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Buying Ski Boots.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@red 27, carry on fella, no issues from me
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Jcosh, a very measured response. In case it got lost above...Profeet. 2 pairs of boots myself with tweaks FOC after an injury. 2 friends and hubby very satisfied too.
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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?
Quote:

fella

spoo
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@red 27, Laughing
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@red 27, not a fella Shocked Amazing how one can draw the wrong conclusion through words alone Very Happy
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holidayloverxx wrote:
@Jcosh, a very measured response. In case it got lost above...Profeet. 2 pairs of boots myself with tweaks FOC after an injury. 2 friends and hubby very satisfied too.


That's great to know. I've known of their services previously, but not used them, nor do I know anybody that has. So thanks for the recommendation.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:
Colin is also correct that I do have a mild flexibility issue due to a prolapsed L5/S1 disc in my lower back, it does affect my ski performance to some degree, particularly my ability to angulate as much as I would like.


Enjoyed reading all this and that line stands out to me. I have years of experience of this mainly because my longest surviving skiing buddy has been fighting the same back issue. And when I say 'fighting' I think that is the operative word - he has technique, he knows what he's doing, but it's a fight and he's the one that ends up physically wasted by apres time. I have no physical issues, can therefore be nice and relaxed on my skis and barely need to tighten my boots much of the time and have enjoyed dropping down to a 110 flex. He, on the other hand, is ever conscious of protecting his back, skis in a very stiff/tense way and guess what, he's always complaining about his painful boots - I think he went to Profeet or maybe Surefoot but they were certainly 'properly fitted' but in my view probably over prescribed as he can't flex them too well. So my armchair amateur conclusion is that his feet are constantly doing an awful lot of compensating and he appears generally tense so its little wonder to me that something has to give. In other words, the boot fitter can't go and ski the runs with you, see how you are, he/she has to take your word for it and most people haven't got a clue where they really are on the skiing spectrum.

In this case I think the bootfitter is getting the blame but the issue may be higher up.
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Pruman wrote:
Quote:
Colin is also correct that I do have a mild flexibility issue due to a prolapsed L5/S1 disc in my lower back, it does affect my ski performance to some degree, particularly my ability to angulate as much as I would like.


Enjoyed reading all this and that line stands out to me. I have years of experience of this mainly because my longest surviving skiing buddy has been fighting the same back issue. And when I say 'fighting' I think that is the operative word - he has technique, he knows what he's doing, but it's a fight and he's the one that ends up physically wasted by apres time. I have no physical issues, can therefore be nice and relaxed on my skis and barely need to tighten my boots much of the time and have enjoyed dropping down to a 110 flex. He, on the other hand, is ever conscious of protecting his back, skis in a very stiff/tense way and guess what, he's always complaining about his painful boots - I think he went to Profeet or maybe Surefoot but they were certainly 'properly fitted' but in my view probably over prescribed as he can't flex them too well. So my armchair amateur conclusion is that his feet are constantly doing an awful lot of compensating and he appears generally tense so its little wonder to me that something has to give. In other words, the boot fitter can't go and ski the runs with you, see how you are, he/she has to take your word for it and most people haven't got a clue where they really are on the skiing spectrum.

In this case I think the bootfitter is getting the blame but the issue may be higher up.


Thanks for your insightful and experienced account of your friends back trouble. As you probably know, not all prolapses are the same. The prolapse itself is not the what causes the pain. It's the referred pain of either the local muscles going into spasm to protect the prolapse or the nerve pain (often sciatic) that refers down the leg, often as far as the toes. In my case, I have a mild prolapse. Not enough to justify surgery, but it does need constant maintence in terms of physio and stretching. I am also careful about where / how I ski. So I ski mainly on piste as the off-piste offers possible surprise bumps which can cause a spasm. However, my skiing on piste is not effected too much. I ski very hard and carve with a high level of competence and power. I've had a fair amount of training over the years (Warren Smith etc).

So, your point is a good one. But I don't believe that my prolapse effects my skiing quite as much as you describe your friends situation, but it's certainly a factor. None the less, as actually confirmed by CEM, he was aware of my lack of flexibility at the time of fitting my boots and I assume factored that in to the boot selection and size / fit.
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Well I'm quite impressed this hasn't turned into a shitfight. And I apologise for 'rubbishing' you @boredsurfin - I wasn't aware of this recent change since Colin has supplied work on my non-S4F boots in the past. Although @CEM, maybe wrong/naive to assume that any boot not purchased in S4F is an internet purchase??? Mine came from a reputable fitter in Livigno but truth be told the 2 hour flight and 6 hour transfer is a bit long for me to get a few adjustments done... too bad.

