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New Ski boots - Do I need them?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I'm a recreational, once a year skier. I have around 8 seasons mountain experience across Europe, and I'm comfortable skiing in most conditions. When I holiday, I ski every day, all day.

I'm currently using Salomon Mission 5's (flex 65) https://www.evo.com/outlet/alpine-ski-boots/salomon-mission-5, paired with Salomon Enduro LX800 skis. https://www.snowmagazine.com/ski-gear/955-skis/salomon-enduro-lx800

I'm 46 years old, very fit, and around 6'1", 12st. I'm not *that* bothered about improving, but I do enjoy skiing fairly fast and aggressively when conditions allow. In addition, my partner is a beginner who skied for the first time last year - although she is very decent, our skiing will be tailored to her level (However she is comfortable on most reds...she had a good teacher Very Happy ).

So, my question: Is it worth upgrading my boots? My Salomon's are very comfy and I never had any issues with them. However, we went boot buying for my g/f last week, and it did make me start to think - I know what a huge difference buying my own boots, and then buying my own skis made to my enjoyment and confidence when skiing - would I get a similar performance/enjoyment boost with stiffer boots??
snow conditions     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
12st in a 65 flex? You must bend them like a wet biscuit. Performance would almost certainly improve with stiffer boots to allow you more control.
ski holidays     
 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?
The default position is that you always need new boots/skis/jacket/googles (delete as applicable).

I am smaller & lighter than you and skied in 80 flex for a while (albeit it seems you can’t directly compare flex across brands or even models) and they were creaking. Changed up to 100 and they feel better, with more control.
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65 flex is too soft for you, I'm not surprised they are comfy as they are almost the alpine equivalent of a pair of trainers. I'm not advocating buying a pair of 130+ race boots but something in the 100 area would be more suitable given your height and the amount of leverage you can put into the boot. A qualified boot fitter will provide you with the correct guidance - I am not a qualified boot fitter btw!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
As said above - Yes you need new boots.

A good Bootfitter will advise - but I would expect you to be put in a Boot with a flex of 110 - 120.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Wed 6-11-19 11:55; edited 1 time in total
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Im 62, 13 stone, 5'11", in 120's. would suggest new boots would help with footbeds. Xmas solved
snow conditions     
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Il_Capitano, I’m 6ft, 56, and 10.5 stone, and I ski in 120 flex boots. I would expect a new boot better suited to your ability will make a massive difference to the feel of your skiing.

The description of your current boots (below), indicates a beginners boot “sporty looking”, “ extra wide sensifit for easy step in”, “dedicated to comfort and warmth”.

“Salomon Mission 5 Ski Boots 2010: The Salomon Mission 5 Ski Boots are a sporty looking all-mountain boot with Advanced Shell technology for precision and an extra wide sensifit for easy step in. Salomon s X Fit Fusion liner is dedicated to comfort and warmth of the foot all day long while the 3D Sensifit technology combines soft and hard plastic to ensure seated step-in and precision.”
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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!
Ditch the slippers Grandad and buy a pair of ski boots Laughing Very Happy snowHead Laughing Very Happy

Where do you live, people could recommend a good bootfitter. If you ski once a year they should last many seasons.

They will be give you more control/confidence and therefore more enjoyment skiing.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Those boots are too soft.
Don’t be tempted to go too stiff. As said above 110 should work.
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
Thank you very much for all your replies!

Yes, my ski boots are very comfy! Slippers is a good analogy Very Happy I only paid around £100 for them and have had 4-5 holidays, so they owe me nothing and are still in good nick.

I live near Derby, and work in Nottingham - are their any decent boot fitters nearby? We are off to Zell am See over Xmas, and I was probably going to recommend that my g/f get hers fitted out there but any local recommendations would be very welcome Smile

We went to Decathlon last weekend, and my g/f tried 6-7 different pair on over the course of 2 hours and none fit well (one foot is slightly larger than the other, and she has a high dorsal surface), so she definitely needs a custom fit.

I'm not sure I would *need* custom - stuff tends to fit me very well off the peg, but I wouldn't mind paying a bit extra for good quality advice, if nothing else.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Il_Capitano, Ski Boots are one of those things that really need expert fitting. They can make or break your holiday and make or break your skiing.

Your advice on here will overwhelmingly tell you this.

This is not an area to skimp imo.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Wed 6-11-19 13:00; edited 1 time in total
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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.
@Il_Capitano, solution 4 feet in Bicester, it's a bit of a trek but worth it.

IIRC Rivington Alpine near Chorley well thought of.

Others may come along shortly with other recs.
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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
Do not expect 100 quid again though. Gear yourself for a 500 slap in the face and hopefully it'll come in a fair bit below that.
snow conditions     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Il_Capitano, I honestly wouldn't buy ski boots from Decathlon, I doubt they will be sized correctly, nor will the staff understand about ankle flex points etc.

I can also recommed the same companies as Layne, is solution4feet in Bicester (90m from Derby) or Rivington (similiar distance!)

