Give it the boot

Posted by Alf Alderson 1st March 2013

Like most people I’m a sucker for the end of season ski sales, and a couple of seasons ago I picked up a good deal in the form of a pair of Head Vector LTD boots. They fitted me pretty nicely straight from the box but as the following season wore on they packed down to the extent where there have been days when it’s felt like my feet are racing around on a private little adventure of their own inside the boots.

Gavin in the workshop in CourchevelSo on a spur of the moment decision I decided to pop into The Boot Lab in Courchevel 1650 since they offer a free assessment of the state of your boots, feet, stance and all that kind of stuff that makes a difference when you’re skiing. Also, if you’ve bought a pair of boots at ProFeet in Fulham you can have them tweaked for free at The Boot Lab if you’re skiing here since the two businesses work in partnership. They also work closely with the British Ski Bootfitters Association so clearly we’re dealing with people who know a thing or two about boots, feet and skis here.

‘So what?’ I hear you scoff, ‘It’s still just another boot fitting service...” Well yes, it is indeed another boot fitting service, but the difference between the Boot Lab and so many other places I’ve been before was that:

A) I didn’t feel like I was being sold a service whether I needed it or not;
B) said service was friendly, informative and relaxing ;
C) it works.

The Boot Lab’s Gavin Jones wasn’t lying when he said “We’re passionate about skiing and helping our clients have the best experience they can” – we talked skis, boots, snow and little else whilst he assessed my boots and my stance and eventually told me “Yes the boots are the right size for you but you just need better support for your arches so your feet don’t feel like they’re swimming around in them”.

New insolvesSo, over the next hour or so Gavin fitted me for some insoles, which I was then able to take straight out onto the slopes and test drive. I know this sounds too good to be true, but my feet felt better straight away. They hadn’t been particularly uncomfortable before, but now they were in foot heaven.

shot of Alf Anderson skiingI wouldn’t go so far as to say its revolutionised my skiing but it’s just great to have comfortable feet and well-fitting boots every time I ski. Which is surely all anyone can expect from a pair of ski boots?

About the author

Alf Alderson is an award-winning adventure sports and travel journalist and photographer based in Pembrokeshire and the Alps. He specialises in ski, surf and mountain sports journalism and his travel writing has appeared in a wide range of publications and websites including The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Independent, Toronto Globe & Mail, South China Morning Post and Financial Times.


He is also the editor of ‘Church of the Open Sky’ an Apple Newsstand magazine featuring ‘eclectic adventure travel’ stories and great imagery, also available on Facebook here, and the author of various surfing, skiing and travel guidebooks.

Recent posts

  • Get news!
  • Get prizes!
  • Sign up here!