I have to say that I have generally recommended S4F to a lot of people but often I say the name and somebody in the room's ears prick up and they pipe up that they either had a bad experience with Colin, or know somebody who did. And the complaint is always the same - boots far too small, leading to very painful feet throughout the day. Hence my earlier (edited out - for fairness) comment that perhaps the fit offered by Colin is a bit more geared towards improving timed runs than for 6-8 hours of hobby skiing through the whole day. Contrary to @boredsurfin's comment, I have not yet met one person who asked for a leisurely boot fit and actually got it. I have met plenty of people (more than 10) who have complained of boots which are fundamentally too small.

I am glad that @Jcosh posted a detailed and full response because I do firmly think that it is in the best interests of the forum that suppliers are reviewed fully from both positive and negative accounts. Like I said before, in Britain especially, poor suppliers (not saying S4F is one) often get away with it because people are too polite to criticise. I think it's important in threads like this for people to get a balanced picture and not just see the good reviews Madeye-Smiley
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@dp,
Quote:

I have not yet met one person who asked for a leisurely boot fit and actually got it.

I'm not sure what 'leisurely' means in this context, but I was given - without asking for them, but having supplied an honest assessment of my skiing ability - a pair of boots, which fitted firmly and gave (still give, after eight seasons of several weeks' use a year) great feedback from the snow, but which never gave me a moment's pain from day one.

Equally, I too have seen the toes of someone who had a bad experience - they weren't a pretty sight.
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@dp, +1 on all counts...except for Hurtles counter argument about leisure fit
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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.
@Hurtle, with regards to my 'leisure fit'... I have always been aware of 2 general styles of boot fit, the 'race fit' and the 'leisure fit'.

Race fit generally meaning... what is the best way to shave 0.001 seconds off your race time at all costs, since pain is only temporary but glory is forever.

Leisure fit (/comfort fit) generally meaning... happy to forego a bit of absolute ski performance if it means that your feet are still happy 8 hours later.

---

I wasn't saying that CEM isn't capable of doing a leisurely fit based on your verbal feedback. I have just never heard anybody say they've received one (you're the first - although I appreciate that boredsurfin apparently knows 5 more). I have met numerous people who have all had exactly the same complaint in that CEM gave them a boot which was 1, maybe 2 sizes too small and that whilst yes they got a lot of ski control benefits from doing so, their toes ended up looking - as you put it - not pretty. I can't speak for everyone but for me personally, there is no fun in being in crippling pain (and trust me - last week I saw somebody in all-day, crippling pain from boots that may indeed have been supplied by our favourite bootfitter) all day, irrespective of how much ski performance increase you get. I ski purely for fun and if I am uncomfortable then I am not having fun.

If I were to be honest for the sake of complete transparency in this thread, the first time I went to see Colin I did find him a bit stand-offish, I tried to offer some verbal feedback whilst he did his work and got snapped at, it did feel as though he was taking a stance of, I don't need your feedback, I know what I'm doing and I know that it's right and you can either take it or leave it. I let it go because ultimately he seemed to be getting it right first time and in all fairness the new insole he made me has been exceptional. And as somebody who uses insoles daily, I really mean it when I say exceptional. In many ways I'd rather have a bootfitter who's straight with you than one who tells you what they think you want to hear. In my professional capacity I'm very straight up with people and have a small capacity for b*llsh*t, there's people who think I'm being rude but there's plenty others who like that I'm accurate and to the point from day 1 - so I let it go. It doesn't bother me. But I could understand how it would, others.

What I have always stood by with Colin is that he very obviously understands feet and not just ski boots. I feel you get a bit more of a complete service, he's helped me not only get boots which fit my feet but also helped me get feet which can work my boots. You definitely don't get that at the average boot shop. I think CEM as a user brings a lot to the forum and it's only fair he can take away something too, I think it's good that he's had an opportunity to speak here but maybe he'll also take some of this on board and help him to keep developing his service. Who knows.
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I've never used @CEM personally but was given a recommendation by him for a reasonably local boot fitter when looking to purchase my first pair of boots and that worked out amazingly well for me. I love the boots I ended up buying and am now terrified they're coming to the end of their natural life. I'll go back to to the fitter he recommended and expect to enjoy my next pair as much.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
It seems that CEM is very good at recommending other boot fitters. Perhaps he can draw up a list? By geographical area maybe? A point of reference for those new to wanting custom boots fitted. But could only those that don’t insist on supplying crippingly tight boots make the list. Now that would be a useful contribution. Laughing
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Pruman, hits the nail on the head