For both you will need to pre-book an appointment.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Easiest for you will be Bicester and solutions 4 feet. Rivington alpine also well thought of but probably a harder journey. I went to S4Feet from Chesterfield and it was worth the trip , zero adjustments needed.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Il_Capitano wrote:
I'm not sure I would *need* custom - stuff tends to fit me very well off the peg, but I wouldn't mind paying a bit extra for good quality advice, if nothing else.


My boots fitted really well, and much better than any hire boots I'd had right off the bat too, with no modifications or custom footbeds... At least I thought they did till the custom footbeds and heal wedges went in and I mentioned a slight pressure here or there and they tweaked the boots. In many ways they are now the most comfortable pair of shoes I own!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I too live in Derby. I went to Colin @ Solutions for feet in Bicester. I am 140lbs, 5’ 8” and ski in a 120 flex boot. The boots he fitted for me transformed my skiing.
ski holidays     
 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?
Thank you all very much for your replies, they have been very helpful and have clarified a few issues Smile I think I'll probably take a ride down to Bicester when I can get a day off in the week and get a custom fit - Spending £300 at EB or S&R for something that might be a little (or a lot) uncomfortable, versus £4-500 for a professional service is a no-brainer - buy cheap, buy twice as the saying goes...

The missus isn't keen on spending £500 on a pair of ski boots so I think we are going to take a ride to Tamworth Snowdome and see how Ellis Brigham stack up for her's. I suspect she would be better buying a cheap, comfy, roomier, beginners pair similar to the ones I currently use, or even rent for a couple more seasons until she feels comfortable spending big bucks on a custom fit, but we'll see how the chain stores service stacks up...
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Could be worth looking at Lockwoods in Leamington Spa.
A little bit closer than some of the other (very good) options if distance is a big factor.
..Nick
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Il_Capitano, you won;t be able to just "take a ride down" . You will need to make an appointment in advance, so start planning your day off around the appointments available!
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Thank you for pointing that out holidayloverxx, "take a ride down" was a figure of speech - I did check the website and noted the "appointment only" service Smile
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Il_Capitano, I *think* solutions4feet will sell the same boots (well some of them) as Ellis Brigham. Buying £300 boots at Ellis Brigham that don't fit won't help her progression! Roomier boots become dangerous sloppy fitting boots PDQ! You can get well fitting beginner boots.

If/when you ring solutions4feet ask if they sell suitable boots for your wife? They are very honest, they wouldn't sell a pair to a friend of mine as they had nothing they felt suitable, and Colin keeps telling me my ancient boots are fine and I don't need a new pair Smile
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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!
kitenski wrote:
@Il_Capitano, I *think* solutions4feet will sell the same boots (well some of them) as Ellis Brigham. Buying £300 boots at Ellis Brigham that don't fit won't help her progression! Roomier boots become dangerous sloppy fitting boots PDQ! You can get well fitting beginner boots.

If/when you ring solutions4feet ask if they sell suitable boots for your wife? They are very honest, they wouldn't sell a pair to a friend of mine as they had nothing they felt suitable, and Colin keeps telling me my ancient boots are fine and I don't need a new pair Smile


I completely agree! I think her buying a well-fitting pair of beginner boots (similar to mine) that don't break the bank would be her best option. Or just spend £30-40 hiring for a couple of seasons until she is ready to buy a quality longer-term boot.

it's also a good point about the Solutions4feet range. They only do a couple of boots <100 flex, so perhaps she isn't quite ready for those yet - although she is very good for a 1 week skier.
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@Il_Capitano, don't get too hung up on flex numbers. They are not standardised, consistent or comparable between brands. I can flex my properly fitting 120 flex boots far more effectively than a too-large pair of 90 flex boots. If you are going to Solutions4feet, just give them a call and ask about boots for your wife. They can easily soften boots if required.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
If you're going to Colin and are skiing over Christmas then call him now. I went last year and had to book a weekend appointment a few months in advance because he was booked up. Might be different if you can make a weekend though.
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worth noting on the much disparaged Snow and Rock. I have bought twice there now, and have had excellent service, and great fitting comfortable boots both times. Just saying.
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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.
If you're going to EB at the snowdome and your other half has foot issues, then you may end up with something that feels ok in the shop but causes problems on the mountain... On top of this - correct me if I'm wrong - your other half probably doesn't have the experience of what a good boot should feel like.

A proper boot fitter will ask the right questions and make the right decisions based on you as an individual. From experience the guys in EB run off a script and just react to your potentially unreliable input.

Worst case, you end up having a crap trip because of the pain and/or lack of control, then to get them adjusted a decent boot fitter will (rightly) charge you that £100 you decided not to pay at the beginning!

If you can afford it and you're feeling generous, go to a decent shop and pay her fitting fee yourself; it is better for everyone in the end! (speaking from a never-to-be-repeated experience here!) Sad Laughing
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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
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
Although in general I agree with the advice to get good boots from an excellent bootfitter, I really do understand why a beginning skier may not want to spend £500 on an item of gear that has close to no resale value, while at the same time knowing that their skills and possibly needs will change rapidly.

