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Ski boots with Moldable Shells

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just wondered if anyone ever had fit problems with ski boots with heat moldable shells or do they always give a great fit?
Is it worth worrying about last width if everything is corrected in the molding process?
I was thinking of possibly going for a pair of Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130 or 120 but the unmolded last width is 98mm but I know I am more like 100mm. Should I worry?
Is there a great change in stiffness due to ambient temperature?
Any wise words appreciated.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Not had any problems with my Salomon Xmax boots, combined with the zipfits, the most comfortable and fitted boots I've owned. But talk to the bootfitter and go with what they recommend, rather than what you want wink

Temperature will always change their stiffness, and they can be 'interesting' getting them on at times to say the least Toofy Grin
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@FoofyNoo,If you haven't purchased yet you are in a great position, in that actually get a perfect fit/boot. a 98mm last may be too tight something wider could be a better solution. I would really have thought that you want to modify the standard boot as little as possible.There is nothing worse than having a fitt/comfort problem that manifests its self on the slope or tour when .
Try to select your boot by fit/use, don't be swayed by the marketing!!
Use a decent store with capable boot fitter there are loads around the country.
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@FoofyNoo, like most things in skiing, it depends but the short answer is yes, you can still have problems.

Are your feet an awkward fit normally? Then you may still have problems. Do you like a comfort fit or a performance fit? Performance is more likely to need extra work.

Heat moulded shells are a terrific invention but you still need a last shape that suits your foot to begin with. The heat moulding on the shell is the fine tuning of the fit and will not make up for a last shape that is inherently wrong for your foot. They also don't have unlimited stretch (usually about 6mm is the max) so a last that is too narrow to begin with will still run out of width for a wide foot. Equally, the stretch is only outwards so a last with a heel that is too wide for you off the shelf will always be too wide; you can't shrink it. It's not possible to correct "everything" with the moulding process if the starting point is too far off.

In my personal experience, I have had a pair of Salomon Impact 10 CS that were never quite right and a pair of XPro CS with zipfits that have taken nearly 20 weeks of skiing/fettling to get right. After initial fitting I have had the heels spot stretched at the back 2 and 3 times respectively (in an area of the boot that isn't really covered by the heat moulding) and a top buckle drilled out to create additional room over the instep on my more awkward foot. I may not have needed this with the stock liner but the zipfits are pretty inflexible in that particular spot.

I would definitely call my boots a performance fit though. They are a 100mm last - I tried the XMax with the 98mm last on in the shop and couldn't tolerate them for more than a few seconds let alone contemplate stretching them enough to accommodate my forefoot. I could wear the XPros in the next size up for a comfort fit and they probably wouldn't need any of the extra work but I know the heel would always feel sloppy in the next size up.

Standard advice applies - see a good boot fitter and let them guide you to a suitable boot rather than selecting something off the shelf and trying to force it to fit.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Go to a good boot fitter. They are not all equal.

Where are you based?
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Thanks for all the excellent advice.

I am in South East London ...
I did, for my previous set of boots, go to Profeet and didn't have the best experience.
Yes I do have weird feet with great lumps as inner ankle bones. I have always needed boots blown out in those areas [hence the thoughts on moldable shells].
I take the point about not reading reviews and getting expert advice.
After my previous experience I have slight trust issues ... I don't believe that a commercial fitter would not recommend a boot they had in stock of your size if they didn't have the ideal.
And ... no fitter has access to all makes of boots in all sizes for you to try.
Perhaps I am over cynical ... ?
My choice is very much limited by the need for a 50/50 boot with tech inserts which is light enough for the up but stiff enough for the down ... so it is not just about how they ski, it's about how well they walk as well. There are only a few boots that fulfill these criteria and even fewer shops that stock them all in my size.
I would be much less minded to read reviews if I only wanted to ski in them.
If anyone has any suggestions as to where to go I would be grateful?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Solutions4feet at Bicester is a high recommendation here - and is i think known to NOT recommend a boot just because it's all they have in stock... and has advised others down a custom Dale boot from elsewhere where it's needed...

I'd contact him with rough mondo boot size and foot/instep info and your semi-touring requirements just to see how he is for stock etc before making the trip there. Once he'd seen your feet he might be able to order the pair for you ...?

I've not used him myself, but i believe the common (but not for all) method is to throw away the OEM liner and use a Zipfit liner instead (not sure if that's so suitable for touring etc) - and having just got Zipfits for my Atomic Hawx in the USA I just wish I'd done that/gone down that route years ago ( and I've had foamed liners as well as the usual OEM heat mouldable ones).

Instep height/volume etc is also why you'd need a good boot fitter rather than just going by a vague last width... but the heat mouldable shells certainly improve matters for both fitters and the customer.

If I was in the UK, I'd be going to them for any boot fitting from what I've read... and getting those zipfits fitted first thing in the morning and go skiing asap - i.e. in a fridge or dry slope to get them moving the omfit goop in the zipfit to suit - and make sure i have a good boot dryer or heated boot bag to get the liner warm first thing.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@coops1967, thank you for the recommendation

with regard to Zipfit, it is certainly not the go to liner for every fitting, but if someone skis a lot or has issues with fit then it is certainly one option

@FoofyNoo, with the requirements you have, yes the choices are more limited, the boot you mention the Ultra XTD does have a pretty mouldable shell and it will accommodate a good amount of expansion, but as others have said it comes down to foot shape in the outset, a zipfit liner is probably not the thing to go for if you want to tour in a boot, the liner is particularly stiff in rearward flex so does not allow the full range of motion available form most boots of that type.

as for slightly wider options than the 98mm, from what we stock you have the tecnica cochise at 99mm, the Lange XT free at either 97mm or 100mm and thre Head Kore which is 100mm so there are options out there.....this is when you tell me your size and it limits those options dramatically
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Salomon mouldable shells are a bit of a gimmick, as essentially heating any boot will allow them to be moulded. When I was working as a boot fitter even the Salomon rep admitted as much, and he’d always use our heaters to remould his boots as any ‘outward’ adjustments came back in over time.

A proper boot fitter will try a number of smaller measures to create an overall better fit than one wholesale change, ranging from mods to the shell and the liner in adding or taking away material, but the best single thing you can do is get a proper footbed in there to support your foot and stop your footprint spreading and creating pressure points when you put your weight forward.
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@CEM
Thanks for the info ...
I think you have persuaded me to make the trip to Bicester.
I had not considered the Head Kore which may be a good option as I am Mondo 26.5 and about 100mm wide.
I am on 2015 Tecnica Cochises at the moment ... they were not the right boot for me. The widest part of my foot always felt squashed. Only much stretching got me some relief.
I now have permanent holes in my medial malleoli from the damage caused by not blowing the boots out.
Comfy supportive boots would be the holy grail for me.
When would be the best month to come up to give me the most options?
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@FoofyNoo, we should have everything by mid to end of August ( there is always a few stragglers but we never know what they are until they don’t turn up on the main deliveries) be sure to give the office a call to talk it through and book an appointment, we don’t do walk ins ( normally as we are already booked)
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