Fit & Sizing
Boot Lasting and Sizing
All quality boots are built around a carefully crafted foot shaped model - known as a "last". It is the last which gives a boot its fit characteristics. The quality of the lasting, and the time that each upper spends on the last, is crucial in giving Scarpa boots their renowned shape and fit. Scarpa develop a last to specifically suit the end use of each boot. As a result, when you step into a SCARPA boot, you can be sure it has been carefully designed to suit you and your activity. Additionally, SCARPA were the first company to develop a purpose made last for women's boots. Today every ladies specific model has a dedicated female last. These lasts are slimmer in the mid foot and heel areas (Note: This female last may also be appropriate for a slim, low volume male foot and conversely a high volume, broad female foot may be better suited to the standard last).
Correct foot preparation is a key component in getting comfortable performance from your boots. Try to buy good performance socks. A few guidelines to look for in a good sock are:
- The tightness of the knit - a good sock will normally be a tight and smooth knit.
- Make sure there is good shaping to the sock - tube socks should be avoided.
- Check that the sock has good stretch and elasticity.
- If possible try to use socks that wick moisture away (the foot puts out around 50ml of sweat per day)
Socks are an ideal way of making small adjustments to the volume and fit of the boot so be prepared to experiment with combination and density of socks you use to get the best fit - but we believe that you should never wear more than two pairs (A liner and an outer sock). If you need more than two socks it is likely that you need to take the next boot size down.
Initial Fitting of the Boot
The start point in fitting the boot is to ensure that you have the right size and remember that it is possible to customise the fit of a boot that is slightly too large but it is virtually impossible to do anything about a boot that is too small. If in doubt go for a size that is slightly large rather than one that is too small. Bear in mind that the critical size element is the length. Boots will often give or can be modified in width terms but it is virtually impossible to modify the length of a boot. When trying the boot on make sure you do so with your usual sock combination. You should also bear in mind the end use of the boot. For example if you are going to use your boots when you are likely to be carrying a heavy rucksack then this will alter the loading and shape of your foot. You should therefore try wearing the boots with a loaded sac on. Also boots used for the mountains will be used in an uphill and downhill mode. You should therefore simulate this when trying the boots on. An increasing number of specialist shops are now providing 'incline boards' for you to test boots on. The key points to bear in mind are that when testing the boots in a down hill mode, properly laced up, your toes should not be pushing against the front of the boots. Equally, there should not be as much of a finger width at the heel otherwise your boot volume is too large for you.
Lacing up the boot
Even the best fitting boot will not give maximum performance unless it is correctly laced up. Correct lacing ensures that boot fits snugly and will prevent 'forward slip' of the foot in the boot and will reduce friction that could otherwise lead to blisters. When lacing the boot ensure that you start from the toe and gradually tension the lace between each set of hooks. Lace locks allow for the tension to be held over the fore foot whist giving a separate level of adjustment and tension around the ankle of the boot.
Be prepared to adjust your lacing as you go. It is common to find that as you need to re-tension the lacing after a short distance even in boots that have been well broken-in. Also the foot shape will adjust during the day with temperature, terrain and load carried.
It is not uncommon to find that some modification to the boot is required to get an optimal fit. There are several ways to achieve this:
- Footbeds - There are now a variety of high performance footbeds available to suit differing needs. Scarpa offer a variety of footbeds with which you can customise the fit of your boot.
- Volume Adjusters - Scarpa also make a Volume Adjuster which is a thin insert which can be added under the footbed to reduce the overall volume of the boot. This can make up to a half size difference in fit.
- Rubbing Bars - Some people have specific foot problems (e.g. swollen toe joints) which can cause problems when fitting new boots. It is worth knowing that boots can often be 'stretched' in specific areas to ease any painful rub points. Some specialist shops have rubbing bars specifically designed for this purpose. It is also possible to modify slightly heel and toe shapes to improve the fit of a boot. However this is a job best done by a trained boot fitter and we would recommend that it is done as a 'retro fit' adjustment.
As a general rule high performance hill and mountaineering boots are made from thicker leathers and have stiffer midsoles than do lower level walking boots. It is therefore essential to break in higher performance boots. To do this you should start by wearing them for a short distance and progressively lengthen the walks that you do. Never be tempted to take new boots and go out for a long trip in them. always break them in over time. It is often easier to prevent rubbing or blister problems. A piece of elastoplast or Second Skin put on early will often prevent a blister forming. If a blister does occur in the breaking in process then there are now excellent treatments available of which Compeed is probably the best known. A good pair of boots correctly fitted will give you many miles of comfortable use but it is worth remembering that almost as much of the comfort lies in the fitting and adjustment of the boot as in the boots themselves. We hope this information is helpful to you and wish you years of comfortable use from your Scarpa Boots.