/ B3 boots - couple of questions

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mcawle - on 05 Jul 2017
Hi,

Bought my first pair of B3 boots earlier this year and wore them for a week in Scotland. La Sportiva Nepal Cube. Now considering a couple of weeks in the Alps at the end of August, but unsure whether my boots are right.

Couple of questions:

1. Aching feet: I found that the arches of my feet would become very tired and painful when front pointing or even just standing in crampons for any length of time (e.g. when belaying). I do have pretty low arches/flat feet.

Is this common? I realise that B3s are hard on feet and require getting used to.

2. sizing: I normally wear a size 43. Pretty consistent in street shoes and even lighter walking boots, e.g. Scarpa SL. However I ended up in a 45 for the Sportivas. Main reason for the 45 was that the 44 felt tight on the little toe of my bigger foot, although this was with a stupidly thick sock (e.g. farm sock/workman's sock). However the 45s do feel a bit big generally, and they slip a bit at the heel (especially on the smaller foot). This is after using the usual lace lock tricks usually prescribed to deal with heel slip.

I realise that everyone is different and that basically I need to go back and try on different sizes and makes of boot to get a fit that feels right, regardless of the boot size.

But as a general question, do people normally end up with B3 boots that are markedly bigger than their usual shoe size?

Thanks,

Michael
Andrew Lodge - on 05 Jul 2017
In reply to mcawle:

My Sportivas are one metric size up from my normal shoe size.
In reply to mcawle:

Yes that is definitely a trend. When you get to warmer b3 boots by La Sportiva such as the G5 and definitely the double boot the G2 SM then it has proven the norm to size up two sizes for a lot of people.

I have Nepal Cubes and G2 SM boots and find them a touch uncomfortable on the arch and definitely ball of my feet if I don't wear something like a Sole insole.

If you have any further questions then ask away.

LDM.
Ciro - on 06 Jul 2017
In reply to mcawle:

The two issues may well be related - if your boot isn't a good fit, and you end up overtightening it to compensate, you can restrict blood flow and cause muscles to start cramping. The fact that it hurts when you're standing around belaying would tend to support this, as you're no longer flexing the ankles to aid blood flow.

The other thing it could be is just tension - I notice when I'm skiing, my feet get really sore very quickly on the first day back, which I think is subconsciously "overgripping" with my feet as it eases off when I'm back in the flow.

A heat molded custom footbed from a ski shop might help secure the foot without having to fork out for a new pair of boots.
TobyA on 06 Jul 2017
In reply to mcawle:

Along time ago I used to get really sore feet, particularly under the balls of my feet after days out in my mountaineering boots (not sure if they were called B3s then, maybe just!). I bought a pair of superfeet insoles and haven't had problems since. Superfeet seem ridiculously expensive when you first buy them but my first pair still work ok 16 years on, and my second pair have been in use for maybe 8 or so years now. Since having to wear "smart shoes" for work since changing careers a couple of years ago, I don't use them daily anymore, but did previously - so you will get a lot of wear out of the superfeet.
mcawle - on 06 Jul 2017
In reply to Andrew Lodge:

At risk of sounding dense, what's a metric size? European? I had a quick google but couldn't find a definition.
mcawle - on 06 Jul 2017
In reply to LakeDistrictMountaineer:
Okay, that's reassuring. Do Sportivas run a bit small? I have some trail runners of theirs where I also ended up in a 45, but again the main driver was little toe of my bigger foot feeling cramped/squished in a 44. So I guess my fear is that my toes are slightly wider than the Sportiva lasts, and that I've ended up with a larger size purely to gain a wide enough toe box.

Then again, I compared the insole length of my 45 Nepal Cubes with my 43 Scarpa SLs, and there wasn't so much difference in length. So maybe Sportivas actually are just a bit shorter? Hard to tell with these boots when you can't feel where your big toe is.

Re: insoles. I tried Superfeet blue briefly and they killed my feet first time. Possible that I laced the instep too tight and crushed my feet into them unnecessarily, but it was a long way down from Stob Coire nan Lochan that day and I didn't have the courage to try them them again. Haven't tried the Sole ones. Do you rate them? Which model do you use?
Post edited at 21:31
mcawle - on 06 Jul 2017
In reply to Ciro:
Those are good points. The "overgripping" is something I did notice actually - that's a good word for it. Basically realised I was tensing my feet without being aware of it. Although again that could point to feet trying to stabilise themselves in too large a space.

