How to Choose Your New Boots’
In today’s marketplace, there is an astounding array of different ski and snowboard boot brands and models to choose from. The major manufacturers produce in the range of 50 different boot models each! Why so many different models? The simple reason is that no two athletes are the same. Allowances are made within each boot brand for up to seven or eight distinctly different foot shapes. Given that there are at least 40 different brands to choose from, you have the choice of buying one of 2,000 different boot models! At Abominable Sports, we stock over 50 models of ski boots and over 30 models of snowboard boots. We endeavor to choose various different SHAPES of boots within each brand that we carry, allowing us to fit a broad spectrum of foot types. By properly measuring your feet, assessing your stance and studying your individual anatomical shape, we are able to then make proper recommendations as to which boot shape you should choose.
A further assessment of your body size, aggression level and style, speed and terrain preference is required in order to pinpoint which model is appropriate for you. The more we know about you as a skier or boarder, the easier it will be to fit you in the boot that will work best. Only after a thorough analysis of all of these factors is undertaken, can we be assured of helping to choose the correct product for you as an individual.
Since your boot provides the power link between you and your skis or board, it is imperative that you are held securely. Although a little extra room for the toes may sound like good advice, after several weeks of use, your new boots will already have become a half size bigger than when you first used them. The vast majority of boot fitting problems can be directly attributed to buying boots that are sized too big. Extra insoles, thicker socks and excessive padding on the liner of the boot are NOT the most effective way to ensure the proper fit! If you have extra room for all of these things, your boots are simply too big for you. Every boot from every brand will stretch with use – this is a universal truth. Ask yourself this question….Would I rather have a boot that fit me properly for 200 days after it has broken in, whilst suffering through the initial discomfort that the first ten days on the slopes will bring, or do I want it to fit properly for the first ten days of use, only to become sloppy and ineffective for the next 200?
The modern boot is comprised of a separate ‘liner’ to provide cushioning and warmth, surrounded by the outer ‘shell,’ which provides support. The shape of the shell is ultimately going to determine the fit of your boot in the long term. If the shell shape is not similar to the shape of your foot, your boots will never fit comfortably, regardless of the brand or how much you paid for your boots. All of our boot fits are performed bearing this crucial fact in mind. In fact, we always put your bare foot inside the boot shell WITHOUT THE LINER, in order to obtain a true visual assessment of how much room you will have inside the boot when you actually use it on the slopes. In addition, at least three separate measurements are taken of your foot, including width and length, as well as an assessment of the total volume of your foot. Since manufacturers are making different volumes of boot for different foot shapes, it only makes sense to have your feet properly measured before you try on any boots.
After you have chosen the appropriate boot, be sure to fit it with a proper sock. Your ski or snowboard socks should be thin enough to allow a snug fit in your boots while promoting the movement of perspiration through them, allowing your feet to stay dry. Synthetic fibers and merino wool blends work the best. They also have to fit snugly, to avoid wrinkling inside of your boots, and must be long enough to extend above the tops of your boots as well. Dry air is up to ten times more effective at insulating against the cold than moist air. Thick socks will cause a loss of blood circulation and will trap excessive moisture within their fibers, leading to cold, uncomfortable feet.
After market insoles or custom molded ‘footbeds’ are the best investment you’ll ever make in ensuring a better fitting boot. By properly supporting your arches and cradling your heel, you will stabilize the foot within the boot. Stability underneath the foot does away with the need to over tighten the laces or buckles of your boots, resulting in better comfort, circulation and more efficient and direct power transfer through your feet to the snow. Custom molded insoles that are designed to contour exactly to the shape of your individual foot are best, but you can get excellent support from ‘trim to fit’ pre-molded footbeds as well. Your support should be firm but allow for some flexibility in the arches, as the arches are your natural shock absorbers and their movement is crucial to proper balance. Avoid ultra rigid orthotics and insoles (medical problems not withstanding) as they will discourage fine motor control of your feet, resulting in reduced sensitivity to subtle changes in snow type and terrain. Not only that, but recent medical studies have shown that excessively rigid support actually weakens your feet and may have a more detrimental effect than a positive one.
Considering the vast differences in foot shapes and body types, and since the shell materials being used to support us in our boots are extremely rigid, the perfect fit ‘right out of the box’ is seldom achieved. The biggest mistake that people make when they encounter a boot that fits snugly throughout, yet has one or two pressure points, is to abandon all hope of getting a good fit out of that boot. The natural response is to move to a larger fitting boot. The problem with this approach is that by going bigger and roomier, your feet will move around excessively inside the boot and you won’t have adequate control over your skis. By manipulating the shell of your boots in specific areas to create more space only where it is needed, we can ensure that you end up with a snug fitting boot that gives you great response to your skis or board and feels comfortable at the same time! This is what Custom Boot Fitting is really all about.