/ Where to go for B3 Boot advice?

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paul walters - on 01 Apr 2013
In preparation for Mont Blanc in August 2013, in October last year I bought some La Sportiva Trango Extreme EVO Lt GTX boots from Up and Under in Cardiff. I had my feet measured there, and spent around 4 hours over 2 visits taking advice, and trying on different boots for fit. Since then, and despite my best intentions, I haven't managed to wear them (even around the house) to break them in. They're still in the box, unworn except for the once in the shop.

Yesterday I was in Betws Y Coed, and called into Cotswold Outdoor. I hadn't intended on talking boots, but got drawn into conversation with their boot specialist, and was pursuaded to bring my boots in from the car. Cotswold Bloke then spent the next 20 minutes re-measuring my feet, telling me I'd been sold the wrong size boots, and advising me to "think very seriously" before using them outdoors as they would be painful (and possibly damaging) to wear, and that I should really be seeking a replacement from U&U

Had I not gone into CO, I'd have happily worn them on the snow and ice on the tops over the weekend, and been blissfully ignorant of any potential problem they might cause later on Mont Blanc.

Now I can't decide what to do. The bloody things cost me nigh on £300, haven't been worn at all since I bought them, are now 6 months old, and the likelihood of getting them refunded or replaced is very slim I fear.

I could sell them on here, but I'd lose a chunk of the money... and I can't keep taking financial hits on the basis of "gaining experience".

Any ideas anyone ? Would a 3rd opinion help? where could I get one? I live in east Devon, and to be honest, apart from the Exeter branch of Go Outdoors, and Cotswolds, there's bu99er all in the way of expertise down this way...... in short...... help?

Snoweider - on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to paul walters:

You don't say whats wrong with the U+U boots- I'm amazed that after taking so long choosing you came away with a pair that were so badly fitting. However, if that is the case, and you really haven't worn them outside, have you tried going back to U+U and asking their advice?
paul walters - on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to Snoweider: Ah, missed that bit out.... Cotswold have told me they are 1/2 to 1 size too small. Apparently, I have a very narrow foot, B+ right (C weighted) and B1/2 left (D weighted), which is why (apparently) the Asolo and Sportiva boots fit better, as they are designed for a narrower European rather than UK demographic. I usually take a 43 in everyday shoes, but have 45 walking boots and climbing shoes. Cotswold bloke told me if HE was fitting me he'd have given me a size 46 in this boot due to added insulation. To be honest, until went into CO though, I wasn't aware there might be any problem. Of course, the doubt is there now, that if I DO wear them outside AND they prove not to fit, then I can't get my money back on them. Hence the thought I might need a 3rd opinion before either taking them back to U&U or sucking it up and trying them outside. It's a lot of money to invest in a mistake though.
paul walters - on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to paul walters: I've never had B3 boots before so am not sure how they should handle. I get a small amount of heel lift in these, but that was explained as being normal in a rigid boot as the foot needs to flex when you walk and hence the heel moves inside the boot.... sounds like blisters to me ? Is that normal though ?
MG - on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to paul walters: Are they comfortable indoors?
GarethSL on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to paul walters: You also don't give any reasons for why they apparently don't fit!

You also say that you would have been blissfully ignorant... well you could wear them down the high street and they will still be the same boot, where you are wont change how they fit!

If you're that unsure, get 'um on your feet around the house for at least a day, this will help you to get a real feel for how they will work and if there is any discomfort.

So long as you can comfortably wiggle your toes, have no heel slip, prominent pressure points or pain throughout a day then they will be ok.
Snoweider - on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to paul walters:
You should definitely be wearing them indoors before outdoors. This is all the more so with b3, as it can be hard to tell where the issues are from a few minutes padding round the shop.

Some heel lift is common but not desirable in B3s. Most people put up with it. I also have narrow feet and since I discovered Mammut Mamooks I've done away with heel lift.

Should confess here that I'm ex U+U staff (donkeys years ago) so I'm surprised they sold you a badly fitting boot, but in the end, its the customer who chooses the boot, and the advice is always to wear them at home. Some always used to come back on this basis and people got refitted.
paul walters - on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to Snoweider: I don't think they sold me a badly fitting pair of boots... I went in there without any preconceptions of what I wanted, and until I went into Cotswold, I wouldn't have believed there to be a problem. U&U told me I could bring them back any time up to a month from the time of purchase, and I fully intended to wear them around the house before deciding to keep them. Trouble is, soon after buying them, I was offered a job in Devon and then had to pack up the house to move down.... the boots were the least of my worries until this weekend. Obviously now though, that 1 month is up. I'm wearing them in the house as I type this, and apart from some heel lift, they feel pretty good on. I should mention that all the other boots I tried on had more lift than these, so I always felt that U&U had done their job, and I had the best fit I could get. It's only the comments from Cotswolds have put that element of doubt in my mind. I will continue to wear them throughout the rest of the day and see how they pan out.
Mountain Llama on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to paul walters: hi Paul, I have the same boots. My advice is to get the correct fit, sometimes this may be a comprise but if not correct it will be amplified when you put crampons on. If you go for a larger size it may make the heel lift worse and imho you should have no heel lift if you wish to stay clear of blisters. So I would go back to the shop you bought them from and explain the situation and I am sure they Will let you try a half or a full bigger for comparison. At the end of the day they want a happy customer who will come back due to good service and you need peace of mind that your expensive boots fit!

