These boots are made for comfort |

These boots are made for comfort

Gregory Crofton
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Curt Barnes specializes in boot fitting.

Curt Barnes knows how to pick the best ski boots for customers. He’s been doing it for 46 years at shops he owned at Mount Shasta and the one he owns at Stateline.

All that experience has paid off for the House of Ski shop owner.

Barnes knows that some boot brands are better for wide feet, while others are good for long toes. He also knows that true comfort is a boot liner heat-molded to a foot.

For Barnes, boot fitting has never been a tedious job. Each pair of feet presents a different set of variables to overcome. Here are some of his tips and suggestions for ski boot buyers.

— A common mistake to avoid is walking into a ski shop knowing what type of boot you want to buy.

“Don’t get your mind set on a certain brand because your cousin has one or because you’ve seen it in a magazine,” Barnes said.

— Make sure your feet are thoroughly measured by the sales person. That includes whether one foot is longer than the other, arch length, foot width and toe length. And let them know your ability as a skier and what type of terrain you like.

— Ninety-nine percent of the ski boots sold in the United States are made for people with flat feet and most of us don’t have flat feet. That’s why everyone should have a customized foot bed or at least a foot bed. A regular foot bed costs $30. A custom foot bed costs $130. If you treat it right, it will never wear out.

— In addition to a foot bed, the secret of a good boot fitting is a heat-molded boot liner. The liners, which Barnes sells for $160, are warmed so they go in soft like butter and then molded to your feet.

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