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Looking for suggestions to improve my boots to help with a disability.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello Everyone.  New to this forum.  I live in New England and do most of my skiing in at a small local mountain called Wachusett. I also try to head up to VT or NH a couple of times a year.  I have been skiing for 15 or so years, but didn't really get into it until the past 3-4.  I try to ski at least once a week during the season and have been working on my technique as much as possible these past few seasons.  Tonight I went for my first run of the season and was disappointed by how much my feet hurt.  My boots are about 10 years old but never saw much use until I got back into skiing after college.  They are still in pretty good shape.  I have never had them hurt as much as they did tonight.

Long story short my feet hurt so bad I headed into the ski shop to see what could be done.  One of the employees there spent some going over options with me.  He also checked my size and it turns out my boots are about 1 size too large.  They hurt so bad I figured they were too small not too large.  This was a bit of a surprise.

Aside from all of the above I have a disability that I struggle with when I ski.  I have mild CP in my left leg. For anyone unfamiliar with this condition it means the muscles in my leg are constantly tightening up.  It causes me to drag or point my toe sometimes when I walk and it used to cause me to turn my foot in slightly.  About 16 years ago I had surgery that helped correct some of it but it is ultimately a permanent condition.  When I ski I sometimes have trouble turning left as the CP causes my left leg to be somewhat weaker than my right.  This is especially true in deep snow or heavy wet snow.  It also affects my balance at times and I tend to wind up with my weight on the back of my skis, which as you know is not a great way to ski..  

So I have a list of options which include getting new boots.  I guess what I am wondering is if there is anything I can look into that would help me with my CP.  An certain style of boot or a modification that could be made?  Maybe something that will help me keep my weight forward, turn easier or maintain better control on my left side?  I will either have to get new boots or do something with the ones I have so they fit better.  I figure this would be a good time to look into options that might help me overcome this issues caused by the CP.  I have heard there are some people who work specifically with skiers who have disabilities to help them set up their equipment but I don't know of anyone like that in my area.  

If anyone has any tips or suggestions or could point me in the right direction that would be greatly appreciated. 

Thank you



post #2 of 7



welcome to Epic


i think you need to start at the very beginning and go with small steps or we will never actually know what is making things better, for one, if the boots are too big then i am afraid it is time to replace them, you need help with that leg and a bucket placed on the end of it isn't going to do you any good.... so first step find a really good fitter and get the new boots sorted, a custom insole and any comfort modifications done so the boots feel very tight but not painful

then go ski, see how things are, i have a friend with a similar issue and that works for him!


if you do need more then only when you have skied should you start doing more, one problem you may have with the muscles contracting is that your ankle flexion will be diminished which could require you to have a hell lift in the boots to open the ankle joint and allow you to use the available range of motion that you do have, your boot fitter will assess that for you when fitting the boots.


i would also consider as light a ski as you can get, just to take the effort away a little...so avoid the world cup GS boards!!



now the next suggestion may work it may not, if you struggle with fatigue through the day then it may be worth considering a thing called a ski mojo, i never thought i would suggest this to anyone but having seen the effects with people with knee problems , hip replacements and severe arthritis it is certainly worth considering, it is a device which acts like suspension and takes the load off your legs transferring it form the boot to the pelvis, if you have not heard of it have a search on line, this is not something for NOW it is for later if the boots and fitting is not enough


but first things first, new fitted boots and enjoy your skiing


good luck getting sorted

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 


Thank you for the response.  I agree with what you are saying and new boots is my ultimate plan.  However money is a bit tight so before I purchase a pair I have to make sure I can fit it in the budget.  At this time I am unsure if I will be able to afford them this season.  

When I do get new boots is there a certain style/brand that would help?  Something that would help keep me forward on my skis, or help with balance/control would be great.  My first pair of boots ever was the old rear entry style.  They were pretty bad and I was always on the backs of my skis.  The new ones I have are a BIG improvement over my first pair in terms of giving me control and helping me keep my weight forward.  What about buying used boots?  My feeling on this is that new ones would be better.


