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    Thread: Skiers! School me on Boots, please!

    1. Member
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      02-06-2012 12:50 PM #1
      As most of you know, I'm a pretty avid Snowboarder. But before I picked up a board (over 23 years ago! )... I used to ski. For ~10 years.

      Of course, all my old ski gear is long gone... but... I demo'd some skis / boots a few years ago at Jackson. It was good to know that I still have some skills on 2 planks . This was when shaped skis were all the rage. I hated them. And the boots? Fugheddaboutit!! They were horrible (of course, they were rentals and there's no way they the right boots for my feet).

      Anyways... I'm starting to get an itch for skiing again. I'll never give up riding, but I was thinking about investing in a decent set of ski boots so, if I ever feel like skiing for a day.. at least I'll have my own boots and then I can just demo some skis. And if I ever found a pair of skis that I really liked.. maybe I'd look to pick up something sometime in the future.

      I'm not looking to drop $1,000 on boots... but maybe.. something for a few hundo could work. Nothing fancy. Just a decent pair that I can have fitted to MY feet so at least I'll know I have comfy boots.

      Now... I understand that nobody can really recommend a particular boot since we all have different feet. But any suggestions on what I should look for in a boot? 3-buckle? 4-buckle? Flex? Cant-settings?

      Anything I should avoid? Useless bells and whistles?

      I'd likely ski on any terrain where I can ride. So... all mountain. Nothing too stiff (I'm no racer boy), but I'd like some control of my skis.

      Any suggestions on a decent place to shop in NYC / NJ area?

      Any thoughts / suggestions / comments are MUCH appreciated!!

      THANKS!!!

      - Matty

    2. 02-06-2012 10:20 PM #2
      I'd recommend you wait until the end of the season, you can get into a great pair of boots really cheap. I picked up some BD Factor 130s for around $350 while they were selling, and selling well, for $700+ all season long.

      The most important thing about boots these days is all about fit. There are so many good boots out there, you need to find the one that has a shell that best fits your foot. The liners are really easy to form but if the shell doesn't fit your foot shape well you might as well just rent.

      The best thing to do would be to go to a place that has a good boot fitter and tell them what you are after. If you want to put in a bit more money you can get a custom insole along with it as well. Many boots these days come with thermoformable liners that will be custom formed to your feet; they're worth it

      The only spot I know in NY is a pedorthist in NYC who does consultation and custom boot work but it doesn't come cheap, happy to give you his name if you want to check it out. Beyond that look around on here: http://bootfitters.com/


      Good luck!

    3. 02-07-2012 11:26 AM #3
      I reccomend seeing the best boot fitter in the area and trying on all sorts of boots than picking the one that is the best fit. I did that when I bought second pair and it was worth it. I ended up with a pair of Full Tilt boots but everyone is a little different what works for me might not work for you. don't be blinded by cost or design.

    4. Member GeoffD's Avatar
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      02-07-2012 10:13 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by MattV-Dub View Post

      Any suggestions on a decent place to shop in NYC / NJ area?
      You want to buy boots from an experienced boot fitter. Just because you're buying leftover boots at a big discount in the spring doesn't mean a good boot fitter isn't going to put you in the right boot for your foot.

      The good boot fitters live near ski resorts and ski every day. There are no good boot fitters in metro-NYC. The best you're going to do is expensive gimmick places like Surefoot. That's better than some strip mall ski shop in Jersey or Long Island where the boot fitter is some twin tip park rat who's been to a couple of boot fitting clinics. It simply can't compare to the shops at ski resorts that have staff who have been at it for decades.

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      02-08-2012 02:31 AM #5
      For NJ... all the good skiiers I know, go to Heino's to shop and get fitted.

      http://www.heinosskiandcycle.com/

      The best bootfitter I know of, is Jeff Rich in Midtown NYC, one of the men behind the America's Best Bootfitters program (Masterfit Enterprises). He ain't cheap. So, when all else fails... see him for a set of custom orthotics.... that's what I eventually did for my snowboard boots a couple years ago

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      02-08-2012 10:29 AM #6
      Thank you ALL for the great tips!

      I was figuring that it'd be difficult to find a decent bootfitter in the NYC-metro area

      But I know Heino's... so I might pay them a visit and see what happens. I'll also definitely be up in VT again this season (just as soon as we get some freakin' snow!)... so GeoffD... any recommendations in VT? Figure near Stratton / Snow / wherever, really.

      As for any silly bells & whistles... I haven't really seen anything too different from what I remember from so many years ago. 4-buckle design (maybe 3, depending on how well the boots fit).. cant / lean adjustment... the usual stuff.

