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sklag

Boots boots How to fit...

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So ladies and gents, I've got a dilemma about boot fitting. I've heard one finger width with the toes touching the front, one thumb width with toes in the front, and also the good old, "buy em' big so you can stuff em' up with extra socks if need be. I'm really keen on which pair of Nepal evo's I got here would be the ideal fit. What is the general consensus on boot fitting for mountaineering and some ice climbing. Are the two fits mutually exclusive of each other (ie. one will always want a snug fit for ice vs. glacier trods?)

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Personally I have my Nepals fit with ~1 finger width behind the heel with my toes touching the front although I use this more as a check to make sure I'm in the ballpark rather than the end-all be-all to boot sizing. The key things I look for are minimal to no heel lift on an incline, room to wiggle my toes and check to make sure that I can kick ground hard (as if kicking steps in hard snow) at least twice without my toes slamming into the front. I wear a 42 Nepal with custom superfeet and 1 pair midweight socks (no liners) and wear a 41.5 street shoe or red Trango. If you think you have the right length but it doesn't quite feel right experiment with different insoles, socks, the removable tongue liners and lacing techniques/tension.

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Having worked as a boot-fitter during my college years (admittedly about 35 years ago...) I can tell ya that the "finger rule" was never intended to be more than just a general starting point. And the idea of over-sizing a boot so you can wear multiple socks is nonsense - most often resulting in nothing better than a sloppy fit. Fit the boot with the sock configuration that you expect to wear in it most often. Same for footbeds - fit the boot with the footbed that you expect to use in it. Then wear it around indoors for as long as possible (several hours stretch at a minimum, all day if possible, even try sleeping in them). Most shops will happily refund or exchange for boots as long as they haven't been worn outside.

 

My personal preference is a fit that holds my ankle/heel/rear-foot allowing as little slip as possible, but allows enough toe-room so that I don't go lame after a long day of front-pointing, step-kicking in firm snow, and steep downhill walking. Achieving this can be a challenge, because I have low-volume feet with very skinny ankles. I've used a pair of custom cork footbeds since the late '80s, with great success. I also experiment with various lacing configurations to fine-tune the fit. It can make a surprising difference, and results in such oddities as the several pairs of boots/shoes I use for various mountain activities all sporting different lacing configurations. Ultimately, I strive for the fit that feels like I was born in the boot, so that I can climb all day, sleep with my boots on, and climb the following day, all in reasonable comfort.

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I originally posted this in its own forum but saw this thread so thought I'd include it in here.

 

I purchased a great pair of Ice Vasque 9000's used from a cc.com member. Although I took a gamble not knowing the exact size, they seem to meet the fit test of the two fingers behind the heel when wearing the shell without the liner. However, when I wear the liner in they seem a little tight and even more tight with an insole/footbed. I haven't thermo molded the liners yet which I'll try first but have a question regarding the boot shell itself.

 

A friend of mine had some ski mountaineering boots that were pretty much the same for him. He took them to Marmot Mountain Works and they "punched out" his boots and they were perfect after that.

-Anyone have any experience with this and know if it's possible or a good/bad idea with mountaineering boots?

-Would anyone recommend that I get a different boot liner to try to thermo-mold that might help with the problem?

-Should I keep my Sol insoles or rely on a good liner thermo-mold to address support issues?

 

I know that fit is the most important thing with a boot and will buy new boots if I have to but am trying to avoid that if possible. Thanks.

Edited by thin_air_aaron

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I have low-volume feet with very skinny ankles.

 

Montypiton: I have similar feet, so I'm curious about what's in your boot quiver. I have a custom footbed, but can use that by itself only in my La Sportiva Trango Alps. In my other boots (Trango Extreme EVO, Scarpa Triolet) I add a neoprene tongue insert and sometimes keep the factory insole in addition to the custom insole and the fit still ain't great. I also use the thickest socks I have (SmartWool Mountaineering). It would be awesome to find boots that can feel like I was born in them.

