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Buying ski boots for the first time...advice needed please?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi,

As the title suggests. Iím an intermediate to advanced skier but have never owned my own boots or skis. Just back from a long weekend in L2A and finally come to the conclusion thatís itís time to ski ďcomfyĒ from now on.

So looking at buying my own boots for the first time and wanted some preliminary advice on here before heading to a boot fitting shop. Looking for the boots that will allow both inner and outer custom moulding but want to stick to a reasonable budget (£250-£500?) so that I donít get stuck in by a sales pitch.

A quick look online and I like the look of the Salomon X Max 100ís, Fischer RC pro 100 vacuumís and the Rossignol Alltrack Pro 130ís? Anyone had any experience with these? Or any better recommendations?

Any help will be much appreciated.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Look at the buying ski boots sticky be careful in your selection of "shop" then do whatever the bootfitter tells you. It's easiser in the long run. They really aren't in the business of upselling you to something you don't need because they don't need the ballache of you constantly going back to complain etc. Of course if you pick somewhere that is more "shop" than "bootfitter" caevat emptor.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Tried to get some info from that sticky but the majority of it was a argument regarding the customer service experiences from a certain boot fitter/shop.
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the best boots are the ones that fit you, and to be honest regardless of the make they all do more or less the same job, with varying degrees of comfort / flex / etc.

There are some that are supposed to be easier to put on or made with a walk option, but other than that, the boot's job is to hold your foot in a fairly rigid position.

Flex / comfort / performance are all up to you, so best get yourself down to a boot fitter, explain what you are looking for.

I bought mine at a resort (L2A in fact) on my first ski day there, and went back to have a few minor tweaks and adjustments during the week.

Other people swear by ski barlett or profeet here in the UK, take a look at their offerings and have a think about which is closer / easiest to get too or give them a call.
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@Roscoe, if you can read past one customers experience from about 10 years ago there is some useful information on the thread, it has however got a bit long and some stuff is out dated

as to what the right boot for you is, nobody can answer that on line, all the models you mention are good boots, equally they are all very different shapes/volumes so without knowing what shape your foot is it is a bit like comparing apples with oranges, both good fruit abut one might be to your taste and one cause you to be ill

as top what shop/ fitter to use, it all depends where you are based and what you are looking for
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@CEM, thanks for the advice! Iím based in the southeast so Bicester is not to far away. Can always convince the OH to make the journey with a shopping to the village! 😉
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@Roscoe, just a bit confused, you're an "intermediate to advanced skier" but you're only now looking to buy boots? And you've not yet hired or tried the very different boots you're asking us to comment on. To get to your level needs considerable time on snow and you've yet to identify a brand or model that feels good on your feet.
Sorry, I'll take a pass on this thread Puzzled
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@auntie masque, no worries. Not sure any need for the hostility, just ignore the thread.

As to your analysis and conclusions, Iím sure there are many skiers like myself that enjoy an annual ski trip, ski reds and black runs, but would not have a clue about the specís of boots and skis. Hence asking for advice from those more knowledgeable then myself.
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@Roscoe, not hostile, genuinely confused. By now you should have some idea or at least memory of boot branding that feels good or at most hurts you the less and you're asking for feedback on very different products both from last shape and performance. Add to that you say you're skiing reds and blacks but have no idea about any of the equipment you use but you like the "look of" xxx . . . you do realise what that sounds like?

Go see CEM in Bicester, be honest with him about your abilities and your goals and he will fit you with suitable and comfortable boots but if your feet are problematic you will have to revise your budget upward. He doesn't have any sales pitch and will measure and correctly fit boots. And don't forget to add the cost of decent footbeds, skiing at your level they would certainly be most appropriate and add to the comfort quotient.
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@auntie masque, 1. I know a couple of "advanced" skiers who only bought once they were "advanced", 2. I'd be well impressed with any shop renting any of those boots.

And given last differences between ranges, etc. not much help to rent a rental boot that has the same brand and racing stripes when the fit will be completely different.
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This article is written about ski boots for junior racers, but there is some very good info in there which is applicable to everyone.

http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=135817&highlight=

I've had mixed experiences with shops that claim to offer expert boot fitters. Some good and some bad. A good boot fitter might not agree entirely with the advice in the article, but if they seem to be taking an approach which is completely different to what the article suggests, I would walk away and find a different shop.

I've seen staff in (well respected independent) shops do some odd things, ie recently I saw a 'boot fitter' tell a customer that a boot was the right size for them without doing a shell check.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
auntie masque wrote:
@Roscoe, not hostile, genuinely confused. By now you should have some idea or at least memory of boot branding that feels good or at most hurts you the less and you're asking for feedback on very different products both from last shape and performance. Add to that you say you're skiing reds and blacks but have no idea about any of the equipment you use but you like the "look of" xxx . . . you do realise what that sounds like?
.


