Whether you ski or board, buying boots online is not a great idea. Peoples feet are about as unique as a fingerprint. Everyone is a little bit different. By the time you take into consideration skill, size, shape, needs, wants, injuries, and many other factors, there are an unlimited number of variables that can't possibly be taken into consideration simply by reading a description and looking at a picture online.
Online reviews can help lead you into the right direction but ultimately, what feels great to a professional rider or your average joe who wrote up a review, can be entirely different to what works for you. In a lot of cases, some reviews are paid advertising which is the company trying to tell you their product is the best. That's not to say that one boot is better or worse than another because the vast majority of companies out there are making some truly exceptional products!
So why is working with an experienced professional better than reading reviews and descriptions? We have spent years learning the differences, diagnosing problems, finding solutions, testing and riding new products, and occasionally even being a part of developing something new. When new products come into the market, we take the time to try them on and try and understand the overall fit of each of these boots. Some boots may run narrow in certain spots, some may have a wide toe box, and some may have a really aggressive heel pocket. Understanding the differences of these boots help us narrow down the equipment that is right for you after learning a little bit about you ability and what you are looking for.
Further more, after already purchasing a boot and riding it, where do you go if you are having issues? Many times, a hot spot in the boot or soreness or fatigue can be fixed in a matter of minutes and sometimes it takes a little adjusting of the boot. But ultimately, what website can do that for you? The more often you work with your local boot fitter, they will get to know you and understand whats going on with your boots so that they can more accurately fix the problem. It is that kind of working relationship that allows you to truly find the perfect fitting boot for you. A website sees the dollars rolling in and never sees the customers face. Your local shop will take the time to work with you and find you the right stuff!