REI no longer has the Trangos you guys referred to. Looks like an ideal boot spec-wise for what I'm looking for.
Last night I tried on another Sportiva, the Glacier. It fit slightly better than the Trango S Evo, but still wasn't quite right. Better, but slightly odd fitting.
I've always been trying on boots with my very thin liners, then thick sock.
Last night I also tried on the Lowa Silberhorn, first a 10.5 with my medium weight trekking sock, and then an 11 with my heavy mountaineering sock.
The 10.5 with the medium sock kind of yielded that eureka moment. Everything felt right straight away. Any slight imperfections felt like something that could be dealt with and/or adjusted. The 11 with the heavier sock also felt very good, but ever so slightly long; the front flex point felt a tiny bit in front of the pivot of my foot. Either one allowed my toes nice freedom of movement, the foot as a whole was snug but not constricted, and the heel was locked.
Damnitall if my feet don't want the most ridiculously expensive boot. They're $440.
Since I've established that these Lowas work with medium socks, I'm going to try the Lowa Mountain Experts again in a 10.5 with the medium sock and see if they fit as well.
Aside from cost, my only concern about the Silberhorns is that they're almost too much boot for the Sierra. They're serious. I can imagine though that they'd be fantastic for extended front-pointing though, and it's conceivable that at some point in the more distant future, I'll find myself in Peru, back in Ecuador, maybe Mexico, Rainier...who knows.
The Mountain Experts are a little less hard core; a little more supple, and, much less expensive (especially with a 20% off REI coupon to use).
Anyone have any additional thoughts on all that?