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Buying boots as a beginner

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I'm a very part time/ nervous skier but detemined to get better! I'm going to buy my own boots this year - I have narrow feet and ankles and skinny calves and always find my heels are slipping around in hired boots. Hoping my own boots might help with feeling in control a little - as well as being more comfy.

My question is, should I go to one of the recommended fitters - is it worth the extra money? I'm SW London/ Surrey border near Kingston. I could make it to Profeet, Bartletts or further if needed, but Snow and Rock is easier.

thanks!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Soozm, yes...no doubt about it. Profeet are ace....I'd be surprised if anyone recommended snow and rock.
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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?
Brilliant, thank you! Yes my message is confusing - noone has recommended snow and rock that I've seen, I was just wondering if as a very basic skiier I would be ok with them or if it's still worth seeing a specialist. Given the lack of excitement recently I'll happily go to Fulham!
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@Soozm, if you're going to shell-out on boots pay a little extra and go to someone who really knows what they are doing. Bartletts are decent and I've heard good things about Profeet. S&R is a gamble.
How many weeks have you done? Buying boots very early in your skiing career can mean you end up replacing them very soon becasue you quickly develop beyond them (but it is still right for some people with odd feet or deep pockets). You're only really a beginner if you don't know how to ski Wink
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Profeet are excellent. Had my current boots fitted there and the minor adjustments, post first week skiing in them, were again superb.

My experiences of Snow & Rock have been very good. My very first pair were fitted at Chertsey and they served me extremely well. My son had his first pair fitted at Hemel, so could try them on the slope and have some minor adjustments. Again, really good service.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
@Soozm, chances are your rental boots have been at least a size bigger than they should be, and if you have narrow feet most rental boots are wide fitting so you will have that to contend with as well

as to where to go, it comes down to what you need, without knowing what you need then it becomes more of a gamble, no boot fitter be they in a chain store or a specialist goes out to put you in the wrong boot, they all try their best and the specialists just have more practice at it than the generalists

as for boots for your level of skier, i have people describe themselves as beginners after having done over 20 weeks skiing and conversly people state that they are experts after a fraction of that.... wherever you go follow the below and you should be ok

Try to avoid busy times or book an appointment, most specialist boot fitters are appointment only
Be honest about your skier level and what you want to achieve
Take the ski socks you are going to use or buy a recommended pair from the store, thin socks are better than thick
Don't buy on looks, be guided on fit, the boot will feel pretty tight in store like a really firm handshake (if you remember what one of those is!)
The fitter should shell check you... (they take the liner out and have your foot into the empty shell, if they don't just make your excuses and leave)
Try on only 2-3 boots, as a novice you might want to try a couple more to understand the fit, but a good fitter should be able to narrow down the choices from their range... DO NOT try on loads of boots, that is a boot seller not a boot fitter
Every skier will benefit from an insole, be it off the shelf or custom depending on your foot these are the foundation of the fit, they help support your foot and spread the load over the whole foot
It will take over an hour, longer if you have to have adjustments made


good luck getting sorted
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
This is all great - thank you so much! I have been reading old threads and wondering if it's worth going to Bicester, maybe I should!

I really am a beginnner - have been travelling with my family but at first was recovering from a hip op, then decided I'd join in - and since then have probably done 3 days on each of 4 trips. As I said my main issue is fear, I only want to be able to be comfortable on blue runs and join in with my friends and kids for part of each day.
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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!
@Soozm, a visit to CEM would not be wasted.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Soozm, a day trip to Bicester wouldn’t be wasted IMHO. snowHead
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I got mine at Ski Bartlett and was very happy with the service, choice, value and fit. But whichever if the previously recommended ones you go to I’m sure you’ll get a good fit.

There was also Surefoot who get the occasional mention here, also in Fulham. But their website says that branch has yet to re-open to when they now can maybe the website is wrong or Covid has done for them?
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Wrong time of year to go usually (may be different because of pandemic) as stocks would be low.

Sept/Oct would be best but if going to Bicester just call and ask. And then book/call as they advise.

They'll give you plenty of days of pleasure and comfort so worth the bit of extra cost.
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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.
@Layne, plenty of stock in most shops right now, the honourable businesses out there took their stock for the season, some less so cancelled things last minute, if we all did that there would be no suppliers left, thankfully most of what we bought carries over to next year, so now is as good a time as any
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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
@CEM, I did wonder - hope business is good this summer/autumn.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
The other option is to buy in a resort. That way, you'll be skiing on them straight away and can go back to the shop you bought them from to get them adjusted if necessary. In one week, you'll be able to get them be able to ski and then adjusted multiple times until you feel they're right for you. The alternative is to buy in the UK, not get the chance to test them out on snow 'till your holiday, find they aren't right and have to ski with them that way through your holiday, before coming home to have them adjusted, then wait 'till your next holiday to see if that's worked ... etc.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
First off heal lift is probably one of the most common issues beginners have with boots and one that has a huge impact on your ability to feel in conrol and trust your instrcutor when they utter the seemingly illogical "Just get your weight forward and the skis will turn" instruction. My assumption is this is because it's against the law for anyone to actually explain to beginners what boots are MEANT to feel like/do.

