The correct fitment of a ski boot is the single most important aspect of your skiing experience. The ski boot is your first point of comfort, control, safety, and performance. Skiing in a boot that has not been fitted properly will result in discomfort, poor performance, and possible injury.
Our staff has decades of boot fitting experience to assure that you're not only in a comfortable boot, but one that suits your performance standards, ability, and skiing style. Coupled with our ability to help you choose the correct boot, is our ability to manipulate, adjust, re-design, and fabricate a boot that will fit you perfectly.
The Fitting Process
Obtaining a correct boot fit requires addressing several issues. We begin our boot fits by taking five distinct measurements from your foot. We look at the length, the width, the circumference of the forefoot, the circumference of the mid foot, and then finally a heel wrap measurement. We combine these measurements, analyze them, and then synthesize them to develop a mental picture of the volume of your foot. Through this volumetric sizing, along with our expert's vast knowledge of our boot inventory, we are able to begin to build a boot portfolio for you.
The next step is determining your foot/leg alignment and stance orientation. To do this, we will take a look at your foot/leg from both the front (anterior) and rear (posterior). The posterior view is typically much more helpful in determining your natural alignment. If you take a look at the image below, you'll see three types of alignments found in the ankle joint.
In example A, you'll see that the Talus bone and the Calcaneus bone interact at what is called the Subtalar joint and that they are aligned with one another. The Navicular bone is also part of this joint, but not visible in this diagram. We call this alignment of the bones Subtalar neutral and this position is ideal for a number of reasons, but in regards to skiing and in laymen's terms, when in Subtalar neutral, your leg bone is aligned properly with your ankle and foot bones. When your foot/ankle is in Subtalar neutral you are able to angulate your feet and ankles equally, which translates to equal angulation of your skis making your skiing more predictable in both fundamental and feel.
In example B, you'll see that the Calcaneus bone is inverted, or leaning in, past the mid-point of the Talus bone causing over-pronation of the foot. You'll hear boot fitters or others call this "dumping-in" but more correctly it is called pronation or over-pronation. This condition can lead to a number of issues outside of skiing like plantar fasciitis. In regards to skiing, if one or both of your feet are over-pronated, your uphill ski will never be able to angulate at same rate as your downhill ski causing you to compensate by pulling your weight uphill and relying too heavily on your downhill ski. A person with over-pronation typically has a very low arch, wears out the inside of the soles of their shoes first, and typically walks/stands with knees close together.
In example C, the Talus bone mid-point is inverted beyond the Calcaneus mid-point causing what is called Supination. This condition is much more rare than over-pronation, but equally as detrimental to skiing and foot alignment. In the same way that over-pronation affects ski angulation, supination does the same but in the opposite manner.
To deal with these issues, as well as to correctly support the arch of the foot, we HIGHLY recommend adding a custom molded footbed to your ski boot. This is not a money grab, this is not a way to "upsell" our customers. The footbed of a ski boot has zero support. Ski boot design has come a very long way in the past 10 years, but the footbed of a ski boot is still manufactured with the notion that the customer will have a footbed fitted to them and their boot. Secondarily and perhaps more prominently, individual foot arch heights and lengths, metatarsal head issues, neuromas, bunions, and styloid issues can all be helped with the fitment of a properly molded custom footbed.
In most cases for recreational skiers, a properly molded and posted custom footbed can alleviate almost all alignment issues in the foot/ankle area. There are cases in which full leg stance alignment issues arise that a footbed cannot address. In those cases we look at a canting analysis that will help us determine if we need to adjust the angulation of the boot itself through planing or the ski/binding interface with shims.
Once we determine the volumetrics of your foot, dealt with any alignment issues, and made concessions for any hotspots or protrusions, we move to getting your foot in some boots. This is where your input becomes invaluable. While we as boot fitters know the whys, the hows, and the who's, you have to tell us the what's. What does your foot feel once it's in the boot? Proper detailed communication with your boot fitter is the single most important factor to boot fitting. If you can't tell us, we can't fix it.
Typically, we try to narrow down a fitting to three boots. Emphasis on try. We like to say that if we can't nail it down in three boots, either we're not doing our job properly by choosing the wrong boots, or you're not doing your job properly through lack of communication. Trying on too many boots can confuse the issue and muddy the waters so much that you leave knowing less about what you want in a boot that you did when you came in. Once we come to a consensus on a boot, we then begin to work on any boot liner or shell modifications that may be necessary. It's rare that a boot fits perfectly off the wall, so be prepared to give us time to make those adjustments during the fitting process. Shell stretching and grinding, Zeppa (boot board) modifications, buckle and bail adjustments, and liner forming are all typical during a correct boot fit.
We carefully choose our boot brands and models according to specific fits, ability to manipulate the boot, varying volumes, and design functionality. We like to make sure that the boots we choose are in line with the theory in which we as boot fitters adhere to. While we carry the three top selling boot brands in the world with Salomon, Tecnica, and Dalbello, we also do extensive research each year to see if there are any newer, lesser known brands that meet our criteria and standards. Three seasons ago we picked up Roxa boots. They're a small, family owned, Italian boot maker who have very quietly been carving out their own unique niche on our boot wall.
We also work exclusively with Boot Doc brand footbeds and fitting systems. Through more than 18 years of fitting boots and working in the ski industry, we've found that Boot Doc's comprehensive fit system and technologies are the best in the industry. Their advanced products and fitment devices give us the tools we need to properly, accurately, and successfully get you into a great fitting boot. Stop in and let us get you set up in a new fit!