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New to BC touring - Need advice

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  • New to BC touring - Need advice

    I have saved up some dough in the hopes of having some fun in the BC this winter on planks. I already have picked up a pair of BD Aspects and am thinking of throwing on some Dynafit Radical TLT FT or STs. Can anyone suggest a good boot for this combo (I know fit is the most important). Dynafit ZZero 4 TF, Dynafit TLT5 Mountain TF-x, Scarpa Maestrale AT (Tongue seems troublesome) and Garmont Radium (on the heavy side) are all on my list. I am not an aggressive skier.

    Any wise words would be appreciated.


  • #2
    Get the ST binding; you don't need the FT.

    Boots: you said it yourself... FIT. Don't read reviews on the net or in magazines. Just go into a shop that carries a wide variety of boots and has a skilled bootfitter on staff. Buy the boot that feels the best (subject to the fit advice of the bootfitter-- as ski boot fit is not running shoe fit).

    Any of the boots you listed would be fine, as would pretty much any other modern touring boot.


    • #3
      The fit of a boot really depends on your foot. I have a really narrow and low volume foot and found that the best boot for me was the Scarpa Maestrale. I am not a fan of adding in soles and tongue liners so I try and get a good fit the first time. I also went back to MEC and had the heat activated liners moulded a few times with material in strategic places to alleviate pressure points, this seemed to work. The liners can be moulded many times. By the way the tongue on the Maestrale is great for getting in and out of the boot and has not been a problem.


      • #4
        I have done ski tech work and bootfitting for many years, this is my advice. Feel free to fire any questions or comments my way.

        My advice for getting the right boot:

        1. Measure and assess your foot not just with a Brannock Device but instep and arch.

        2. Find a place with selection. Try on as many different boots as possible.

        3. Find someone who understands fitting and can modify the boot to your foot if that is the only option.

        4. Don't go for a brand; go for the "last" that is the closest to your foot shape.

        5. Don't ever settle for ill fitting footwear.

        6. Understand that the more oddball your feet, the less chance of finding something out of the box that will fit.

        7. Don't forget under the foot is essential to fit properly, most footwear comes with a sh**ty 10 cent piece of foam for an insole, consider a custom foot bed or at least a proper supportive insole.

        I consider these the 7 essential steps to finding a proper alpine/ski-touring/telemark boot.

        Basically what we all confront in buying footwear is that our feet are unique and boots are lasted on generic shapes. This presents little problem for those whose feet are close to the last used to make a particular brand of boots. For example in alpine skiing the Salomon X-Wave last fits pretty much 80% of the feet that come through the door of the shop with little if any modification. They have a graduated flex 120, 110, 100, 90 etc. to match skiers weight and ability. That said, if you have a very narrow, low instep foot it is not the right boot for you. In that case something like the Full-Tilt with the Intuition liner would work for your foot shape as an example.

        So lets go through the steps above:

        1) Measure your foot on a Brannock device. This measures length of your foot, the arch length and gives a width in relation to the length. The arch length is a crucial measurement because your foot might measure 26.5 in mondo point but the arch length is 28 which may require going to a larger size to properly fit your foot. As well most people have slightly different sized feet usually by a 1/4 to 1/2 size in mondo point. The width is essential especially in fitting ski boots as if your foot is narrow, a boot with a wide last may make it difficult to impossible to control your ski tips; it is easy to push out plastic for space but difficult to take up volume or shrink plastic (impossible). You must also assess whether your foot has a high or low instep both of these conditions cause fitting issues generic lasts don't address. Finally look at your arch is it high, average or non-existant. A very high arch generally is best addressed with a custom foot bed an average one with a generic one and flat foot might find no foot bed at all may work best. Taking all those parameters into account you should have at least a few choices in foot wear which an experienced bootfitter will recognize and identify.

        2) Try on as many boots as possible that are reasonable for your foot shape, spend time in them (at least 10 minutes) flex them, walk around in them, when you take them off remove your socks and see if you have any pressure points ie. bright red spots. If the shop only has one brand find a shop that has another choice until you exhaust your possibilities.

        3) If you haven't found something off the shelf that is a good fit you will have to modify the closest fitting boot to fit your foot. If you have a wide foot a good fitter can punch out a shell with a press to accommodate the width of your foot. If you have a low instep a fitter can shim up the boot board with foam to take up volume. The more your foot deviates from a "normal" foot the more extensive the modifications.

        4) I see this as the most common problem in bootfitting is people buy a brand because it is light or got good reviews or their friend says it's rad. If the Lange last fits your foot the best that is the boot you should get, or the Salomon or whatever. It is that simple.

        5) In the effort to save money or by making poor choices I see people with various issues. Things like bone spurs (calcium build ups) should be addressed immediately or they will eventually either require surgery or quitting skiing. Too big of boots require cranking buckles so tight especially across the instep that you reduce circulation to toes risking frost bite, etc. Too stiff of boots bruise your shins and because there is little circulation there it takes a long time to heal. Boots are by far your most important piece of gear, compromise on skis, bindings, and clothing don't compromise on your feet.

        6) It is worth spending the money on custom fit boots as with the new technology you will get many seasons of enjoyable skiing. It would be nice to find something that fits perfect and is inexpensive but unlikely if your foot shape is unusual.

        7) Pretty much all high end and very expensive ski boots come with a sh*tty 10 cent piece of foam for an insole.

        The exceptions are Black Diamond and some Atomics. I am guessing that they assume you are going to do a custom footbed but for boots retailing for upwards of $600 this is just plain weak. That said, if you have a high arch a custom foot bed is a great idea as it is for really anyone. It is a perfect mold of your unique foot. These are a good investment and last for many years and can be moved between footwear. This is a crucial place to fit as it will enhance both comfort and performance.


        • #5
          Cant get more comprehensive than that. I love this community.

          Many thanks guys.


          • #6
            Check Ben at Vertical Addiction in Canmore. He's got pretty much all the boots you mentionned that you could try.

            The \"Old\" French Guy