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Help with Scarpa boot sizing

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  • Help with Scarpa boot sizing

    I've been agonizing over which size to buy in the Scarpa Gea 2.0. My foot measures between 24 and 24.5 cm.

    Last year, I bought an Atomic Backland in a 24.5. It was way too small and even after several moldings of the boots, I was miserable. One because it was too short and two because it was too tight around my calf. It was painful both on the uphill and the downhill. Something about the way the boot positioned me was not right. I also tried a Solomon MTN Explore boot at a 24.5. My feet were asleep within the first half mile.

    I have done a ton of reading and understand the principle of buying a boot a little bit small so that when it packs out it fits. I understand you have more control over your skis if your boots fit snug. However, in practice, following this advice has only made me miserable. So after wasting an entire season, I am trying to get it right and find the boots that work for me and my weird feet.

    My issue is, I have a semi-wide forefoot that sits back further than most people's. I have a very narrow heel, my instep and arch are very high and my calf is high volume. The result is that what works for most people doesn't work for me. As a skier, I probably am classified as an intermediate. But I ski all kinds of terrain, some of it cautiously. We do a lot of touring, so weight is a consideration.

    I tried a pair of the Atomic Hawx Ultra 90 25.5, and they fit great. Felt snug around my heal and just enough room in the toes not to crunch them, but not swimming in them. The problem with them was the calf. I could not close the buckles. I was also concerned they would end up feeling too much like the Backland when I ski downhill in them.

    Then I tried the Scarpa Gea in a 25.5. They felt great in the calf, wide enough and kept my heel down. There was a little space in the toes, which I know you will probably frown on. So I tried the 24.5, which put a lot of pressure on my instep, made my toes feel crunched and didn't feel as wide for some reason as the 25.5.

    With Scarpa breaking at the half size, it's confusing as to what size I need. I've spent hours pouring over charts to compare the sizes of various brands. Everything in me wants to buy the 25.5 to be safe. But I'm concerned they will pack out and I'll swim in them.

    My questions are:
    - How relevant is soul length when considering a size? (The Atomic Hawx 25.5 is 292, while the Scarpa 25.5 is 297)
    - If buy the 25 (which is the same shell size as the 24.5), how much will it pack out? Would the thinner insole insert give me a little more room in the instep than in the 24.5
    - If I go with the 25.5 and buy a high arch insole, plus wear thick socks, would that offset any packing out?
    - Does anyone know how the Atomic Hawx Ultra 90 compares to the Scarpa Gea in terms of sizing?

    I know this is a lot but I would appreciate any insight I can get. The season is dwindling and I don't want to waste another one!
    Last edited by alliwhy; 9 January 2018, 06:10 PM.

  • #2

    Get the 25.5. You can add padding to take up volume where you need it, but you clearly need more volume for your calf. That can be expanded to some degree by a good boot fitter who can heat the cuff and bend it back at the rear to make it flair to fit your calf better. Check out for a good one near you.

    ain't no turn like tele!


    • #3
      Calf pain can be a result of improper balance in your buckles and too loose a foot moving all the pressure to the calf. My wife sized down to relieve calf pain.

      I have a larger but similar shaped foot and found a non intuition liner made a huge difference. The key for me was a very lightly padded toebox with a padded heel. The toe box is actually neoprene rather than foam . The liner is from Pulse boot lab in Revelstoke.

      With regard to your questions
      Sole length isn't an issue its interior size which is shell and liner thickness
      The shell gives you room for a liner or doesn't Packout is fixed by new liners - shells last longer than liners. If its packing out and loose remold or replace the liner.

      With modern liners thick socks are not really a needed approach. If you need a thick sock to make it work it wasn't molded correctly or you bought too big a boot.

      A competent boot fitter is more important than internet advice. If they are component they will work with you until you are happy have a reputation, and likely own the store where they work.

      Good luck! Gear is expensive but well fitting boots are priceless!


      • #4
        Some good points above, especially the value of good fitting, comfortable boots.

        I'll add a different perspective. Sometimes boots just don't fit your feet. Perhaps you should try a different brand altogether. My wife had a pair of Scarpa Gea boots that did not fit her well (she primarily telemarks and skied them only a couple of days, so not a lot of data). She never wanted to take out here alpine skis because of the boots. So we got her some Dynafit boots and they are fitting her well.


        • #5
          Gea is a narrow, low volume last. If you are wide in the forefoot, I agree, a different boot might work better.

          The next size up often does put the widest part of your foot in a wider part of the boot. It's a compromise that people with very blocky feet sometimes have no alternative to. I would check out some other brands before upsizing to a 25.5, which in Scarpa is actually a 26.
          Last edited by cesare; 10 January 2018, 11:20 AM.


          • #6
            I was a bootfitter a long, long time ago so anyone please feel free to call BS.

            My $.02:

            The rules ot thumb work for typical feet...
            There are different fittings for short-toed feet and long-toed feet.
            The ancient "Brannock device" actually does a good job of identifying this.
            If your foot is not typical get the help of a bootfitter who knows which way to
            go with shell sizes and brands. Different brands have different shell sizes and
            you may be between shells in one brand and in the sweet spot of another.