      But what about Flex? I keep seeing all these numbers, like 110.. 130.. ?? Is there a universal flex rating system, or does each manufacturer use their own numbers? I'm not looking for a super stiff race boot, so what would be a "mid-flex" number I should look at?

      Thank's again guys.. this is all REALLY helpful info!!

      - Matty

    7. 02-08-2012 08:25 PM #7
      I am not a boot fitter but after looking for boots I found that there really isn't a standard flex rating every manufacture has a scale of some sort but each is there own. My Full Tilt boots have a flex rating of 8 but there scale is a 1-10 scale or something like that.

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      02-09-2012 02:43 PM #8
      As for going to a dude at the mountain cause they are the only ones who know how to bootfit, I find that complete BS. Those guys go to the same clinics as the guys in the NYC area. I couldn't tell you how many of the shop guys up in VT are wearing the wrong boot, they rock highend boots most of the time cause they proform them.
      Anyways, go to some of your local shops and talk to the guys, try some boots on your feet. Flex indexes from all companies are different, a 120 from Salomon might feel stiffer than a 130 in Lange. Nordica took the flex rating off their boots in the F series and redesigned the shell. It has a progressive flex and the lower shell sits taller, this provides a better energy transfer on lateral movement. As for a footbed, I recommend it, it properly aligns your body as well as supports your foot. With the canting, many boots coming with a "canting" adjustment...it is more of a cuff alignment. Certain shops guarantee their work and make sure you get the proper fit and not charge you a ton extra for it.
      You obviously know how to ride, check out a boot like the Atomic Hawx 110 or even the Salomon Impact 100.

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      02-09-2012 05:55 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by SlyJester View Post
      ...., check out a boot like the Atomic Hawx 110 or even the Salomon Impact 100.
      Thank you SlyJester!!

      And to continue this thread... the two boots you mentioned:

      The Atomic Hawx:


      Listed as an all-mountain boot.

      and the Salomon Impact 100:


      Listed as a race boot.

      I see these are both 4-buckle designs.. which is sorta what I was expecting to get into. But in checking out the Salomon site.. I saw these..

      From their "Quest" line:


      In this example (I just picked one of the many Quest models they have)... I see these boots have a 3-buckle design with a much lower cuff.

      I realize this is all just opinions.. but.. in your opinion(s)... what are the advantages / disadvantages between these two basic designs? Back in the day, 4-buckle was sorta the standard for higher-end boots. But now, these 3-buckle designs look pretty interesting.

      Is it all hype? Or are they on to something?

      (of course, I plan to go into a real shop and try on all kinds of boots. Colors and styles are all fine and dandy, but I'm more interested in fit and performance.. and I'll be sure to do it right. I just want to get a dialogue going about the different designs that are available for higher-end ski boots.)

      THANKS!!!

      - Matty

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      02-09-2012 09:56 PM #10
      Even though the Salomon is under the race category on the website it is still a high performance all mountain boot. The liner is slightly thinner, cuff is higher, also the reason it is called the CS is because of the custom shell. Conventionally there are a couple methods of stretching boots, one being a cold press to stretch out the shell, works similarly to an English Wheel with metal, the other is buy heating the plastic, stretching the boot and letting it cool. The CS boots are slightly different, you heat up the outter shell and then place your foot inside the liner into the boot. The white parts on the boot expand, it is a softer plastic used, taking the shape and allowing it to expand. Not sure if you want to get into a higher performance boot like that, but just an option. That boot comes out of the box in a 110 flex, remove a screw in the back and it becomes a 100. That is why it says 100+ on the side.

      Atomic Hawx 110 is probably one of the better fitting boots in my opinion and probably what you are looking for. I ski the Atomic Volt, I am mainly a freerider. Anyway, the Hawx 110 is the best bang for your dollar. A boot for that all mountain skier, has a thermo fit liner as well as many other bells and whistles. It also has something called iflex, it allows better positioning of your foot for balance. Also it has a killer fit!

      Salomon quest series, not too stoked about, to me it seems too bulky. I don't care too much for the unlocking backbone, meant for skinning but people use it as a ski walk feature.

      4 buckle and 3 buckle differences, well there is a problem with that. I prefer 4 buckle design, I like to fine tune my boots, but I do sometimes leave the toe buckle undone. My buddy who is a race coach skis with his boots completely undone sometimes. Anyways, look at the Salmon Quest series, then look at the Nordica Firearrow series, look at the positioning of the buckle over the instep. With the Quest the center two buckles are just around the conventional position, they increase the size of the powerstrap to compensate for removing the top buckle. In the Nordica though they redesigned the ski boot, the middle buckle is positioned just so in order to lock the heel back into the heel pocket basically doing double duty on the center two buckles. In my opinion I prefer a 4 buckle design giving better feel, adjustability and energy transfer. Though the Firearrow boots and their 3 buckle design do work.

