Boot dilemma
10 posts
8 users
3k+ views
Scott - DCSki Editor
October 28, 1999
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,251 posts

I'm having a boot problem.

Two years ago, I bought brand new boots after being told my older rear-entries were holding back my skiing. At the store, I tried on different boots and settled on a pair that seemed right. Unfortunately, the bootfitter convinced me to get a size that seemed too small. He said that the boot would only get looser the first time skiing (which made sense), and that the last thing you wanted to do was get a boot that was too large.

It didn't get looser the first time out. What it did do is cause extreme pain in my toes - even bruising (ouch!)

I took them back, and he ground down the base a bit, thinking that would pull the toes back a bit, but that really didn't help at all. The net effect is that my feet have been in horrible pain the past two seasons, even after buying an expensive pair of boots that allegedly had a lifetime boot fit guarantee. (Unfortunately, for the first season, I kept hoping they would eventually loosen up - which the bootfitter kept saying would happen.)

Skiing's no fun when your boots aren't comfortable. Is there any chance these boots can be "fixed"? It seems to me they're simply too tight - which is what I argued in the store, but <sigh> gave in to the "expert" - and I'm not sure how this problem could be solved.

Unfortunately, I think I simply have to get new boots. But I don't want to make the same mistake twice.

Can someone represent an excellent bootfitter in the D.C. area? (Without mentioning any names, I will say that I won't go to any bootfitters located in Columbia, Md again.) Does anyone have experience with the computerized bootfitting techniques (where they make custom footbeds?) Would that help? Note that there's nothing unusual about my feet. I've heard custom footbeds are most helpful if, for example, one foot is slightly larger than the other.

I hope to use my next pair of boots for many years. I want them to fit perfectly.

What are boots running these days? I'm just an average, upper-intermediate/lower advanced skier - I don't need racing boots. I want warm, comfortable, all-purpose boots.

Say, anyone want to buy my old pair of boots? :-) (I'm sure they would be perfect for someone with slightly smaller feet!)

Any advice would be appreciated!

- Scott

November 17, 1999
Member since 06/23/2000 🔗
61 posts
Hi Scott,

The boot fitter who sold you your current boots is correct in stating that the boot should be tight and that one of the worst things for performance is boots that are too large. However, if after two seasons of skiing your boots are still too tight, then they were definitely too small.

A properly fit boot should feel a little too tight at first (the lining will "pack out" a bit after skiing in them a few times). Your toes should lightly touch the front of the boot when standing straight up in them, but pull away from the front when you flex forward.

I would reccommend the boot fitters at Ski Center in D.C. I had them make me a set of custom insoles and my boots feel awesome. They are very knowledgable and thorough. Check out their website for some good information on bootfitting (

Hope this helps,

November 20, 1999
Member since 11/19/1999 🔗
176 posts

Go see Brian Eardley (sp?) at the Ski Center. He is the best in the area. You might also want to shell size the boots by taking the liners out and standing in them. Move your feet forward until the toes contact the shell and try to get a finger in between your heel and the shell. If you can't, start saving for new boots. If you can, go see Brian. There are any number of potential solutions, including footbeds, modifying your liners or putting in a replacement liner - either heat fit or silicone foam fit. However, if the shell is too small, your options are very limited.

Good Luck

Scott - DCSki Editor
November 22, 1999
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,251 posts
Thanks for the great advice on the boots. I have heard many good things about Ski Center. One question - how easy is it to get to? I realize it's in downtown D.C. I've always taken Metro into D.C.; I don't think I've ever driven there. Is Ski Center easy to drive to from Baltimore?
November 22, 1999
Member since 11/22/1999 🔗
317 posts

DC Ski is pretty accessible. If you're coming from Baltimore, take I-95 south to the DC beltway. Exit onto I-495 heading West. Exit at River Road heading East. Make a right hand turn at Western Avenue. Head south down Western avenue to Massachusetts Ave. (it's a traffic circle). Go 3/4 of the way round the circle and go east on Mass Ave. Ski Center is behind the Sutton Place Gourmet Shop about a mile down on your right.

Scott - DCSki Editor
December 28, 1999
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,251 posts

I appreciate the advice on my boot problems. I finally made the trek to Ski Center and agree with the positive comments people had - it's a great shop, with a friendly and knowledgeable staff. Unfortunately, the "famous Brian" had the day off, but I still was able to get good help. I had taken out the boot lining and was able to get my finger in between the heel and shell, although it was tight.

So, my current boots might be salvageable. They're trying a couple things, including stretching them. If I can at least go from "extremely painful" to "mild discomfort", it will be a win situation. I was prepared to buy new boots but it's worth a try. I hope to try out my "new and improved" boots shortly.

Thanks again for the advice,

- Scott

January 5, 2000
My $.02 on this: The boots should fit tight, but when you flex forward your toes should not be touching the end of the boot, even new in the store. Without sounding condescending, do you lean back when you ski? I am an occasional lean-backer, especially when I'm tired, and when I really lean back my toes press pretty hard against the front of my boots, but when I'm centered like I should be there is no problem.
January 5, 2000
Member since 01/5/2000 🔗
8 posts
Every season I take out my boots and declare "Crap, time for new boots!" Then after about 5 minutes they feel better. I think the ski boots should be "snug." I think that would be the best word to describe the fit.


January 24, 2000
Member since 08/28/2002 🔗
15 posts
Keeping boots for many years *may* be a very bad goal to aim at. Many people's feet continue to get larger over their lifetime. It's my understanding that it's due to the breaking down of ligaments. It's a very slow process but annoying enough when you've spent hundreds on boots that barely fit in the first place. I know people who have permanent nerve damage in their feet by continuing to wear their priceless shoes after they've outgrown them.
January 17, 2001
Member since 12/27/2000 🔗
50 posts
i had that problems with my boots them hurting right about the midfoot and i couldent get rid of them thought of calling it quits or the day or getten out my board....but with just the right amount of tinkering and micro adjustments i fixed it....this was not the first time it happened... my snowboard boots also give me some problems with i think its from me tightening them up 2 much but i sure do get sore ancles...maybe i need to adjust my bindings....hum plz input
DCSki Sponsor: Canaan Valley Resort

Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

Join the conversation by logging in.

Don't have an account? Create one here.

0.15 seconds