My feet hurt.
My boots suck. I spent way too much money on them and I want to melt them and watch them slowly die. Now all I have left are painful bulges on the outside and inside of my feet with no one to blame except some dudes in France because I need a scapegoat. And now this puddle of plastic won’t even talk to me…
Wait, what was that?
It’s March now
(in case you didn’t know) and we’ve made it through several months of shred, enough to make a head of cabbage shiver. Unless, of course, you’re in the East where you’re just getting started. But a lot of us are starting to seriously wonder if our early season purchases were worth it. Most importantly…
Did you make the right boot decision? Did you make a boot decision?
Early in my skiing career I was given the best piece of advice from a long-time skier in Crested Butte, CO. “If you’re going to spend money on anything, spend it on a good pair of ski boots,” he said. “You can ski down a hill on any pair of sticks, jeans with long johns are still pants, but if your feet hurt, you’ll hate your life.”
A chef needs her workhorse knife to sit comfortably in her hand while she abuses the hell out of some vegetables, bones, or what have you, day in day out for hours on end. It’d better be comfortable. The thing is, you’re not too different from her. We’re both slicing, shredding, cutting, and carving, right? While we use our tools on different things, what we act on are both are a form of life-giving sustenance, no? Food…Snow
The boot is your direct connection to everything that you do, the last piece of equipment before the human body begins.
In a Transformers-esque way, that boot turns your flexible human foot into a stiff bomb-proof bludgeon that fits perfectly into your skis. Without it, you can’t start the engine. It’s your key to the great outdoors.
But stiff and bomb-proof means it doesn’t stretch–the exact opposite of what your foot wants. It’s best this way, though, because it needs to provide the proper support for the shifting and twisting you do in just an average ski day. You’re more likely to snap your fibula than you are to twist an ankle. 5 hours is also a long time to spend in a piece of plastic during activity, and your foot at hour one is going to act and feel a lot different than it will at hour five. So you better be sure that boot fits perfectly.
Okay, I get it. What’s the best way to find my perfect boot?
Find a certified master bootfitter. Plain and simple. There’s a whole fraternity of men and women across the globe who love to shove feet into plastic bricks and make it work. Then once you’ve found that boot you’ll finally understand what it’s like to feel the wonderful feeling of going exactly where you want to go. Ah, the beauty of destroying wiggle room!
Today they have all sorts of neat tricks and gadgets to get you that perfect glove like fit. Of course ski boots still aren’t going to be as comfortable as your sneakers, at least not yet. I just don’t want to give you a disillusioned idea of what ski boots are. But with modern molding techniques and a master bootfitter at the helm, they can get pretty darn close.
In summary, go buy some good boots when this season comes to an end.
The nice thing about spring skiing, aside from warmer weather and the lovely corn snow, is the anticipations of ski gear sales. They’re pretty sweet and could land you a pair of boots that will last you several seasons. Just make sure you’ve got someone who knows what they’re doing when they’re messing with your feet.