Philpug

Notorious P.U.G.
Admin
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
25,048
Location
Reno, eNVy
Let's think about the purpose of the ski boot. Besides keeping the foot warm and dry, what is it designed to do? To transmit your energy to the ski. So what is the best way to accomplish this? With a snug, uniform fit that allows the foot and boot to work as one, ideally with little or no discomfort. Therefore, listen to your gut (or in this case, your feet) and determine how a boot fits your foot, and forget what people say about the boots that fit them or what you read in the magazines.

Boots by the number 1170x538 with shadow.jpg

In the last issue, we talked about how numbers can be misconstrued when we talk about skis. What about boots? Well, boots use numbers that are even more inconsistent. For instance, it seems like it should be pretty easy for an expert skier with a pretty average size 9 foot to find a boot. Just walk into a ski shop or go online, pick any 27.0 (because 2+7=9, a trick taught to beginning bootfitters many years ago),100 mm (because the internet says 100 mm is medium), and 130 flex (because, again, the internet says an expert needs a stiffer boot). Put the boot in your actual or virtual cart, pay for it, and you are ready to go. What could possibly go wrong?

Well ... everything. I am going to skip “Bootfitting for Dummies” and assume you recognized that my tongue was planted firmly in my cheek. (If you do have basic questions, please ask them on the forum in our Boots section; you will get honest, straightforward, non-snarky answers and not just replies like “Have you seen a bootfitter?”) The reason I used the numbers in my example is that none of them are standardized.

Let's start with that size 9 street shoe and its correlation to a 27 Mondopoint. Mondopoint is an actual ISO measurement that basically corresponds with centimeters; the Wikipedia definition is here. Again, as when talking about skis, Mondopoint does not always translate to your eventual boot size. A term that has been thrown around a lot lately is “downsizing.” That word mostly sounds like "pain," as if you will be put into a boot that is too small. I prefer “rightsizing": the key is to put you in the right size boot for the shape of your foot, which does not always correlate to the initial measurement, especially with a performance fit.

Width? Again, more numbers, and these are the second least consistent numbers in bootfitting. You hear numbers like 104, 100, 98, and even 92 mm. (The uber-narrow numbers are usually in a plug boots, generally for racers or skiers with pencil-thin feet, and found only at the highest-end specialty or race-oriented ski shops.)

Okay, you want to be an an educated buyer, so you measure the width of your foot and get 100 mm. A 100mm boot is based on a 25 or 26 Mondo, depending on brand, and the shells are scaled from there, so a size 23 might be 95 mm and a 29 might be 103 mm. With this scaling, if you have a 28cm foot but measure 104 mm across the metatarsals, you should start with a 100mm shell because a size 28 will be 104-ish, not 100 mm; a 104mm shell will actually be more like 107 or 108 mm.

I do find it interesting that the standard for measuring shell width is the forefoot across the widest part of the foot. This is the easiest part of the shell to work on when making accommodations. I think the consumer would be much better off if the measurement were based on the ankle, where the shell is thicker and, depending on the boot, much more difficult to modify. If you recall Salomon’s original sizing process, it measured the volume of the ankle and instep to ensure a proper fit; length was secondary. Salomon figured if you controlled the ankle, the rest of the fit would be easy. Ahead of its time, for sure.

Coming soon: Part 2, Flex
 

KingGrump

Most Interesting Man In The World
Team Gathermeister
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
4,993
Location
NYC
I do find it interesting that the standard for measuring shell width is the forefoot across the widest part of the foot. This is the easiest part of the shell to work on when making accommodations. I think the consumer would be much better off if the measurement were based on the ankle, where the shell is thicker and, depending on the boot, much more difficult to modify. If you recall Salomon’s original sizing process, it measured the volume of the ankle and instep to ensure a proper fit; length was secondary. Salomon figured if you controlled the ankle, the rest of the fit would be easy. Ahead of its time, for sure.

Coming soon: Part 2, Flex
Ain't that the truth. :thumb::thumb::thumb:
 

crgildart

Gravity Slave
Skier
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
9,183
Location
The Bull City


I use them to make my teenagers cry while putting them on bright and early outside the car on -10 degree windy mornings
 

Josh Matta

Skiing the powder
Pass Pulled
Joined
Dec 21, 2015
Posts
4,125
or go buy a plug boot or plug style boots and make it work for you.
 

Andy Mink

I am a half fast skier.
Moderator
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
4,798
Location
Reno
Bring them all out and we'll start with the smallest and work our way up!
 
Thread Starter
TS
Philpug

Philpug

Notorious P.U.G.
Admin
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
25,048
Location
Reno, eNVy
Bring them all out and we'll start with the smallest and work our way up!
Not quite that simple. You still need to start with the one that is the right shape. Not all 100mm are the same. Take you for instance, you have a tree stump for a calf. There are many boots that I wouldn't even consider for you although according to the dimensions on the box they would work.
 

pais alto

me encanta el país alto
Skier
Joined
Nov 11, 2015
Posts
1,190
Location
Besides length, heel width, ankle hold, and instep depth are my own critical fit issues. Like you said, forefoot width can be dealt with - gimme that heat gun, stretcher, and grinder!
 

fatbob

Making fresh tracks
Skier
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
2,929
footwidth can be dealt with up to a point before it starts distorting the overlap, clip closure etc.

