Advice for buying ski boots
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bawalker
December 15, 2008
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
Well, I've finally decided to do it this year. I'm making the big cross over back to the ski world from the boarding world. I dabbled in it slightly the last two years. My dabbling entailed like an hour on a green slope before going back to the board and heading out.

This year though I'm going to make dedicated days where one is skiing and another is boarding and vice versa. I really feel like the mixing it up will keep things fresh and the trails feeling like new adventures await.

Thus with that said, I'm looking to get a cheap pair of boots online. I'm seeking advice towards brand of boot how the boot sizing compares to regular mens shoe sizing, etc. My shoe sizing now is right at 12 or 12.5 depending on brand.

I'd like to buy a pair on ebay vs going out and dropping big $$$ on a shop in NoVA when that is a heck of a drive for me right now.

Thoughts? Suggestions?
skier219
December 15, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Well, this probably isn't the answer you want to hear, but that strategy has you headed for uncomfortable feet and poor performance. It's a crap shoot at best.

Brand, shoe size, and cost are irrelevant at the beginning -- you need to find the boot that fits your foot and go from there. You can hone in on different models and hunt for bargains once you know what fits your foot.

You'll probably be looking at about a 29.0/29.5 shell for your shoe size. But different brands and models will have all kinds of unique geometries for that size, including factors like width and volume. That's where there is no substitute for trying on boots and/or consulting a fitter.

Many years I ago I determined Salomon's 100mm-last boots gave me a good fit, and now I can skip the legwork when shopping for boots. See if you can get to that sort of scenario.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
December 16, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,097 posts
Brad,
I know you are serious, but with size 12.5 feet, you don't need boots.
Sorry, I need a little humor after reading and viewing the story about the avalanche victim at Snowbird on Sunday.
The Colonel
SteveC
December 16, 2008
Member since 10/24/2005 🔗
145 posts
five years ago, we had rented through Whitetail (Diabello, MRX or MXR) and found they seemed to fit all of us decent. We then purchased a full set (i.e. size 26.5 to 29.5) of used rentals online for something like $25 each. These were for me and my wife (until we bought "custom" ones last year) and my two rapidly growing boys.

I've learned a lot about boot fitting in the process but by playing with footbeds and neoprene padding, have been able to get very good service out of them.

Now that I have custom fitted boots to compare against, I think that the Diabellos did a very, very good job. (Just make sure to get some of the bootfitting pads through Tognar.)
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bawalker
December 16, 2008
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
You know I had looked at how to attach my feel to the ski's with belt straps... didn't work out that good. lol

I knew I would run into sacrificing supreme comfort in a custom fitted boot against chancing it with boots bought online. At the moment the cost to drive to say Leesburg or the nearest place that custom fits them as well as paying the $300+ I've seen for those types of boots as well as the drive time and gas involved is more than I want to pay right now.

I'd rather take the lower cost with a bit less comfort and do liners in the boot. My goal is to just get as comfortable on ski's as I am on a board and then check out the custom fitted option next year or year after next.

Originally Posted By: The Colonel
Brad,
I know you are serious, but with size 12.5 feet, you don't need boots.
Sorry, I need a little humor after reading and viewing the story about the avalanche victim at Snowbird on Sunday.
The Colonel
jimmy
December 16, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Brad, is u ears on or off today confused ??

Here's my advice, pick up the phone and call ski barn and timberline, or some place at deep creek, tell them what size you foot is and ask if they got any boa.....er boots in you size and the pricwe range. Then go try some on, find something you like and if you can't negotiate an acceptable deal, look for that boot on the WWW. You can do many things on teh internets but you cannot try on shoes, yet. Maybe you'll get lucky, maybe you won't.
kwillg6
December 16, 2008
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,021 posts
Originally Posted By: jimmy
Brad, is u ears on or off today confused ??

Here's my advice, pick up the phone and call ski barn and timberline, or some place at deep creek, tell them what size you foot is and ask if they got any boa.....er boots in you size and the pricwe range. Then go try some on, find something you like ....... look for that boot on the WWW.

