's a fairly wide boot.

I see it for sale at Level Nine Sports in your size.

My first boots were 24.5! Even as a beginner I realized that my foot was moving inside the boot. I then skied in 23.5 boots for years.

I am very pleased to finally be in the right size boot.
Screenshot_20210226-162128.png
 

SMichael08

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
Not too long ago I took over another thread with my tiny feet issues and boot questions. 21.5 here, so I feel you and am even a bit jealous because you actually have comparatively more options as a 22.5 (the difference between being the smallest adult size and not quite being an adult size). I'll try to share what I learned in case that's useful.

I also had to go the order-online-and-return route because nobody local had anything other than kids boots in my size. It worked fairly well, though I would recommend paying close attention to return policies and which sites provide discounted return labels (who knew standard FedEx shipping on a box of ski boots would be ~$50?!) . And I am still waiting for a couple refunds to hit my credit card statement, so it's of course not the most ideal to go about this.

Others shared some great resources with me including:
  • this podcast on ski boots from Blister; there is also a recent 5th episode added
  • this women's focused store in Colorado; I called and they were kind enough to take nearly 20 minutes on the phone with me to offer some suggestions and guidance based on my challenges looking for a tiny boot
I also found this YouTube channel to be informative.

It sounds like you have access to a decent boot fitter willing to work with you. I would definitely recommend starting by having them measure your foot. Everything: length, width, and instep. Then get their recommendations on what type of boot you want to be looking for (e.g., low volume, narrow, etc.) and any suggested boots to try.

For instance, while my foot is very small length-wise, and average-somewhat narrow width-wise, I have incredibly high arches and instep. For me, I found many boots that fit in the last and the length were crushing the top of my foot; I also personally had a hard time with the 3-buckle boots as that middle buckle cut in right at the highest point on my foot. But I've read where others with a high instep prefer them. So I share this because there's often a great deal of focus on length and width, but if you happen to have a high instep, that may be what makes or breaks some boots. I also still find it a bit confusing to sort out when a boot is described as "low volume" what that means with regard to instep fit. I would much rather boots be described in terms of length, width and height in clear terms. Others may correct this, but I've found that low- or high-volume is not necessarily correlated with how tall or thick a foot the boot can accommodate.

Also keep in mind that the listed last for a boot is the width for a size 26. As you size up or down in that model boot, the boot will get wider or narrower by roughly 2mm. So a 100 last boot, will actually be ~ 92mm last in a size 22.5.

Keep in mind that flex is sort of a general guide. I learned through this process that flex is not standard across boots. It tells you how boots in a particular line stack up against once another (e.g., the Dalbello Chakras in a 70 vs 90 flex), but not how boots across brands or even different models within the same brand compare to one another; a 90 in one could be the equivalent of a 100 in another. I also found that at my size, boots in the same line can feel very differently at different flexes. Not sure why, but I tried a couple boots in the same model and size with different flexes and found they fit my foot totally differently. For example, I tried some Dalbello DRS race boots in a 21.5 and 70 flex; the boot was way too soft, but the ankle/heel pocket fit great. If I could have punched out the toes and stiffened the boot up enough, that would have been my winner. So I thought I'd try it in a 90 flex. Nope. That one crushed my instep.

Which also brings me to: talk to your bootfitter about what can be adjusted and what can't. As others have stated, it's easier to create space in a too-snug boot than to make a too-loose boot fit. There are also differences in trying to stiffen or relax a boot's flex. What I heard pretty consistently, which may not be an issue for you, is that there's not much to be done over the instep/top of the foot. If a boot causes pain there, it's best to move on. The gals at Outdoor Divas also suggested that the ankle/heel security was most important, and that if I felt like my foot was secure there, they weren't as worried about some extra length at the end (because in theory, if my ankle is held tight, my foot's not going to slide too far forward anyway).

I did ultimately go with a race boot. I had narrowed it down to a Nordica Dorbermann Junior Race boot in a 90 flex, which was technically a 22.5 shell with a 21.5 liner or a Lange RS (Race Boot) in a 90 flex and short-cuff model, which was a true 21.5 shell. I went with the Langes, and I haven't actually skied them yet, but if I hate them, I at least know what else I might try in the future (the Dobermanns) and will have plenty more knowledge starting the journey than I did this time around.

Best of luck to you and please keep us updated on what you find works for you!
 

MontanaMom

Certified Ski Diva
#19
Thank you so much for all of the advice!! Hopefully.this helps in making a decision soon.

I cant go to the new boot shop this weekend, so I'll go on Wednesday (kid's home school day thanks to covid) and see how things go.

He's going to measure my feet and shell fit me in the wrong size just to get an idea of what size I really need and will order a boot based on that. Said his manufacturers still have the smaller sizes in stock.
 

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