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Is my boot TOO stiff?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Just got some "new to me" Flexon Comps that I'll be filling with Scarpa Intuition Power Wraps.  I've been able to test flex a lot of different Flexon tongues, these are S-T-I-F-F!! As I am not a high speed charger, what is the down side with a boot that's too stiff?

 

000_0759.jpg

post #2 of 26

That boot is not all that stiff. You should be able to flex them OK. It's a good flexing stiff boot for an advanced skier, not a super macho stiff boot for the hardcore racer wannabe. The boots are almost 30 years old and there is a good chance that the shells will crack in half while you're skiing, but if that doesn't happen, you'll enjoy those boots. Raichle Flexon Comp is my all time favorite alpine ski boot.

post #3 of 26

Yep - I owned that boot in 1984 IIRC.  That's not a stiff boot by most standards.  I'll be amazed if that plastic manages to hold together.

post #4 of 26

If the boots is too stiff you will struggle to maintain fore/aft balance. 

 

 

post #5 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

If the boots is too stiff you will struggle to maintain fore/aft balance. 

 

 


I don't want to derail this thread, but I can't let that comment just sit there.  I don't agree (and neither do many others).  You will struggle with fore/aft balance if your boot forward lean/binding delta combo is not correct to support your proper fore/aft alignment.  You should not need to flex a boot much at all to maintain proper fore/aft balance if your alignment is correct to start with.

 

Now back to your regularly scheduled program...

 

post #6 of 26

If you are bleeding Phil says yes. If not ski on.

post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

Quote:


I don't want to derail this thread, but I can't let that comment just sit there.  I don't agree (and neither do many others).  You will struggle with fore/aft balance if your boot forward lean/binding delta combo is not correct to support your proper fore/aft alignment.  You should not need to flex a boot much at all to maintain proper fore/aft balance if your alignment is correct to start with.

 

Now back to your regularly scheduled program...

 


Well you (and many others) are sadly mis-informed.

 

Fore/aft balance is not a "state" or a position.  Now, I suppose if you just ski blue groomers, at moderate speed, at moderate levels of performance you can get away with just getting centered and staying there.  But if you want to play with the big boys you need to work the ski tip to tail, this means moving forward to start the turns and moving back to finish. 

 

It also means adjusting fore/aft in variable snow conditions such as crud and bumps.  If you just lock in center the variable resistance on yours skis will have you beening chucked all over the place...one must antcipate/react and one must have a functional ankle to do that.

 

 

 


PS: You set up your ramp angles etc to enable you to have a maximum funcational range of motion.  Not lock yourself into come optimum static positon.

 

 

PSS: Ironically the whole concept behind the FLEXon was to create a boot that could flex more progressivley and without the shell deformation that is common to traditional overalap designs.  It was this ability to flex fore/aft yet maintain very high lateral stiffness that made this boot so popular.

post #8 of 26

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

If the boots is too stiff you will struggle to maintain fore/aft balance. 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

Quote:


I don't want to derail this thread, but I can't let that comment just sit there.  I don't agree (and neither do many others).  You will struggle with fore/aft balance if your boot forward lean/binding delta combo is not correct to support your proper fore/aft alignment.  You should not need to flex a boot much at all to maintain proper fore/aft balance if your alignment is correct to start with.

 

Now back to your regularly scheduled program...

 



Maybe it's semantics or timing, but in order to maintain fore/aft balance while in a turn, don't you need to be able to flex forward?

 

Could it be the moment in time you struggle with it?  If your forward lean, ramp, delta whatever isn't right or more noticeably - wrong - you will struggle with fore/aft balance pretty much all the time.  If you can't flex the boot, how do you carve a turn?  When I'm carving, it at least feels like I'm going through the full range of forward, aft and forward.

 

I know nonono2.gif

 

hijack2.gif

 

Sen gomen.

