Nervous, need advice, please help if you've got a second...

Discussion in 'Ski Boot Discussion by America's Best Bootfitters' started by Ryan Dietrich, Aug 30, 2018.

  1. Ryan Dietrich

    Ryan Dietrich Booting up Skier

    Joined:
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    Posts:
    23
    I ski a lot (I moved to Utah 5 years ago, and average between 60-90 days a season). I need help figuring out what boots I should buy to replace my current ancient ones.

    My boots are quite old given the number of days I ski (*cough*... 8 years old *cough*). The insides of my ankles are rubbing raw, and they hurt a ton at the end of last season. They are nothing special, just some Nordica "supercharger" boots. They have terrible flex ratings for my ability (they probably hold me back a bit), and they're not even that comfortable, actually, they never were, I just have never really cared, I love to ski so much that I am willing to put up with a lot just to be out there.

    I know NOTHING about boots. I don't know the styles of technology, what makes a boot more expensive, and where to even go to find a good review (I don't trust most skiing websites, as I fear they are just paid off by various manufacturers).

    I don't know how much I should spend, I don't know how they're really supposed to feel to be completely honest (I literally have been skiing for 30+ years, and I have just put on anything that "fit" and just moved on). My current boots were bought at REI, the guy just said "these will work" when I told him what kind of terrain I skied, given I know nothing I just went with them. They have worked out just fine, but I feel like I could do a better job this time around.

    I need to buy new boots for the upcoming ski season, and I'm a bit scared because I am flat out ignorant on this subject.

    1. I don't want to get ripped off. Where can I get the best deal?
    2. I want to get something that will last. My nordicas are tanks, but is that even a good boot?
    3. I want to get something that will help me, if at all possible, ski better, or longer (I am the type that skips lunch, and goes to the bathroom before the lifts spin so I can ski the entire day without a break).
    4. I would like to learn about what makes a good boot, and what doesn't and why.
    5. I would like to understand the most important things I should be looking for when it comes to a boot, for beginner / intermediate / advanced skiers.
    6. I would love to understand what the latest "tech" or designs that I should keep an eye on (I heard DPS is going to make boots soon and they swear their boots are going to revolutionize the industry).
    7. I would like to understand how to know when a boot is "done" beyond "holy crap, my feet are killing me"
    8. I would like to understand why boot manufacturers don't put better "soles" in their boots and why I have to buy one separately.
    9. I would like to understand materials/weight. My boots are freaking heavy. Do they have to be? Does anyone make a lighter boot so my knees don't hurt so much when riding on a lift with no support thingy?
    10. I would like to know, really, who the best brands are, not just who makes the most expensive, but year in, year out who is the best manufacturers of ski boots.
    11. I am scared that new boots may mean I may have to get my bindings adjusted on my precious skis, how can I avoid that calamity?

    Thank you in advance for any and all advice/information on this topic.

    -Ryan Dietrich
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
  2. David Chaus

    David Chaus Winter....winter is calling, can you hear it? Skier

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    Stanwood, WA
    Okaaaayyyyyy...(cracking knuckles)...

    Ryan, here’s a link where you can research boots and find some answers to your questions. https://www.bootfitters.com

    Now, there is no brand that is way better than another brand. Do not choose a boot based on reviews. Instead find a good bootfitter. The shops listed in the link I posted is a good starting place. Also talk to people you may know about bootfitters. If none of them knows what you’re talking about, get new friends. Others here may offer some bootfitter recommendations in your area. You’re in Utah, should be easy, there are a lot of good ski shops around.

    Your feet and your feet alone will be the best guide to what boots you should consider. A competent boot fitter will help you determine this. There are boots that are easier to heat or pressure mold, but all boots can be heated, molded, grinded, punched and shaped to fit your feet. That’s the bootfitter’s job.

    As far as getting a deal, stop right there. You are not looking for deals. You are looking for a boot that fits, that doesn’t hurt, that allows you to ski better. A boot that fits is a boot that will last, and will be money well spent.
     