every fitting we do is done to pretty universal industry standards, the difference in each case is the skier..... we can go over the basics of shell fit again and again race 10mm ish performance 15mm ish comfort 20mm ish reallly fluffy 25mm ish , bigger than that too big.... i say ish as boots come in 10mm increments so someone with a seemingly big 25mm shell fit dropping a size will have 15mm a pretty good performance fit, hence why there are "ishes" and every skier is different... then we have to consider tolerance to fit tension, this is the individual thing the x factor the bit no boot fitter can account for it is a personal thing, what we can see is thew size, the level of flexibility and the fleshiness of the foot, but if the customer says this feels tight but ok, what are we supposed to do, ski boots need to have a firm hold of the foot to enable skiing, we are not talking crush, but firm hold, now if a customer says it feels ok and it is all within the parameters that most boot fitters are working to then what is the fitter supposed to do.... do they take the customers word for it and sell them the product???? boots dont shrink when someone leaves the shop but there are a number of factors that can change
socks: is the customer wearing the same thickness as at the time of fitting
clipping up: are the boots being done up correctly, upper buckles first and tight,then flexxing a few times then lower clips loosely
the ski: is the binding delta affecting the position of the skier
flexibility: whilst taken into account at the time of fitting this is the responsibility of the individual to stretch, foam roll and do what is needed to give mobility
fitness: the boots get dragged out for a couple of weeks a year (maybe more for the lucky people) whilst the rest of the year they are sat at a desk or in the car and are generally not fit enough to go skiing... its a sport
technique: this is the biggy and nobody wants to admit that they are not as good as they think they are


@Jcosh, for the record the reason i recommended another fitter to @swiftoid was due to location and timing, we couldn't get them in quickly enough as we were busy, no other reason NehNeh
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 Poster: A snowHead
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it should also be noted that all this discussion is about a boot fitting from the 2007/2008 season yup that's right folks 10 years ago
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
CEM wrote:
it should also be noted that all this discussion is about a boot fitting from the 2007/2008 season yup that's right folks 10 years ago


Why should it be noted? What is the relevance of drawing it to our attention (the customer already said when it was) and what is the point you are trying to make?

The "yup thats right folks 10 years ago" comment was unecessary and simply reinforces the comments made about your attitude.
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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?
Oh dear, this is what happens if one publicly disses clients, either generically or specifically, and even if names are withheld, especially on social media. Customers are not always right, but in my experience it's dangerous, if one values one's client base - both actual and potential - at all, to broadcast to all and sundry that they are wrong.
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My take on this, for what it's worth ...

1. For recreational (holiday) skiing, a sophisticated rational (and that doesn't mean complex) rear-entry boot design is best. Salomon proved (by 1984) that this was the case. The Salomon SX series (best exemplified by the SX91, and not their original model the SX90) was a second-generation refinement of six years' study of the human foot and the mechanical function of the boot. It was an utterly brilliant concept, proven by hundreds of skiers who enjoyed years of comfortable skiing. It largely sold through word-of-mouth recommendation. Then Salomon lost the plot, in the face of elitist professional skiers, who perennially turned their noses up at rear-entry.



2. Butting the toes into a 4-clip boot only achieves black toenails, or other horrors, on what should be a pleasurable holiday. Why crush the feet into something that's too small for them?

3. I've skied in everything from lace-up leather boots (inner and outer laces) in the late 1950s to early 1960s, through clip leather boots, through the early forms of plastic-shelled boots (c. 1968-1974 designs: Lange, Nordica etc.) ... and was never happier than in a pair of Salomon rear-entry. The Tecnica TNT was a very fine 4-clip boot: served me and many others very well for years. I then reverted to a kind of hybrid rear/front entry design - the Nordica Syntech. That was a great design of the mid-1990s.

4. I frankly don't understand what's happened to ski boot design in the past 25-30 years. How can it possibly be that people are currently (still) complaining about poor fit ... when these problems were solved for the vast majority of people in the mid-late 1980s?

[end of historical rant]
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
to counter, I've never been so uncomfortable as the day in 1992 when my Flexons failed to arrive on the luggage carousel, and I had to ski in some rented SX92 Equipes, horrible, just didn't work for me.

My current boots are the best fitting and most comfortable I've had.
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@holidayloverxx, it is pretty relevant as boots have changed a great deal in that time, back then 16-18 degrees of forward lean was the norm now most things are 12-15 degrees, which plays a fairly big role in stance and comfort, there is also a greater understanding from boot manufacturers and fitters about foot shape.