How much would a custom ski footbed cost? Anywhere good for that in London that you know of?
Post edited at 21:41
Andrew Lodge - on 06 Jul 2017
In reply to mcawle:

Yes, European sizes as oppose to English imperial sizes.
mcawle - on 06 Jul 2017
In reply to TobyA:

Thank you, I did try blues briefly in the boots, but they killed my feet. In retrospect I likely laced my boots too tightly over them, but I sent them back and so can't re-test without another purchase.

Sounds like the use of some kind of footbed is common though, so perhaps I need to look again.
Ciro - on 06 Jul 2017
In reply to mcawle:

I had mine done in snow and rock in London, looks like £50 these days for the heatformed ones and a few non-formed options a bit cheaper: https://www.snowandrock.com/c/snowboard/footwear/insoles.html#?q=&size=&page=0&sort=best...
mcawle - on 06 Jul 2017
In reply to Andrew Lodge:

Excellent. Thank you
mcawle - on 06 Jul 2017
In reply to Ciro:

Awesome, cheers. Should've figured they'd do them actually. Thanks
Stefan Jacobsen - on 06 Jul 2017
In reply to mcawle:

Yes, as others have mentioned, double boots differ size wise from other footwear. Even within the same brand! I fit size 43 in Scarpa Zen and Scarpa Phantom Guide, but size 45 in Scarpa Phantom 6000. I even had a pair of Asolo AFS 103 in size 47 which weren't too much too large.
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mcawle - on 07 Jul 2017
In reply to Stefan Jacobsen:

Thanks, my query is about B3 leather singles though: I'm a 43 in my old Scarpa B1s but got fitted up to a 45 in La Sportiva Nepal Cubes. They feel like they could be a bit big, but unsure as not used to B3s - so wondering if such a big jump is common.

Cheers!
HeMa on 07 Jul 2017
In reply to Andrew Lodge:

> Yes, European sizes as oppose to English imperial sizes.

But Eur sizes are not Metric (nor are UK/us size imperial). Mondopoint generally used for skistuff is actually metric.
petestack - on 07 Jul 2017
In reply to mcawle:

> Thanks, my query is about B3 leather singles though: I'm a 43 in my old Scarpa B1s but got fitted up to a 45 in La Sportiva Nepal Cubes. They feel like they could be a bit big, but unsure as not used to B3s - so wondering if such a big jump is common.

I take 46 or 46.5 in most shoes, but still 46 in Sportiva Nepals and Trangos (the only Sportivas I've had). They're neat at that... big enough worn with single pairs of socks, but any bigger (even 46.5 when I had 47 Nepals home and tried 46.5 outdoors) always threatened unacceptable heel lift with my feet (broad forefeet and narrow heels) though I'm wondering if I may have to go up half a size sometime to accommodate ageing/spreading feet. So, yes, yours might be a bit big... perhaps such a big jump is common, but not if you're me.
mcawle - on 07 Jul 2017
In reply to petestack:

Hmm, the plot thickens then. Thanks for that. Going to try on 43 and 44 again. Will report findings...
Master of Ice on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to mcawle: all my la sportiva boots are 43. From double boots, Nepal cubes, baturas right down to approach shoes and running shoes. My scarpa deltas are a 43 also.

nniff - on 10 Jul 2017
In reply to mcawle:

Don't worry about the size - that's just a number. Worry about the fit, because that's the important bit. If you think they might be a bit large, then the easiest fix is a pair of volume reducers - high density foam that goes under the footbed and snugs everything up a bit. Less than £10. Then you can see if you need a different insole, but it needs to be the right one for your feet.
hudav on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to mcawle:

I had your first problem, aching painful arches (and pads of my feet actually) in any boot that restricted movement, B3 and ski boots in particular.