The guy who helped me at the shop last night did have an insert that made things pretty snug.  However it also pushed my toe up to the front of the boot so it was touching.  I wanted to try a run or two on them before dropping $40 but they weren’t crazy about letting me do that.



post #4 of 7

i would wait and save for a new pair, no particular brand or model other than the ones that fit your feet best, be guided by the fitter on this not what feels fluffy in the store as it will get too big very quickly, as for the in the back seat thing, best solution of that is to hook up with a good instructor who can work on your technique

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

So I went to my local ski shop today to check out some boots. Boy did I learn a lot about how ski boots are supposed to fit and work.  I also learned that apparently I have rather small feet and a freakishly large ankle bone on one side. Being a guy I have never felt self conscious about my feet before.  Guess there is a first time for everything.


The boots I have now are Salomon 7.0 Xscream boots.  The guys at the mountain shop last night said they were decent boots, but too big.  The guy at my local shop confirmed they were too big and went on to say Salomon made inferior products.  He also claimed that their store (Strand's in Worcester MA, anyone heard of them?) was known for being one of the best boot fitting places in the country.  I'll be honest by the time I was out of there I could honestly believe it.

I tried on about 6 pairs of boots from a number of brands.  Prices ranged from about $400 to $550.  One pair had a special liner that you heat up then stick in the shell and quickly put your foot in.  As the liner cools the foam inside it molds to the shape of your foot.  However this one did not seem quite right for me.

The two pairs I liked the best were Nordica Hot Rod 95s.  One was this year's model for $450.  They were nice.  They seemed more comfortable than my current boots and they were easier to put on and take off.  I did have a pressure point in on the ankle but the sales guy assured me he could work the shell to relieve that.

The other pair of of boots I liked was last year's model of the same boot for $360!  That seemed like a really great deal to me and to be honest I thought they fit a bit better than the current year's model.  Either pair will be custom fit and comes with a custom insole.  He also told me they guarantee their fittings and if something isn't right I can bring it back until it is. 

I am usually good at spotting the BS-ers when I walk into stores.  This guy seemed very knowledgeable and confident in his products and practices.  He also seemed old enough to have skiied during the ice age that killed the dinosaurs. 

One of the interesting things he told me was that when a boot pushes you too far forward it tends to cause you to actually lean back as you fight it.  He also said it causes the muscles in your legs to stay more tense which doesn't help.  When he adjusted the boots a bit so I didn't lean forward as much I did notice my legs seemed much more relaxed.  This was strange for me as I had always been taught a boot that keeps you leaning forward is better.  Any thoughts on this?

Anyhow the last year's Nordica boots for $360 seemed like a great deal.  I think that I might be able to afford.  Any thoughts or comments on that particular model?




Edited by Peter B - 1/6/12 at 11:10pm
post #6 of 7



without seeing your feet difficult to comment on if they are right for you or not, but i will say the following


1) Salomon do not make inferior products, i guess they don't have an account and like to berate the products they don't sell, there are no bad products only badly fitted ones or ones not suitable for the user.


2) not heard of his shop but there are lots of shops i have not heard of that do great work...generally there is no need to tell customers that they are the best in the country...big statement!!, personally i prefer our work to do the talking as do most of the fitters on here and in other great shops


3) 6 boots is a fair number to have tried, we normally try to nail it in one or 2 and go to a third if we got it completely wrong or there is a flex option or similar


4) most boots have a heat  mouldable liner, it is nothing new and certainly not special, there are even a couple of ranges out there where the shell is heat mouldable in a  similar way, but that is not to say they are a requirement as all shells and liners can be adjusted


5) yes he is correct that a boot that pushes you too far forward will cause you to sit back, this is the only thing that you have told me about him that makes him sound credible



sorry to demolish this, but you want to get this right, especially is you are spending a load of money which you don't want to waste, couple of questions to throw back at you, if you have read the wiki at the top of the page you will know what i am going to ask


1 did he do a shell check, and if so how much space was there in the boot, if he didn't go elsewhere

2 did he discuss footbeds with you, these are not an after sale product or a "nice" thing to have, they are critical and the foundation of the fitting process


good luck in getting sorted

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 


He did mention that most the boots are heat moldable. The ones I was talking about had only heat moldable foam/liner material in them.  The others all had some but were not completely.

We started with 3 pairs.  After I settled on the Nordicas he brought out last year's model if the same boot.  Then two more for comparison.

Yes he did do a shell check.  


We discussed insoles.  Are those different than footbeds?



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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ask the Boot Guys › Looking for suggestions to improve my boots to help with a disability.