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Booting Up 

Experienced boot fitters are invaluable, and they've seen and heard it all

  • Jim Campbell illustration

In the ski industry, there are people we just can't do without, boot fitters being on the top of that list. Once you have had a boot fitter in your life, you'll never again wear boots the same way, including countless hours of tweaking different aspects to attain the perfect fit, complemented by the numerous beers purchased for them at the local pub. Each profession within the industry offers many opportunities for humor; boot fitting quite possibly tops that list.

Here are several scenarios boot fitters see more than they should:

The 20-year-old boot

Each boot has a lifespan. Like most things in life, ski boots have a certain life built into them. There have been dramatic technological advances in the boot world, so if you're still rockin' boots of the rear-entry vintage, don't go to your boot fitter hoping to prolong their life. It's only a matter of days before that plastic self-destructs, and you're shopping for the next pair of boots that you hope will last you another 20 years.

Two left feet

A skier walks into a shop (not the one he rented the boots from) and complains that his boots are uncomfortable. He wonders if there are any suggestions that the boot fitter can help him with. The boot fitter asks, "So, were you born with two left feet? Because you're wearing two left boots." Oops! On to another shop.

Is that a wrench in your pocket?

Boot fitters have the potential to make mistakes, so remember to always check your boots for leftover tools before leaving the shop. A customer returned to their boot fitter, complaining of foot pain in one of their boots. The boot fitter was a little skeptical, as they had taken the time and effort to make these boots perfect for their customer. Upon pulling the liner out of the boot, a wrench that belonged to the shop fell out from between the liner and the plastic shell. Oops!

I love my boots, but...they're killing my feet

If you say this while describing your love/hate relationship to your boot fitter, it's time to break up with your boots.

The purse doesn't have to match the shoes

Unlike Fashion Week in New York, no one will judge you if your boots don't match your jacket. They will judge you if you buy the wrong boots because you wanted them to match your skis. If you really must have matching gear, buy the boots that fit you best, then match everything to them. Not the other way around.

Trust me, I'm a boot fitter

If you've ever had your boots worked on by someone who really knows what they are doing, you'll be able to scope out the ones who don't. If they say, "Trust me, I'm a boot fitter," don't just walk out the door. Run. ♦

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