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Heel wedges

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Just before my final day last season I took my boots to a fitter who added 7/16" wedges under the heel to improve my stance. Felt wonderful right up until my first turns at which point I found myself more or less permanently in the back seat. It was everything I could do to keep contact with the tongue, let alone get any real forward pressure.

 

Any ideas?

post #2 of 7

sounds like there is simply too much lift.

 

if you have too much lift your body is being tipped too far forward, in reaction it leans back to compensate.  so the first thing i would do is either take it out or reduce it by 50% and see what happens.  you also need to remember that heel lift in the boot and the delta angle of your bindings will all add up and then when you get on a  sloping surface (the ski run) it adds a bit more.

 

you say it was put there to improve your stance, was there an actual reason for the heel lift, normally we use them if someone has a limited amount of flexion at the ankle joint and then we use incremental heights depending on how limited the flexion is (there are other reasons for using a lift but this the most common especially when stance related)  prior to this we would look at the forward lean angle of the boot to ensure that it wasn't too much to start with

 

a bit more info would be useful to help work it out more

 

height, weight

boot model

boot size

everyday shoe size

ski/binding make/model

post #3 of 7

Interesting!  7/16" coupled with whatever your boot ramp was (typically around 5 degrees) and then binding delta on top of that probably has you at an actual ramp of 10 degrees or more.  All I can say to that is "your ass must have been permanently planted on your tails" and if your quads survived even one run I'm nominating you for world's most fit man/woman?

 

Anyway it shows the absurd and almost always completely wrong idea that increasing ramp helps you stay forward is unfortunately still alive and well no matter how hard we try to kill it.

 

I would bet that if you took everything out this "expert" applied and put a lift under your toes you'd ski better than ever before, be more relaxed and find  the ski tips turn in and react more quickly.

 

But that is just a guess and to be certain we need to know much more and Colin asked for it previously.  The only time I use a heel lift to help someone stay forward is if they have limited dorsiflexion so really can't get enough ankle flexion to move forward.  Otherwise although in the last few years many manufacturers have reduced boot ramp and especially reduced binding delta I think most skiers would still benefit from additional reductions.

 

That said this is a bit of a can of worms around here and it will be interesting to see what everyone else says.

 

To experiment remove all the shit and put about a 2mm piece of plastic between the bottom of your boot and the binding AFD and ski, CAREFULLY.  This setup will make binding toe release dangerously high and unreliable so at your own risk.  But if it works it is easy to make the mod permanent and safe, but maybe not by the shop you started at..

 

PNW I assume means Seattle area.  If you are closer to Calgary or coming through we could help and there are fitters in Bend, OR and Reno/Tahoe area that could easily help.

 

Lou

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

I said "stance" but that's probably an incomplete description. My ankles are a somewhat tight, although not ridiculously so, and I'm not sure how much that was taken into account. Mostly I remember a few drills including balancing on a flat topped ball using dorsaflexion instead of shifting COM, and trying to jump straight up and down in balance. The lift definitely helped with that. And the fitter did tell me to bring tape to add under the toe (and I did forget).

 

Skis are K2 Aftershocks with the system binding, the heel ends up about 3mm higher that the toe when locked in. 5'9" 175#. Boots are Technica Air Shell 26.5, street shoes 9 or 9.5 depending. Shell fit is just under 1" fore/aft and brushing side to side.

 

 

Quote:
To experiment remove all the shit and put about a 2mm piece of plastic between the bottom of your boot and the binding AFD and ski, CAREFULLY.  This setup will make binding toe release dangerously high and unreliable so at your own risk.  But if it works it is easy to make the mod permanent and safe, but maybe not by the shop you started at..

I thought about this as well, but the bindings are mounted on metal rails so I'm not sure it's really possible to do much there.

 

Thanks.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

I should add that the fitter is a highly respected Seattle fitter who did a phenominal job with the shaping of my shell - after three unsuccessful trips back to the shop where I bought the boots, Jim found (and fixed) the problem area right away.

post #6 of 7

Without pointing fingers or making assumptions, let me say first boot "fitting" and boot "balancing" are two different animals, both important but different.  One is comfort one is angles.

 

You have discovered how changing one particular angle can make a very noticeable difference in your skiing and balance.  This is a great first step to discovering how proper alignment can reward your skiing performance with better balance and technique.  There are multiple angles dictated by your equipment which need to be evaluated for your particular morphology and adjusted to optimize your balance.  Simply assessing and changing one of these ten parameters and expecting good results may be a bit naive.  It is important to use a proven methodology in assessing the whole system and coordinating all the angles to work in concert to achieve the best results.  Find the boot fitters who understand how to do this and make an appointment, you will be glad you did!

 

Note: It is not uncommon to need a heel lift added to increase ramp angle inside the boot to fill the void caused by limited dorsiflexion and then doing something that may seem contradictory to you by lifting the toe of the boot externally which brings the tibia more vertical without affecting the angles created inside the boot.  As I said above, all these angles need to be coordinated to work together.  Your binding model and how far apart they are mounted creates one of the angles to evaluate and adjust for optimum fore/aft balance.  This is done by mounting lifter plates on the boot sole and routering the lugs back to specs, or placing lifter plates between the bindings and skis if possible.  Before plating and routering the boots it is prudent to experiment a bit with temporary shims to find the appropriate amount for your preference.  


Edited by bud heishman - 9/17/12 at 6:43am
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
 Before plating and routering the boots it is prudent to experiment a bit with temporary shims to find the appropriate amount for your preference.

 

Definitely on my list of things to do once the good white stuff returns.

 

I hadn't thought of plating/routering as a way to raise the boot toe, excellent idea! With the way the bindings are mounted it's not feasible to raise the toe piece, and using shims permanently seems like asking for surgery.

 

Am also working on increasing ankle flexibility. I had assumed that it was a matter of calf/tendon flexibility, but turns out there's a lot more to it (at least in my case). I found a couple of exercises which allowed more dorsaflexion almost immediately. Might look pretty stupid in the parking lot, but if it works...

 

Many thanks.

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