@Hurtle, is it not fair that as a business which is being slated that i am allowed to defend meyself
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@CEM, thanks for the explanation; it would be useful if you edited the post to say that.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@CEM,
Quote:

is it not fair that as a business which is being slated that i am allowed to defend meyself
Up to a point, yes. But it would have been better, at the start, just to say you were fully booked/not taking on new work at the moment, and certainly not sound off on facebook. The fact that I was 100% satisfied with your work - even though you never offered me one of your legendary pies and said you didn't drink fizz, whilst pocketing the bottle of it I brought for you wink - will go unsung or soon be forgotten, what people will remember more clearly is all the aggro flying about.

(I'm not saying that I was never tempted to tell a client to feck off, obv. But I never actually did, or not in so many words.)
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Hurtle wrote:
Oh dear, this is what happens if one publicly disses clients, either generically or specifically, and even if names are withheld, especially on social media. Customers are not always right, but in my experience it's dangerous, if one values one's client base - both actual and potential - at all, to broadcast to all and sundry that they are wrong.


To be fair I don't think that any of us that have actually met Colin and availed of his services would expect him to be anything less than robust when defending himself and his bootfitting decisions. It's part of what makes him an expert in the field and gives him a reputation as a no-nonsense straight dealer.

Now there will be always reasons why customers have reason to be unhappy with something they have purchased from unrealistic expectations to not acknowledging that their body/biomechanics have changed or indeed their technique isn't perhaps of a standard that enables the boots to perform as designed.
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@Dave of the Marmottes, one can defend one's work without publicly dissing the customer. That's all I'm saying.
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@Hurtle, agreed
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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.
Davina Goldballs wrote:

4. I frankly don't understand what's happened to ski boot design in the past 25-30 years. How can it possibly be that people are currently (still) complaining about poor fit ... when these problems were solved for the vast majority of people in the mid-late 1980s?


I disagree. It is possible nowadays to get ski boots comfortable for the most messed up of feet. I think Colin is probably reasonably accurate when he says the problem is more the skiers than the boots.

I have had 2 sets of ski boots ever and both have been racing slippers. The majority of people I meet have the same experience in their ski boots being very comfortable. I think modern ski boots are very good, combining high end performance and comfort. There is no technical reason why current modern ski boots cannot be made to fit comfortably.
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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
@dp, certainly material science is improving and boots are becoming easier to work with even from just 5-6 years ago, the plastic quality is better they hold stretches better, the more upright stances, more anatomically shaped shells, I think the weak link in he manufacturing chain is probably the liner, all made to a price and some are better than others but the brands are starting to notice where the problems are coming from and do something about this.

Biomechanics will always play a role in skiing and when you put a human foot inside what is essentially a plastic box and the biomechanics are not optimal that is where the problems arise and compensations take place, some of these are fixable by stretching or grinding the boot some by using different footbeds or liners, and some by the user working on muscular tightness.

Flexibility issues are amongst the most common things we see, we explain it, how it will affect the skier and give the options of what can be done. One of the best analogies I have heard is this ( and this is not having a go at anyone, just facts) if you buy a pair of running shoes and then put them in the cupboard for 6 months before putting them on then run 10k every day for a week the likelyhood is your feet will feel pretty sore and your body would be aching ( maybe not if you are serious runner but if you have not trained for 6 month it is likely) ski boots are kind of similar, we put hem in the cupboard for 6 months then drag them out get out to resort and ski 30-50 km a day if not more and wonder why there are some pains.

The picture of a Salomon rear entry boot reminds me.... season 19/20 you may well see something in the way of rear entry ski boots appearing on the rack wink it won’t be a high end performance product, but it will fill that bit of the market, remember back in the 80’s we didn’t have the materials for shells and liners that we do now.

So in summary there have been massive changes in products over the past few years ( some of them as above almost going full circle in terms of boot design) every day is a school day so learning is always happening
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

season 19/20 you may well see something in the way of rear entry ski boots appearing on the rack


aaarrgghhhhh just when I've gone and bought some new 'modern' ones... If only I'd waited. back in the g.o.d. I had the SX61 which was similar to the 91 but was only 6/9ths as good and cost 6/9ths as much. Hated them tbf

After reading all (!) the fantastically informative boot fitting threads on here I have just plumped for a size smaller in my new boots which I bought (wait for it) on the internet rolling eyes as they were super cheap and it was the same model I already had (Sally X-max). The penny dropped when I learned that the shells are only made in the half sizes and my so-called 27's were in fact 27.5's with a beefy liner (long since packed down). Super comfortable initially but steering wise they have latterly acquired the handling characteristics of a dodgem.

