Agree with Laura. One Stop on 11th Street have built their reputation on boot-fitting and are a family-owned business that, being downtown, depends on returners and recommendations. With Surefoot being part of a national chain, they can't guarantee the continuity of service and personnel across the seasons, which I would say is why I and Laura have both heard mixed reviews. Steamboat Ski and Bike will recommend you try One Stop if they can't meet your needs, and vice versa. 'Nuff said.
A number of bootfitters (Surefoot and Ski and Bike Kare included) offer custom injected liners, but definitely consider long and hard before getting them - they definitely don't suit everyone.
If you are seriously considering custom liners, then try on ZipFit liners. I think I have the Diva ZipFit and it is fantastic! I may not get all of this correct, but I am pretty sure that they are made mostly of neoprene, or something similar, with crushed cork packed in around the ankle area. The cork is sort-of pliable and can change shape with your foot/ankle throughout the day, but it offers great support. I haven't had mine on since last May, and I am honestly looking forward to getting my feet back in to them in a few weeks. My husband - who has had foot surgery on both feet in the past - also has the ZipFits for both his alpine boots and his telemark boots. He had the blow-in foam liners (from Ski and Bike Kare) years ago, and he developed the foot problems from too much time in those boots/liners. As BooBoo said, they are not for everyone. But the ZipFits are great! Quite a few ski instructors here in Steamboat have started using them.
Check out www.zipfit.com for more info. I hope this helps you get the best fitting ski boots you can have. =-)
As far as I am aware, all "Surefoot boots" are standard brands available everywhere (i.e Surefoot don't make their own boot shells).
The cost of a custom/injected foam liner is quite considerably more. I have a feeling about $300 more, but could be wrong... But the most important thing is whether it will be benefitial to you specifically.
I have heard very good things about zipfit too (although I haven't tried them).
How experienced a skier are you? Will these be your first pair of "non-rental" boots? Would you get real extra benefit from custom liners (in addition to the huge benefit of very well fitted boots with custom orthotics)?
A well fitted pair of boots is a very good investment :-)
There has been a ton a great advice presented here. In my case, I typically only get to ski on one week-long trip per year, much like you. Your decision to move on from rental boots is the single best thing you can do for your skiing.
The one thing that I will emphasize, not matter what route you choose to go, is to take plenty of time trying on boots - I would suggest a minimum of 2-3 hours. My approach to buying new boots is to go to a good shop and try on two different makes of boot on each foot and crank 'em down pretty tight. Leave them on for at least 15 minutes and move around the shop and flex your ankles and legs. At the end of the 15 minutes, remove the less comfortable boot and try another one on that foot and give it another 15+ minutes. I usually got through this process through at least 4 different boots. When I have settled on what I think is the most comfortable boot, I then spend some time with the same boot on both feet to verify that it is the best choice.
And I also agree, that regardless of which boot you choose, you should have a custom foot bed made. I have used mine in 2-3 different boots over the years - they do not wear out like the liners, and you can transfer them to different boots.
Good luck and enjoy your trip!
Over the years we have had boots from Sports Stalker, Surefoot and One Stop Ski Shop. Been through the range of foam injection, customised liners and orthotics. Each has their merits (and issues) but been skiing in custom made orthotics for >20 years (even have them in our golf shoes) and agree with all others that they are the one most impactful thing you can do to both make your skiing more comfortable and get greater control.
We now use OSSS and have done so for past 6 years - buying and having boots fitted for ourselves and our sons. Great service from John (and Ted) but it is a tad out of the way and I can see merit in people using the locations close to the ski base. You can of course get there using the free bus service but you need to take the time to make the trip.
If you have the time best to shop around and go talk to the boot fitters and pick the one you feel most comfortable with that is in a good location for you. Last word is that you also need to take the time to get the boots fitted and if there are issues go back before your feet get tender and then any adjustment will probably still feel 'wrong'.
I totally agree with Oyibos that One Stop Ski Shop is worth the time it takes to get there. It's downtown vs. being on the mountain, but so worth it! Honestly, most of the people who I have spoken with in the past who have worked with Surefoot have not been happy with their investment - with the exception of a few who have had to return many many times to have adjustments made - and some have even had to get altogether new boots (again). With John's (and his staff) knowledge of boots and feet they usually get it right the first time... and those Zipfit liners are fabulous! You can check out their website, too... www.onestopskishop.net,
35 11th Street, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
(970) 879 4754 or toll free (877) 754 7474
I hope that you at least look into it before you decide for sure on Surefoot. Your feet will thank you. :) I have purchased my last couple of pairs of boots, liners and custom footbeds from them and will not go anywhere else any more. I teach in the ski school here, as does my husband, and we typically get new boots every couple of years. Everyone I know who has used OSSS has had a great experience there. Give John a call and ask questions - he knows feet and what fits them!
=) You're going to LOVE it! I'm going to be in to OSSS on Monday to have a slight tweak made on a footbed. I have developed a neuroma under the ball of my right foot (booo!) and they are going to fix it for me. I can't wait to get that done!
All the best,