To be honest, no. I canít remember what boots and skis I hired back in 2006 on a boozing week in Sauze. Or from the first ever school trip I took back in 1996. I hire ďintermediateĒ boots and skis from the nearest shop and outsource all that technical know how. I like the look of those boots quoted due to the brief descriptions of level aimed at, custom inner & outer and price point. So not sure what that sounds like?
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@under a new name, premium rental gear is usually retail product and good shops are quite happy to swap etc if you go back and tell them your feet hurt. You and I both know that there are astonishingly good skiers that wouldn't dream to call themselves "advanced". The OP needs to go shopping and try on, after all, none of us have his feet or have seen him ski.
I do have to confess a curiosity to witness the OP especially on the -25 glazed ice crap we've had in Ferni this week Evil or Very Mad
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Roscoe just go shopping and if you cannot remember what you put on your feet and hurt, then back off the booze too. Fit is everything with boots and nothing we can say here will have any effect on that.
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Last boots I bought were Atomic Hawx from Solutions for Feet, replacing some Salomon Impacts, imo you need to put your trust in the fitter and be totally honest in your ability and ambitions, they know the sizing of different makes and should be able to work out what fit and flex is going to work for you.

I am very happy with my current boots, smaller than the last, but I never feel the need to let off the buckles.

My point is, I would suggest not coming to the boot fitter with any preconceptions of brand or model.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@auntie masque, I have never or at least rarely seen rental boots that premium!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@auntie masque, thanks thatís great advice. Much better than questioning someoneís skiing ability (cause thatís clearly the benchmark of credibility on these forums) based on that fact they donít know exactly what make and model boots/skis they ski in.

I ski red/black runs and have fun. Iím sure that doesnít make me advanced ( I did say intermediate/advanced) and Iím by no means a technically perfect.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
auntie masque wrote:
@Roscoe just go shopping and if you cannot remember what you put on your feet and hurt, then back off the booze too. Fit is everything with boots and nothing we can say here will have any effect on that.


I have absolutely no idea what boots or skis I used to rent before I bought my own and I would be amazed if most people could remember. You have gone beyond rude here.
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under a new name wrote:
@auntie masque, I have never or at least rarely seen rental boots that premium!
+1

and I know a lot of good skiers who still rent boots, rather than buy them...

...on the other hand my mate and his missus went out to Zell am See 5 years ago, they couldn't ski but decided that they wanted to learn as they love the mountains.

The took their campervan, stayed in seecamp on the lake, and on their first day they bought new boots / skis / helmets / gloves, etc and a season ski pass and stayed for 4 months and taught themselves to ski (with the help of people they met out there).

So they have done the opposite to Roscoe, they have bought new boots before they were even skiers, never mind advanced skiers. Laughing

We all choose our own path

(BTW for the last 5 years they have gone back to Seecamp, bought a seasons pass and skied the whole valley snowHead )
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holidayloverxx wrote:
auntie masque wrote:
@Roscoe just go shopping and if you cannot remember what you put on your feet and hurt, then back off the booze too. Fit is everything with boots and nothing we can say here will have any effect on that.


I have absolutely no idea what boots or skis I used to rent before I bought my own and I would be amazed if most people could remember. You have gone beyond rude here.


Wasnít just me that noticed that then. wink
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Hi Roscoe,

As already mentioned Solutions For Feet in Bicester are excellent. That's all they do. I have just bought some new boots from them. i went in thinking yeah i think Atomic Hawk Ultra's would be right for my narrow feet & they look cool. After five mins he said right Salomon X Max 100s are right for you. Your feet chooses the boot not you. I can thoroughly recommend them.
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@Andrew911, thanks! Iíve Dmíd Cem and will be visiting before my next ski trip.
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Roscoe wrote:

A quick look online and I like the look of the Salomon X Max 100ís, Fischer RC pro 100 vacuumís and the Rossignol Alltrack Pro 130ís? Anyone had any experience with these? Or any better recommendations?


I'm not sure how much you know about boots but that's a strange selection - you have 2 sets of 100 flex and 1 set of 130 flex. 130 flex is much stiffer than 100 flex - if you need 100 flex boots than 130s will probably be too stiff and if you need 130 flex boots then 100 will probably not be stiff enough so highlighting both flexes in the same set of options is unusual.

