Paul, a qualified Masterfit boot technician has over 30 years experience as a boot fitter and has trained extensively in boot fitting, both here and overseas. We are the only shop in this area that has a boot stretcher, canting evaluator machine and Sidas footbed machine all of which are necessary to fit boots correctly for maximum performance and comfort. We stock all the popular brands such as Tecnica, Nordica, Rossignol, Salomon, Lange, Dalbello, Head, Atomic.
If you want a custom fit boot liner we can foam or silicone inject boot liners, or better still get one of the new Svenfit cork liners.
Bootfitting is by appointment only.
OUR GUARANTEE OF BOOT FIT
We offer a lifetime of free adjustments, to the original purchaser, of any boot we sell, we will boot stretch, grind, pad out and do any adjustment required to the liner or shell, to make a boot we have sold as comfortable and as firm as possible, all at no charge, for the labour, some parts such as footbeds may require payment.
A good boot fitter will spend time with you, making sure you get the right size boot. They will remove the liner from the shell and, with your foot inside the shell, check the shell size to your foot. I also use a Pedoscope to have a good look at the bottom of the foot when bearing full load, as this tells me a lot about the foot shape. At the same time I can check for pronation, supination and arch height.
When getting new boots, go with a thin sock as all boots loosen up. If you try on new boots with a thick sock, you will need to buy new boots again much sooner when they loosen up. You will also likely have problems such as shin bang and black toe nails.
Your boots are the most important piece of equipment you will purchase, and the performance of your skis or board will increase noticeably with a close fitting pair of boots.
Keep in mind that almost all boots will need some modifications and adjustments after you have worn them a few times, even when you have them fitted correctly.
A new set of boots will feel very tight the first time you try them on, perhaps even uncomfortably so. If you want any reasonable level of performance from your boots, you will have to trust the judgment of your boot fitter.
An experienced boot fitter, in my view, should be able to look critically at stance alignment, dorsiflexion, and even ramp angles to determine the best combination to suit your anatomy.
For many years boot fitters thought that heel retention was the most important factor in ski boot control. But these days the greatest gain can be by cuff fit, an alignment of boot sole to cuff, called canting. Cuff canting is the single most important feature on a ski boot. If the cuff doesnt match the lower leg shape, the ski will not sit flat on the snow. About 80% of the skier population will find it impossible to create a balanced stance in a boot without cuff cant adjustment.
At our shop we use a canting evaluator, it is a boot fitters most valuable tool, but very few shops have one.
Most ski boots are designed to accommodate knock kneed skiers and pronated feet; as a result very few suit the bow legged skier. Bow legged skiers should seek boots with a dual cant system - that is a boot with canting adjustment on both the inside as well as the outside of the cuff pivot point, such as higher performance boots by Atomic, Tecnica and Nordica.
A knock kneed skier would also benefit from a wider under the foot ski. In contrast, bow legged skiers gain from skis that are narrower although these are becoming hard to find. This gives a narrower platform under the foot, allowing them to bring the centre of knee mass and femur in line with the ski edge.
To check your stance, stand in bare feet with your feet together, and slightly flex at the knees, a normal stance is when you can fit at least one but not more than 2 fingers between your knees.
If a skier has less than 15 degrees of dorsiflexion (flexion of the foot in the upward direction) they need a stiffer flexing boot regardless of their skiing ability, I have found this is quite common in females that were once very active in their earlier years, but are now less flexible.
Regular stretching can help, but usually, a stiffer boot will allow what little ankle flexion they have, to be transmitted directly to the ski boot, and not dissipated by soft plastic in low flex boots.
A corrective procedure for this is to use heel lifts so the shaft of the leg is aligned better to match the angle of the boot cuff, but just inserting a heel lift, will increase pressure on the instep, so other modifications are required at the same time. I have occasionally modified the rear cuff of the boot to be more vertical.
Binding Heights and Ramp Angles
Bindings vary with each manufacturer, some have the same height at the toe and heel, while other models or brands can be up to 6mm higher at the heel than the toe. This 6mm may not seem like much, but the effect on the upper body is significant to your fore and aft balance, and getting this fore and aft balance set can make a big difference to your skiing.
A shop that really knows boot fitting can measure what suits your skiing style best of all. Whilst many ski brands now do not allow a choice of bindings, there are other methods of correcting fore aft balance which an experienced boot fitter can employ.
* Cold feet are a common problem. The cause is usually excessive pressure on an artery, stopping the blood flow. If you are skiing for more than one day at a time, always wear clean socks, dirty socks are not as good at insulating against the cold.
* Aching arches is also common. This is most likely from a vein being restricted, causing a build up of lactic acid. At high altitudes, smoking and alcohol can add to the cramping problem.
* Boot compression syndrome. This is when the boot puts too much pressure on the Tibial nerve or its lower branches (the lateral or medial plantar nerves). In the case of the lateral side this pressure will cause the small toe to go numb, and on the medial side will cause the bottom of the foot to go numb.
* Another more common symptom of boot compression syndrome is the numbing of the 3 middle toes, this is caused by the pinching of the deep Peroneal nerve where it passes over the instep of the foot.
For toes going numb, within a few minutes of putting your boots on, the solution is usually quite simple, you have to reduce the pressure on the instep part of your foot, maybe by loosening the second buckles on your ski boots, or rearranging how your snowboard boots are laced, allowing for less pressure on the lower part of the boot, but tighten up the boot that holds the shaft of your leg.
Sometimes a bootfitter will modify the liner of your boots to reduce this pressure, such as cutting out a section of the tongue.
* Arch flex determines how flexible the foot is, and therefore determines the type of footbed required. Unfortunately, many skiers and snowboarders are using the incorrect type. Although Superfeet and Surefoot brands suit some users, they are not for everyone as they tend to be flat along the base. A foot with a low range of flex requires a little flex to be included into the footbed, a flat footbed does not allow this. A simple windlass test can determine the amount of arch flex.
* Plantar fasciitis. I see this fairly often now, and without making an allowance for it in a custom footbed skiing is quite painful, although most people with this problem are already aware of it and will have seen a podiatrist.
* Haglunds deformity. Haglunds deformity is a bony enlargement on the back of the heel. The soft tissue near the Achilles tendon becomes irritated when the bony enlargement rubs against shoes. This often leads to painful bursitis, which is an inflammation of the bursa (a fluid-filled sac between the tendon and bone), I have had good results modifying boots to cater for this problem.
* Neuroma. This when a nerve running between the bones of the foot get pinched by those bones, most often between the Met heads damaging the sheath that protects those nerves, this is something I always test for when fitting boots and take steps to make the boot more comfortable.
Benefits of seeing an experienced professional boot fitter
A good boot fitter can help you identify the features of your foot and leg anatomy that may impact on your skiing or riding, and work out ways to try and fix a problem that has developed. Boot stretching and inside shell grinding can fix certain problems, as can a custom footbed or an orthotic from a podiatrist. They can alleviate painful spots in the boot and give an overall firmer fit.
Different brands of boots will suit certain foot shapes, such as people with a Mortons foot often find Atomic boots are a better fit. Your professional bootfitter will know which brands of boot are likely to suit your foot, and which will not.
I have always said that when buying a new pair of boots, dont make the lowest price your main priority, search for the best boot fitter you can find, in a shop that has a large selection of boots to choose from.