      Also you are gonna hear about lateral pressure a lot, with the shaped skis you don't Stem Cristie. You initiate the turn laterally getting up on edge, the shape of the ski then does most of the work. Depending on the boot design whether it being a higher cuff or in Nordica's case a taller lower shell design is going to transfer the energy differently.

      Hope I covered some of your questions, had an 18 hour day today so I hope some of my ramblings made some sense.

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      02-13-2012 10:18 AM #11
      SlyJester - Thanks!! Your post was SUPER helpful It sounds like you have a pretty good handle on this boot-fitting stuff so I'm psyched that you were able to help clarify some stuff!

      I'm planning to wait 'til the end of the season and then look to pick up a decent pair. I'll definitely keep you guys posted and let you know how it goes.

      Of course... if anyone has more 411 they'd like to drop... the more info here, the better! Not just for me.. but hopefully other folks here will find this thread useful as well.

      THANKS!!!!

      - Matty

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      02-13-2012 06:36 PM #12
      You are welcome, if you have any other questions feel free to hit me up.

    13. Member atomicalex's Avatar
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      02-26-2012 06:01 AM #13
      This thread is of interest to me. I have women's size 8AA feet and (apparently) skinny legs.

      I'm a newer skier, hundreds if not thousands of kms on Nordic, but not nearly as much on Alpine slopes. Not getting into the obvious Nordic versus Alpine thing here! My Nordic gear is great and I love it, but I like the Alpine thing a ton and want to get more serious about it.

      I'm boot shopping, too. I have a pair of Nordicas that I can ski in, but they are handmedowns and way too big (27 versus 25). The biggest problem I have with them is that my legs move around - I cannot latch them tightly enough to prevent a lot of wiggle. All of the boots I have tried on so far in the correct size have the same issue - I can stick my fingers down the shaft with the latches completely closed. I notice this the most when I'm on steeper runs, I have to work very hard to pull the skis together and spend a lot of my attention on my ankles.

      What am I missing? I know that the fit is supposed to be close, and that my leg should not wiggle too much. Do I need to look at kids' boots? I tried on a pair of Atomics, and the legs fit great, but the boot was made of rubber, and this seemed a bit too flexible for me.

      I am also interested in the boots that use an ankle locking strap. I tried on a pair of Salomons with this setup, and they seemed to do the trick, but were too short and not available in the correct size at the time.
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    14. Member GeoffD's Avatar
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      02-26-2012 06:06 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by atomicalex View Post
      This thread is of interest to me. I have women's size 8AA feet and (apparently) skinny legs.

      I'm a newer skier, hundreds if not thousands of kms on Nordic, but not nearly as much on Alpine slopes. Not getting into the obvious Nordic versus Alpine thing here! My Nordic gear is great and I love it, but I like the Alpine thing a ton and want to get more serious about it.

      I'm boot shopping, too. I have a pair of Nordicas that I can ski in, but they are handmedowns and way too big (27 versus 25). The biggest problem I have with them is that my legs move around - I cannot latch them tightly enough to prevent a lot of wiggle. All of the boots I have tried on so far in the correct size have the same issue - I can stick my fingers down the shaft with the latches completely closed. I notice this the most when I'm on steeper runs, I have to work very hard to pull the skis together and spend a lot of my attention on my ankles.

      What am I missing? I know that the fit is supposed to be close, and that my leg should not wiggle too much. Do I need to look at kids' boots? I tried on a pair of Atomics, and the legs fit great, but the boot was made of rubber, and this seemed a bit too flexible for me.

      I am also interested in the boots that use an ankle locking strap. I tried on a pair of Salomons with this setup, and they seemed to do the trick, but were too short and not available in the correct size at the time.
      When shells are too big, there's not a heck of a lot you can do to correct a sloppy fit. A thicker footbed will take up some of the volume but won't do anything about the width. A boot fitter could glue a pad to the liner but it's tough to get that right.

      The best thing you can do is go to a good shop that carries at least a half-dozen different brands of boots and has a competent boot fitter. The boot fitter will know which boots tend to work for women with narrow feet.

      When all else fails, there's always custom foam liners. That's what I use. The fit is perfect. I doubt you'd want to pay for it.

