Custom ski boot store Surefoot opens in Vancouver (PHOTOS)

Mar 28 2023, 5:47 pm

There’s a new retail arrival on West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano, and it’s set to help anyone who’s ever had painful ski boots ruin a day on the slopes.

Surefoot creates custom ski boots and liners as well as orthotics using 3D scanning technology to make a precise fit of a client’s foot. The business has several outposts in ski towns in the US, plus a Whistler location, but this is the first time people will be able to buy fully custom ski boots right in Vancouver.

“A ski boot should not hurt. That is a myth,” Ari Goosen, store manager, told Daily Hive. “We’ve brought in math and science instead of guessing… There’s zero breaking in. You put it on, you go skiing, it’s pain-free.”


Surefoot’s technology creates a 3-D scan of a client’s foot, which staff use to create custom a custom shell and liner. (Surefoot/Submitted)

Goosen began working for Surefoot in Beaver Creek, Colorado, in 1996. He grew up a ski racer and turned to boot-fitting after a bad crash forced him to “re-jig [his] life.”

He met his ex-wife Alexa Loo, a two-time Olympian and politician from Richmond, fitting her boots down in the States. He calls it a real Cinderella story — “the boot fit.” The two now amicably co-parent their two boys.

The marriage brought him up to Metro Vancouver, at which point he was helping his family jewellery company run by his brother. He characterized working in the high-end jewellery business as something of a real-life version of the frenetic film Uncut Gems and eventually decided to go back into boot fitting.

The pandemic delayed the planned opening of his new Surefoot location, but the Kitsilano store finally opened its doors on February 1.

“It’s such an outdoors-oriented community. I mean, people are very serious about their hobbies [in Vancouver],” Goosen said.

ari goosen

Ari Goosen is manager of the Vancouver Surefoot location. (Submitted)

He saw a real need for the store, being at the foot of the North Shore mountains and near a major airport. During his time during COVID-19 fitting boots up at the Whistler Surefoot, he saw many clients making the trip from the Lower Mainland and as far away as Oregon.

“Just the other day, I had a pilot for Hawaiian air who literally deadheaded in to get his boots done. People are coming from all over because we’re easier to get to. People are willing to fly in… Even when I was in our New York store, I’d have people fly in from Florida.”

Why do people hop on planes to visit Surefoot? Because ski boots are notoriously uncomfortable and the store promises a product that works on the hill instantly — and if it doesn’t, it offers free unlimited adjustments for life.

A common sign a ski boot doesn’t fit correctly is if it’s painful, Goosen said. He also warned about “over-buckling” — it could mean a ski boot is too loose, and the skier’s foot needs more support. He tells customers they should be able to fasten their buckles by only pressing with two fingers.

Of course, getting a fully custom boot from Surefoot isn’t cheap. Customers should be prepared to pay anywhere from $1,200 to $2,000 for a brand-new boot depending on add-ons such as boot heaters.

“Most of our customers are people who love to ski. It’s a passionate sport,” Goosen said. “They don’t want to waste any time while they’re skiing tinkering with their equipment.”


Location: 1904 West 4th Avenue

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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