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Big calves or fastened too tight?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I live in Switzerland, where surprisingly, boot fitting is more of a ‘suck it and see’ process, rather than starting with a how do you ski/ foot analysis that seems the norm in the US.

So – I am having problems and it seems to be my calves.  Almost all boots that I try on seem to give me cramp in my calves and leave me in agony.  I thought I had big calves (I dance a lot) but my boot fitter said that he’s seen ladies with much bigger calves than I have who don’t get cramp.  He suggested I had low calf muscles.

At the weekend I tested some Nordica Speed Machines, but after just over an hour I was in agony with cramps in my calves and hobbled back to the shop.  I had tried on about 6 or 7 pairs of boots in the shop and all but the Speed Machines were giving me cramp after less than 20 minutes of trying them on.

My question is:  Could it be that the boot cuffs are too tight because of a low calf muscle and if this is the case, what models would you suggest I look at?  Or – could I be tightening the boots too much to keep my feet tightly secure and this is giving me cramps.  In this case, I could also have a narrow foot?

I have tried on the Nordica Fire Arrows (F5 – but prefer the idea that the F3 is effectively stiffer?) and the cuff felt comfortable after 10 minutes.  However, my heel felt squeezed.  Do you think that this boot will be improved next season and therefore, should I now wait for a new model next year? (I read that they were going to modify the liner),

In case it helps, I mainly ski pistes (all levels), but ski hard and fast and ski about 60 days a year.  I have been skiing in the same Salomons for the last 15 years!  But every day I ski seem to have cramps at some point.

Thanks for your help?!

post #2 of 8

does it happen with the boots on, but the buckles looser?

post #3 of 8

where in Switzerland are you? 


and has your fitter done a shell check, i have a few clients who teach in various resorts there and two of them have been suggested that they buy boots 2 sizes bigger than they require...yup it is a pretty poor state of a skiing nation


if the boot is too big then the cuff will be higher on the leg and could cause the problem,


if you can make it to either Verbier, Zermatt or even across the border to Morzine or chamonix i can suggest a fitter who may be able to help you

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

The boots I have been trying on have usually on the loosest settings over the calf area.  Around the foot, they have been tighter as I like to feel that my foot will not budge at all.

With the Nordica Speed machines I tried at the weekend, I also had a sore patch on the sole of my foot, right in the middle next to ball, at the end of the day.  I put that down to the fact that I possibly over tightened my old boots as they felt like ships after the snug new ones.


I ski on the 4 vallyes domain - so not too far from Verbier - about an hours drive.  I have not had a shell check.  (Basically the three shops I have visited take your foot size and ask about how good you are and then get you to try on as many boots as they have in the size.  Since I am a 23/23.5, that's not many!)  And I have tried to use the three local boot dealers as I want to support the local shops in the village.  They also each have a scheme where for about $ 40 you can ski in the few pairs that you think fit best.  I liked the idea of being able to do a ski test.

Thanks for your advice.

post #5 of 8

maybe not quite as hi tech as you will find stateside but pop over the verbier and have a chat with nick at mountain air

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

I will try and do that, thanks for the contact.

post #7 of 8

i should think it is worth contacting him first, i think he may work by appointment

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Looking at my diary – getting to Verbier before the end of the season will be difficult (my kids race and every weekend we have either training/competitions).

I went back to the local ski shop this weekend and tried on some Atomic Hawx 85’s – last season’s boot I believe.  The fit was good around the calf, but felt a little loose around the heel – so the guy suggested I use heel supports as well as a footbed.  The overall effect felt good, but the boot had more flex than I would like – especially compared to the Speed Machines I tried last week.  I have reserved the boot to ski in next weekend…

My concern is two fold – I have now read that the Hawx 85 is a beginners boot (they didn’t have the Hawx 90’s or 100’s in my size) and I worry that they will not be stiff enough.  How important is the flex?  How much of a difference will I notice between an 85, 90 or 100 flex?  How will it affect my skiing?  Since my old boots are 15 years old and were bought when I was a beginner I think that they have a soft flex too.  Also, how do heel supports affect boot performance?  Especially the Hawx with the forefoot flex zone?

What I did notice this weekend was that the boot fitter seems to realise that I am serious, understands that I am doing research and won’t just buy the first thing I try on and was more helpful.  But still no shell check!  I did ask one of my kid’s race trainers where she would buy her boots and she said the shop I am going to.  Sounds like the Swiss just don’t fit boots in the same way as in the US.

Thanks again for the advice,

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