Finding the perfect ski boots: No pain, no gain

Dalbello Kyra 95

Fitting the custom liners…ouch!

We’ve all heard the saying “no pain, no gain,” and I’ve certainly noticed it to be true with sexy heels, but recently I felt first hand the true meaning of the phrase. I bought ski boots. Whoa mama, the process of custom molding the liners to my feet hurt, BAD! Before I get ahead of myself, I’ll share what led up to the medieval torture I endured.

As a new skier, I’ve been on a steep learning curve. Luckily there has been no shortage of people who have helped me learn the sport. One thing I heard over and over is to invest in good boots.

I started out my quest for the perfect boots by researching which stores had the best boot fitters on staff. I found several that came highly recommended, including Sports Den on Foothill Drive, named Best Custom-Fitted Ski Boots for 2012 by Salt Lake City Weekly.

My fitting began with an interview about my skill level and the kind of skiing I do. Then my feet were measured. Next came the fun part, trying on boots. They explained what to feel for in the fit. Finally, I found a boot that fit like a snug, heavy sock. The pressure was even all over. I flexed my legs a bunch, walked around and just stayed in them for a while to make sure they still felt right. Yup, I’d found my boot, the Dalbello Kyra 95 with a custom fitted I.D. Thermo Liners developed by engineers from Dalbello and Intuition Sports so that they fit perfectly in the boot.

The I.D. Thermo Liners

The I.D. Thermo Liners

Next step, custom molding the liner to my foot. First a plastic toe cup was placed on my foot and held in place with a stocking. It looked pretty ridiculous. Next the liners were heated and placed into the boots followed quickly by my foot. That’s when the pain started. The plastic cup thing pressed hard against my big toe causing a nearing unbearable burning pain. I couldn’t pull my foot out for roughly eight minutes because the liner needed to cool. Close to tears I endured the pain knowing that my boots were going to fit even better following the process.

Preparing for the custom liners. Not very cute!

Preparing for the custom liners. Not very cute!

When I removed the boot I felt such relief. I examined my big toes wondering if any damage had been done. Luckily they were still intact and there was no blood… Just kidding. I did wonder if I’d loose a toenail at one point though!

So how are the boots? Feakin’ amazing! I’d only worn rental boot up this point, so the transition from those to a high-quality boot was dramatic. The proof showed in my skiing. I had better control and no bruises at the end of the day.

This last weekend I finally gained my confidence on the slopes and skied harder than ever. It was such a blast and my boots paired with Rossignol Pro BC110 skis were a big part of my progress.

I highly recommend you have your boots fitted by a professional because they are the link between your body and the ski. REI has an excellent post on buying downhill ski boots that is worth reading if you’re in the market: Downhill Ski Boots: How to Choose

After posting this article, I got a great piece of advice from Mike, @flyingFOD on Twitter, “don’t look for boots….feel for boots. A great fitting boot goes along way compared to good looking boot.” I had to pass it on to you!

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