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  3. Eric267

    Eric267 Gettin after it Skier

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    Location:
    Kings Beach
    I'm a big fan of k2 boots these days. Recon-pinnacle-spyne.

    Don't trust the guy at rei.. At very least go to a bootfitter and have him measure your foot so you know your exact length and (width) last. Guessing you will want something 120-140 flex brand dependent

    Yes boots come with crappy liners that pack out after 10-15 days of hard skiing.. If that!
    Budget at least for a intuition or zip fit liner + footbed. Best off pulling the stock liner and just throwing it away from the get go.

    Boots $450-750 or so
    Liner $150-250
    Footbed $50-150

    You will likely get a lot of replies and good advice. Some people are fanitical about their boots.
     
  4. Near Nyquist

    Near Nyquist At the edge of instability Skier

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    This is pretty simple

    1. Make Appointment with Matt Schiller at park city boot room
    2. Tell him all of the above
    3. Hand him your wallet
    4. Enjoy properly fitted boots for your anatomy

    You ski more than most indivduals and you deserve a correctly fitted boot

    You can try to do this yourself but I haven't seen a successful internet haircut yet and I am bald !!!
     
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  5. Thread Starter
    TS
    Ryan Dietrich

    Ryan Dietrich Booting up Skier

    Joined:
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    I live in a neighborhood where half the people have never skied and have lived in Utah all their lives. One by one they are falling to my endless levels of passion for skiing. One by one they are getting hooked. My local ski shop is fine, and I love to support them as they support my daughters ski team, but, yeah, I do kind of need some new friends don't I? :-(

    Looks like I'm taking a drive to PC.

    Hmm, so all the "tech" is irrelevant, it's bootfitter + my feet = result. ?

    Sure, but I don't want to be taken advantage of either. Skis are sold for absurd markup, and I know when/how to buy them, I'm just worried because I didn't get on this soon enough, and the big sales here in Utah are this weekend (man I miss Sniagrab). I was hoping that I'd find something that met all my conditions and was at a decent price. But I'll take your advice and talk to a boot fitter.

    Thank you for your time,

    -Ryan Dietrich
     


  6. Thread Starter
    TS
    Ryan Dietrich

    Ryan Dietrich Booting up Skier

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    Hahaha, holy moly.. that's funny.. Ok, ok.. I'll give them a call :)
     
  7. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    Tech's not irrelevant, it makes spectacular marketing copy :D
    And all that marketing copy is great for mopping up the messiest buyer's remorse spills. Superb even.

    The way to achieve that is not on price but on service. Boot fitting is your one valid chance in life to be an absolute entitled princess, with repeat visits for even the shadow of a morsel of a pea. Seriously. Several. Followup visits. Until you're happy or the fitter is heartily sick of you.
     
    Jerez likes this.
  8. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    This is part of your problem, your first priority should be your last. And your last priority shouldn't even be a consideration.

    Matt doesn't sell boots, he will look at a feet they send you out to bring back a couple of options. Brent Amsbury is good. @Lorenzzo, who was the fitter, we saw in SLC for your lady friend, he was good too.
     
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  9. Thread Starter
    TS
    Ryan Dietrich

    Ryan Dietrich Booting up Skier

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    That is fair. I'll re-state. I don't want to spend money on something not commensurate. I don't want to listen to someone ignorant about boots and then spend more than I should for something that won't achieve what I'm after.

    Uhh, what? So, how is that a business? Do I pay him to measure my feet and then I buy the boots from someone else? That seems... odd. What is his business? Why have a company called "Park City Boot Room" and not sell boots?
     
  10. Lorenzzo

    Lorenzzo Snow Skier Skier

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    It was at Sports Den but I don't recall his name. Linnie doesn't either. I'm liking Gorsuch these days. Brian in particular. They have a scan machine that takes a 3D of your foot which can give them a clear picture of what's going on. It was really helpful for me.
     
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  11. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    To an extent, dealing with Matt, takes away many of your concerns, simply he will suggest a boot for you without all of the hyperbole. Matt specilized in fitting of boots...canting, alignment and footbeds, he sells service not boots. He is one of the top fitters in the world and specializes in working with elite athletes. If you were to go to him, he will assess your situation and suggest a few boots. The local shops work well with him, you would go buy a few pair, bring them to his shop, settle on a pair and you would return what didn't work.

