There's no argument about it, the fit of your ski boots is arguably the single most important factor in the success of your skiing - your comfort, enjoyment and very much your rate of improvement.
Your boots need to fit.
Renting ski boots shouldn’t be like renting bowling shoes, but far too often that’s exactly how it is –“what’s your shoe size” (or if you’re lucky, measure one foot), and a pair of boots magically appears.
You will seldom really enjoy and certainly NEVER improve your skiing with boots delivered like this!
Traditionally, rental ski boots are more or less an afterthought. Cheap rental models, the widest models available so they are quick and easy-to-fit for any shape of foot.
If you’re lucky you will get one foot measured and a pair of boots handed to you, though probably at least one size bigger than they measure so it feels good in the shop.
If you’re are unlucky, the shop will just ask you your shoe size and hand you a pair of boots.
You put them on, they feel lovely and comfy in the shop because you’re not even touching the sides.
It’s not until you get onto the snow that you realise your feet are slopping about inside them with no hope of any precision or control. What’s worse your feet rub, your toes hurt, and your feet get cold.
Unfortunately, actual ‘bootfitting’ does not exist in a rental environment. This is because correct bootfitting is VERY, VERY complicated, takes time and there are very few experienced fitters around.
At Snowberry it is very very different. Our boot-fitting is legendary, we pride ourselves on the quality of our boot-fitting and on the time and trouble we take to make sure everyone gets the RIGHT boots.
We've always been fanatical about bootfitting and our top bootfitters have many years of experience having fitted World Cup skiers and a multitude of pro skiers.
We can confidently say Snowberry are the only ski hire shop in the world to properly fit ski boots. Our whole detailed bootfitting procedure is explained below. No-one else does this.
Snowberry has developed a unique process for fitting ski boots in rental. This process is based on exactly the same principles you would experience in one of the world’s leading retail fitting centres.
Exclusive to Snowberry
A full 10 point analysis of both feet
Exclusive to Snowberry
an accurate and careful selection of the most suitable size and shape of boot model
Exclusive to Snowberry
the personal fitting of the boot including tips on correctly clipping the boot up
The first stage of your bootfit is a thorough examination of both feet to allow us to select the correct shell shape and boot model.
This involves is a unique 10 point analysis -
Using the information gained from the foot analysis, we then select the most suitable shell / model shape from over 60 models of boots.
This is the key to good boot fitting as it has the biggest effect on a skier’s ability to accurately control their skis, safely and in comfort.
Wrong shell selection is the single biggest problem skiers have with rental boots.
The information gained from your foot analysis enables us to select the most suitable boot from over 60 different models for adults and another 27 models for kids. The aim is to select the boot that best resembles the shape of your foot which will hold your foot firmly but comfortably.
The key to good bootfitting is shell (model) selection. As every boot model varies in length, width, instep height, volume distribution, ankle and toebox areas, this is extremely difficult.
Very few skiers actually know how to put a ski boot on and clip it up correctly.
For this reason, we personally fit every boot - opening the shell up, sliding the customers foot in and correctly clipping it up, explaining to each client the importance of doing it correctly - especially regarding comfort, boot performance, cold feet and safety issues regarding binding release.
With a suitable boot model selected we now individually fit the boots for each client, demonstrating how to open the boot up, slip your foot in and correctly clip the boot up.
Do not underestimate the importance of this process. Clipping your boot up correctly is an integral part of the bootfitting process.
Clipping the boot up correctly sets the foot correctly in the boot, and believe it or not, improves your skiing performance and keeps your feet more comfortable and warmer.
Proper boot-fitting starts by stabilizing the foot and limiting the dynamic mobility of the foot which is the main limiting factor when trying to fit boots correctly. To do this we put orthotics in every boot.
The orthotic is THE ESSENTIAL, without one you will end up with a boot that is far too big, the result - your foot will move around leading to lack of control, pain and discomfort.
It is impossible to fit a ski boot correctly without firstly stabilising the foot using a skier specific orthotic - it simply cannot be done!
Snowberry are the ONLY shop that we know of that actively uses a system of orthotics in ALL our rental boots (even for children).
Draw what conclusions you wish from this!
Properly fitted ski boots are the key to a good skiing experience. They have an overriding influence on your comfort, your enjoyment and very much your rate of improvement. They also have an important part to play in your safety with respect to binding release.
It is estimated that over 95% of skiers are skiing in poorly fitted ski boots more often than not at least a siwe if not 2 sizes too big and / or totally the wrong shape.
A recent survey in America suggested that over 80% of beginner and intermediate skiers leave the sport after a week or two BECAUSE OF uncomfortable and poorly fitted rental ski boots.
