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Why YOU (yes, you) need a boot fitting!

volklgirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
Very few people have feet that fit nicely into properly sized ski boots. Every woman out there should treat herself to a boot fitting session with an oustanding boot fitter! You'll be AMAZED at the difference it makes in your skiing!! Even the snappiest ski won't work if your boots don't fit properly.

Women in particular tend to buy boots at least 1-2 sizes too big. This is partially because we are looking for "comfort" and partially because we tend to wear shoes that do really awful things to our feet (heels, sandals, etc.).

Check with your local high school or college race team to see who the racers and coach recommend for fitting....usually 1 or 2 names will pop up repeatedly.

To get the best service, call and make an appointment with that person. When you go, take a pair of shorts, the thinnest pair of ski socks you own (or even nylons), your custom footbeds if you have some, and your boots (or if you're planning to buy new, ask if they want you to bring your old boots). Plan on spending 2-3 hours.

Here's what to expect:
They should look at your nekkid feet and legs, then measure your feet with a Brannock device (the old shoe measury thing), while sitting and standing. At this point, they may recommend a stock or custom foobed to correct pronation (foot flattens and gets longer, and ankle rolls in) or supination (foot rolls to the outside). They should bring out a minimum of 3 prs of boots. If they don't pull out the liner and have you put your foot in just the plastic shell then shove their hands down the back of the boot, and maybe all around inside (shell fit you), go somewhere else. Proper shell fit is as follows: 1 "finger" or less for race fit, 1-1 1/2 "fingers" for performance fit, and 2 "fingers" for comfort fit. Anything bigger than that is too big! Then they should have you put your foot in just the liner, then put it all together. They should feel TIGHT but not painful!! Your longest toe should touch (but not be crammed into) the front of the boot.

They'll show you the correct sequence to buckle your boots for best fit (upper cuff buckles first, flex forward hard a couple times, retighten upper cuff buckles, then fasten the buckles over the foot) then have you hang out in them for a long time. Let them know if anything starts to hurt - be very specific about where and what type of pain it is (tingly, sharp, pressure, etc). They can fix most anything in the toe area, but be very concious of the fit near the heel and ankle. That area should be very snug. Keep in mind that most boots will 'pack out' and grow 1/2 to 1 full size as you ski in them. Keep one boot on one foot, then try another model on the other foot....change the one that doesn't feel the best....keep doing this with any other boots they bring you....until you find the one you like the best.

They should also look at your stance from the side to check forward lean and boot stiffness, and they may draw on your knees and put you on a canting machine to see if you're knock kneed or bow legged (that's why you'll want shorts). They may suggest stock or custom foot beds, heel lifts, or canting depending on what they find during your evaluation. Don't be shy about asking questions!!! This is your boot fitting!

If you're only looking to get your current boots fitted, they can pad loose areas, add heel lifts or custom footbeds, grind or stretch owie areas, soften the flex by removing the stiffening bolt/rivet or cutting the lower cuff, stiffen the flex by adding a bolt/rivet, adjust the cuff alignment, add cants if needed, and cut the upper cuff to relieve calf cramps.

You'll thank yourself when you end up with great fitting boots that help rather than hinder your skiing. :thumbsup:
 

volklgirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#2
As far as sizing, I forgot to mention that all the buckles on a properly sized boot should be on the first or second notch only when firmly buckled. This gives you some adjustment room as the liner packs out, or on those days when your foot sizing is just "off".

If more than one of the buckles are in the middle or last notch, it suggests that the boot is too big in general. If only 1 buckle is beyond the second notch, it suggests that the shape of the boot is not appropriate for the shape of your foot.

Oh, and it's easier to make a too-stiff boot softer or a too-small boot bigger than the other way around.
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#3
evo.com has some great info on ski boot lasts, as MarzNC noted in another thread. I thought I'd post it here, too, since it's something you should also consider when getting fitted for a ski boot:

Last
The length of your boot isn’t your only fit option. Like feet, every ski boot interior has a unique shape. Most manufacturers of alpine boots now make two or three distinct models or “lasts” to fit various types of feet. Generally, these lasts can be divided into narrow, medium and wide, and are based on the width of the forefoot measured on a slight diagonal across the metatarsal heads.

Narrow Last - Narrow lasted boots normally have a forefoot width of 97 mm to 98 mm, and are quite narrow through the midfoot as well. These boots are best for people with narrow and low volume feet.

Average Last - Average lasted boots have a forefoot width of around 100 mm (give or take a millimeter). These boots fit average feet well out of the box, and have a more relaxed fit through the midfoot and heel than narrow lasted boots.

Wide Last - Wide lasted boots are best suited to skiers with wider and higher volume feet, and typically have a forefoot width of between 102 mm and 106 mm.

If you know what width you normally take in a street shoe, you may be able to pick which of these forefoot models most closely matches your foot. An “A” or “B” width foot, for example, usually works best in a narrow lasted boot, while a “C” or “D” width normally fits an average last of around 100 mm. Skiers with an “E” or wider foot should look for a wider, 102 mm or wider last. As with boot lengths, the forefoot width is not an absolute standard among different boot manufacturers, and each has their own formula for determining other dimensions inside the shell, but this is a good general guideline.

Note: Traditionally, stiffer high performance boots were only available in narrower lasts, and expert skiers who happened to have wider feet were forced to simply endure the pain or work with a bootfitter to modify the boots before they could wear them. Beginner and learning skiers who needed a soft flexing boot often had no choice but to buy a wide “comfort” fit boot even if they had a very narrow and low volume foot. This is slowly changing, but expert skiers with very wide and high volume feet and new skiers with very narrow and low volume feet may still find a limited selection to choose from.

Irregularities in the shape of your foot, such as bunions, bone spurs, abnormally long toes or bony protrusions that are not “average” in size or location can also cause fit problems. These problems are often best handled by having an experienced bootfitter modify the boot to accommodate the problem area rather than buying the next larger size.

Boot manufacturers often build more than one model or flex using each last, so if you can find a boot that fits well but the flex isn’t right for you, look to see if it’s available in a softer or stiffer version.
 

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