I love fall, just about, as much as I love the winter.
There is something about walking into your favorite ski/ride shop on any given day. To time this right walk in just after the UPS driver pulls away. This almost guarantees the shop staff is deep in, opening box after box of all this year’s juicy new gear! Boots, boards, skis & grippers strewn about the floor. To me, this is sacred land; it is the heart of any specialty retail. The floor lords of retail reside here.
The first step in this process is investing in your boots! Your feet are the direct connection with your board or skis. I’m going to refer to this a riding from here on as both are equally important and both share one fundamental truth, you need to attach your feet to the object through a boot & binding combination… Scary but true.
The Foot: by definition -The lower extremity of the vertebrate leg that is in direct contact with the ground in standing or walking.
Second: never shop for a boot online, period! If there is, any one rule to follow it is this rule! When purchasing a boot you really want to try on as many as humanly possible, in person and with a qualified or even a certified boot fitter.
Third: Never purchase a boot from an ill-equipped floor lord! A boot-fitter that will not measure or does not possess a Brannock is not a true boot fitter, whether you are purchasing a snowboard boot or ski boot you want to measure both the length and the width of your foot. A Brannock is the device used to measure feet for boots, shoes & flippy-flops. An essential tool to get the process started… It is not about your shoe size, it is about the fit.
Now let us chat about how to go about a purchase,
First, you are going to want to either have a super thin sock with you or purchase a “very thin”, wool, acrylic, or a blend of both “NO COTTON”!
Most all specialty retailers will have a good selection on hand right in the boot area. I am a fan of the C.E.P compression socks myself. A good friend Mr. D Rahlves turned me onto these and trust me they are amazing… Know your foot, if you are making a first time purchase, or trying to improve the fit of your older boot, take a shot at downsizing. “The tightest the boot is today is the tightest it is ever going to be.” that is my line to everyone. Trust it, and take the test -down size.
The Shell fit:
This is another telltale sign the boot fitter / floor lord is into his or her craft. After you have been measured, the fitter should discuss the “findings” best boot fitters will be taking notes as they walk with you through this process. In my shop, the discussion would go along the lines of a conversation of what your foot #1 looks like, narrow, wide, high arch, medium arch, no arch and then the length, 7, 8 or 9.5… You then can really start to look into what they have in stock and on the wall. The shell fit is when we pull the inner bladder out of the boot and place your foot inside of the shell without the bladder, feather your toes up against the front of the boot and take a measurement of the distance of your heel to the rear of the shell. This gives us a benchmark of where we should go with the fit. One and one-half fingers, is what I believe is the best starting point to work from. Two to three is not what you want to start with. From here, we go into what I like to call the “three little bears” scenario. We try boots, one will be too tight, one to loose, one will hurt like heck and then there is the one!
My next step, I go grab a few models, shapes and sizes for you to try on. Back on the bench, I ensure you have pulled your sock up, no wrinkles, grab the first boot, check the size, and talk to you about the shell size (located on ski boots on the medial or lateral side of the heel. Snowboard boots do not have this as #1 they actually come in half sizes, but you can look at the EU size to help…
Toes to the nose, your toes should gently brush up against the front of the boot. In both ski and snowboard boots the snugger the fit the better the performance. “Like a glove” touching your foot everywhere, not painful, but snug. Kick your heel back against the deck. This will ensure your heel is firmly in the heel pocket of the boot. Flex forward in to the tongue of the boot. Your toes should pull away from the front of the boot, still lightly feathering the front. Your heel should remain stable, not lifting…
From here, it is up to you and the rapport you develop with your boot fitter. You will know when you have met one of us. We’ll help you through thick & thin. If I did not match the right boot to your foot I’d take it back. At least that has been my motto for the past 20yrs. If the fitter does not guarantee the fit beware…
If you have questions, Ping me, I will always take the time to answer your questions on boots…