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Scarpa/Intuition liners in slightly small shells; toe room?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I got a bargain on a pair of Scarpa-branded Intuition overlap liners to replace the packed-out liners in my late 1990s Lange XZero9 shells (hey, the budget is tight, and the shells are in excellent condition).  I had them molded at my reputable local shop, and the results are close to perfect, but I do lack toe room.  My impression is that these liners (for the T-Race Scarpa tele boot, mondo 30) are just slightly too large for the 334 mm shells (Lange nominal US 11-11.5).  The cold liners were a very tight fit but did settle into the shells with only slight bulging near the heel, and the new Footbalance footbeds and hot liners went in (with some effort) during the molding process.  The shop wanted to do the first mold without the toe caps to ensure that the liners fully seated in the shells, and that seemed to work (with cotton balls between my toes) fine (aside from my pinkies hurting like hell at first).

 

I skied on them the first time yesterday, and the overall fit and performance are awesome.  Great foot-to-shell connection but kind of cushy feeling, powerful-firm with an extra 2" power strap around spoiler and liner cuff, but forgiving and plush with just the wimpy Lange power strap.  But my toes are jammed in pretty tight.  Our intention was to mold again after trying them out, this time with the caps, but I wonder if we also need to relieve a bit of volume in the shell, either (carefully) with a plug grinder at heel and toe or by ballooning the toe box out a bit (top and sides) to allow a bit more space for my toes.  There is a clear impression of the Lange toe dam/seal on the top of the liner, so I think some vertical space might be enough by itself.

 

Will the Ultralon foam compress further with the toe caps, and can we heat just the toes, since the general fit is excellent?

 

Another thought was to heat just the toes outside the shells and hyper-compress the foam there to reduce volume, but I'm afraid that might diminish the Intuition warm-toes effect.

 

I really think a 29.5 liner would have been perfect, but the results so far seem to indicate that just a bit more volume is needed, and only at the toes.  My shop molds by having you stand in a skiing position while cooling rather than toes on a 2x4, so I also wonder if we might get a bit more compression in the heel pocket by doing it that way the second time.

 

I read a thread here from last year about the opposite problem of a too-big shell and wondered what anyone might have to offer about this situation.  It's a very good fit as-is, but those toes are mighty tight!

post #2 of 7

I would try moulding them with toe caps and see if that works before I did any work to the boot.  I would think the caps would do the trick, but also standing on a board to force your heel back couldn't hurt.

 

Mike

post #3 of 7

Intuition only makes liners in whole sizes so you couldn't get a 29.5 liner.  Get them remolded using the toe caps.  I'm not sure about the 2x4 though because that isn't how your foot is when skiing.  It probably would drive your heel back more but it could change the shape of your foot somewhat inside the boot.  Talk to the shop about it so you understand their reasoning, but I think you want them molded to your foot when your foot close to the shape and position it is in when skiing.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

Intuition only makes liners in whole sizes so you couldn't get a 29.5 liner.  Get them remolded using the toe caps.  I'm not sure about the 2x4 though because that isn't how your foot is when skiing.  It probably would drive your heel back more but it could change the shape of your foot somewhat inside the boot.  Talk to the shop about it so you understand their reasoning, but I think you want them molded to your foot when your foot close to the shape and position it is in when skiing.

Then what I have is probably the best fit.  As I said, it seems like a slightly large liner for a slightly small shell.  My shell fit is on the tight side, so I do need all the length I can get.  That's why I thought if the toe box were stretched a bit, the foam would have more space to retreat into, laterally, in a way that wouldn't mess with the binding interface, which punching it forward would likely do.

 

Another thought I had after my post was to use the hot-rice method of heating and heat just the toe area again, then keep some forward pressure against the toe to deform the very end of the liner more.  Basically the opposite of a 2x4 under the toe; maybe put it under the heel. Unless it isn't feasible to heat a small area, I don't see why this method wouldn't finish the job.  As I said, the overall foot and ankle fit is superb; just what I want, but my toes are crowded.

 

Just looking for the most effective way to relieve the toe area only.

 

Thanks for your suggestions, all.