 

post #9 of 26

Dont worry L&C this isnt a hijack at all.  The OP actually asked what is the problem(s) if my boots are too stiff.  Not if the boot in the photo is stiff or not.  Hence we are actually the ones on topic here.

post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

Quote:


I don't want to derail this thread, but I can't let that comment just sit there.  I don't agree (and neither do many others).  You will struggle with fore/aft balance if your boot forward lean/binding delta combo is not correct to support your proper fore/aft alignment.  You should not need to flex a boot much at all to maintain proper fore/aft balance if your alignment is correct to start with.

 

Now back to your regularly scheduled program...

 


 

 

 

Agreed. In my opinion, a boot that is too stiff will affect pressure control more than balance due to lack of ankle flexon. Locked out shocks.

 

post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post

 The boots are almost 30 years old and there is a good chance that the shells will crack in half while you're skiing

 

So, you have actually seen that happen? Have you seen an old FLEXON boot crack? Is this just an internet ski forum urban legend? In 1000+ hours of web surfing I've heard this 500 times and never read "it happened to me". Saw a picture once of a cracked boot but it wasn't an old Flexon. Curious.

 

Thanks, all for the input on skiing a boot too stiff. 50 years of nordic has me skiing centered/back seat but I'm still learning.

 

That's a 1948 Chevy in the background and me with my new.... alpine(?) skis.

 

LathamSki.jpg
 

 

post #12 of 26

^^^^ Hmmm. OK, I'll weigh in with this thought: Alignment is not static, right? There's no "proper" alignment unless you define it relative to the surface you're on. So with a too stiff boot you have to constantly adjust your alignment fore and aft to adjust for sudden changes in the inclination of the ski in 3D, since your ankles and feet are locked out.Thus seems to me that balance is an issue of technology affecting style. Stiff boots, you respond by using your COM and thighs for fore-aft. Softer boots, you use your feet and ankles more for balance, COM adjustments somewhat  less.

 

Seems to me tip pressure is the real issue. As your boot's forward stiffness approaches the force you can exert by simply leaning forward, and you can't dorsiflex, you have to actively fire your large muscles of the thigh. If those aren't up to the task after lunch, you won't deflect the tongue far enough to pressure the tip. So either you develop bad habits, like keeping your butt back and your shoulders way forward, or you just ski without tip pressure. A lot of folks who have issues with ski instability, always are looking for a beefier ride to iron out the crud, IMO actually are doing this latter thing. OTOH, if the forward flex is too soft, you'll spend a lot of time bobbing fore and aft, and may also not be able to pressure the tips because so much of the energy is being absorbed by the tongue. 

 

Yes? No? Maybe?

 

Anyway, OP: These are actually the boots I would use if I wanted lots of ankle movement. If you're a nordic guy, that should feel natural. They're only stiff relative to nordic setups. 

post #13 of 26


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post


 

Agreed. In my opinion, a boot that is too stiff will affect pressure control more than balance due to lack of ankle flexon. Locked out shocks.

 


Sorta...but no.  Your pressure control comes from the range of motion that can come from your knee and hips.  That is far greater then your ankles.  However when you flex your knees that moves your weight back, alot...you can overcome some of this by correspondigly bending forward at the waist...however that in itself wont do it.  To keep from ending in the back seat one must also flex the ankles.  Due to the ankles being so low down, it only takes a few degress of ankle flexion to move our COM forward a great deal. 

 

So you are right in raising the relationship between fore/aft balance and pressure control....but its the ankles that keep the balance, while the knees and hips control the pressure.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by beyond View Post

^^^^ Hmmm. OK, I'll weigh in with this thought: Alignment is not static, right? There's no "proper" alignment unless you define it relative to the surface you're on. So with a too stiff boot you have to constantly adjust your alignment fore and aft to adjust for sudden changes in the inclination of the ski in 3D, since your ankles and feet are locked out.Thus seems to me that balance is an issue of technology affecting style. Stiff boots, you respond by using your COM and thighs for fore-aft. Softer boots, you use your feet and ankles more for balance, COM adjustments somewhat  less.