All of ProFeet/Ski Bartlett/Solutions4Feet are, rightly, highly regarded on here and you're unlikely to go wrong with any of them.

Personally I'd pick based on convienience. I live in central/SE London and use ProFeet as they are just an hour away door-to-door, not a mighty trek around/across London (and I have no interest in visiting Bicester Village what so ever). And remember, when you use a professional boot fitters like one of these it's not just the initial fitting/boots you're paying for but the extended support they provide - think I went back to ProFeet 3 times over the life of my old boots, as my skiing ability/agression and 'what a boot should feel like when it's properly fitted' experience grew. All in those trips probably took as much staff time as the original fitting but didn't cost me any extra.

Oh, and as for "when", most people seem to forget all about skiing until a couple of months/weeks before they are due to go, at which points ski boot shops are at their busiest/fitting appointments at greatest demand. I think I got my new pair of boots in Aug/Sept and oddly had my pick for fitting day and time of day...


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Thu 22-04-21 10:06; edited 1 time in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I agree with @LaForet, - I've always bought mine in resort for instant assessment/tweaking, but I go to the same place several times a year so its easy.

If you're not going back to the same place on your next trip, it means you have to get them right on that trip, vs buying in the UK and being able to visit between trips.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Mjit wrote:
All of ProFeet/Ski Bartlett/Solutions4Feet are, rightly, highly regarded on here and you're unlikely to go wrong with any of them.

Personally I'd pick based on convienience.


This!

If you do require one, or indeed several, return trips for ‘tweaking’ (by no means a certainty, of course), then you may regret selecting somewhere like Bicester (or wherever, that has less convenience).
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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?
Soozm wrote:
This is all great - thank you so much! I have been reading old threads and wondering if it's worth going to Bicester, maybe I should!

I really am a beginnner - have been travelling with my family but at first was recovering from a hip op, then decided I'd join in - and since then have probably done 3 days on each of 4 trips. As I said my main issue is fear, I only want to be able to be comfortable on blue runs and join in with my friends and kids for part of each day.


I went to Bicester from Belgium, just saying:)
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+ 1 for visiting a specialist my first boots came from S&R they worked is about all I can say not all their fault I bought boots after 1 trip and was pretty clueless. I went to Lockwoods for my current pair marked contrast the fitter gave me 100% attention listened to what I had to say provided 3 pairs to try a little bit of tweaking and they have been comfortable ever since. I travelled from West Wales to their shop well worth the time and effort.
Of course this was all pre covid.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I would buy boots in a resort, from a decent shop with a fitter. It may not be obvious what that is, so you may need to nose around a bit to work it out. The reason is simply that this way you can take the things back to get them tweaked if you need to, and you can try a few before you buy of course. And the fitter knows you'll be right back there if they make a mistake. That just doesn't work any other way.

Once you know what sort of boots work for you, or like me that any boot just works, then you don't need to pay for the fancy fitting or any of that and you can save money without risk, but until you know that...
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You'll need to Register first of course.
There are plusses and minuses of getting boots fitted at home or at resort.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
A friend's son is currently doing a podiatry Master's and worked in S&R. So they are not all bad. But they are definitely not all good ...
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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!
I bought my own boots after a few lessons at Hemel. Having odd feet, rental boots were horrendous and I knew that I was going to become addicted so took the plunge before my first ever trip!

Not knowing any better, I had mine done at Snow and Rock at the Snow Centre in Hemel. We got lucky and a really experienced fitter sorted me out a pair that were molded to my feet with some footbeds. 7 seasons later still going strong and comfy as ever. Would I use S&R again though? No....it's too hit and miss with who you will get. It's much better to go to an independant ski shop.

If you can get down to Sevenoaks in Kent (about an hour or so away I think?) then you can visit Captains Cabin. The guys there are bloody amazing. My OH and 3 friends have all had boots fitted there and they have been spot on. One needed a slight adjustment after a trip, which they did free of charge with no hassle at all. I will be getting my next pair from them as well.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Am thinking of changing my boots for next season. Can anyone recommend a boot fitter in South Wales?
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