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanLassen View Post

 

Another thought I had after my post was to use the hot-rice method of heating and heat just the toe area again, then keep some forward pressure against the toe to deform the very end of the liner more.  Basically the opposite of a 2x4 under the toe; maybe put it under the heel. Unless it isn't feasible to heat a small area, I don't see why this method wouldn't finish the job.  As I said, the overall foot and ankle fit is superb; just what I want, but my toes are crowded.

 

Just looking for the most effective way to relieve the toe area only.

 

Thanks for your suggestions, all.

I've done this and it worked well.  Used the largest Intuition toe caps and dealt with the 10 minutes of PAIN.  It didn't feel like there was physically enough room for my the liner, my foot and the toes caps. But when done it was great.

 

Heading out today to see my bootfitter today.  New boots, non Intuition but same problem again.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

UPDATE:  RE-COOK 

 

Hello All-

 

After four bluebird days at Squaw in the boots, experimenting with sock weights, I had a pretty good idea of how to proceed with a second cooking of the liners.  The first day, they were obviously too tight in the foot and toe box, but awesome foot-to-shell communication.  That was with a lightweight pair of mild compression knee socks.  

 

Second day, I tried a pair of my usual Thor-Lo ski socks; bad idea.  They were clearly too heavy for the fit, and it was an altogether uncomfortable day.  My left ankle bone (inside) was also bruised where I have thin skin and surface veins that have been broken down for years.  

 

Third day, I tried a pair of ultralight knee socks, not much heavier than ladies' knee-hi nylons but non-slippery.  Heaven, except the toes were still jammed in.  Much less discomfort, and not significantly colder.  Fourth day, same setup, but this time my left foot really started to ache after four hours nonstop.  The fit was just too narrow.

 

I decided to cook the liners myself at home this time, being generally quite handy and having years of experience as a bootfitter when I was younger.  I followed the instructions forwarded to me by the eBay seller of the liners, and I'd made a little device to help get out of the boots (a strip of plywood mounted with some old latch-in Tyrolia bindings, with a 2x4 toe riser and space to put my other foot on the rear to hold it down while I spread the forefoot with the overlap liners and pull my foot up and back). 

 

I put cotton balls between my toes (as we had at the shop the first time), then the ultralight sock, then the Intuition toe cap and my new Footbalance footbed, then the Thor-Lo sock, then a slippery knee-hi to hold it all together and slide in and out easily.  Baked the liners for 10 minutes at 250°F while I heated the shells for easy opening.  Shove the warm liner in, stuff the foot/sock assembly in, pull up on the liner cuffs while wiggling everything into place, bang the heel down a couple of times, and do the usual cuff-buckles-flex-forward drill to fully seat the heel.  Snapped into the binding on the board and hung the front of the rig on a chair rung to elevate the toe and let gravity force the heel deeply into the shell.  The seller said that was the key to toe room, forcing the heel rearwards.  Set the timer for 15 minutes and read a couple of magazine articles while doing little isometric pushes all around the toe box and keeping palpable pressure against the heel.

 

On the left, I made what looked like a 2-inch asterisk from moleskin with two progressively smaller circles stacked on top like cake layers to bump out the liner for that sensitive ankle bone.  The left felt like the liner might be bunched around the heel, but I pulled and wiggled until I was sure it was fully seated.  When I took it out, turns out the footbed edge needed just a bit of trimming; that was what had felt like a wrinkle.

 

Now the cold fit seems ideal.  Instead of plugging in with no room to spare, it's a snug fit with obvious wiggle room up front.  I don't think I'll need the ultralight socks (they actually feel a little loose now), and I still have at least one notch on the buckles up and down the boot.  

 

So it's back to experimenting with sock weights to get it just right, but the cold fit feels awesome.  Tomorrow looks like temps crossing the freezing mark at mid-day after three inches of new over the weekend.  I may do the Squaw demo deal: $65 to try as many models as I can fit into one day, right from the Gold Coast lodge on the upper mountain.  My current boards are Rossi RPM 17s from the early 2000s, so I need a good test drive of the new widths.

post #7 of 7
Sounds like they are going to work out well!

If you end up needing more toe room you can also adjust the fit in specific areas by heating them with a heat gun. I expanded the toe fit on mine last week by just heating up the front with a heat gun on a medium heat setting and putting them on with a large toe cap in place.

Mike
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