 

Seems to me tip pressure is the real issue. As your boot's forward stiffness approaches the force you can exert by simply leaning forward, and you can't dorsiflex, you have to actively fire your large muscles of the thigh. If those aren't up to the task after lunch, you won't deflect the tongue far enough to pressure the tip. So either you develop bad habits, like keeping your butt back and your shoulders way forward, or you just ski without tip pressure. A lot of folks who have issues with ski instability, always are looking for a beefier ride to iron out the crud, IMO actually are doing this latter thing. OTOH, if the forward flex is too soft, you'll spend a lot of time bobbing fore and aft, and may also not be able to pressure the tips because so much of the energy is being absorbed by the tongue. 

 

Yes? No? Maybe?

 

Anyway, OP: These are actually the boots I would use if I wanted lots of ankle movement. If you're a nordic guy, that should feel natural. They're only stiff relative to nordic setups. 

 

No

 

Boot alingment is static.  It is about setting up a platform that enables you to move effectivley through a full range of motion.  Some people will have their knees go out as they flex, some in, etc, alignment cures that so to speak.

 

Balance is always about moving our BOS (feet) relative to our COM.  Regardless.  If the boots are too stiff, as mentioned above this becomes difficlut to adjust fore/aft....too soft and we can adjust fore/aft but lack the support needed to handle the forces that are generated from a skier's momentum. 

 

As for tip pressure, yes it is one reason we may want to move out of just a neutral stance.  Many never apply tip pressure, and just hang back and wait for the ski to hook up...."park and ride".  Those who know/can prefer to be a driver.  But other times it maybe we need to flex deeply to abosorb a bump, here we need to flex the ankle to compensate for the knee, but are not necessarily concerned with tip pressure, rather just concerned with not ending up in the toilet.
 

 


 

 


Edited by Skidude72 - 11/17/11 at 9:12pm
post #14 of 26

Ha!  I remember a heated debate between myself and Skidude a few years ago about this very subject and I see we both have stuck to our convictions.  While I have great respect for Skidude's knowledge I am afraid we will never agree on this topic.

 

As a boot's flex gets stiffer, the skiers movements must become more accurate.

This means flexion extension movements in the knees, hips, and arms must coordinate so as to maintain balance with less ankle flexion available.

 

As a boot's flex gets stiffer, proper alignment becomes more critical.

A softer flexing boot poorly aligned on the sagittal plane can be flexed one way or the other to compensate so the skier can balance effectively whereas, a stiffer boot will inhibit finding a balanced position without compensating with the other joints.

 

There are pros and cons to stiffer boots for sure, but to a skilled skier the benefits are quick energy transfer to the shovel and the tail of the ski with minimal movement.

 

Yes the ankle needs to be able to articulate to some degree inside the boot on all planes of motion.  However minimal that movement the energy is then transferred to the ski when the movement is stopped by the boot shell.  The firmer that connection the more accurate and instant the transfer becomes.

The shorter the range of flex needed to apply X amount of pressure to the ski's length the quicker the response.  Conversely this can penalize the skier as well.  Matching the right balance of flex and response is important for the kind of skiing one prefers. 

 

Now there will probably be a few photos thrown up to demonstrate how maximum flexion is achieved by top ski racers but I would encourage you to look closely at camera angles to decide just how much the angles you see are lateral or forward!?

 

I will also argue that, while there are times we will flex a boot deeply, it is not necessary in every, or even most turns for a great turn to be achieved.

 

A good skier can slam into a mogul in a stiffer boot and absorb it just fine without flexing their ankles using accurate flexion of other joints.

 

post #15 of 26

I am unclear on what exacltey we disagree on.....seems we agree.

 

Stiffer boots make fore/aft balance harder.  That was the OP question...."what is the downside of boots that too stiff".

 

Alignment is not just about fore/aft balance thou, I am sure you would agree it is also about facilitating movment to enable effective edgeing as well..regardless of the level or degree of flexion extension.