Edited by davidjo

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From my experience most current generation Scarpa mountaineering boots fit my E width and thick/high volume feet very well so I would probably try to steer clear of them if I were you. Boots like the Sportiva Glacier, Trangos and Garmont Towers should fit you quite well. Also see if you can find a pair of the now discontinued Kayland Super Ice ... I couldn't even get my foot in them with any footbed in. If you need a double boot the Sportiva Nuptses should do the trick as well.

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davidjo - I currently use a pair of Garmont "Epic-carbo-goretex" for most of my alpine climbing, Lowa Civettas for super-cold, and Lowa AT boots for ski-mountaineering. I've also had reasonable fits in sportiva (trango series) and salomon. In all of these, I need to use a lace-lock between instep and ankle, because my ankles and heels are so skinny. And the custom footbed is key in all of them as well. I have not been able to wear Scarpa, and haven't liked Kayland's fit for my feet, either. I'd have to say the Lowas come the closest to feeling like I was born in them... but I haven't had the opportunity to try on one of their single high performance alpine boots lately...

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A Canadian guide I met on an ACC trip says after he buys a pair of boots, he always pays a "boot-fitter" a couple of hundred dollars to modify them.

 

Don't really know much about this. I assume he means a cobbler.

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if money is not an object (and it is for me ;) ) then you are paying a boot fitter for a custom arch support, sort of like a fitted suit for your foot. this may not be something that makes a big difference to you if your foot happens to fit an out of the box boot with insert, this is why its good to try a bunch of makes and models of boots to find the one closest to your foot. but if your foot doesn't fit most all boots (due to arch or width or whatever) then going to a boot fitter might help.

 

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If so, then what's the difference between a boot-fitter and a podiatrist?

 

For my particular dogs, was amazed at effect of "Superfeet" insoles.

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Podiatry is a branch of health care devoted to the study, diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle and lower leg.

 

A boot fitter fits boots to your feet.

 

 

 

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Phonebook. Boot fitter. Some people actually need custom orthotics. Others just need whom ever gave them their lobotomy to finish the job.

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I've never wanted or needed "orthotics," and didn't realize they were produced by "boot fitters."

 

But thanks for all your knowledge on this matter.

Do you have, like, weird feet or something?

Sorry!

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I don't use them, and don't have any custom orthotics.

 

But I know people who do, and they have made their lives a lot better.

 

I regret your ignorance in this matter. Perhaps this is systemic of a greater issue?

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i'm not actually that bright. its just when you compare me to yourself that i look good.

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Actually... you may note that nobody offered comment on your intelligence.

 

"Ironic" is a term with which you are obviously unfamiliar.

 

Maybe you could discuss the definition with an extremely patient and relatively bright friend (if any), since other sources are unavailable to those of your ilk.

 

For you, this is very complicated. Work on it a lot, and after a long, long time, you might partly understand the definition.

 

I know this is a challenge, but I believe you may be up to it, because you THINK you're clever and that's half the battle!

Good luck, and get back to me if you make any progress.

 

 

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I got curious, and went to my local "high-end" ski shop, to see what good boot-fitters are doing these days (my custom cork footbeds are a Superfeet product that I've used in all my ski-boots and ice-climbing boots since 1987). Superfeet currently offers several versions of custom-molded cork footbeds (the fitting/molding process takes about a half-hour) ranging in price from just under $100 to about $180. The low-price-point models combine cork and foam and can be used in non-rigid footwear (I bought a pair of these for my wife for her birthday). The price rises as the percentage of cork increases, until the top model is all cork, and must be used in a rigid-soled boot. This product is NOT an "orthotic" - that is - it does not correct for defects in foot strength or anatomy. It merely offers fit and support customized to your foot. Mine have lasted 22 years, and have outlived three pairs of alpine ski-boots, and six or seven pairs of rigid mountaineering boots, so I consider them a helluva deal.

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