This is how both me and the Mrs buy our boots now. Generally cost less than 50% retail. If u need them tweaked, then go to a fitter.
Denis - DCSki Supporter
December 16, 2008
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,198 posts
There are many things in skiing on which one can save money, like clothes, but boots are the absolute last thing on which you should take that approach. I recommend going to a top bootfitter in a good shop. Go on a slow weekday, call in advance, tell them what you want and that you want their best bootfitter. I use the Ski Center in NW DC where I know people have the bootfitting 'degrees' and experience. There are other places, but be sure to inquire about the special training they have taken. I am sometimes partial to the great internet deal on skis or bindings but I'd never skimp on boots. Another consideration is that the expertise represented by the top ski shops must be sustained. We do not want to lose it.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
December 16, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,097 posts
jimmy,
Good one!...Brad...size 12.5..."boa" ts?
The Colonel smile
jimmy
December 16, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Originally Posted By: Denis
Another consideration is that the expertise represented by the top ski shops must be sustained. We do not want to lose it.
comprex
December 16, 2008
Member since 04/11/2003 🔗
1,326 posts
Originally Posted By: bawalker
Well, I've finally decided to do it this year. I'm making the big cross over back to the ski world from the boarding world. I dabbled in it slightly the last two years. My dabbling entailed like an hour on a green slope before going back to the board and heading out.


Excellent. More power to ya.


Quote:

This year though I'm going to make dedicated days where one is skiing and another is boarding and vice versa. I really feel like the mixing it up will keep things fresh and the trails feeling like new adventures await.


This is very limiting. Your back brain where your balance centers are learns very well by repetition. This is part of (not all, but part of) what we call muscle memory. It is a very important part of the learning process, and doing it on/off like that is going to hold you back in comparison to other learners.

Quote:

Thus with that said, I'm looking to get a cheap pair of boots online. I'm seeking advice towards brand of boot how the boot sizing compares to regular mens shoe sizing, etc.


Repeat after me:

Ski boots do NOT fit like shoes
Ski boots do NOT fit like shoes
Ski boots do NOT fit like shoes.

Shoes, all shoes, are designed to fit MUCH looser with less grip on the foot than ski boots. This is why it's trivial to find and size shoes. Want proof?

Run downhill, pretty quick. Say 10-15mph. Now stop in two steps. Not three, not four, two steps.
Did your shoes stay on your feet? Even money sez at least one of them came off. Or you slid onto your bum.

That was at 10-15 mph.

Ski boots are designed to stop you from 20, 30, mph and often a lot more.

If the lower part of a ski boot was as loose as your shoe every last bit of that energy would be applied as a twist on your shin. At 30mph you have four times the kinetic energy you did at 15mph. That's gonna leave a bruise. If not break bones. That's a bad ski boot.

The other thing ski boots need to do are:

- Give you leverage to keep your upper body balanced over your feet. This is important with big guys with a lot of upper body mass, and you'll see a lot of beginner big guys walk out of the shop with some burly boots. This is a good thing.

- Keep your foot in the shape it needs to be for best balance while it supports bigger loads than it was *ever* designed for. No protohuman in no African plains ever ran at 30mph or had to stop and redirect in two strides to catch that turning, twisting zebra. You ain't no cheetah.

(the ankle mass needs to be able to flex in certain planes and not others, the 3-way arch structure needs to have sufficient support without cramping the forefoot, foot twist has to have shell room so you don't smash toes, the shell has to be close enough to the side of the foot to support kicking-type loads without the heel popping out, and so on and so on).

Quote:

My shoe sizing now is right at 12 or 12.5 depending on brand.


Stop thinking in US shoe sizes. Right now.

Start thinking in MondoPoint (29.5 say) or in shell lengths (330mm say).

Trust yourself to do the conversion instead of a Romanian, Italian or Chinese clerk who's never been to the US.