 

 

I think you are referring to the full range of motion idea.  I still stand by that, but I agree that it is not an every turn situation.  It is for when cranking at you hardest situation...even then you might not need everyturn, but you will in some, and its nice to have it when you need it.  WC skiers dont pull 3G every turn....only a few, maybe one, per race.

 

As for energy transmission...no doubt, but remeber we apply tip pressure via pressing on the ball of the foot, not into the boot cuff.  Its more the lateral stiffness that is key.  The popularity of boots like the one in question, and things like the Booster Strap which actually make the boot flex more progressive and less "on/off" support that.

 

For the record I ski in the Head Raptor 150, not exactley a soft boot.  But I can flex it. 

post #16 of 26


I disagree with this.

I think a stiff boot (if there's any consensus about what a stiff boot is = Agent 130) is ideal for off piste soft snow skiing, paired with skis 95mm to120mm wide . In 3-D snow with a stiff boot, the ski's inclination never changes much, regardless of terrain. The ski remains roughly parallel to the angle of decent. The boot has to allow some flex when stressed hard (for me 130 flexes, 150 may be rigid) relative to the skier's weight and strength. The COM is held at a constant point fore and aft, also never changes much.

 

*flex index numbers just for example as I know they are not consistent across brands.

 

skidude's comment about pressuring the tip with the ball of the foot and not the cuff is brilliant. when you hear it explained that way, it makes perfect sense.

 

I skied that same Flexon Comp in 1999 or so based on a photo of my son and I, prob a few years old at the time, but not 15 years old I'm sure. but the general design has been around a long time though. I thought it had a moderate stiff flex, and I could flex it at 130#.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

^^^^ Hmmm. OK, I'll weigh in with this thought: Alignment is not static, right? There's no "proper" alignment unless you define it relative to the surface you're on. So with a too stiff boot you have to constantly adjust your alignment fore and aft to adjust for sudden changes in the inclination of the ski in 3D, since your ankles and feet are locked out.Thus seems to me that balance is an issue of technology affecting style. Stiff boots, you respond by using your COM and thighs for fore-aft. Softer boots, you use your feet and ankles more for balance, COM adjustments somewhat  less.

 

Seems to me tip pressure is the real issue. As your boot's forward stiffness approaches the force you can exert by simply leaning forward, and you can't dorsiflex, you have to actively fire your large muscles of the thigh. If those aren't up to the task after lunch, you won't deflect the tongue far enough to pressure the tip. So either you develop bad habits, like keeping your butt back and your shoulders way forward, or you just ski without tip pressure. A lot of folks who have issues with ski instability, always are looking for a beefier ride to iron out the crud, IMO actually are doing this latter thing. OTOH, if the forward flex is too soft, you'll spend a lot of time bobbing fore and aft, and may also not be able to pressure the tips because so much of the energy is being absorbed by the tongue. 

 

Yes? No? Maybe?

 

Anyway, OP: These are actually the boots I would use if I wanted lots of ankle movement. If you're a nordic guy, that should feel natural. They're only stiff relative to nordic setups. 



 


Edited by davluri - 11/18/11 at 12:05am
post #17 of 26

I must be doing it wrong redface.gif

 

If you were to put two scales under your skis; one at the tip and one at the tail, and put a block of wood under the waist, (understanding that you are in your ski boots that are in the bindings that are attatched to the skis on the scales), as you flex your ankles, the scale under the tip would register more weight - pressure.  As you open your ankle, the weight will transfer to the scale under the tail.  No different than what happens between your toes and heel when you are standing in barefeet and lean back and forth.

 

So, didn't I just lean into the cuff to create tip pressure?

 

Maybe because my ski boots are Krypton Pros with a booster strap but for me it seems I use the ankle's ROM to control tip pressure more.  Granted, flexing at the ankle might put more pressure on the BoF but that is a symptom and not the root cause of the pressure.

 

 

 

post #18 of 26

You can create tip pressure that way.

 

 

You can also do it by pressing down on the ball of the foot.  Just stand there, and tell me which one you think is quicker?

 

Also consider that at the start of the turn are you extending, or flexing? 

 

Which ankle move facilitates extending...which flexing?

 

Finally watch videos of good skiers...what do they do?

post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

You can create tip pressure that way.

 

 

You can also do it by pressing down on the ball of the foot.  Just stand there, and tell me which one you think is quicker? BoF

 

Also consider that at the start of the turn are you extending, or flexing? Depends whether you are using BoF or ankle ROM to create tip pressure.

 

Which ankle move facilitates extending...which flexing?  ??? Ankle moves are exteding and flexing.

 

Finally watch videos of good skiers...what do they do?



Well.  Got me there.  However...

 

Is that why race boots or at least race set-ups tend to have more forward lean?  It seems that in an upright boot, using BoF for pressure you would have to be careful to not get in the back seat.

 

post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by wooley12 View Post

 

So, you have actually seen that happen? Have you seen an old FLEXON boot crack? Is this just an internet ski forum urban legend? In 1000+ hours of web surfing I've heard this 500 times and never read "it happened to me". Saw a picture once of a cracked boot but it wasn't an old Flexon. Curious.

 

Thanks, all for the input on skiing a boot too stiff. 50 years of nordic has me skiing centered/back seat but I'm still learning.

 

That's a 1948 Chevy in the background and me with my new.... alpine(?) skis.

 

LathamSki.jpg
 

 


I saw it happen to my wife's old rear entry Nordica ski boots, fortunately in the parking lot.  My Koflachs are still going strong.  It would seem that different plastics become more brittle than others. On a related note maybe time has made your plastic more rigid, and hence much stiffer than the boot was when new.

 

After experimenting with very stiff and very soft, and everything in between, boots, I have come to the conclusion that stiffer is better.  I only weigh 165, The most I've ever weighed is 180 lbs (and that scale may have been off), although I have always had freakishly strong legs.    I've recently returned to my ultra stiff boots, after skiing rather soft Solomon Crossmax 10s for a few years.  I weighed 145 lbs when I used to ski the ultra stiff boots almost exclusively, albiet at high speeds.  With a stiffer boot, less movement from your base position is required to produce the same pressure.  Also with a stiffer boot, less movement from the base position is allowed without producing a given pressure.

 

It's a plus and a minus.  On the plus side you won't end up too far out of position when things suddenly go hairy.  On the minus side, you won't be able to use a little extra cushion of getting way out of position before needing to recover.  I'm sure there is an ideal way to adjust your forward/backward position that involves distributing the motion to the ankle, knee, hip, waist, etc.  With a too stiff boot, you have to vary that by having less ankle motion and more motion elsewhere.  A small price to pay imho, but if your trying out for the demo team, you might want to not over-do it in the stiffness department.

 

post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post

Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

You can create tip pressure that way.

 

 

You can also do it by pressing down on the ball of the foot.  Just stand there, and tell me which one you think is quicker? BoF

 

Also consider that at the start of the turn are you extending, or flexing? Depends whether you are using BoF or ankle ROM to create tip pressure.

 

Which ankle move facilitates extending...which flexing?  ??? Ankle moves are exteding and flexing.

 

Finally watch videos of good skiers...what do they do?



Well.  Got me there.  However...

 

Is that why race boots or at least race set-ups tend to have more forward lean?  It seems that in an upright boot, using BoF for pressure you would have to be careful to not get in the back seat.

 


There is more happening at the start of the turn then just generating tip pressure.  Sure you cant say that in all cases we do "X", skiing is an open skill sport after all.  But at the expert level ideally we extend into the turn intiation phase.  Hence using BoF works better as it means we extend ankle hip and knee, and as you pointed out, its quicker.  ROM would require us to flex the ankle but extend everything else.  Not functional.

 

Yes ankle moves are extending and flexing...I was pointing out that BOF is extending, and ROM is flexing.

 

 

I am not aware that race set ups have more forward lean.  But no, getting in the back seat is not really an issue, because you extending your knees and hips and indeed your COM is moving up and forward...with ROM, flexing all the joints the COM gets moved down and back. (up down relative to the skis...but of course your com is getting closer to the snow due to inclination).

 

post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post


I saw it happen to my wife's old rear entry Nordica ski boots, fortunately in the parking lot.  My Koflachs are still going strong.  It would seem that different plastics become more brittle than others. On a related note maybe time has made your plastic more rigid, and hence much stiffer than the boot was when new.

 

After experimenting with very stiff and very soft, and everything in between, boots, I have come to the conclusion that stiffer is better.  I only weigh 165, The most I've ever weighed is 180 lbs (and that scale may have been off), although I have always had freakishly strong legs.    I've recently returned to my ultra stiff boots, after skiing rather soft Solomon Crossmax 10s for a few years.  I weighed 145 lbs when I used to ski the ultra stiff boots almost exclusively, albiet at high speeds.  With a stiffer boot, less movement from your base position is required to produce the same pressure.  Also with a stiffer boot, less movement from the base position is allowed without producing a given pressure.

 

It's a plus and a minus.  On the plus side you won't end up too far out of position when things suddenly go hairy.  On the minus side, you won't be able to use a little extra cushion of getting way out of position before needing to recover.  I'm sure there is an ideal way to adjust your forward/backward position that involves distributing the motion to the ankle, knee, hip, waist, etc.  With a too stiff boot, you have to vary that by having less ankle motion and more motion elsewhere.  A small price to pay imho, but if your trying out for the demo team, you might want to not over-do it in the stiffness department.

 


What makes you think that?

 

The captain of the Canadian team had his Raptor 150s with all 3 bolts in...making them effectivley a 160. 

 

You can have boots too stiff, you can have them too soft.  If you were to ask which is better...I would agree too stiff is better then too soft. 

 

Old ski boots definatley crack, seen a few pairs go down.  Not saying yours will, or wont...but plastic doesnt last forever.

 

post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 

WOW!! Glad I asked. I think.wink.gif  Guess I currently ski "centered" as I've skied several runs inbounds with my Megaride's in walk mode without noticing.  FWIW, The boots are 1983. Came with the 8mm cuff tabs installed for max forward lean. They were skied with circa 1983 set of Fritzmeier Super Cup 600's. 200 cm. with Look 99's and 207cm Rossignol Strato 102's. So, if I pressure my little toe to turn outside and my big toe to turn inside, do I pressure my middle toes to go forward? Just kidding, I am happy to hear all of your learned input. Maybe I'll ask my grand daughter how she does it when I visit next month. She'll be 3, a year older than she is in this video, and have another 30 days of skiing in. She does a nice turn about halfway through.

 

 

 

 

 

post #24 of 26

Hey Bud, Any comments on the New F series boots from Nordica, Firearrow F 1 thru 4, marketed to allow progressive forward flex and increased lateral stiffness through a higher shell.

post #25 of 26

What happens when we dorsi flex inside our boots?  

which way do the hips move?

 

What happens then when we plantar flex inside our boots?

which way do the hips move?

 

I would argue we use both motions, one to move our hips forward and one to move our hips aft to remain in dynamic balance with accelerations and decelerations in a turn.

post #26 of 26

she has steezy style, and well centered stance, nice evasion of the snowboarder, great turn is right. fantastic shot.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wooley12 View Post

WOW!! Glad I asked. I think.wink.gif  Guess I currently ski "centered" as I've skied several runs inbounds with my Megaride's in walk mode without noticing.  FWIW, The boots are 1983. Came with the 8mm cuff tabs installed for max forward lean. They were skied with circa 1983 set of Fritzmeier Super Cup 600's. 200 cm. with Look 99's and 207cm Rossignol Strato 102's. So, if I pressure my little toe to turn outside and my big toe to turn inside, do I pressure my middle toes to go forward? Just kidding, I am happy to hear all of your learned input. Maybe I'll ask my grand daughter how she does it when I visit next month. She'll be 3, a year older than she is in this video, and have another 30 days of skiing in. She does a nice turn about halfway through.

 

 

 

 

 



 

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