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Correcting forward lean with custom boot work to compensate for large calves

post #1 of 2
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I'm posting this article with the hope of benefiting anyone else with unusually large calves (about 15.5" circumference) who has had problems with ski boot fitting.  I am a size 7.5 shoe, wide, fairly flat arches with large volume/high instep.  I have significant pronation.  Without footbed correction, most ski boots give me pain at the navicular bone.  
 
I've been a skier for almost 40 years.  Ever since I bought my pair of old Atomic Race 9-50 "low cuff" ski boots, size 24.5 (in 1998!), I have struggled with fatigue (quad burnout, actually).  About 6 years ago, I had new custom injection-foamed liners made for them at SureFoot, after which the fatigue problem became even worse.
 
At first, I thought it was just a matter of fitness or poor conditioning.  But then I spent a couple of seasons running and doing squats and leg presses, and my quads were still shot after a day on the slopes.
 
Last summer, I decided to shop for a new pair of ski boots.  While trolling the web for boot reviews, I came across epicski and this article, http://www.southernski.com/toe-jam-spreader-ultimate-cuff-stretcher.html, written by Mike Tambling, and had an epiphany.  (I do not work for the bootfitter.)
 
I searched for other web content on ski boots, skeletally stacked stance, forward lean, ramp angle, and large calves.  
 
I realized that my problem wasn't physical conditioning, it was because of the large forward lean of my boots, which was made worse when I had the SureFoot liners made.  The SureFoot liners had higher cuffs with rear spoilers, which pushed my stance even further forward.  I have very flexible ankles, so 30 degree dorsiflexion is no problem for my ankles, but my quads couldn't maintain a squat like that all day long.
 
When standing in my boots in a cuff-neutral (centered) position, I could never see the toes of my boots.  My knees would extend about 2" beyond the front of my boots, obscuring them.  My quads stayed fully engaged at all times, just to keep me from falling over.
 
So, I sent my boots to Southern Ski, where Mike stretched the cuffs backwards, sawed off part of the hard plastic spoiler at the rear of the cuff to relieve some of the pressure caused by the higher SureFoot liners, and even found me an extra set of higher toe lugs for my Atomic boots (they are removable).  This process took two round trips sending the boots to South Carolina, as we found the right angle.
 
The results have been amazing.  No longer do I feel wiped, simply standing around waiting on a lift line.  I can ski for days without quad burnout.
 
I wish I had learned about forward lean and a skeletally-stacked stance, years ago.  Even the most amazing bootfitters I've worked with, have never made the observation that my large calves were forcing my stance too far forward.
 
Hopefully someone else will find this post and save themselves years of frustration.  Thanks, Mike!
 
-Milo

Edited by neoteric5 - 2/8/13 at 7:42am
post #2 of 2

Great write up----

 

Thanks Milo,

 

mike

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