HTH Davey
paul walters - on 01 Apr 2013
I will continue to wear them throughout the rest of the day and see how they pan out.

They didn't and seemed worse than I remembered! They are comfy all apart from (what I consider to be) excessive heel lift... they'll have to go back. Despondent I am. ((

In reply to paul walters:

A simple method of fitting boots properly is to put the boot on with the laces completely slack and wear the thick socks you would wear for climbing. Push your toes so they jam against the front. Now keep your heel flat but bend jour knee forward. You should now be able to push your forefinger down between your heel and the back of the boot. If you can't do this it is too short. If there is too big a gap it's too long. The rest of your problems like heel lift can usually be cured by fitting some decent insoles. If the boots you bought are Nepal Extremes you can also reposition the tongue which velcros into place.

If the shop who sold them still stock the boots and they are in pristine condition, I don't see why they shouldn't swap them for a bigger size - it would be in their interests to do so and keep your custom.
Ronan O Keeffe on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to paul walters:
I sorted my heel lift issues with a pair of anatom heel inserts, they go under the footbed you're using. Cost about a fiver I think. Could be the answer.
KellyKettle - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to Ronan O Keeffe:
> (In reply to paul walters)
> I sorted my heel lift issues with a pair of anatom heel inserts, they go under the footbed you're using. Cost about a fiver I think. Could be the answer.

+1 I used these and Superfeet insoles to fit out a pair of Scarpa Cumbre's which with sorbothane insoles and no heel insets had torn my heel and ankle to shreds on the walk in to Trinty Face... With the new insole setup, it's not a problem, even walking a fair distance on hard surfaces.
Chris Shorrock on 02 Apr 2013 -
In reply to paul walters:

I’d be very keen to see your boots and feet back at Up and Under. We pride ourselves on our boot fitting services and specifically use staff who are experienced winter climbers and Alpine mountaineers as well as trained boot fitters to help when anyone is trying mountain boots on.
Whilst I cannot really comment without having your boots and feet in front of me I would be a little concerned that if you are getting heal movement in a size 45 that you are recommended to jump to a 46.

The comments from Stephen Reid (he certainly knows what he’s talking about), Grendel and Mountain Llama regarding rules of thumb for fits is spot on and I’d be happy for you to try a 45.5 to compare, but I would anticipate that if you are having problems with heal movement that that won’t necessarily be the best solution.
It could be that trying an alternative lacing method or sock combination is all that you need to achieve perfection. Different foot-beds or heal inserts (if necessary) may also help. Were you wearing the sock combination at Cotswold Outdoors and during your try on time at home that you chose / we recommended on your visit to Up and Under?

We are always keen to help solve boot issues for anyone whether they bought from us or from competitors as comfy feet are as important as it gets when you are out in the hills.
@ndyM@rsh@ll - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to paul walters: Give a wall or similar solid object a punt with them on and tied up properly, if your toes hit the end they're definately too small. If they don't hit the end it's not conclusive that they're good but if they do then it is that they're bad.
gethin_allen on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to paul walters:
So the question is; What makes you trust the advice of cotswolds over the advice of Up+under?

I don't work for U+U so can be reasonably independent and I'd be quite surprised if they got you the wrong boots as they do know what they are on about normally. Even if there is an issue I'd be shocked if they can't sort something out for you.

What others have said about insoles is also worth considering. I have very narrow/low volume feet and need thicker insoles in my winter boots, even with the narrow fit of Sportiva boots and the adjustable tongue in the Nepals.
paul walters - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to gethin_allen: Hi Gethin, I don't believe I have been baadly advised by U&U in any way (and told them so in a telephone call this afternoon). Rather, I want to ensure that I have the best fitting boots I can get (and until I spoke with Cotswolds) believed I had. However, there is still heel lift happening when I walk with them indoors, and which I believe will be worse when in crampons on a hill. I have arranged to re-visit Cardiff this weekend, even though it means making a 2 hour drive up from Devon, in order to sort the problem out - even if it means asking U&U to provide inserts etc.

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