      Ski boot technology really hasn't changed much in the last 30 years. There's nothing wrong with buying leftover boots at a big discount. The buckles and cosmetics might look a little different but the shells are probably coming out of molds that are 10 or 20 years old.

    15. Member GeoffD's Avatar
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      02-26-2012 06:17 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by MattV-Dub View Post
      But I know Heino's... so I might pay them a visit and see what happens. I'll also definitely be up in VT again this season (just as soon as we get some freakin' snow!)... so GeoffD... any recommendations in VT? Figure near Stratton / Snow / wherever, really.
      I'm at Killington so I don't have a heck of a lot of info on shops with good boot departments around Mount Snow and Stratton. Green Mountain Orthotic Lab at Stratton has been at it forever but they have a reputation for being expensive. Maybe not so much this year since everybody is sitting on tons of inventory after a lousy snow year. GMOL is tied in with "America's Best Bootfitters". Inner Boot Works at Stowe and Northern Ski Works at Killington are both part of that organization. Northern is one of the 3 shops at Killington with good reputations. I notice US Orthotic Center in NYC is affiliated. You at least know there is somebody on the staff who has been trained properly. You always want to ask a shop who is their best bootfitter. You want that guy, not the guy who as just been to a couple of clinics.

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      02-27-2012 11:08 AM #16
      Sweet!! I'm glad this thread is so active and that people are getting some good info.

      GeoffD - THANKS for the VT 411 I actually lucked out and met a local guy (who works at a local shop).. who's been in the business forever. I went in this past weekend and tried on a bunch of different boots. I figure... while there may be an advantage to getting fitted at a shop closer to the hills.. there's also an advantage to getting fitted at a local (to me) place, so I can go back - easily, and as often as I need to - if I need any adjustments or assistance with the boots.

      That, combined with the fact that my local shop has a ton of different brands to try.. experienced bootfitters in-house.. and all that goes along with that... I feel confident I'm doing this right.

      A note to atomicalex (and anyone else interested in this)...

      Choosing new boots is a process. I tried on a LOT of boots. Some were too tight.. some too loose. After measuring my feet and trying on the initial few boots, we quickly realized that, even though the sizing chart said I was a 27.5, I'm really closer to a 26.5.

      Every manufacturer has their own little design tweaks. Some buckles have funky micro-adjustment features, while others are a bit more basic. They all really do the same thing.. they just look different. Best way to start is... try on everything you can.

      The down side is, after a while all the boots start to feel the same. Flex this.. buckle that.. Oy!! You'll know immediately when a boot doesn't fit well... but it takes some time to find a boot that does fit well.

      Forget colors and styles. Go with the right fit.. and the right flex. I actually have my selection narrowed down to 3 different brands. Strange, I know, but those are the boots that fit me best. I'll be going back this week to re-visit my selections and to try on one more boot (the model they had in stock was 1 size too big, but fit well otherwise.. so they're getting me the right size to try on and then make a decision).

      Good luck.. and thank you to everyone for providing info here. Keep it comin'!!


      - Matty

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      02-27-2012 12:20 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
      I'm at Killington so I don't have a heck of a lot of info on shops with good boot departments around Mount Snow and Stratton. Green Mountain Orthotic Lab at Stratton has been at it forever but they have a reputation for being expensive. Maybe not so much this year since everybody is sitting on tons of inventory after a lousy snow year. GMOL is tied in with "America's Best Bootfitters". Inner Boot Works at Stowe and Northern Ski Works at Killington are both part of that organization. Northern is one of the 3 shops at Killington with good reputations. I notice US Orthotic Center in NYC is affiliated. You at least know there is somebody on the staff who has been trained properly. You always want to ask a shop who is their best bootfitter. You want that guy, not the guy who as just been to a couple of clinics.
      what makes them good and sometimes expensive is that they are board certified pedorthist.... so they have a greater understanding of the biomechanics of the foot. they serve podiatrists. and these guys happen to grow their knowledge of the mechanics of skiing

      if an off the shelf product (including moldable) don't work.... then they have the capability to make an orthotic footbed--- that's where it get expensive

      not everyone would require an Orthotic footbed, but when you run out of solutions... that's what you have to pay for... especially when you wear othotics for walking.

      Jeff Rich is one of the founders of ABB and masterfit university... he is one of the main gurus in bootfitting and Many products are from his ingenuity....

      and you thought there are no good boot fitters in the NYC metro area
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      02-27-2012 02:46 PM #18
      One of the biggest issues I might be having is that the boots I have now are the stupidly fancy ones! My mom spares no expense on gear, so anything I get will likely be less adjustable.