    Every hear the story about the engineer and the hammer?

    The Graybeard engineer retired and a few weeks later the Big Machine broke down, which was essential to the company’s revenue. The Manager couldn’t get the machine to work again so the company called in Graybeard as an independent consultant.

    Graybeard agrees. He walks into the factory, takes a look at the Big Machine, grabs a sledge hammer, and whacks the machine once whereupon the machine starts right up. Graybeard leaves and the company is making money again.

    The next day Manager receives a bill from Graybeard for $5,000. Manager is furious at the price and refuses to pay. Graybeard assures him that it’s a fair price. Manager retorts that if it’s a fair price Graybeard won’t mind itemizing the bill. Graybeard agrees that this is a fair request and complies.

    The new, itemized bill reads….

    Hammer: $5

    Knowing where to hit the machine with hammer: $4995


    A good fitter will know what boot to put you in. Most (the vast vast majority) will charge you a fair price. Do not worry what they their markup is but that you are going to get the correct boot.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
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  12. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

    Joined:
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    Posts:
    17,655
    Location:
    Reno, eNVy
    I ski a lot (I moved to Utah 5 years ago, and average between 60-90 days a season). I need help figuring out what boots I should buy to replace my current ancient ones.

    My boots are quite old given the number of days I ski (*cough*... 8 years old *cough*). The insides of my ankles are rubbing raw, and they hurt a ton at the end of last season. They are nothing special, just some Nordica "supercharger" boots. They have terrible flex ratings for my ability (they probably hold me back a bit), and they're not even that comfortable, actually, they never were, I just have never really cared, I love to ski so much that I am willing to put up with a lot just to be out there.

    I know NOTHING about boots. I don't know the styles of technology, what makes a boot more expensive, and where to even go to find a good review (I don't trust most skiing websites, as I fear they are just paid off by various manufacturers).

    I don't know how much I should spend, I don't know how they're really supposed to feel to be completely honest (I literally have been skiing for 30+ years, and I have just put on anything that "fit" and just moved on). My current boots were bought at REI, the guy just said "these will work" when I told him what kind of terrain I skied, given I know nothing I just went with them. They have worked out just fine, but I feel like I could do a better job this time around.

    I need to buy new boots for the upcoming ski season, and I'm a bit scared because I am flat out ignorant on this subject.

    1. I don't want to get ripped off. Where can I get the best deal?
    No one does, but you are not buying a boot, you are buying a fit.
    2. I want to get something that will last. My nordicas are tanks, but is that even a good boot?
    The Supercharger was a very good boot, the question is, was it the correct boot in the first place?
    3. I want to get something that will help me, if at all possible, ski better, or longer (I am the type that skips lunch, and goes to the bathroom before the lifts spin so I can ski the entire day without a break).
    The correct boot can do that
    4. I would like to learn about what makes a good boot, and what doesn't and why.
    Usually better materials and again one that fits your foot.
    5. I would like to understand the most important things I should be looking for when it comes to a boot, for beginner / intermediate / advanced skiers.
    The one that again fits your foot. Every manufacturer makes different boots for different shaped feet with different performance levels.
    6. I would love to understand what the latest "tech" or designs that I should keep an eye on (I heard DPS is going to make boots soon and they swear their boots are going to revolutionize the industry).
    We are seeing lighter plastics that are hear moldable. I saw waht DPS is working, on, it is still a ways out.
    7. I would like to understand how to know when a boot is "done" beyond "holy crap, my feet are killing me"
    When you lose comfort (sounds like you are there) and the boot does not interface with the binding safely.
    8. I would like to understand why boot manufacturers don't put better "soles" in their boots and why I have to buy one separately.
    Define better soles? IIRC, your Supercharger was a solid lug boot, that allowed a fitter to cant and align the boot. There were boots back then with replacable soles but they weren't as easy to work on as the SC was. Today we do have more and better options for customizing including Gripwalk.
    9. I would like to understand materials/weight. My boots are freaking heavy. Do they have to be? Does anyone make a lighter boot so my knees don't hurt so much when riding on a lift with no support thingy?
    There are lighter materials now that perform very well.
    10. I would like to know, really, who the best brands are, not just who makes the most expensive, but year in, year out who is the best manufacturers of ski boots.
    Every brand is a top brand...if they fit your foot. A more expensive boot, which will retail in the 7-900 range will be built with better materials and better fit adjustmests as compared to less expensive models.
    11. I am scared that new boots may mean I may have to get my bindings adjusted on my precious skis, how can I avoid that calamity?
    As I said prior, this shouldn't even be a concern.