When you say you 'like the look of them'... what exactly are you looking at? The colour? Because the main things that really matter with your boots are the fit and the flex... so your eyes are just not great tools for choosing ski boots! Go to a boot shop and try some on. Don't choose what's going cheap on the internet because any money spent on ill-fitting boots is money spent badly, regardless of how much they claim you're shaving off the RRP.
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@dp, good advice. I donít know a great deal about boots so wanted some constructive info from this forum.
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Out of interest - how did you arrive at that selection of boots?
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@dp, price point, fully customisable outer and inner and a vague amount of brand recognition. You reply is exactly the advice I was looking for.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Being a total gear-head I usually read every review possible before choosing anything EXCEPT for ski boots. I just go with whatever the boot fitter suggests and try to give the best feedback I can during the process. Makes, models etc and other people's experiences of them are completely useless when it comes to choosing a boot that will fit your feet. Fit is everything and no two pairs of feet are the same.

Looks like you are on the right track going to an experienced fitter. CEM fitted my wife's current boots about 5 years ago and they have been excellent, easily the best boots she's ever owned. Her previous 2 pairs (both fitted at different shops) had issues after a few weeks once the liners packed down - basically a bit too big for her. Her current ones are spot on, although she does have Zip-fit liners rather than the stock ones - again on CEM's recommendation during the fitting process.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
holidayloverxx wrote:
auntie masque wrote:
@Roscoe just go shopping and if you cannot remember what you put on your feet and hurt, then back off the booze too. Fit is everything with boots and nothing we can say here will have any effect on that.


I have absolutely no idea what boots or skis I used to rent before I bought my own and I would be amazed if most people could remember. You have gone beyond rude here.


+1. I might have remembered the colour but that was about it! Now on my 3rd season with my Salomon X-Pros fitted in resort.
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You know it makes sense.
can someone explain to me about packing down, i have atomic hawk primes, they are a couple of weeks old and i have been wearing them around the house for an hour a day, also did a couple of hours at gloucester ski slope, they feel ok, still a bit to snug at the front and a very tiny amount of heel lift, i am after comfort more than performance, they are definately more comfortable now then when i first bought them, if they pack down even more then i think they might get a millimetre or two to big. i have read reports of packing down by a whole size or more, and other reports say it might not be to much.
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@compostcorner, the material in a ski boot liner is essentially thin layers of various foams, some better quality that others, some a bit like furniture foam, so just like that DFS sofa that feels really firm in the store and when you first sit on it at home, the foam squashes and compacts when you sit in the same place for 6 months, the foam in a ski boot liner does very similar on a micro scale, the ankles push into the same place each day and it compacts the foam a little..... Now, if you have a snug fitting shell, one which matches your foot shape well then there is less compaction, if there is space (ie the shell has extra space) then the motions of skiing will cause more compaction as the foot vibrates and moves a little in each turn, this is why rental boots normally don't give much control as person A pushes one it of foam aside, person B pushes a different bit, Person C another area etc, by the time you get to person X then it is a case of everything being pushed away from someones foot and they fit where they touch.

as to how much a boot will pack depends a bit on the foot the skier the way the shell fits the foot and the quality of the liner in that particular boot, using the boot you have as an example, in the various levels of that boot 100 flex, 110, 120, 130 etc there are 3 different types of liner, silver, gold and platinum,(there is a lower level liner in the very base level boots) as you go up in spec the liner materials are denser which gives a tighter out the box fit which feel more aggressive but doesn't pack down as quickly, on the lower level boots they use a softer material as a lower level skier wants more comfort (generally) the trade off is the foam compacts more quickly.

as for a boot packing out a full size, that is a bit of spin, if the shell check was good in the first place then the liner only has so far to go, if however the boot was bough big (or generous) as the customer did not like the feeling of the boot being so close to their foot then yes that liner will keep compressing and as it does just a little by little the boot will feel bigger and bigger until the foot starts to rattle around.

i have said it so many times, it is all about tolerance of the foot to be in a boot, how much compression that the individual likes and technique of the skier and biomechanics, this is why we always fit boots with a thin sock, as things pack down a bit you can then go to a slightly thicker sock to take up some of the difference.

if the shell fit of the boot is good then you can change the liner out for an after market liner such as zipfit or PU foam injection, where the materials are denser but form a shape around YOUR foot, by doing that you reduce the micro movements so reduce or slow the packing out
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
thankyou, very informative, my atomic hawk primes have 110 flex with a silver lining


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Fri 16-02-18 18:50; edited 1 time in total
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@CEM, good point on the socks. I had my boots professionally fitted by Steve at Sole (ie very snug fit!), and use a really thin sock. When using a thicker one I can really feel the difference on my one pressure point. Also found a plastic heel insert and now 2 additional vertical pads around my right (collapsed) ankle make a big (positive) difference to heel hold. I've relied on good bootfitters to find solutions to my difficult feet and having just spent a weekend swimming in rental boots would suggest good fitting boots should be at the top of the priority list for where you spend your ski holiday budget.
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