So, 26.5's this time which will apparently mean dispensing with bulky ski socks and slipping into a pair of ladies knee-high stockings which is something I've been thinking about for a while. I may go the hole hog and try hold-ups in fact

Wish me luck! snowHead
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@red 27, I am a sure you’ll be fine, I am a uk 11 and ski in a 28.5 shell, and with a lot of work I can get into some 27.5 I am guessing ty have smaller feet than me


It is not even as good as a beefier liner, it is a 1.5mm shim under the footbed in Salomon/ atomic or a thicker footbed on most other brands.... making liners a bit thicker is just too dam expensive for most brands to even consider it
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@CEM, oh really? My old liner has "27" stamped on it but perhaps that's just part of their game...

So the general rule then I suppose should always be to never buy the whole number size - always go for a ".5"

I'm a uk 8.5, low volume, narrow (but otherwise fairly normal) so the x-max seems the right boot for me. Looking fwd to how the new smaller ones feel - I will report back this time next week after my forthcoming trip. I see the top 2 buckles on these newer ones are easy to re-position so that may help too

BTW, anyone who has a job dealing with the Great British Public has both my respect and my sympathy snowHead
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@CEM, ha re running shoes, I mostly indoor train in winter and although there is a treadmill running component, after my first couple of outdoor longer runs in spring, oh, yes, I ache a bit Shocked
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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?
@red 27, both atomic and Salomon no longer even make a boot with 27.0 on the label, that boot would now be 27.0/27.5 and comes with a 1.5mm shim in the box, this cuts the SKU count by nearly 50% for something that was exactly the same but with a different label

Other brands Lange / rossignol etc have a label on the liner which clearly states 27.0/27.5

It has always been this way just now people are seeing it and understanding it. Long and short is cost, it is over €1mil to make a mould run and launch a boot so the fewer component parts the better, if they ever did make the 1/2 size then it would only be reflected in the price which would jump up a lot
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@red 27,
Quote:

anyone who has a job dealing with the Great British Public's rancid feet has both my respect and my sympathy


FIFY snowHead
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
so anyway i bought my new boots about 2 weeks a go and have been wearing them at home for a bit everyday, at the moment they still feel a bit small with my ski socks on, but with no socks on they feel ok, so i"ll give it another week with socks on to see if it packs down, if not i"ll get thinner ski socks, i still got 3 weeks to my ski holiday.
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For new and tight boots I've found Sidas ultrathin ski socks invaluable if expensive. I wear them for the first 2 days of a ski week before changing to slightly thicker socks once the liners have packed down a bit
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sidas-Ultra-Socks-unisex-black/dp/B01LXNXQID?tag=amz07b-21
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@compostcorner, to be honest, don't let it influence you too much. The only way to test boots' suitability for skiing is to ski in them.

For example, plastic performers differently at room temperature to what it does at outdoor skiing temperature. The areas in which you weight your boots and put pressure through them is different for skiing. etc etc.

I'd wait til you get there, and then if there are issues, try and see a local boot fitter.
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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!
@compostcorner,

@dp has it spot on wearing a boot around the house is not going to break the liner in, it takes 2-3 days of skiing to get everything to start to settle down.

Take a pair of pop socks with you for emergency’s and make sure you are clipping the upper buckles first and firmly, the flexing a few times before loosely fastening the two clips over the foot ( I got an e mail from resort the other day about tight boots, gave the buckling advice, just as we do in store, and the response was “ is that some sort of miracle cure” )

It takes a little time but it is worth it in the long run
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
CEM wrote:
it should also be noted that all this discussion is about a boot fitting from the 2007/2008 season yup that's right folks 10 years ago


Not quite 10 years ago, but who cares. Why does it matter? This is just another aggravated outburst, you can't seem to help yourself. Are you saying that your service several years later is now better than it was then? Judging by your reaction on the phone last week and your inaccurate outburst about me on here over the weekend, I'd say not!

If I were you, I d keep my head down for a bit. Bite my lip and this should all pass without further damage to your reputation. It's clear that I'm not the only person who has a negative opinion of you and your customer service. If that were my business, I'd be trying to build bridges.

When you're in hole, stop digging!
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@Jcosh, please read vack and take a breath...i asked why it was relevant and he gave an answer about technical changes over the years
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