    Thank you in advance for any and all advice/information on this topic.

    -Ryan Dietrich

    As fas as what to spend, I would suggest budgeting $1,000, that should cover you for the proper boot, footbeds and alignment. Very well you will be able to get out for less if there is a leftover boot or you don't need canting. You say that you ski 60-90 days/season and you had your current boots for 8 years. When you start doing the math and consider waht you are putting yourself through what are your feet and the enjoyment of the sport worth to you? If the math doesn't add up for you...keep worrying about how little you can get our for and balance not what you are saving but what it is really costing you. Vert few things in skiing are more expensive that the wrong boots.
     
  13. LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Out on the slopes Instructor

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    1,260
    Location:
    New England
    The boot is a prosthetic that allows for aftermarket attachments (AKA skis). Boot fit transfers your foot movements (yes, they matter) to your skis. Any slop in the boot fit, either above the foot, along the sides of the boot, in the front of the toes or behind the heel, around the heel itself, or around the lower leg, is slop. Think: loose steering wheel.

    But getting that kind of fit without pain is difficult, since the boots have hard plastic shells. The included liner fills in the gaps between the bulges and indents in your foot's anatomy and the shell, but the slop is still there, it's just filled with squeezable foam. The liner is inadequate at making up for a poor shell fit. The shell still needs to fit your foot's anatomy for comfort and performance. What the liner does is cushion your foot so it doesn't run into the shell hard and get banged up, and it also provides insulation. A too-large shell with a thick cushiony liner will feel fine in the shop and for the first half a season. After that the liner will pack out and you'll have slop. Slop can create banging bones on plastic and bruises.

    So... a boot's shell needs to match your foot's 3-D anatomy. That's the big deal. Most skiers are no good at figuring this out by themselves. A GOOD bootfitter can. That shell is 3-D as is your foot. It needs to match your foot's length, its height, and its width as closely as possible. Without the liner in. A good bootfitter will do a shell fit first. The liner will come out, your foot will go in, and the fitter will look down in there to assess the gaps. You can ask the bootfitter to choose a boot shell for you that gives you a "comfort" fit (which is going to be too loose, so just buy off the internet instead and save money), or a "performance" fit (snug and good and once adjusted it should be comfortable all day long).

    If you get a performance fit, the bootfitter will need to do some adjustments to the shell (most likely) to make it match your anatomy better than it would out of the box. Guess what? This is free, because that high price includes the custom fitting (at every shop I've been to). This bootfitter can "punch" or "grind" out extra space for bunions, ankle bones, one foot longer than the other (choose a boot that fits the short foot). This punching and grinding can happen for free on day one, or next week after you've skied on them, or all season long in multiple visits, if necessary. Most shops provide free adjustments of that sort for the first year.

    Note: the bootfitter cannot shrink the shell, so if you are going for a performance fit (which you should given your passion for skiing), always choose a boot that fits the smaller foot and maybe needs some punching/grinding for the bigger foot and the inevitable bulges in your anatomy.

    If you choose a comfort fit and buy from the shop, you're done. Go home and wear them as is. Your payment helped pay for those return visits the performance fit people get for free. When the liner packs out, come back for the bootfitter to attach filler foam pieces inside to protect your foot from bruising.