I saw a podiatrist who specialised in sport, his first suggestion was to get stretching my legs, and then to get some insoles. He recommended the place below in London, I found them brilliant, went along with couple of pairs of boots. Got fitted for insoles, then he cut them to a size that would fit in different boots so I could swap them over.
http://www.profeet.co.uk/custom-insoles

Combination of stretching and insoles has made a massive difference.
petestack - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to nniff:

> Don't worry about the size - that's just a number. Worry about the fit, because that's the important bit.

Yep, absolutely!

> If you think they might be a bit large, then the easiest fix is a pair of volume reducers

I actually tried this (outdoors!) with the Nepal 46.5s before still rejecting them in favour of the 46s. And yet still wonder if, 11 years later, I might wish for my (since resoled) 46s to magically transmogrify into 46.5s for the benefit of my changing feet. Which I'll never know without trying when I'm not in the market for new boots just now. So can only stress the necessity of fitting carefully to the individual (on which note I've still no doubt I got the fit right *at that time*), taking hours or even days to do so. I was lucky to be buying from a shop (the much missed West Coast Outdoor Leisure in Fort William) which insisted I try them outside on real terrain to resolve the dilemma and was still prepared to take them back, but any good shop should at least let you take them home and try them indoors for a few days.

hpil - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to mcawle:

It could be a width thing - i had (well, still have - they are for sale) some Scarpa Mantas (the bluey leather ones) and some Nepal Evos. The Mantas seemed fine in the shop but i started getting really achy feet after about 8 hours each day i wore them. Likewise for the Evos - seemed a good fit in the shop but their first full day out gave me really painful feet - i could barely walk out of the car. Went to see Si at Mountain Feet (highly recommended), he measured my feet for length and width and found whilst the size 42 was right for me, i have reasonably wide feet (E/F). The last on the old mantas is quite narrow, and La Sportiva boots are generally reckoned on being narrow. Since then i have bought a pair of Scarpa Charmoz on the FT last (known for being wider) and a pair of Scarpa Mont Blancs (the older ones, not the pro's). Hey presto - achy feet gone!

Maybe you have wider feet more suited to the wider Scarpa lasts...?
mcawle - on 22 Jul 2017
In reply to Master of Ice:

Thanks. Are you a 43 in 'normal' shoes as well, i.e. sneakers for around town/work shoes (assuming they are different from what you've already mentioned)?
mcawle - on 22 Jul 2017
In reply to nniff:

Cheers. I think they are a bit big generally -- I've since sourced a pair of 44 and 43.5 of the same boot for comparison, and the 44 is definitely still all right. Right on the knife edge about the 43.5.

I considered looking at volume reducers etc. but apart from anything else I think they are longer than they need to be for me.
mcawle - on 22 Jul 2017
In reply to petestack:

Thanks again for that. I've since sourced some smaller sizes (43.5 and 44 down from 45) and they do seem to be more snug generally. So it's mostly now a question of how far down I go before the toes of my bigger foot start to get a bit squeezed...
mcawle - on 22 Jul 2017
In reply to hudav:

That's really interesting. Thanks. Any particular stretches that the podiatrist recommended?

(Also, was the podiatrist in London? I am; sounds like he might be worth me looking up.)

I'd already stumbled across the pro-feet website, actually. Obviously a bit of money to drop but worth it if they work (which it sounds like it did for you).

Do you have flat arches and/or over-pronation, or more normal feet but with aches?
mcawle - on 22 Jul 2017
In reply to petestack:

I've now got eight pairs of new boots in my living room, so I'm now doing my best to replicate an outdoor store where I can stomp around for hours.

I'm glad I'm not the only one torn between European half sizes. The 3mm difference in the last (or whatever a half size is) is much more noticeable than I'd have thought...
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mcawle - on 22 Jul 2017
In reply to hpil:

Interesting, that's quite possible. I don't have easy access to Mountain Feet, which is a pity - I've seen a few references to them on here. Trek from London though.

You might be right about the Scarpa vs. Sportiva width. I've picked up a pair of Mont Blanc Pros (easily available in London) and they do feel a bit more spacious whilst stomping around in them at home. (Though I realise they are on a different last to the original Mont Blancs.)
Master of Ice on 18:57 Mon
In reply to mcawle:

Yep. Same size in sneakers too

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