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Boot fit / Pain or pleasure?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
How would you descibe the fit of your boots?
Please descibe the process you use to determine a great fit over a good fit. What "tricks" have you used to resolve foot pain?
Are foot beds really worth it?
post #2 of 23
My boots typically start out squeezing the hell outa my feet, I give them about 4-5 days hard skiing and they pack out pretty well then I have the footbeds made for them. Thoes first few days my feet are screaming to get out, but after the boots are broken in they fit great. On the scale I measure a 28 I wear between a 26.5 and a 27 depending on the mfr.

missed the footbed question:
Yes they are worth it, they keep your foot from flatening and rotating down, flattening your arch. by keeping your foot in a relaxed position your foot feels like it takes up less room, also by keeping your foot in a relaxed position you are able to manipulate your skis.

(I left out words like pronation to save the hassel of explination)<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Spyder (edited July 03, 2001).]</FONT>
post #3 of 23
My boots are tight and comfy. They are hard on me for the first week or two, but after that it's (almost) all good. I used to pack my feet into boots 2-1/2 sizes down until I went to a real professional bootfitter who made me some orthotics (corrective footbeds). Basically I had been trying to overcome alingment/fit problems by crushing my feet into place--it didn't work. Everyone should get footbeds. Everyone that skis a lot should checked to see if they need orthotics.

I downsize 1-1/2 to 2 sizes. I skied in the boots for 4 days with no beds to get things started and get aware of pressure points then went to The Man. Orthotics, some grinding & punching necessary to accomodate the bonespurs my previously ill-fitting boots gave me.

I have spent up to 12 hours in my boots without taking them out once. They are a tight, responsive fit. There is just enough circulation for my toes to survive. They are more comfotable , yet more resonsive than my old, tighter boots.

Curious discovery. They got really comfortable after I went alpine touring in them.

The above fit is a good one for people who are going to ski everyday. It is surprising how quickly boots will pack out.

Sizing really depends on what kind of skiing you want to do and how often you will do it. This is how I determine sizing. Take liner out. Put foot in shell and push foot forward in shell. There should be about two finger widths between the heel & shell(I go a little tighter than that.)

In the shop they should feel too tight. They should be slightly painful in comparison to street shoes. Try to be aware of pressure points. These can be difficult to determine until you go skiing. Here are some common ones.

-Either side of the heel
-Achilles tendon.
-Inside of foot below ankle bone but above arch.
-Ankle bone.(inside &/or outside)
-Top of the foot along tendon leading toward big toe.
-2nd big toe knuckle(at foot)
-2nd pinky toe knuckle(at foot)
-Tops of the toes

Some solutions. If you have pressure on the outside of your heel and your little toe feels crushed your foot is pronated.
- A *varus wedge* under inside edge of heel may help, but a corrective orthotic would be best.
-Locating the pressure points without the liner in the shell and 'grinding/dremeling' or 'punching out' said points can help.
-depending on the liner material, you can locate the pressure points on your liner and trim away material at these locations to relieve pressure.

Excessive pressure on outside portion of foot can mean too narrow a boot, or supinated foot. Punch/grind shell, footbed or orthotic.
Heel &/or achilles tendon rub/pain is also from loose boots.
-A custom tongue shim can seat your foot down and back into the heel pocket.
- shaping some dense foam around heel and adding it to the outside of the liner can create a more defined heel pocket. The tongue shim will probably work better.

Shin bang often comes from boots that are too loose around the lower leg. It is also an indicator the skier sits back (back, not forward) as there is room for the leg to accelerate a before it hits the boot cuff.

There is no substitute for a real, professional bootfitter if you spend much time in your boots. Comfort, response, performance, increased skiing skill, and even improved circulation(valuable in the BC)
are worth a lot more money than people think.


When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro...<FONT size="1">

<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Roto (edited July 04, 2001).]</FONT>
post #4 of 23
I report similar results. Boots feel uncomfortably tight in the shop and put my feet to sleep within 15 minutes. The first few days in new boots completely suck until the liners pack out. After that, I buckle 'em first thing in the morning and don't touch them until the end of the day. (Except for spring bumps when _ALL_ boots hurt)

I never look at the size. I just pull the liner and check my foot against the shell. I don't go too agressive in size since that always gives me black toe.

