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new to XC and loving it... except for one thing

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

hi all, my husband and I (both mountain bikers living in the CO front range) decided to go in on some XC ski touring gear last spring during clearance season so we could XC ski tour / bushwhack during the winter for crosstraining.  We are skiing the same trails we ride bikes on in summer, and have no desire to go anywhere near avi terrain.  Have been out 3x already this year on local MTB and hiking trails close into town and are absolutely loving it. Got a GREAT day in up at Brainard Lake on the Wapiti / South St. Vrain trails on Xmas Day.  Except for one problem...


Ungodly heel blisters.  omg the blisters... seriously, I have never had such bad blisters in my entire life.  The boots I got fit nicely and work right up until I really have to start working them on a climb or long kick section.  I'm wondering if it isn't just my weird feet - I've got a wide forefoot/narrow heel that's always been a fitting problem - alpine boots, hiking boots, bike shoes, whatever, it seems like there's no getting around it.


Has anyone else ever had this problem?  Suggestions?  Do I just suck it up and break the boots in and wear moleskin until I callous, or do I need some custom bootfitting or ???


My boots are comfortable and a great fit except for the heel blistering - and it only seems to really bug me climbing.  The skis and boots glide, turn, and run great otherwise.  I've a feeling that with my foot configuration I might have a problem in any XC ski setup owing to the range / type of motion needed.  Right now I'm running a nice beginner touring XC setup - Madshus Epic full metal edges (these are the old Karhu "10th Mountain" ski, I am told), Alpina NNN-BC boots & Rottefella NNN-BC bindings.  I picked up the technique right away and within a day I was kicking my husband's ass at classic on the flats & downhills (I alpine ski, he does not).  To his credit, he's on a heavier, slower old 3-pin backcountry setup and probably has never bothered to tune his stuff.  So much fun, except for these godawful blisters.


HALP!  it sucks and it hurts, but I want to go back out, and soon!  Right now I have 2 nasty, weeping, quarter-sized holes on my inner heels and it's also interfering with running, cycling and other stuff I want to do.  Any suggestions from experienced backcountry ski / XC ski types would be much appreciated.


Thanks! - lfr

post #2 of 6

Moleskin. Apply before you go. You now know the spots smile.gif  Carry extra and some duct tape too.

post #3 of 6

It sounds like you are getting movement with tender feet. Once you get elephantiasis callouses, you won't feel a thing. eek.gif....or you can try to get a tighter fit in the heel using foam to stop the movement. One or two pair of socks?

post #4 of 6

It's going to sound odd, but try wearing knee-high panty-hose under your socks.

When I was in Infantry School 28 years ago, our Drill Instructors STRONGLY suggested picking up several pairs at the PX to wear under our wool socks.  At that time, Infantry School was not much more than long-distance (10-15...even 20+miles) walking carrying heavy rucks.

Anyway, it was all young guys full of piss and machismo, so there was significant skepticism about wearing what was essentially ladies' underthingies!

Most of us sucked it up and did it.  They worked like a charm!  In over 3 months of walking all day in combat boots with a heavy load, I got 1 minor blister.  The "Macho" guys that wouldn't consider such a "girly" fix got tons of vicious blisters, sometimes requiring them to be put in a litter or otherwise carried!

All I know is it worked wonders for me and everyone else that used them, so give it a try!  Being a gal, you may well have a pair or 3 anyway.

Just to be clear, I haven't worn them since....;-)

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

you guys are all awesome - THANKS for answering so quickly!  I picked up some moleskin (and some powder baskets!) at the ski store yesterday.


Also, I cannot believe I forgot the pantyhose trick!  Skierish, that is actually a very old, very common trick we used to use back when I was a kid doing lots of equestrian sports - yes, boys too!  It's how we used to break in new riding boots, which would rub all over the place until they were properly worn in.  I am not sure why I didn't think of it, although in my defense it's been twenty-odd years since I've had to think about it.


As far as socks, I've been wearing one thin pair of Smartwools. Someone else recommended that the Alpinas are known to run pretty wide at the heel, and maybe trying some extra padding in back, so if the pantyhose don't work, I'll go that route.


Cheers - lfr

post #6 of 6

The other thing you may try is Superfeet insoles. They will essentially take up some of the extra room in the heel so your feet have less room to travel.

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