    Buying boots at the beginning of the season, from a shop with a LOT of new boots on the shelves, and especially from a shop that fits a race team (thus has at least one good bootfitter who specializes in performance fits), gives you the best chance to get a boot that fits your foot well. Paying a little bit higher for that boot/service at the start of season is OK given the added potential for getting a shell that matches your anatomy before stock runs out at sale time. You will keep that boot for years and years, and this time, if you get a truly snug fit, you'll notice the difference in your skiing. Your skis will obey your commands, and your feet won't hurt.

    Whether you need a custom footbed is another issue. This will cost extra. The thin footbed in the boot is usually assumed to be a throw-away for people who get a performance fit. When the bootfitter talks with you about the footbed, do pay attention. This is not someone wanting to take advantage of you. A custom footbed can increase comfort and improve performance.

    Whether you need boot sole canting is yet another issue. This too will cost more money if you do it. Are you bowlegged or pigeon-toed? Do you have much more difficulty with turning in one direction than the other? Your bootfitter may notice that your knee-to-foot alignment is off or that your feet have some anatomical anomaly and suggest boot sole work to compensate for this. This is not a bootfitter trying to take advantage of you, but a wise professional trying to give you higher performance from your boots. You should listen.

    Boots are the most important thing you buy as a skier.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
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  14. François Pugh

    François Pugh Out on the slopes Skier

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    As you have figured out from the above posts, you are shopping for a boot fitter, not a boot.
    If you are not going with one of the recommendations above, you should ask your daughter's race coach, ski patrol at your local hill, etc.
    Expect to spend about $1000. plus or minus $400; not everybody needs the same extras. I'm a big fan of custom foamed race fit boots, but others seem to be perfectly happy with heat molded liners.
    You can have very good performance and all-day comfort; the boot just has to fit.
    It's not just the fit that's needed for performance; it's a full alignment.
    Lighter boots are all the rage these days, but I'm perfectly happy with heavy boots (and heavy skis too); I don't feel the weight, but I'm not doing tricks, just turning and looking for faster harder turns.
    If you divide the price by the number of ski days, and compare it to your other daily costs, it's not that bad.
     
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  15. Mendieta

    Mendieta Master of Snowplow Moderator

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    Yup. So you need to avoid big box stores. You will waste hundreds for sure. I know I did.

    What you need IMHO is:
    1. A good shop with a good fitter. Find a recommendation.
    2. Go now this weekend, explain that you are looking for a good boot on sale.
    3. Let them measure you for alignment, and be open to spending a little money in extras. Custom soles for sure. Many people can use some canting, etc.
    4. Once you start skiing with properly fitted and tuned boots you will regret not having done it before. I did :D
    There is too much into bootfitting to DYI unless you are a boot geek. You are not looking for a good boot. You are looking for a boot that is good for you.
     
  16. AmyPJ

    AmyPJ Let's go! Pugski Ski Tester

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    Where are you located?
     
  17. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    I interpreted OP's question as asking about footbeds, not external soles for the boot shell.

    If that is the question, the answer is, of course, to get one that fits without spending money on one that doesn't.
     
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  18. Jilly

    Jilly Lead Cougar Skier

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    I really love our saying over at the Ski Diva's - "you marry your boots, you date your skis".

    Enough has been said all ready.
     
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  19. Wilhelmson

    Wilhelmson Getting off the lift Skier

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    Don't get worked up overthinking, just take some advice and knowledge from these people and go to a reputable shop. Worrying about having the bindings adjusted shows you need to take a step back.

    But......I don't see any reason why you can't go into the shop and explain that $xxx is the most you would like to spend. If it ends up that a more expensive boot feels and fits the best, then you'll have to make a descision whether you want to go over your budget. Or spread the cost out by buying the boots this season and the footbeds (if needed) another year.

    Plenty of people ski well and have fun every day without custom fitting and the newest bells and whistles. My old boots must be holding me back becasue my friend can ski circles around me on his 20 year old gear.
     
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  20. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    It's a pretty elegant metaphor, but people who don't have pre-existing knowledge of the implications generally need to have everything unpacked for them. And usually a lot more than a little.

    All the bases have been covered, true, but we're really not sure what OP's takeaway is yet.
     

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