This Month's Gear Guru Question:by Backcountry Bob
Q. Please help me understand boot terminology. What exactly determines "volume"? Is it how wide your foot is, or how much room it takes up in the boot from the bottom of your foot [the arch] to the top [the instep]? I am having a heck of a time getting a good fit. First, I'm a woman so that narrows the field A LOT (that's a whole other issue). I have an average width foot, but a high arch. My biggest problem is that many boots fit too close across the top of my foot (mid foot/metatarsus/cuneiform bone area), eventually cutting off circulation. I really love La Sportiva because of the way they fit my heel/ankle area, but, except for the TRK's, I've had to return both the Makalu and Glaciers (which I loved) because of the [tight fit on the instep]. I can get supports for my high arches, but which boot has more room across the [instep], men's or women’s? If you have any boot suggestions, please include. I'm looking for an early winter boot, crampon compatible, Vibram ice or other soles, preferably some Thinsulate. Thanks.
A. Boot volume is both a function of width and inside height, and men's boots typically have more volume than women's. Women's boots will have narrower heel cups so I would stick with them; finding the height you need then becomes critical.
Custom footbeds may be a solution. They support your arch without raising you up, so to speak. Also, lacing techniques may help. Try bringing the laces straight down the eyes, and cross them only once you’ve gotten over the high instep like this: