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Stiff Boot = Sore Knees?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Do stiff boots put more stress on your knees since you then have only two joints (hip and knee) flexing instead of three. Could a stiff boot lead to more knee injuries because of the lack of motion in the ankle area? Seems like knees injuries are the cause of more lost ski days than any other injury. Does anyone think boot stiffness has anything to do with the problem?

post #2 of 18

I don't think so. If you can't move your ankles I'd say that either the boot doesn't fit/is aligned wrong, or is just too stiff. Even then, I don't think lack of ankle movement is what causes knee injuries.

post #3 of 18

I think it's a good question, and I'm not sure what the answer is. The very nature of a ski boot limits ankle mobility significantly. Will an extra stiff boot have a significant additional effect? I personally doubt it, although it could probably be argued that it could be the straw that broke the camels back. But in that anology - the problem is not the straw, its the excessive load that the camel is already carrying. I do think the stiffness of out boots is one of the contributing factors to the injury-potential of the sport. As is the 2 by 4 attached to the boot. But that's skiing. Is it worthwhile optimizing what little movement we have? Probably. Where does it factor in importance relative to proper boot alignment and your own strength and mobility? I would think it is a part of the alignment equation, but a small part. But I'm postulating here. It'd be interesting to hear a boot fitters perspective on this question.


It does mean that strong and mobile hips are very important for skiers. 



post #4 of 18

overly stiff boots - sore knees?

prolly some indirect correlation, for some


obviously, if the boots are throwin a skier into the back seat, the knee becomes the joint that handles most of the work in holding the torso up...

but they don;t have to be stiff; trepidation, hesitation, anxiety put plenty of skiers into the back seat also, prolly more than 'stiff' boots...


whats stiff for me may be soft for a much bigger dude

post #5 of 18

I know this thread is a little old but it turned up in my search.


I was trying on some new ski boots with a 130 flex number and pushing my shins into them and a few other models at the store.  Later that night my knees felt a little sore and it is making me reconsider the flex rating and I'm going to try a few lower rated ones to see if the knee irritation is less than the higher rated ones.


Let me know if you have any thoughts on this flex issue.




- Dave

post #6 of 18

If the boots are feeling stiff in the shop, remember they'll be stiffer when they're cold. A lot depends on you and not just how strong you are but how capable you are of flexing the boots. Whilst the flex rating is not universal and therefore varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, 130 will be pretty stiff. Ask yourself why you need this stiffness and will it help your skiing. I would look for something a bit softer or maybe quite a bit softer. A good fitter will be able to help but it is essential you are honest about your capabilities and your objectives.


I would echo evaino's comments about getting those hips strong and mobile.

post #7 of 18

I think I understand the source of your question - let me answer by saying the answer is "no".....usually.



On occasion I see people skiing, where they flex/extend 100% in the knee and hip - like sitting on a chair/stand up, sit on a chair/stand up.  That movement (particularily the standing up) places enourmous strain on the knees, and makes them very sore, as they are leveraging thier entire body on the knee.


Some people claim this is from boots that are too stiff.  Well, possibly, in some cases the boots (too stiff, or really bad fit) could be blamed, but generally its just bad technique leading to their problems. 

post #8 of 18

Dave 5280,


If I learned anything this summer (I'm sure Skidude will chime in if I get it wrong) is that the stiffness of the boot (within reason) shouldn't affect how your knees feel WHILE SKIING.  How the feel from trying to flex in a shop might be different.  A stiff boot gives you more accuracy but also less room for error so if you over "steer" you will end of not being where you want to be.  Stiffer equals less room for error.  This is why on stiffer boots, alignment is critical.


As was mentioned, in the shop it is warmer and the boots will be softer.  Another thing to consider is that the ski shop floor has no flex but your skis and the snow does.  While skiing, if you are the correct size and ability for a stiffness of the boot, the forces you generate will flex the boot for you as might terrain.


So if the alignment was off on the boot and it caused you to flex either laterally or medially, that could put un-needed stress on the knee.  I know when I've skied and turned my knee too far inboard, my knees have gotten sore.  This was poor technique and wasn't the boots fault.


If the alignment is good, I don't know how stiffness can cause your knee to be sore while skiing as long as you have the skill set to match the stiffness.  There is probably some sliding rule of thumb that has a smaller person in a softer boot and a larger person in a stiffer boot.  The same chart would have a higher skill set in a stiffer boots and lower skill set in softer.  This would allow for a smaller person with lots of skill to be in a stiffer boot.  The trick is figuring out where you are on the scale.



post #9 of 18
post #10 of 18



When you do some searching on the boots you will find that some like them stiff and some like them softer.  A lot depends on the type of skiing that they do, the ability they have and what is the rest of the ski package.


Generally, you will find that most experienced skiers are more likely on stiffer boots because they like the more responsive feel and almost instant reaction to input, where as less experienced skiers are better suited to softer boots to intentionally damping the responsiveness.  Better put if you make a little mistake in the input it won't show up but with a stiff boot it will.


These are just general observations, and can vary depending on each individual skier.


Personally, I've just started on 130's (which are a lot softer than what I used previously). The main difference between my old boots and the new feels like it has a better side to side stiffness, and most definitely a better flex pattern so that the slight compromise in stiffness is more than made up for in other factors.


As to knee pain and boots, I believe there are few threads discussing Ramp angle, binding angle and such , along with the effect it has on body position and the potential problems it may cause.  See a good boot fitter/ski shop to view the overall package.

post #11 of 18

Thanks everyone for the responses.  I was looking at the Cochise 130 Pro.


I usually ski 30 to 40 days a year covering 1 to 2 million vertical feet, and have some cartilage damage in both knees which contributes to the problem.


My old boots fit too big and they have water infiltration so it is time to upgrade them.


I'll look around some more and talk to the boot fitters like Surefoot.


- Dave

post #12 of 18

HI Dave et all,


I'm really interested to see what comesup on here.  I ski in a 120 flex Lange boot which I also race in (SL and GS). 

When I originally bought the boots they were a step up from my previous ones so I took one of the bolts out of the back to start with whilst I got used to them.

I then started to feel they weren't quite feeling stiff enough around the end of my turns so put the bolt back in which felt good.  low and behold 1 day later I did my ACL whilst  on my feet (bum got below my hips, ie as far in the backseat as I could go, at speed on a GS course).

I did ask the Dr whether he thought there was a link between the stiffening of boots and the injury and he didn't particularily feel there was, although I have a nagging feeling that although it wasn't the cause it may have aided it.  I was possible pushing it more having felt more stable/secure in the boots?


Does anyone else have any experince/info on this?



post #13 of 18

I like a stiff boot and found that the Technica Cochise 120 too soft, but the forward flex of the Cochise Pro 130 felt very similar to my current boots, so I bought the Cochise Pro 130.

post #14 of 18



Yes, you did everything you shouldn't in terms of mistakes for an ACL injury.  Wasn't the boots sorry to say would have happened with softer boots too.


Read the following thread and search up a few more.   I came close last year, luckily I read about what causes ACL injuries before hand and by chance made the right choices to avoid injury.  Wasn't the boots either.


The power up reaction in the back seat when you're hooked up (caught edges) is wrong but so natural eek.gif . 


Hopefully, you make a full recovery.

post #15 of 18
Update - tried to get by with my old boots and got minor frostbite/nip on my big toe of one foot on a cold day. Doctor's advice is to take 3 aspirin a day to improve blood flow to heal it and get new boots!
post #16 of 18

A good boot fit is definitely worth the effort it takes.  Warm snug feet make for a great skiing experience.

post #17 of 18

I dont think it is possible to find an answer until someone makes a proper study.


YES. Stiff boot eliminates any ankle and foot motion in the boot. Thus, transferring any force directly to knee. BUT, stiff boot leads to better control, therefore prevents injuries.


And NO. Loose boots creates some ankle and foot motion in boot. This will absorb some force heading from skies to knees. BUT, loosened boots leads to inferior control over skies. So you'r open to injuries in same conditions (slope, speed etc..). Therefore loosen boots may lead to injuries.


Both theories are true in way..

post #18 of 18

ankle has a pretty long throw for the size of the joint. You should be able to flex. my uneducated guess would be,Boots arent aligned with you or too stiff. 

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