I had my Head boots shot with silicon with the orthodics in and never bothered with the stock footbed. In all the pairs of Langes I owned previously, I always went with orthodics from day #1 too.

I always ski on 'em for 4 or 5 days before I have any boot work done. Too tight is much easier to fix than too loose.

My fit is always good enough that I can ski with the bottom two buckles unbuckled and not notice much movement. In my opinion, if you have to crank the bottom two buckles because of a sloppy fit, you're bound to get foot pain.
post #5 of 23
Currently my boots are snug all the way around. no hot spots unless I get a wrinkle in a sock. Custom foot beds? YES!!!
I'm with Gonzo, If I had my way all skiers even beginners would be skiing on custom footbeds. With the footbed sitting on flat ground, not in the boots, You should be able to flex your knees forward with out the ankles or knees turning in or the foot spreading out.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
THANKS - What great information! Okay, let me throw this scenerio at you guys and problem solve. First a little history: I'm 49 this coming season, skied 38 years, first boots were Henke leather. Worst fitting and most uncomfortable was the Lange Comp of '72 vintage, it had NO hinge, you flexed the whole bloody plastic boot! I lost 4 toe nails that season due to toe bang, and I sized them race fit, just no footbed, I guess so they'd slide around.
I'm probably a Level 8+ in ability. Last year skied Mod X Pro in 188 and skied in Technica TNS LVL. I can ski any snow on 99% of the terrain, in bounds and out. Live in Seattle area so ski big mtns. The TNS boot was 321mm sole, so I'd guess 9 1/2 boot. (says 9 1/2 in center of bottom sole). I've skied the boots for 3 years, NO pain, comfy fit, but felt that I could get the MXPs to perform a bit better if I'd had a higher performance boot. I love my Tecnicas and both my sons ski them too. So I'm thinking about the Icons, either the X or Carbon. I skied a buddies Icon Carbons last spring, he had the 321 shell, I believe 28.0 - 28.5 size. They hurt like hell to ski in, foot pain everywhere! Flex was better than the TNS I had been skiing, but my guess then and now is that they were are too big for my foot. Okay, next step - I went to nearby shop and did shell fit of the Tecnica Icons, with 1 1/2 finger space at rear of heel with big toe just kissing the front of the shell. This boot was a 27.0 - 27.00 shell, 312mm, a full boot size down from what I had been skiing. So I surf the net and find a pair of Tecnica Icon X in pretty good shape, that same boot size and buy them. USPS delivers the boots and now the challenge begins. I throw the boots on, feel pretty good! With the boot buckled up snug, not tight, I felt NO foot pain. NOTE: I threw my Superfeet insoles from my climbing boots in and felt good support. Gave the boots about 15-20 minutes and my foot was getting sleepy. Just a little biting going on over the top of the foot, like sides of tongue. I COULD feel the big toe on the front end of the inner boot, No pain there, but I could notice it. Okay Bootfitters - QUESTION - what should my next few tweaks be to get these boots right??

We get these things dialed in and lunch on me at Crystal? Alpental? Baker? Stevens?
By the way I've been posting asking questions sbout the G3 for this year. Thinking about moving to them (184) from MXP (188). Stupid move? I want the MXP stability with a little quicker turning ski. Enough , I need to get the boots fitted!!! Sorry..

Heh, Thanks for all you time and energy helping me fix "my" problem.
post #7 of 23
When I try on new boots, I put my feet in the smallest shell size that, in the shop, my toes are curled, but not smashed and painfull. When I lever forward, they can straighten a bit, but not come off the front of the boot. Then I want the boot to be equally tight all the way around the shell, lower and upper. They should be tight enough, in the shop, that it takes my swollen summer feet about 5 minutes to fall asleep. During that time, I walk around in them to see if I get pressure points. Some pressure points I don't worry about, esecially if it's an odd one here or there, not an overall difference in the last of my foot and the boot. In other words, if I get pain around a bunion, that's fine. It can be blown out. If I were to get a boot that's wide enough to fit over the bunion w/o pain, then the boot last will be too wide for the rest of my foot. Likewise, if the entire top of your foot is in pain, or your arch hurts like hell (and you should ALWAYS try on boots with your own footbeds. Take the stock ones out), then the last is not right for you, and you need to try on a different line or brand (if one Lange L series doesn't fit, none of them will). Also, in the shop, you should be able to eaily flex the shell, since it is nice and warm and soft. If you can't flex it in the shop, even if you cut it, when you get out on the snow, it will be at least as stiff as the uncut warm boot. You should never have to (or even be able to) buckle a boot in the shop past the loosest or 2nd setting. I like to get the feeling that I could ski them unbuckled in the shop, and getting it buckled at all should be a challenge, but not hurt.