If in doubt, just hire boots. It's not the end of the world. It won't stop you from learning how to ski.

But do learn, young grasshopper, from my tale of woe. While I'm like you and pretty easily fit into standard mens boots, my wife isn't so lucky. She tried hiring boots at first and her feet were always cold or in pain or both. She wasn't yet sure whether she loved skiing enough to make a big purchase, but I had read lots of internet newsgroups like this one that advocated buying boots. So I persuaded my wife to go to the local ski shop, where we were sold some soft-flexing "beginners" boots that we were told would carry her up through intermediate level skiing.

My wife loved those boots because they felt really comfortable and warm in the shop. They were a little bit expensive, around £200, but she felt really happy we had found them and was eager to get back to the slopes. Now everyone on this newsgroup can guess what happens next - as soon as we got back on the mountain, her feet were cold and sore and the boots felt really uncomfortable.

We went to another shop and got the boots stretched somewhat (more money). That didn't work. We went to yet another shop and had boot heaters installed (much more money). We went back and had a new custom insole made (much much more money). Meanwhile, at least 4 skiing holidays were spent in misery and argument and discomfort. My wife lost her big toenails on both feet, on two separate trips. She absolutely hates skiing now and swears she will never try it again. She only associates it with pain and fear and hassle. And every time she looks at those damn boots she resents how much money she's sunk into them.

So look, I get it, £500 is a lot of money. Especially for someone new to the sport who is not 100% certain how committed they are to skiing. But in hindsight, I wish I'd just accepted the cost or chosen a different hobby. Skiing is expensive, no two ways about it. I mean, you can drink tap water and eat pot noodles every night and sleep 10 to a bed in a shitty resort in July, but you're just going to have to accept that the minimum cost of entry into the sport is a good pair of boots. I wish I had known that when I started - it would have been a lot cheaper, and my wife might still be a skier.
snow conditions     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Just a quick additional thought - in my view, boot fit is actually MORE important for a beginner than for a more experience skier. Beginners tend to sit back when they ski and, in a loose boot, that will cause their feet to slide forward ramming their toes against the front of the boot. That's painful, so many beginners respond to this by thinking their boots are too small, so they'll get even bigger boots and the problem will get even worse. I now think that's probably what happened with my wife.

On the other hand, I've known really excellent skiers to sometimes take runs with all of their buckles open, just to practice steering using their feet only. A great skier can probably ski in a boot two sizes too big and look amazing doing it. It might not be fun, but it's possible.

But for a beginner, the boot needs to keep their heels locked in the pocket. So the boot needs to be a bit tight in the shop, and that may be uncomfortable or unfamiliar. How uncomfortable should a new boot be? When is it a "performance fit" and when is it just a torture device? You can't trust your own instincts on these questions, because your instincts were developed over a lifetime of walking in shoes. So you're going to have to trust (and therefore pay) a very careful and experienced bootfitter.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Thank you for sharing those wise words diaphon. it's worth noting that my g/f didn't really have any problems with hire boots during her first year skiing, but, as you said, I encouraged her to consider buying a pair is probably the best investment a new skiier can make, and my own experience supports this assumption.

However, I think I might have been fairly lucky with my beginner boots (or my anatomy!). I'm not sure she will find something as comfortable for her so easily, especially as she didn't even feel comfortable in the boots in the store when we tried a few pairs on last week.

I think she will be better hiring for another season, keeping her powder dry, and then getting a custom fit next season. Given the funny shape of her feet, and one being slightly longer than the other, I just have a bad feeling that even an EB or S&R pair of manipulated boots may not prove a decent investment...
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Il_Capitano, my first boots were from S&R. I have slightly odd feet, one about 10mm longer than the other. No real problems with discomfort, just that they were probably too soft for me. Got 11 or so weeks out of them before I decided that I needed something stiffer and went to S4F last year.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Il_Capitano wrote:


However, I think I might have been fairly lucky with... my anatomy!


Congratulations! Very Happy Very Happy
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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?
@Il_Capitano, look, you sound like me and most of the people on this site - you want to make the best decision and you want to make it in a sensible way. But the truth is, you’re going to end up spending a fair chunk of money one way or the other. It’s fine, that’s skiing. Buy the boots or don’t buy them, you’re going to have to revisit either choice soon and it’s going to cost you some cash but that’s ok.
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diaphon wrote:
@Il_CapitanoBut the truth is, you’re going to end up spending a fair chunk of money one way or the other. It’s fine, that’s skiing. Buy the boots or don’t buy them, you’re going to have to revisit either choice soon and it’s going to cost you some cash but that’s ok.


I think I've read enough here and elsewhere that a trip to S4F for my boots before Xmas feels like the best bet - I'd rather take the plunge and get the best, or otherwise stick with my comfy slippers! Very Happy
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Il_Capitano, if you can get some indoor skiing done after getting the new boots then any tweeks can be done at S4F prior to your trip...
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