As for plugs. Tried em Had them worked on by 2 of the best in the Biz. I survived the holes in both little toes but eventually the frostbite in the big toe did for me. Nevah again.
 

crgildart

Gravity Slave
Skier
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
9,183
Location
The Bull City
Besides length, heel width, ankle hold, and instep depth are my own critical fit issues. Like you said, forefoot width can be dealt with - gimme A SNOWBOARD!
Fixed?? Or way worse hahaha!
 

pais alto

me encanta el país alto
Skier
Joined
Nov 11, 2015
Posts
1,190
Location
A confession, I kind of like softer boots. Only weigh a buck and a half.
 

Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
Admin
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
16,243
Location
Tahoe
A confession, I kind of like softer boots. Only weigh a buck and a half.
You're not the only one. But for some folks with an unusual ankle range of motion, a stiff(ish) boot works better.

There is one manufacturer(at least) who has changed the numbers on women's boots from 110 to 105 because their focus groups told them that most women don't want to be in a boot that's too stiff and that slight difference on the boot model is acceptable.
 

skibob

Making fresh tracks
Skier
Joined
Jan 5, 2016
Posts
2,785
Location
Donner Lake
I do find it interesting that the standard for measuring shell width is the forefoot across the widest part of the foot. This is the easiest part of the shell to work on when making accommodations. I think the consumer would be much better off if the measurement were based on the ankle, where the shell is thicker and, depending on the boot, much more difficult to modify. If you recall Salomon’s original sizing process, it measured the volume of the ankle and instep to ensure a proper fit; length was secondary. Salomon figured if you controlled the ankle, the rest of the fit would be easy. Ahead of its time, for sure.

Coming soon: Part 2, Flex
This can't come back too soon for me. Insanely low volume instep and ankles for a size 27.5 makes it very difficult to fit. And I agree with the logic that if you immobilize the ankle*, it really doesn't matter how big the toe-box is, so long as its big enough.

*So that forward flexing of the boot is the only movement permitted.
 

DanoT

RVer-Skier
Skier
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
2,558
Location
Sun Peaks B.C. in winter, Victoria B.C. in summer
Not quite that simple. You still need to start with the one that is the right shape. Not all 100mm are the same. Take you for instance, you have a tree stump for a calf. There are many boots that I wouldn't even consider for you although according to the dimensions on the box they would work.
"Those aren't calves, they're cows! " That is what a friend told me as she walked by me, while I was in a ski shop trying on ski boots.
 

chemist

Falling off the lift.
Skier
Joined
Sep 14, 2016
Posts
109
Part of the difference in fit between boots is the difference in their liners. I remember trying on a Lange RS and Head RS, both with their stock liners, and having a certain impression of the fit difference between them. Then I repeated the process, using my own lace-up race liners in both shells. That made me realize part of what I was feeling was the difference in the liners.

The upshot is that, if you're serious about boot buying, and there's a possibility or a likelihood you might be putting in a custom or aftermarket liner, my recommendation would be to get your hands on a thin, broken-in race liner (or maybe use your current liner, if it's not too thick), and always use that same liner to compare different boots. That way you'll be comparing how the shells fit, without introducing the additional variable of the differences in their stock liners. OTOH, if you're planning to just stick w/ the stock liner, then of course you'll want to try them on with the stock liners, since in that case you're buying the shell+liner as a fixed package.
 
Last edited:

chemist

Falling off the lift.
Skier
Joined
Sep 14, 2016
Posts
109
There are exceptions but, for the most part, length and width are pretty much the only numerical fit info. we currently get from the the manufacturers. Using just two numbers of course results in a very coarse-grained approach to beginning the search for good fit candidates. Given current VR technology, I would think it would be possible to build a specialized scanner that could provide a sufficiently accurate and find-grained 3D representation of the inside of a ski boot shell. If you had that sort of database for all production boots (including plugs sold at retail), in all sizes, you could combine it with a foot scan to find the boots most likely to fit well. The wrinkle is the liner -- you can't just scan the liner, because it compresses. So this approach would be easiest to implement for those that are planning to use thin race-like liners. For those using cushier liners, you'd need an algorithm to compensate for that; with sufficient refinement, the algorithm could be a good one. You'd also want to incorporate shell grind-ability and stretchability, and bootboard grind-ability, into the algorithm, to identify whether a particular boot is "close enough" to be modified to fit a particular foot.

I'm not saying this substitutes for the expertise of a bootfitter. Rather, I'm suggesting this would move the starting line closer to the finish line. Doctors are using "expert" programs to improve their ability to accurately diagnose tricky conditions. As these are increasingly used, they improve. There's no technical reason such an expert program couldn't be used in bootfitting as well.

The SIA, working in concert with the manufacturers, could implement a standard. And the per-unit cost of implementation, distributed over millions of ski boots, would be tiny. But it's unlikely the manufacturers or shops would do this. I do understand why they might be resistant -- what do you do if the program says the boot that fits the customer's foot the best, and by a significant margin, is one from a brand you don't carry? And there would be concern that customers, if they gained access to the program, would just buy boots online based on this, cutting out the B&M shop altogether (yes, they do this now; I'm saying they might do this even more so).

I had vaguely recalled Surefoot advertising something like this, but I just checked their website and they only mention doing a 3D scan of the bottom of your feet (for building a custom insole).
 
Last edited:

Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
Admin
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
16,243
Location
Tahoe
@chemist like this.
This is the 2016 version of fitting from Dodge Boots

This is the 2014 version
 

Staff online

Top