If your ski boot is too big in length it will also be too big everywhere else - width, instep height, ankle etc. If the boot is too big your foot will NOT be hel correctly, it will move around in the boot making it impossible to contol your skis.
Typically a rental boot department will have few staff, most of whom will have recieved little or no bootfitting training, your typical 'Saturday Boy'. They are busy and the onus is too get the customer through as quickly as possible - speed being the priority. You be be lucky to be 'MEASURED!' but more often than not you will just be asked your shoe size and a pair of boots is thrown at you!
You may be VERY VERY lucky and get a boot that feels OK but it 'WILL NOT FIT' properly
Typically your rental boot will be at least one size too big if not two sizes.
A CORRECTLY FITTED BOOT
Boots and bootfitting has been one of our specialties for more than 25 years.
Horrified by the traditional approach to rental boots - "What size are your feet? There you go!" - we have taken it upon ourselves to show the industry how it SHOULD be done.
Our rental bootfitting procedure, systems and expertise now put most sales bootfitters to shame. Actually, why shouldn't they? Whoever decided that although they would spend time and effort (sometimes hours) fitting boots for people who wanted to buy, rental was just a question of getting a pair of boots on your feet and getting you out of the shop?
The way we look at it is that whether you're renting or buying your boots, they're going to be doing exactly the same thing, so they need to fit in exactly the same way.
Over the years we have been developing and fine-tuning our rental bootfitting process to the level it is at now. Far from more or less throwing boots at people which sadly is what far too many shops do, we have developed an eight point, four dimensional analysis procedure.
But it doesn't stop there - after all there's no point in analyzing feet properly if you then just shove them into the closest thing you have to a boot that MIGHT fit!
We carry over 60 different models of adult boots so that we can match your boots as closely as possibly to the overall shape of your foot and lower leg. This means we take into account not just your foot LENGTH, but all sorts of other aspects including width, achilles, instep height, foot stability, ankle, toe box shape, calf and so on. Only by matching the overall shape of the boot as closely as possible to the overall 4D shape of your feet can we achieve a successful boot-fit.
It doesn't even stop there - as a worldwide first in rental bootfitting we are now equipping our rental boots with not one but three different types of skier orthotics to provide the optimum support, stability, comfort and performance.
We now select not only your boots, but also the orthotics (you might call them footbeds) we put into them depending on the size, overall 3D shape, stability and what we call the "strength" of your feet.
Our exclusive rental bootfitting process is now at a level where not only do people say they have never had comfortable hire boots until they rent from us, they are now saying they won't bother buying their own boots because they won't ever be as good as ours.
It is safe to say that every single skier, beginner to expert, needs some sort of sports orthotic in their ski boot.
The human foot is an extremely complex structure. It's dynamic in character and constantly changes its shape, volume, height and length as you weight and unweight it - ie as you flex in a ski boot.
So how on earth are you supposed to fit this foot – with no fixed shape or length - into the fixed confines of a hard plastic ski boot without it being at best uncomfortable and at worst excruciatingly painful?
The easy answer is by fitting a boot that is far to big.
Sounds simple but it works.
Skier orthotics support and stabilise your feet inside your boots, limiting the dynamic behavior – shape, length, height, volume change – and allowing us to choose a shell shape and length that closely resembles that of your foot ie a shell that is not 2 sizes to big!
Remember that every boot model has a slightly different shape so only certain models are suitable for certain feet.
Only by using an orthotic can we fit you in the correct shape and size of boot.
It is absolutely correct to say that you cannot fit select the correct boot shell and therefore fit a ski boot properly without first addressing foot instability issues.
The orthotic also has many other benefits relating to comfort and ultimately performance.
By supporting and stabilising the foot an orthotic will help to reduce foot movement in the boot which can cause rubbing and bruising. Blood flow is also improved resulting in warmer toes.
A supported foot has better contact with the boot and ski resulting in better feeling and control and it also improves body alignment - all of which lead to better performance.
If you have hired ski boots elsewhere in the past you may very well have experienced at least some of the following problems, all of which can be improved by using an orthotic -
PROBLEM your foot moves inside your boot
PROBLEM you tend to over tighten the front clips of your boots
PROBLEM you sometimes suffer from cramping under the foot
PROBLEM your forefoot goes numb especially when skiing hard
PROBLEM you suffer from cold feet
PROBLEM you get rubbing on your inside ankle bone
PROBLEM your foot continually aches and hurts
PROBLEM you get bruising on your shin
PROBLEM your toes hit the ends of your boots
PROBLEM you find it hard to control your skis
PROBLEM your ski tips wobble when you travel straight
PROBLEM you find edging difficult
PROBLEM you’re getting blisters
PROBLEM you have a bunion