As you get more experience, you will automatically convert to both the Euro systems and compensate for the different lasts each brand uses in each of their fit lines.

For example, my feet fit 25.5 Dolomite or Technica Diablo shells, 306mm Atomic race shells, 41 Alpina tele boots and size 43 Rossignol ones, size 27 Crispi CX shells.

Quote:

I'd like to buy a pair on ebay vs going out and dropping big $$$ on a shop in NoVA when that is a heck of a drive for me right now.


Your money. I would put a case of Magic Hat against a bottle of PBR that, at best, you will find a boot you are comfortable walking in.

That's a great thing to have, but that's also not what you need to be
- balanced on one ski edge,
- to steer that one ski edge through nasty frozen schmutz without losing your balance,
- and to stay balanced on top of your skis as the moguls and pow try to tear them out from under you,
- and to stop in two turns to avoid maniacs
- to do all the above without overtightening any buckles or leaving bruises or swelling or inflammation.

Quote:

Thoughts? Suggestions?


Go to a shop that is ON the hill. In our greater area, this effectively means Willis at Seven Springs. Tell them you are on a budget and that you DO NOT want to buy online. They will love you, and bend over backwards for ya.

Spend three days there, get lessons, and tweak the boots every day until they get them just right.

BTW, you know that 12/12.5 shoe size you quoted? That's in the relaxed position, not in the best-balance position with activated arches. Once they put your foot in best balance position, that can go down by a full size. Or more, depending on how fit your feet are.

So, you ask, why not just buy boots to fit the relaxed size? Because when your feet fight for balance they will slide forward in the boot, smash your toes, inflame your ankle, and blister your achilles.
Clay
December 16, 2008
Member since 04/11/2006 🔗
555 posts
Originally Posted By: kwillg6
This is how both me and the Mrs buy our boots now. Generally cost less than 50% retail.

Yeah, but you MUST have gotten a discount by getting those puke green boots!!
dcmidnight
December 16, 2008
Member since 11/11/2006 🔗
125 posts
If there is one thing I have learned over the last 30 years of skiing it is that I will *never* try to save money on ski boots. I have tried all the cheap ways to save $50 or $100 here and there and I always regret it.

Go to Ski Center. Go upstairs. Have them *really* custom fit you into a pair of boots.

Note that this does not mean you are buying top of the line, highest price boots. You can get a very reasonably priced pair but please see a fitter that knows what they are doing. And in my experience these guys are the best.
bawalker
December 17, 2008
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
Thanks for all the advice. I didn't realize you could goto a rental shop and see about purchasing boots or such there.

Where is the Ski Center located? What is middle of the road price range for a good set of fitted boots?
kwillg6
December 17, 2008
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,021 posts
Originally Posted By: Clay
Originally Posted By: kwillg6
This is how both me and the Mrs buy our boots now. Generally cost less than 50% retail.

Yeah, but you MUST have gotten a discount by getting those puke green boots!!

HEY!!! What's wrong with my Kryptons? You're just jealous you aren't superman like me laugh! But on the serious size, both the Mrs and I research boots, often for a season, try them on, price them in various locations to get the best fitting, snuggest, boot possible. Even if you buy from the Ski Center and have your initial fitting, you will develop hot spots over the life of the boot as your foot changes and it will. To fix it is another trip to the boot fitter or if you've been doing this as long as a lot of us you learn how to fix it yourself. Make sure you have recent orthodics as well when being fitted for a new boot.
comprex
December 17, 2008
Member since 04/11/2003 🔗
1,326 posts
Originally Posted By: bawalker
Thanks for all the advice. I didn't realize you could goto a rental shop and see about purchasing boots or such there.


But then you'd get rental quality boots.

Seriously, nothing beats an on-hill retail shop for fitting convenience. Problem? Go in and have them fix it on the spot, usually for free.

Quote:

Where is the Ski Center located?


DC, 2 hours from the nearest hills.
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