With boots, you really need to screw the brand loyalty. Your feet don't come labled for Technicas, Salomons or Langes. You should try on one from each line from each brand that is within the performance level you want. Trying on the exact boot is not always necessary. With Lange, if you fit into an L8, but it's too soft, an L10 will fit the same. So if they only have the L8 in stock, don't worry about it, try it on. You can order a different L series boot and know it's got the same last. Find the boot/line that fits the BEST. Then make sure the shop will work with you (already included in the cost of the boot) to blow out any pressure points or make any necessary adjustments. Also make sure they have people competant to make those adjustments.
post #8 of 23
oh yeah....

GET CUSTOM FOOTBEDS!! Yes, it's worth it at twice the price. If they are done well, you'll be able to keep them for a long time, and move them from boot to boot, assuming your foot doesn't change size/shape.
post #9 of 23
definatly like johnH says, lose the brand loyalty. My cousin's wife went to the boot doctors in Telluride and must have tried on every boot in the place! finally found that the Head boots fit her best. The shop was happy to spend the time to make sure she had a good fit. If you need loyalty in something for your boots, it should be the fitter and shop.

Also well made custom foot beds are as John pointed out worth their weight in gold. easily 2 times what most shops are charging. Probably one of the best investments in ski equipment you can make. If I were to travel for skiing and could only pack a small item I would take my footbeds. The rest I can either rent or purchase.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited July 05, 2001).]</FONT>
post #10 of 23
Footbeds..best possible investment you can make in skiing I think this post will explain most of the things: http://www.epic-ski.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000074.html

My boots fit great Salomon Course X-Screams are a friggin blast. Some things i've done to relieve pain are use high density foam pads around the painful area...i haven't had to do any modifications on the salomons though, except for the footbed. But, the best thing to really do is be well fitted from the get go instead of getting something too big and "comfy"

post #11 of 23
Str8line, don't get hung up on a specific boot type. It's probably been said, but some feet just WILL NOT fit certain boots. I have a "Lange" foot and have worn nothing but Langes for years. When Salomon was the rage a few years back (Remember the SX91?) I tried SO hard to make a pair fit but it just wasn't going to happen.

Try a bunch of different models. OH, and get footbeds. They are worth much more than you'll pay for them.
post #12 of 23
Footbeds. I agree with the recommendation however there is a "but". For some people footbeds do not work. Yes,this sounds bizarre but I know of someone with over 30 years in psia who cannot ski with footbeds. Although he recommends people get them, for him they just screw up his skiing. So perhaps others are like that too?

I've had a lot of footbeds made and I'll say it really depends on whose doing it rather than the system. Although I think I'd steer clear of Surefoot unless you're in SLC area. (Had a pair of surefoots in hiking boots figuring if they worked I'd get a pair for skiing. After 3 trys I returned them for my money back) Surefoot makes a big deal about their computer stuff. Their foot "molding" device has a bunch of pins that come up and contact your foot. Problem is, there aren't that many pins, and they actually just fit your foot to an existing catalogue of foot types. (I've heard there are only 12 types-not exactly custom). Once done, surefoots can not be modified, they have to program the computer and recut a new piece (which isn't all that much work).

Enough of surefoot. One of the best footbeds I've had was a Superfoot vacuum cork but the person doing it knew what they were doing and was having a good day. I had a foot bed made with a plaster mold this year and I wanted something pretty beefy so he put a stiff layer in it. Well I went skiing on them for a day and my knees hurt like hell. They were sore the entire week. I went to get my boots checked by Jeff Rich in NYC (head of Skiing's tests, partners with Hoffman for Instaprint). Turns out that those footbeds were putting my knees 3 degrees out. So I got a new pair made. They seem to work fine.

Another problem: boot boards. My lange bootboards are not flat on the top, but slightly collapse in the center so the top is actually a curve. This affects the arch so I'm going to try to build it up a little. (I"m talking about 3/32 -1/8" low in the middle). What else do you expect from a Lange? They're built like crap.