            Make sure they "shell size" you. Put your foot in a shell without the liner to
            see how much or how little extra room there is for the liner to pack into. Touch your toe to the front
            and see how much space is between the shell and your heel. Two
            fingers stacked flat minimum, two fingers side by side max in most cases. Short
            toes can handle a little less pack out room than long toes.
            If you are in the right length shell and the boot feels wrong try a different volume model/brand.

            Womens calves attach lower so women specific boots have more calf room.

            If you spend a lot of time in the skintrak you might want 2 toe dams when they
            thermofit them.

            Start out with thin socks and blue Superfeet... and duct tape your Achilles the first couple tours.

            Last edited by tony3; 10 January 2018, 09:07 PM.


            • #7
              Originally posted by tony3 View Post
              Start out with thin socks and blue Superfeet... and duct tape your Achilles the first couple tours.
              Why blue Superfeet and why the achilles?


              • #8
                My wife had a pair of Geas and gave up on them. Fit was good enough but the top buckle pressured pointed a nerve in her lower leg and it took a lot of work to fix that but main problem was the lean lock was either too much lean in forward position or too up right in the back position. She is a Scarpa foot with narrow forefoot. So, I think if you are a wider foot then stay away from Scarpa Geas. If you really need to replace your current boot, I would look at a Scott Celeste AT boot as it is for women with a wider foot. WTBS, since you own Atomic Backlands maybe it is not time to dump them yet. Atomics have not only a moldable liner but a moldable shell as well so a good boot fitter can really adjust the fit, but you need to find a "GOOD" boot fitter who is familiar with the shell molding process of Atomic ski boots. Maybe there is a solution. A good bootfitter can make a smaller boot bigger in places. You might need to drive to find a good boot fitter.
                "Just say no to groomed snow"


                • #9
                  Thanks to everyone who replied. This is all very helpful. So far, of all the boots I've tried, the Scarpas have been the most comfortable. It's just a matter of finding the right size. I'll definitely try the shell fit.

                  I have worked with a boot fitter who had all the highest certifications. She was wonderful and tried everything she could for my Atomics (I didn't even buy them from her). It just wasn't meant to be. The problem was she had limited inventory, so when I didn't work out with any of the brands she carried, I had to move on. I went back to the Scarpas because I had ridden a pair a couple years ago and they worked well as long as I used duct tape on my achilles. They were the Magic 24.5. (I'm wondering thought if Scarpa was sized differently when those came out)

                  I should say, my foot is wide in relation to my heel, which is really narrow. I don't think it qualifies as "wide" when compared to most feet. At least very wide. I do get some rub on the side of my foot though in narrow boots. The Geo measures wider than the Atomic though, so I was more comfortable in it width wise. I'll look into the Celeste. A part of my problem with the Atomic had to do with forward lean, and the way it held my foot when I was downhill skiing. That's another reason I was looking at the Scarpa, because it stands a little more upright. It's hard to find variety this time of year in my area. But I'll keep looking.
                  Last edited by alliwhy; 11 January 2018, 05:12 PM.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rjmh View Post
                    Calf pain can be a result of improper balance in your buckles and too loose a foot moving all the pressure to the calf. My wife sized down to relieve calf pain.!
                    What do you mean improper balance in your buckles?

                    In my Atomic's case, being too loose was not the issue. My toes were all crunched up. But buckles and forward lean could have done it...


                    • #11
                      Well crunched up toes is not a good thing! Typically middle buckles should be snug to tight over your ankle, quite loose over your toes, and top buckle and powerstrap to suit, but usually not too tight Search you tube for buckle sequence.

                      The goal is to have your heel snug in the back of the boot not to clamp your toes or your calf. So if you are narrow heeled (like us) this can be a bit of a challenge. Pain is usually in the toes from too much pressure either from the lower buckles or from skiing with a loose heel that is not in the boot heel pocket. Or conversely in the calf and shins where you have put too much pressure on the upper buckles to compensate for a loose foot. When you get everything just right its sublime.

                      My wife had severe pain in her shin and calves because the boots were too big. We sized down and the pain went to her feet until she figured out the correct buckle pressures. I have a pair of Scarpa TXpros that fit very well with their original liners, the replacement liners from Scarpa created a disaster in the toes. The newer Pulse liners brought it back to near perfect. Toes need to wiggle to ski in the cold in my opinion and definitely shouldn't be hitting anything. Snug toes don't work for me.


                      • #12
                        Seems like this gal was having problems with the boot fit in hiking at least as much as skiing down. So, buckle pressure and buckle tightening sequences are important for riding lifts where you don't have to hike, but a good fit for ski boots that are use for touring have to have a special fit and usually a compromise.
                        "Just say no to groomed snow"


                        • #13
                          In the end, I went with the Scott Contessa, as @quazilla suggested. Seemed to work best for me with the high volume instep and wider foot, especially after I worked with a fitter to have them heat molded and added a pair of Superfeet to help with my arch. I can't wait to try them out! Thanks everyone! All of this was very helpful.
                          Last edited by alliwhy; 16 January 2018, 11:33 AM.


                          • #14
                            That's true - I run my AT boots roomier