Before you come to us for a ski boot fitting, a few helpful points to remember/consider and a couple that we would like from you:
1. No appointment needed. Please allow yourself plenty of time of about 1 to 1.5 hours. Maybe less, maybe more but we do not rush.
2. Wear loose fitting trousers that can be rolled up to your knees.
3. Clean feet with trimmed toenails. Painted is ok!
4. Bring your favourite/regular socks. (we have plenty of clean try-ons if you don't)
5. Snug is your friend.
Bear in mind new boots, especially coming away from hire boots, should feel snug, more snug than hire boots and a bit more snug than expected.
We want your new boots to last you for years and they will bed down. We do not want you in a "ugg boots with buckles" style fit. A new boot in away should feel like your jeans on a Monday morning fresh out of the drier, and as the week goes on they loosen up a bit.
The Ski Shop Boot Fitting - It's all about You and Your Feet!
Assessment. You and your feet!
We will ask you a lot of questions as we want to know about your skiing and your feet!
Your ski ability, ski style, stance, any foot, back, knee problems, past injuries etc will help towards determining which type of ski boot is best suited. We talk about the importance of supportive insoles/footbeds and quality technical ski socks as opposed to thick tube socks.
Close Up. Your legs and Feet.
Inspection and measurement. Ski boots and their fit is NEVER about shoe size. Shoe sizes do not translate accurately to ski boot sizing.
At this point we will measure both feet. We measure your feet with you sitting down with feet in an unweighted position and then standing up; feet weighted. This will show us any foot spreading and if the foot elongates in length. We also look at you overall flexibility, hyper-mobility, ankle shape and ankle flex, calf size/position, foot print, instep, arches, lower body alignment/stance. We use specialist measuring equipment such as a Brannock device and Podoscope and of course our eyes to give us a more detailed and accurate guide. We will talk about the importance of fitted technical socks and footbeds/insoles for support and to improve the fit, comfort and performance of your ski boots
Its all about the fit... priority, foremost, the number 1 criteria. It's NOT brand, colour, looks. Like wands, the boot generally chooses you, not you choosing it by brand, colour or looks which can often be the completely wrong shape and style for you.
Now with the information of your skiing, foot size and foot profile and requirements we have ideas about which boots to bring out for you to try on.
As weird and as uncomfortable this process looks, its very important. We take the inner liners out of the boot and ask you to stand in just the outer shells and we have a good look at how your feet and stance look in the shells. Next we look at specific areas and measurements around your feet and legs to determine if the size and boot is going to work out ok. It's the shell shape and last width that really determines the overall fit and hold. Once satisfied we put the liners back in and we are now ready for trying on.
The End is Nigh
It is important, actually crucial that you know that in the next bit, we haven't lost the plot!
First impressions when sliding in your foot SHOULD be that, hmm its snug and i can feel the end, or my toes are at the end. Mostly this is a good sign, as when the boot is all buckled up and you are flexed forward your foot will move back a little and pull your toes away from the end, in the skiing position. When you stand in a more upright position your feet go back to the front. So it should be knees bent, foot back toes away, upright toes to front not as comfortable. A ski boot will always be at its best, feel its best in the position it was designed for. Bendz Ze Kneezs!!
Going back to the feet just going into the boot part, there is a right way of buckling you boots up that will really help with the fit and assure you more that the boots are not to short. So foot in, buckle up the 2nd from top cuff buckle and flex back and forwards with weight on the fronts of the boots. You will feel your foot move back slightly and toes a little away from the front. Then the top cuff buckle and repeat flexing, then the power strap. The bottom 2 buckles, instep and toe; always last.
Snug is your Friend
So now you have the 1st pair on and they should feel snug with the buckles just lightly done just your jeans on a Monday morning fresh out of the drier, and in a knees bent ski position your toes should just move slightly away from from the front, almost brushing the ends. With the toes bit you may feel its still a tad too short, we then will stand you in our fixed bindings device,which replicates exactly what it will be like on your skis on the the slopes. This gives more leverage than just standing with bent knees on a shop floor and it will move your foot back more and bring your toes further away from the front.
Now is a good time for a free coffee, tea, hot chocolate, beer!
So walking about and bending, flexing we can get a good idea of how you and the boots feels and make any adjustments or fine tuning. After a while its time to try on another pair and repeat most of the previous processes (that includes more coffees if desired)
So, they still feel snug, good.... Like I said snug is your friend. 2 main reasons, foot shrinking and liners bedding down.
Generally for most skiers (not all) feet shrink when skiing, through loss of foot volume due to sweating. The soles of our feet is basically fatty tissue and ski boots act like a mini sauna. The liners will compress, bed down and start to loosen up a bit, like fresh pair of jeans or new shoes. we may have tried a trim to fit insole or made a custom insole now to improve the fit. The general insole or footbed supplied by all brands are the equivalent of a foot shaped piece of bread to support your feet and align your body.
Come Dine with Me. Customisation, Cooking, Heating, Adjustments
This is where we finalise the fit, or tweak any possible pressure points or to accommodate even more of your foot shape by starting to cook, heat and mould the boots.
Not all brands and models can be heated up in this way for a custom fit. Our recipe is:
Ingredients: Choice of Salomon Custom Shell, Atomic Memory Fit and Head Form Fit ski boots.1 pair of feet with good socks and foot beds.
Method. Heat ski boots in special oven to the recommended time, heat liners accordingly. Stand to rest, with feet in the boots in a slight flex position for 5-10 minutes. Cool down shells. In less than 20 minutes the ski boot should have shaped, expanded, formed more to the shape of your feet.
For the brands and models that are Non cook ski boot shells we heat the inner liners and when ready we ask you to walk around, flexing etc allowing the liner to shape around your foot. This accelerates the bedding in process and can smooth out any hotspots. If you have plenty of time before your ski trip, wearing them around the house helps to naturally bed them in.
Where necessary other final adjustments can be made to help the fit or iron out any niggles. A few examples, manual stretching for say very large bunions, ankle bone stretch for bony ankles, heel raisers, cuff padding and cuff alignment to name just a few.
This guide is not exhaustive and may involve many more aspects and processes depending, well, really on your feet.
The Never Ending Story
Once we are all happy with the choice/selection, our service to you on your ski boot purchase does not end once you've bought your ski boots from us and gone home.
We recommend, actually insist that you should try on and wear your boots at home many times before your trip. It helps to bed them in and you get used to then and get to know them. But importantly if you have any problems, queries or concerns it gives you plenty of time to come back to us so we can try and solve any issues or we can swap them and try others again. If you go skiing and have any niggles or issues we want you to come back so we can try and rectify them. We are always here for you and your feet. Corny I know, but true; and yes pun intended!
We want you and your feet to be happy and comfortable If they are not quite right or you are not 100% sure we wont recommend or sell them to you. That's a promise.