A boot fitter doesn’t just fix boots or boot problems. A boot fitter listens to your needs, assesses your feet, legs, and stance and makes educated recommendations based on their extensive knowledge of the products available. They take great pride in their ability to assess, instruct and guide you towards a boot that will both fit you well and perform to your expectations.
You may have done extensive research on ski boots, and you’ve diligently read the Ski Magazine test issue from cover to cover. But you still need to consult a professional. Your feet and skiing comfort are far too important. Your ski boots are the single most important piece of ski equipment you own.
Whether you’re looking to buy a new ski boot or just need a tweak on your current ski boot, you want to see a certified boot fitter for all of your ski boot needs.
A boot fitter will make sure you get in the right ski boot
A ski boot is relatively rigid and has many different dimensions. So for you to achieve optimal performance and feel comfortable, you need to make sure that your foot not only fits the length of the boot properly but also the volume. Unlike shoes, which are relatively flexible, it’s not just the measurement of your foot from heel to toe. A foot that moves in a boot that is too loose in one part or another is just as bad as a boot that is too tight.
You probably don’t realize, but as you walk in the store towards a good boot fitter, he/she is already assessing your needs. They are watching the way you walk, looking for leg discrepancies or anything else that changes your gait.
Once you meet the boot fitter, first they will assess your foot. Looking at the shape and for bunions, bone spurs or styloids that might cause you to need a certain boot over another. Then the boot fitter will measure length, width, and instep of your foot. Finally, as you are trying on various boots, a boot fitter will assess how you flex the boot and determine what the appropriate flex is for you.
Flex is the measurement of boot stiffness. This arbitrary number indicates how hard it is to bend the boot forward. Unfortunately, the flex number ratings are not consistent from one boot brand to the next. So it is important to have a knowledgeable boot fitter who has not only worked with but tested the boots they sell.
It’s important to keep an open mind when shopping for new ski boots. The best ski boot for you is the one that fits your foot best. Not necessarily the one that “looks the best” or is a currently popular style.
A boot fitter can modify your ski boots to fit your needs
Out of the box, a ski boot is just a hard, plastic ski boot. It looks exactly like the mold it was born in and exactly like all of the other boots that came out of the same mold. But no two humans are alike. All skiers can benefit from a few simple boot modifications to improve their performance. When working with a boot fitter from the start, they will assess what needs to be done to personalize your boot for you. Things like custom insoles, stretching, cuff alignment and toe punches are done regularly to personalize ski boots for the wearer.
Insoles are a must-have for every skier! Everyone in our shop uses them both on and off the hill. They not only offer proper support in the arch and heel of the foot but align your foot, ankle, legs, knee, and hips and make your skis flatter on the snow. Which means more comfort when skiing and a better all-around skiing experience. We encourage all of our customers to make this your first step when it comes to personalizing your boot.
All ski boots come with a stock footbed, it is usually a pretty floppy piece of foam that fits inside the boot with little to no added support. There are several different types of aftermarket insoles available to fit every budget and need. From the inexpensive cut-to-fit drop in insoles to semi-custom and full custom molded and posted insoles. There is no skier out there who will not benefit from an aftermarket insole. Even if it is just an inexpensive, cut-to-fit drop-in insole. They provide much more support than the stock footbed in all boots.
For those looking for the ultimate in comfort and performance, or those with a foot or fit issue, we recommend full custom insoles. When you get a custom insole molded and posted to your foot you will feel noticeable changes in comfort, performance and even circulation and warmth. Your part in this upgrade is rather simple, it will take roughly 30 minutes to get a mold of your foot and then the rest is up to us! We then post and expertly grind that molded insole to give support in the needed areas and fit it in your boot as if it was always there.
Other boot modifications
Things like stretching, punches, stance analysis and cuff alignment usually come later, after you have spent a day or two skiing in your new boot.
A boot stretch will create more overall space in your toe box. A punch or grind will enlarge any specific area to help accommodate for things like a styloid, bunion, large ankles bones, etc. We have a saying here at the shop and that is “big bubble, no trouble” and it’s true our certified boot fitters are able to manipulate your ski boot’s shell to accommodate for all of these things. So if you feel like it’s impossible to get a boot that fits you right, give us a try before you give up. There’s always a solution.
When you ski, if you find you turn one way better than the other you may have a slight misalignment issue. It’s important to make sure your leg is neutral in the cuff of your boot so your boot sits flat to the ski. A cuff alignment adjustment will ensure your boot cuffs properly align with your stance to help you arc better turns.
We have a large selection of ski boots. They are literally stacked floor to ceiling! And all of our boot fitters are Masterfit Certified and have spent years gathering knowledge and honing their skills. We love to help get skiers into the proper ski boot to enable you to ski your best. Stop in and see us the next time you need to buy a new pair of ski boots or need boot fitting work done.