Thanks to my complaint letter, the boot fitter in question offered to make me a new ski boot. With little choice (I had requested a refund, but they denied that request), I went in for a fitting today.
After five hours, I walked out with another boot that doesn’t fit properly.
I literally spent five hours telling them that the boot still wasn’t wide enough. Like always, boot fitters are in the business of eliminating symptoms without even pausing to investigate the underlying problem. I even busted out some of the tools I use for measurement. They mostly mocked me for showing them those tools. The results of one of those measurements clearly showed that the shells weren’t wide enough in several areas, but they mostly ignored those findings. Instead, he went to the back, ground out more shell material, which adds only fractions of a millimeter worth of width, brought them back out, and asked me how they felt.
My response, every time: “Not wide enough.” The boots were causing tremendous pain.
I’m not just imagining things, like they tend to believe. Eventually, he finally tried some more stretches. Those stretches, however, never really added much width. Instead, the stretch work sometimes actually shrank other sections! The outside of my new boots look mangled, and I’m pretty sure he burned one spot. There is so little shell material left from all his grinds that he might actually ruin these boots completely when I go back to ask for more width.
And you have to see the liner! One of their boot fitting process competitive advantages is a full custom liner that they pump with foam to conform perfectly to your foot. They sanded off all the foam around the edges of my foot (in an attempt to alleviate the symptoms and make me go away). They also cut the bottom of the liner to give it room to spread. That cut may help, but regarding the sanding down of the foam… just make the shell wider and you wouldn’t have needed to take that drastic step in the first place! Instead, the foam would have filled in the small bit of excess room in the shell, like it is supposed to do.
I just can’t believe that this process is this difficult. My foot is right there. The boot shell is right there. The answers are all right there. I have a little instrument I use to measure the width of the inside of the shell–it’s just the barrel of a Bic Round Stic pen that I cut down to the exact width of my foot. All I have to do is put it in the shell and I can tell exactly where the shell needs more width. I hope that when I go back, I will be able to tell them exactly what to do, and that it will work once and for all.
With all of that said, I will ski these boots at least once just to see how they feel. I know they will feel like shit, but they like to hear that I actually skied in them. I know ski boots feel different when you’re skiing in them, but if I can’t even stand to have them on for more than about 15 minutes just standing around with them on my feet, I don’t understand how any amount of skiing will make the problems disappear. Of course, the liners will stretch and/or pack-out a bit, but the pain I am experiencing is not just tightness. It is a painful, crushing sensation that literally does not abate for hours after I take the boots off, and it is most certainly caused by the shell not being wide enough.)
Coming up next: a trip to boot fitter 3 to explain to him that those shells also are not wide enough.
Some good news: My Salomon X-Wave boots with the Tecnica Agent liners seems to be a good combination. The Agent liners seem to be thinner and more flexible than the X-Wave liners, so my X-Wave boots (and their mostly appropriate shell widths) seem to fit better because the liner causes less of a problem.