WHAT IS A BOOT FITTING
I discover the best place to buy UGG boots online. Well, first of all a boot fitting is not a 15 minute job, where you select the colour and graphics you like the most and then someone in a busy shop measures your foot size, ‘fits’ your boots in a few minutes (whilst usually answering the odd question from colleagues) and then takes your money! No comfort guarantee will undo a poor fitting like this, which we ourselves have experienced! For many people, when they visit us for a fitting, often the only experience they have had is of having hire boots. The fitting process for your own ski boots compared to hire boots is VERY different. And so it should be; you are spending a lot of money to get a ski boot that will ultimately improve your skiing and give you more comfort on the mountain.
SO WHAT IS A GOOD BOOT FITTING?
When you have a boot fitting allocate TIME to do this. Some boot fittings can take 30 minutes, most take longer. If you are having a boot fitting with a custom foot bed you should normally allow 1 hour, sometimes 2 if you have 11 toes, or a specific requirement.
Here is the general process that a ski boot fitter should go through with you:
STEP 1 – INTERVIEW
The fitter should make a nice cup of tea or coffee, and talk about YOU. What kind of skier or boarder are you? Do you have any issues with your feet cure, or your knees, legs, lower back etc. The feet have a lot to cope with, and it doesn’t take much for problems at your feet to translate further up your body. Now they have a basic understanding about you, they can move on to the next step.
STEP 2 – ANALYSIS
There is some great equipment to help ski boot fitters with the next steps, eyes being the best ones! There are plenty of fancy electronic balance systems and scanners, but hands on experience is far more important. The fitter will analyse your feet and might use what is called a Podoscope, which fires a nice blue light under your feet, and you can see for yourself what is going on. They may also have a thermal plate that draws the outline of your foot so you can take a closer inspection.
The boot fitting technician will then look at your stance, to determine any bowing or canting of your legs, and particularly look at this in relation to your knees and hips, as you want this all working together as one, to save energy and reduce the risk of injury.
From this, the fitter will now have a profile of your foot, the width of your foot, the length of your foot, and the kind of volume of ski boot (taking into account calves too) that should be fitted. They should NOT let you choose a ski boot based on brand or colour!
STEP 3 – FITTING
Now try a few boots out until the fitter finds the one that best fits your foot profile and your personal requirements. Don’t look at budget at this point and go with finding the boot that is great fitting. A good boot fitter will not only pick expensive boots (although with boots you really do get what you pay for) as sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised and find that a lower price boot is the best one for you.
If you have opted to have custom footbeds at the same time – and this cannot be recommended enough, they will set up the Sidas footbed moulding equipment. This is great fun; your feet are moulded in a silicone bed, which the air is removed to get a 3D impression of your foot profile. The fitter will then create footbeds (insoles) specifically for your feet, making adjustments as a result of the step one interview and then these are finished to fit your foot perfectly.
These are then popped into the boots that you have worked with the ski boot fitter to select, and you are given another cup of tea or coffee whilst the boots liners are heated up to be moulded. Then you pop the boots on and are encouraged to flex the boots and then walk around for about 5-10 minutes to see if the boots feel right.
Any issues pointed out to the fitter (e.g., ankle rubbing a little, big toe aching) are noted, the boots whisked into the workshop, and all manner of strange looking tools are used to modify the shape needed for the boot shell. This is often referred to as stretching the boot.
The ski boot fitter will then refit, recheck, and if necessary repeat. When it is all done, you will have a great fitting boot and your legs pointing in the right direction. A great fitting boot also improves your skiing or boarding, as you will have more control and balance. And a great fitting service should also be FREE. You should only be paying for the ski boot and custom moulded footbeds if you decide to add those.
STEP 4 – FINISHED?
Now you have your shiny new boots and maybe custom footbeds, it’s time to hit the mountain. But before you do you are encouraged to walk around in your boots A LOT before your holiday. Doing the ironing with them on works well; in fact it makes chores more fun! If you have access to a snowdome, these can be fantastic for boot testing, as a drag lift always reveals any issues, although for the first few runs hitting the drag lift every 30 seconds may cause discomfort whilst the boots settle. If this happens, undo the boots, relax, and then readjust following the buckle procedure given to you by your ski boot fitter.
So if after this you identify any problems, get in touch with your ski boot fitter for a refit. Any quality ski boot fitter will include this as part of their service.
Scott Hargrave is the senior ski boot fitter at ski boot fitting specialists Edge & Wax ([http://www.edgeandwax.co.uk]), and also operates the Boot Camp Ski Boot Technician Training Centre ([http://www.bctt.co.uk]), a British Ski Boot-fitting Association (BSBA) approved boot fitting training facility in West Sussex, UK.
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