Buying new equipment never gets old. The dent left in the wallet isn't quite as exciting as the experience you get when you feel that new gear under foot. The break-in process is minimal and nearly painless for most new ski and ride gear. New boots-ski boots particularly-can be a much different story.
Get some of the pack-out process out of the way by wearing your boots at home. Slide them on every night, buckle them tight, and spend at least an hour this way. Cook dinner, read a book, or stand there and flex them back and fourth. Wiggle your toes as much as you can.
Brand new boots cut off the circulation to your feet, often making them numb and tingly. You must get past this initial over-tightness stage for your feet to adjust. You may get 15 minutes into it and your feet are so "asleep" that you can't stand it. Take them off when that occurs, let your feet to come back to life, and then put the boots back on.
The more time you spend in your boots before ski season, the more time the boots will have to mold to your feet. The heel pockets will deepen which pulls your toes away from the front of your boot. This gives your foot more room overall.
Start thinking about pressure areas that are still evident as your boots begin to loosen and the circulation returns your feet. Perhaps the top of your foot has a sharp pain, you have a bunion on your big toe, or a bone spur on your heel. Make notes about these hot spots.
Bring your trouble areas to your local boot fitter or a pro in the mountain ski shop as the season approaches and your boots are beginning to feel more like they should. Some boot fitters may advise getting professional insoles made for your boots.
Insoles can help eliminate foot issues in boots the same way orthotics do in shoes. DFP (Dynamic Foot Positioning) based in Salt Lake City, Utah has been designing custom insoles for over 20 years. They have stores in Utah, Colorado, Washington, Wyoming, Montana, and Illinois.
"The process we use involves taking a blueprint of your foot," says Joe Liefer, DFP boot fitter at Christy Sports in Beaver Creek, Colo. "We can see exactly how you distribute your weight on each foot and immediately know where your pressure spots are to then alleviate them."
Take the time to dial in your boots before the snow flies. You'll be happy you did when you have happy feet and a full set of toenails all winter long.