Ski Boot Buying Advice

I bought ski boots recently and went through a lot of research in the process. Here are some web pages I used:

Buying/shopping advice:
* Someone Else's List of Links to Ski Boot Advice Pages
* epinions Buying Guides (quality varies)
* Google Answers on Ski Boots (discussing stiffness and includes some links)
* Ski Magazine includes a number of articles on boots, such as Do Your Boots Really Fit? (see "related stories" at bottom)
* Epic Ski Bootfitting Guide
* Belniak Boot Advice
* REI boot fitting advice
* Alpine Accessories Guide to Selecting Ski Boots
* CNN Overview on Buying Ski Boots
* Series of Articles on Boots at (with a discussion of lateral versus rotary boots that I haven't seen elsewhere)
* How to buy ski boots from a foot sport doctor
Boots: How To Find A Good Fit (Ski Magazine)

Two groups train/certify boot fitters:
* Master Fit University, which sadly doesn't list the shops with trained technicians directly on its web site
* America'a Best Bootfitters. Its web site lists certified stores -there aren't many-, and includes a little advice.

Post-boot maintenance:
* Master Class: How to Tweak Your Boots (Ski Magazine) (see "related stories" at bottom)
* Treat Your Feet (Ski Magazine)

After hearing a number of recommendations, I bought my boots at Granite Chief in Squaw Valley. It was quiet Thursday and I got lots of attention and tried on a large number of pairs of boots. They did a number of the fitting techniques I read about, but the most impressive fact to me was that anytime I remarked that something was uncomfortable in this particular place or that was too tight in that particular place, they just took the boots into the back and tweaked some of the settings and fixed it. That's what I think a good bootfitter can do for you: they know how to modify boots to fix issues.

I chose the tightest fitting pair of boots that wasn't so tight as to cut of my circulation. (I tested by sitting in them for twenty minutes.) All this was tested not with my thin ski socks but with an ultra-thin pair the bootfitters lent me. They said it was important and in retrospect I agree with them. The boots don't quite flex as much as I'd like, but then I'm not sure how important flexing is and many review articles say when in doubt to buy the stiffer boot. (One's calves and ankle muscles can always get stronger.)

The first day of using the boots was a bit uncomfortable. I kept feeling as if my feet were falling asleep due to the boot tightness. But they never actually did; I could always wiggle my toes. And I was surprised how warm my feet were. I was worried that since I usually ski in thick stocks that my feet would freeze without those socks. But that didn't turn out to be true, and I also skied better.

The boots the second day were perfect. I guess the lining started compressing a bit and molding itself to my foot, like all those links said it would. On the second day I also started clamping my boots down less -- since they fit so closely already, there wasn't much reason to push them hard against my skin. Maybe that lack of tightening helped the very tight issue too. (The less clamping didn't hurt my skiing either.)

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