This year I'm actually going to try skiing -without- the footbeds and then maybe with just a stock superfeet bed. I want to se what happens.

I don't see how someone who skis less than say 20 days a year can really get dialed in. It really takes a lot of effort and tweaking. It's the "weakest link" in skiing. I wish we could tell it to go home...

As for buying boots, get them early in the season, preferably even before Thanksgiving. This way they have a lot of stock and they'll be willing to spend a lot of time with you. Christmas-New Years is not recommended for buying boots, but if you have to, go early in the day when there's not a lot of people there. Above all, boots take time... <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Tog (edited July 05, 2001).]</FONT>
post #13 of 23
Tog, that guy must need orthotics.


I ski at Stevens Pass. My bootfitter is in the Seattle area. He is a magician. People fly from New York for his work. He spends the summer @ Timberline fitting race teams.
If you want to exchange e-mails I can get you in touch with him. Hey who knows, maybe we can rip Stevens up a little bit this winter. Roto@epicski.com

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro...
post #14 of 23

Getting the custom footbeds, as recommended by others on this thread, implys seeing a good boot fitter. He or she may tell you that your "e commerce" purchase was a waste of money. If so ...so be it.

You should have had a list of boots that you knew that fit, before you went shopping.

So chalk this one up to experience. You already know that your boots and boot fit are the most important of equipment decisions in skiing. there is no reason for an excellent skier, such as yourself, to cut corners here !

So do it right, and bite the bullet that you may have made a purchasing mistake.

We all do now and then !

Good Luck and Happy Skiing !
post #15 of 23
I have never skied in a boot that gave me no pain. I have size 13 boats, and have very long toes. Almost a square shape. I find the boot that fits the best of the bunch and work with it from there. I usually take my boots off for lunch so I can make it through the day. Soft snow, no problems, bumpy hard and set up, they are coming off when it is time for a break. I also size down to gain added control, and ski a very stiff boot, geez no wonder I ski in pain half the time. The funny thing is I experience no pain while in the actual act of skiing. Only when I have to stop and wait, or stand in lift lines.

Always use a custom insole.
Don't be scared to punch, stretch, or remove material to get a better fit.
post #16 of 23
Agreed with the punch, stretch, etc.. As for footbeds, yeah there great but they will not compensate for poorly fitting boots. That's like putting $2,000 worth of tires and rims on a worn out Ford Fiesta. (Of course in LA they do that...). Footbeds are sort of like trim tabs on a power boat they're great but you need a decent boat.

If it's a choice between getting a pair of boots that really fits you and spending 150$+ for footbeds then get the boots. Put some stock Superfeet in them for 25$ and wait till you have some more money.
post #17 of 23
Hey guys, be careful about labling your feet as "Lange Feet", or "Tecnica Feet". All boot makers have different lasts they use to make different boots. If you try on a Tecnica Icon Carbon, Innotec RX, and Explosion 8, they will all fit differently. But, any one of these could ski well for a good skier. Don't dismiss a brand because one boot did not fit, they may have one that does. Of couse, there are no truely stiff high volume boots, and no really soft narrow/low volume boots. This is totally lame on the part of all the boot companies, but does keep bootfitters busy. On the footbed or not thing. An expensive footbed made by a hack will suck. A varus wedge can sometimes work almost as well as a custom footbed. A lot of feet will be just as happy in a Superfeet trim to fit, as they would be in a custom that costs four times as much.

My boots fit very snug. My left foot shell sizes at about 1/4th of an inch. I use a stock silicon liner, and an Instaprint footbed. All of my buckles end up on one or two. My toes touch the front of the boot firmly, until I flex them. Actually they ski remarkably well unbuckled. I have done some minor liner hacking, and medial/lateral shims for my right foot, but nothing major. I wear them eight hours a day, seven days a week all season long. No problem.

