How Custom Ski Boots Are Fitted and Why They Are Worth It
Top Reasons to Get Custom Ski Boots
- Custom ski boots can make ski boots comfortable for an entire day of skiing. The custom fit can be tailored to feet that are two different sizes, to wide or narrow width feet, or to feet with high arches.
- A well-fitted boot will help with turning and balance while skiing.
- Ski boots last several seasons. The pair you invest in will likely outlast two pairs of skis since boot technology hasn't changed significantly in the last ten years.
Downside of Custom Ski Boots
- They are expensive. You can save money by purchasing them during the off season, buying boots that are a previous year's model, waiting till the end of the season for when things go on sale, or even getting slightly used boots (worn once) like I did, which saved me $175 on my recent pair (February, 2017).
- How good the fit is often depends on the boot fitter. Make sure to get your boots from an expert, or you may end up with a poorly fitted boot.
The Custom Ski Boot Process
I didn't know it, but I had been suffering for nearly 25 years with ski boots that didn't fit properly. They've always been too tight around my ankles, and since one of my feet is slightly larger than the other, either one foot is floating around, or one foot has its toe crammed into the end of the boot. No matter what, at the end of the day, my feet were seriously hurting. One of my expert skier friends said "Dude, it doesn't have to be that way. Kick down for some custom ski boots." "Kick down" is right; custom ski boots are expensive. I guess almost everything having to do with skiing is expensive, but custom ski boots are easily double the cost of production boots. So I purchased a pair of custom ski boots; to save a bit of money, about 40%, I did it during the off season.
There are three main pieces to custom ski boots. The first part is the ski boot foot bed, the second is the ski boot foot liner, and the third is the ski boot shell.
The Cost of Custom Ski Boots in 2017
$400 - $1000
$150 - $200
$150 - $200
How Custom Boots Are Fitted
I'm going to show you custom boot fittings by two different experts: Barry Allison, of Whistler Sports Village in British Columbia, and Cosmos Custom Bootwerks of Truckee.
Getting Custom Ski Boots by Master Boot Fitter Barry Allison
Getting Custom Ski Boots by Master Boot Fitter Barry Allison
The entire boot fitting took about one hour and my boots were ready the next morning. Barry is about as cool of a guy as you will meet, with an easy smile and calm demeanor. Here are a few cool things about Barry.
- He trains ski instructors.
- He started boot fitting out of his garage in Quebec.
- He's fitted kids for the Canadian Para Team.
Getting Custom Footbeds
The first part of the process is putting the various layers of the custom bed into a machine that heats and compresses the layers.
Standing on Gel Pads
To create a form of your foot, you stand on a Sidas Gel Pad.
Molding the Footbed
After the layers of the footbed have been compressed, they are placed over the gel pad molds and you stand on the foot beds to create the custom fit.
Fitting the Boot to the Foot
After the molds are done, he places your foot back into the boot and examines how the boot is fitting each of your feet.
Punching and Adjusting the Boot
Based on how the boot fits, he adds padding and punches the boot out to relieve pressure. He marks the boot with white chalk and takes notes as well as an outline of your feet.
It takes about one hour for the fitting and then the next day the boots are ready.
Amazing Fit with Barry Allison
These are the absolute best fitting most comfortable boots I've ever had. I highly recommend Barry. Tell him Paul sent you!
Barry Requires an Appointment
Barry works out of Whistler Sports in the village. He's in high demand, so schedule an appointment by emailing him at email@example.com.
If you get boots, please leave me a comment to let us know how they feel.
The Custom Ski Boot Process in Lake Tahoe by Cosmos Custom Bootwerks
Custom Foot Bed Photos Process Done by Expert Boot Fitter Cosmo in Lake Tahoe
Custom Ski Boot Foot Beds Process
One of the most important pieces to a custom ski boot is getting foot beds molded to your feet. A composite of glue, plastics and cork is the high-end way to go for a great foot bed. The custom foot bed process involves
- Selecting the foot bed for your boot. If you go with cork, the cork is heated, then while it's malleable, it's placed on your foot with a plastic bag around it.
- A high powered vacuum is inserted into the bag and the air is rapidly sucked from the bag to compress the foot bed onto the foot. This creates the perfect foot bed that is a mirror of your foot.
Once the foot bed is completed, it's placed in the shell of the ski boot.
Custom foot beds can really help people with unusually shaped feet, like feet that are two different sizes or have high arches, although people with feet of more ordinary shape swear by custom foot beds as well. The great thing about about custom foot beds is that they can last fifteen years or longer.
Custom Molded Ski Boot Liner Photos
Custom Molded Ski Boot Liners
Ski boot liners are a very important part of getting the perfect fit of your ski boot. Getting a liner fitted to your foot, ankle and calf is similar to the foot bed process, but the pressure applied to mold the liner comes from the boot itself.
- After the liner is heated, it's placed back into the boot.
- To get the liner extra tight, a toe cap may be put on your feet and held in place with a ski sock.
- You insert your feet into the ski boot, and tighten the crap out of the boot.
- During this part of the process, it can become painful and the foot numb. Very similar to wearing uncomfortable ski boots for a day. Cosmo, the boot fitter I went to, handed me an ice cold Coors Light to drink while my feet were clamped down in the boots molding the liner to my feet.
- During this process you will likely stand on a piece of two-by-four with your toes up and weight forward against the forward piece of the boot to add pressure. After about ten minutes, the liners are a perfect fit.
Custom Ski Boot Shell Photos
Custom Ski Boot Shells
One of the interesting things about getting custom ski boots is that the liner and foot bed can be fitted into off-the-shelf ski boots which can be punched and pressed to fit your foot perfectly. Cosmo, the world's greatest boot fitter, who fits some of the worlds greatest skiers, will study your foot, pull and twist your ankles, and recommend a shell for your feet. When he analyzed my feet, he was able to tell that I had turned my right ankle a few times more than my left and which boot would fit me best. He recommended a Full Tilt Professional boot for my long and sort of narrow feet.
The first day I tried them on the slope with the liner and custom foot beds in them, I began to worry. Crap, they were pinching my ankle and my larger foot felt like it was hitting the end. He examined my foot in the boot, made some marks on it, and placed a hydraulic punch in the boot to expand the ankle area and stretch the boot a tad. After he customized the shell to my foot, I put on my freshly fitted custom ski boots and couldn't believe how good they fit.
Everyone I know that gets custom boots needs to get them adjusted after the first day of skiing. Wear them for a day. Mark the spots that don't feel right and bring them back to the boot fitter. They can adjust them until they're perfect. Since they are so expensive, it's reasonable to get them adjusted.
Where to Get Custom Ski Boots
It's a wonderful thing to meet an expert craftsman and to be the beneficiary of years of study and practice. Cosmos is located outside of Truckee, CA in Lake Tahoe and I highly recommend making a trip to see him if you've suffered from uncomfortable ski boots in the past. What he can do to make a ski boot feel comfortable is magical and worth every penny. Call and make an appointment and tell him you learned about him from Paul on HubPages.