Some advice for the intermediate skier who is thinking about buying their own boots for their next ski trip.
Good idea to go to an established home based retail outlet, before you travel to your winter destination. The advantages for this approach are:
- Less likely to be pushed into making a rushed decision, also time spent here isn’t eating into your precious holiday experience.
- It’s easier to communicate effectively in your native language with a boot fitting expert at home.
- You can return to the retail outlet if you have problems with the boot, both before and after your trip.
What should happen during the boot fitting process:
- Wear a single pair of fitted ski socks for the fitting process.
- The foot length of both feet should be measured, in centimetres, as well as foot width.
- The boot fitter should take note of the general shape of your feet, paying particular attention to your instep.
- The fitter should establish the type of skiing experience you have and what are your immediate skiing goals. This may include questioning about the types of slopes you like to ski and in what conditions do you feel comfortable.
- With this information the fitter should then recommend a boot type and will possibly present a selection of models and manufactures.
- Each manufacturer models their range around a foot shape that is replicated throughout their ski boot range.
- TOP TIP: If the boot doesn’t fit, don’t be persuaded to try a bigger boot size, in the same range. Remember, that your foot length hasn’t suddenly got bigger. If a boot has the correct length to match your foot and if it doesn’t fit, then try a different model or manufacture that may be better suited to the shape of your foot. A larger size may feel more comfortable, for you in the shop, but is likely to cause problems for you in the future.
- When trying a boot on be prepared for it to feel very tight when you first put it on, but you should be able to wiggle your toes a little. The boot fitter should ask you to identify any immediate and obvious pressure points. The process may not be completely pain free, but then process is to help identify the correct fit for you. Typically, if the boot is a correct fit at this stage, the initial discomfort experienced when you first put the boot on should begin to disappear after about five to ten minutes.
- If you decide that you are happy with the boots you have on, ensure that you wear them for a minimum of 20 minutes. Get up, stand and walk around, don’t sit down during this trial period.
- TOP TIP: As soon as you take off the boots, take off your socks and examine your feet for obvious red patches or areas that have turned white due to restricted circulation. These areas will cause you severe problems on the slopes if not solved in the shop.
- It would be sensible to expect the entire boot fitting process to take an hour or more.
You may get a bargin abroad, but my experience is that people get caught up in holiday fever and almost panic buy.