My biggest modification to the boot was changing the forward lean, and the ramp angle. When I first skied in them, I knew something was wrong. My balance was all screwed up. Going off jumps, I was always thrown forward. My thighs burned on the steeps. I compared them to my old boots (same company). The new boots had qiuite a bit more forward lean, and ramp angle. I considered an under binding toe lift, but decided against it. Instead, I ground the rear of the upper cuff, and wedged it upright. I had to add a couple rivits to keep the rearward integrity. They were placed low, so they would not stiffen the forward flex. I also cut the top 1 inch of rear cuff off. Then, all I had to do was grind down the zeppa in the heel, and build it up a touch in the fore foot. Now, I had a very neutral stance. Before, the boot forced my lower legs forward, so my body tried to compensate by leaning back. This is very common, especially with boot fitter throwing heel lits all over the place. Get your stance checked.

Oh yeah, if you have not tried this, put your power strap on first, so that it is under the shell. Especially , if you have small calves. Do it very snuggly. Now flex. Oh yea, much better. One of the best kept secrets in skiing.
post #18 of 23
I discovered BOOSTER straps a couple seasons ago. they are webbing straps with a double layer of thick, burly elastic forming the front 2/3s of the strap. I put it on under the shell around the liner. The power strap I put outside the top of the cuff. The thick elastic of the booster gives my liners a responsive, returning fit while evening out flex pattern. The liners never get loose, my feet/legs do not shift in the liners, I never get a space between tongue and shin.

After skiing them for one day I never wanted to ski without them again.
post #19 of 23
OK. Here I am again. Haven't been around lately do to arounf the house "honeydo" lists.
here's the specs: 5'4", overweight, very wide feet for my size. Shoe size is only 7 1/2 but EE or EEE. Usually I have to opt for 8's to get the width right or I bust out the sides near the toes. I should be in 25.5's but I have the Salomon SuperForce 26's. Lots of pain after break in continued, especially under the arch. Got footbeds. "Superfeet". $90. Cured the arch problem. Other pains persisted. Incredible pain as well as total numbness. I never thought that was possible... to have your feet completely dead and still have pain which brings tears to your eyes... that bad!
Finally got them stretched out almost a full cm and had them deflexed a bit. Result: 1000% better but the numbness comes and goes; pain now and then but barable. Then i did a no-no just for experimentation- I removed the cork from teh footbeds, leaving the top piece in. Tremendous reduction in pain and numbness, still a tinge here and there. No arch pain.
Then tried my wife's boots. 26.5 Salomon Sport 6's which have been stretched a bit. Absolutely no pain, a pleasure to ski that day! However, Liking to take tight turns I noticed the side of my heels were gertting sore. I attributed that to my heel banging around inside because of the larger boot and it having been stretched some. I didn't feel them bang around but I assume that was what was happening.
Do I assume correctly that my boot might need further stretching? If so, how much farther can it go? Perhaps I should take a look at the inner boot? Putting on the inner boot with them out of the shell, my foot seems to really fill those puppies up.

Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #20 of 23
do not cheap out if you are buying footbeds, I had some molded a few years ago which basically fell apart after about half a season. Since all ski boots seem to be a compromise on fit for me, i bought a pair of closeout San Marco Race boots for 99.00, they felt just as good as any of the other boots i had on my feet. I let them pack out a bit and bought some superfeet insoles for them, they did nothing but cause severe pain. Before buying any insoles try them in-store, i would have prefered putting the 30 bucks wasted towards real orthotics.
post #21 of 23

You may want to look into other brands of boots because of the width of your feet. Koflach being the most notable. I think Sallys are a fairly narrow last.
post #22 of 23
JohnH- I might just do that. But I'll give these one more try. I chose Salomon because of its foot volumn, but eveidently I need more. it's a bit tough to know where your balance is when you don't know where your feet are!

Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #23 of 23
For you info,you are absolutly wrong about the amfit system. I have worked with it for over 8 years, taken the machines apart, replaced every part imaginable on them and they are totally custom. 12 different patterns? Come on, do you think a company of Surefoots size could get away with putting a scam like that over the skiing public?
COnsider this. Amfit is used by some of the largest orthopedic labs in the us. TO name a few, THe Mayo CLininc, Fidelity Orthopedic, Walter Reed Army Hospital (all the presidents use amfit when having orthtoics made) as well as the Southern California Orthopedic INstitute. These labs make hundreds of thoitcs a month. The machines cost around $25,000 a piece. I could put my ass on the scanner and the milling machine would cut its shape.

So in the future speak knowledgbly (sic) about technical issues, not rumors you heard from some other stores salesperson.
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