Old boots are very valuable, so I hate throwing them away. But last spring I decided an old pair of Salomon classic boots, vintage 1996, that were almost 50% duct tape were ready for the dump. I had them sitting by the edge of the driveway as I was cleaning up the garage, just ready for the next trip to the garbage can, when a friend dropped by for a visit. He gladly took them off my hands saying he had been trying for years to get decent ski boots and was going to use these. You see he can't simply buy boots like the rest of us. His problem? His size 17 feet!
There are very few people taller than 7' around, and my friend 'Great Big Dave' (GBD) usually towers over the tallest of them. At 6'4" I barely come up to his shoulders. I can sympathize with his plight to find ski boots, I've often had to special order my size 13 boots (48Euro). Turns out that's as big as they come from any company unless you are prepared to pay thousands for a custom order. Things are getting better for the just bigger than average foot as more and more kids are growing up to be taller than 6' and along with that come more big feet and more big boots in local stores.
So what to do if you want huge boots? Make them yourself!
Dave took my old boots and went straight to his friendly neighbourhood cobbler. The cobbler took the sole off my little old boots and stitched and glued them to the base of GBD's Nike basketball shoes, which surprisingly were only $50. This way the front SNS pin that mates with the binding was secured tightly to his leather shoes. The cobbler had a bit of trouble finding something for the heals. You see my soles were far too short, so they cut them. Problem was that the heals were really worn and thin so when he put them on they cracked so the cobbler was forced to make something else. His third, and final try, used what looks like hockey puck material stitched and glued to the sole. It cost $90 plus tax for the modifications.
The only flaw was that the Salomon binding plates aren't long enough, and the added heal pieces weren't quite parallel to the slot in the front of the
boot. The guys at Pecco's added little stumps to his ski and angled them so they align with the heals. This means he has a left and right ski, but it is a minor compromise for a functioning system.
Have a look at these pictures and keep in mind that it's a size 13 boot in the pictures with GBD's monsters.
The pole vault poles he uses are also quite unique! Just kidding, bamboo grows long enough for him.