      TBH, I think I've tried on at least 10 different pair so far, and I do understand that it will be a journey. Trying to find a boot fitter in Germany might be a bit of a trial, but hopefully I will be able to find something.

      Thanks for the info, guys!
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      02-28-2012 04:24 PM #19
      AA,
      I went through a phase of the same "skiny leg" sydrome as a child. All the boots that fit properly were not race ready. I had to get my Rossignol race boots buckles re-rivited so the flex was high but the fit was tight. This was a crude effort of cutting the cuff and moving the buckles toward the calf of my leg.

      Geoff,
      Does Dave still work at Peak Perfomance? He was the man to see about boots with all the KMS kids.

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      02-28-2012 09:44 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by Matt@EuroJerks View Post
      AA,
      I went through a phase of the same "skiny leg" sydrome as a child. All the boots that fit properly were not race ready. I had to get my Rossignol race boots buckles re-rivited so the flex was high but the fit was tight. This was a crude effort of cutting the cuff and moving the buckles toward the calf of my leg.

      Geoff,
      Does Dave still work at Peak Perfomance? He was the man to see about boots with all the KMS kids.
      Yeah, Dave Dutton is still at Peak Performance. Most of the KMS kids are using Northern Ski Works these days. Kristin Leggett's mother is the business manager there. I use Ray Garrett at the Basin Ski Shop. The town is stuffed full of good boot fitters. Aspen East and First Stop know what they're doing. Even the local Surefoot outlet is competent.

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      02-29-2012 12:40 PM #21
      So, last night I pulled the trigger on these: Rossignol Synergy Sensor 100's



      I tried on a bunch of different boots from a bunch of different manufacturers (Salomon, Atomic, Lange, Rossi, etc..). As I mentioned in one of my previous posts.. it's easy to tell when a boot doesn't fit right.. but choosing a boot that fits well (or well enough).. so that you can start to fine tune it to your own feet with heat molding, boot stretching (if necessary), adding pads to the liner, etc... can take a while.

      For me... these boots fit the best out of the bunch, right out of the box. I was in a bit of a rush last night, so I just purchased them and brought 'em home. When I have a free few hours, I'll be bringing them back into the shop for all the fine tuning. I had no loose spots.. only a small hot spot (pressure point) on my left foot.. and - it seems- I'll only have to make some minor adjustments to the buckles and cant settings.

      We all have our opinions on which places are best for these kinds of purchases. I did a ton of research and wound up staying local to where I live (for reasons I mentioned in my last post). I wound up getting my boots from Ski Barn on Rte. 23 in Wayne, NJ. They were SUPER helpful.. they have a TON of options in house.. they're about 15 mins from where I live.. they've been in the business forever.. and they have all the right tools, equipment and trained dudes in-house to get the boots fitting right.

      I'd be heading back into the shop to get them set up this weekend, but... looks like Vermont is getting some snow, so the new boots will have to wait. I'm heading to Stratton on Friday afternoon to go snowboarding

      This has been a SUPER helpful thread for me. Thank you - everyone - who posted feedback in here. Keep it comin' and feel free to hit me up if you have any questions.

      THANKS!!

      - Matty
      Last edited by MattV-Dub; 02-29-2012 at 12:43 PM.

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      02-29-2012 01:14 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
      Yeah, Dave Dutton is still at Peak Performance. Most of the KMS kids are using Northern Ski Works these days. Kristin Leggett's mother is the business manager there. I use Ray Garrett at the Basin Ski Shop. The town is stuffed full of good boot fitters. Aspen East and First Stop know what they're doing. Even the local Surefoot outlet is competent.

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      03-02-2012 11:20 AM #23
      Full Tilts done at a shop with a boot fitter

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      03-02-2012 12:00 PM #24
      I personally had a bad fitting at ski barn..... Which lead me to the expensive NYC route
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      dark blue stick shift station wagon, shiny yellow motorbike, dirty green motorbike
      03-05-2012 02:48 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by Matt@EuroJerks View Post
      AA,
      I went through a phase of the same "skiny leg" sydrome as a child. All the boots that fit properly were not race ready. I had to get my Rossignol race boots buckles re-rivited so the flex was high but the fit was tight.
      Thank you. At least I know I'm not nuts now. I was really starting to wonder if there was something wrong with me!
      A(u). Klasse A, unbeschrankt, ungedrosselt
      Compared to a British roadster, all Volkswagens are reliable!

      nevAr Lose - DE Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Bankruptcy Controller - IPROfftopikstan

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