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Boots too stiff vs. technique

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I spent about 2 hours yesterday skiing frozen groomers.  My first couple of runs I always ski with my boots very loose or my feet will go to sleep.  No problems on these runs.  I then cranked them down to their normal position and noticed I couldn't engage the whole edge of the ski nearly as well.  Fyi, Booster strap was snug under the shell as always.

 

After a few runs sliding around like this I loosened just the top buckle and left everything else the same.  My edges came right back.  Now, should I soften these boots or just ski them with the top buckle very loose? Or get a lesson?

 

After 2 hours it was over 40 deg out and Spring hero conditions meant technique was not necessary.

post #2 of 14

One option you left out was going to a qualified boot fitter and seeking their advice. Sounds strange that you feet will go to sleep (circulation?).

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Winter View Post

One option you left out was going to a qualified boot fitter and seeking their advice. Sounds strange that you feet will go to sleep (circulation?).

Yes, circulation. But that's not really what I was asking about. The boot "fits" I was speaking about the amount of flex and it's affect on edge control.

post #4 of 14

Circulation has everything to do with it. If you can't feel your foot you can't articulate the foot in a full range of motion and angulation. With out knowing how stiff your boot is and your skiing style, stiffness is a void point. Feeling the entire foot and being able to feel the transition under foot make a bigger difference in by book. By the way, try the booster strap on the outside of the shell. Wrapping around the entire upper shell. Circulation could be cut off by just wrapping the liner.    

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SVmike View Post

Circulation has everything to do with it. If you can't feel your foot you can't articulate the foot in a full range of motion and angulation. With out knowing how stiff your boot is and your skiing style, stiffness is a void point. Feeling the entire foot and being able to feel the transition under foot make a bigger difference in by book. By the way, try the booster strap on the outside of the shell. Wrapping around the entire upper shell. Circulation could be cut off by just wrapping the liner.    

No real issues if I start with my boots loose. If I crank them down from the first minute I put them on there will be issues. By the 3rd run I can crank them down and still feel my feet fine for the rest of the day.

 

If you read my OP, I didn't change any adjustment on the boot after I tightened them down. I just loosened the upper buckle.  No circulation issues the rest of the day, even stayed buckled thru lunch.

post #6 of 14

I don't know if this would give you any insight, but I've had an epiphany about boot stiffness lately that may have something to do with your observations.  For the last decade or more I've been skiing on very stiff, high end boots.  I loved them, they felt great, and I had no interest in changing anything.  However, as the Intuition liners began to see their last days I began to also experience hardware failure on the boots, so I finally decided to get some new ones.  For whatever reason (not clear in my head) I decided to buy a much softer boot, one that advertised a 100 flex rating (though they were much stiffer than another pair I tried at 110) and I've fallen in love.  I haven't found that I have lost any control at all and they are much easier on my legs, especially my shins.

 

My advice it to set them where they work best for you and don't worry about what others say about it.  Everyone is built differently and if you experience more control with a looser setting, then good for you.  I would mess around with various combinations of booster strap tension and buckle tightness to see if you can find the best combination.  My boot fitter has told me to use the strap as you do, inside the plastic, and it seems to work very well; I wouldn't change that.

 

All the above being said, I would post this question in the "Ask the Boot Guys" section since we're a bunch of amateurs when it comes to boot fitting and they're the pros.

post #7 of 14

FWIW, I ski on a pair of very stiff racing boots (Doberman Pro 130) with a booster strap.  I find that if I really crank the top buckle and booster strap I have trouble flexing forward to get my center of mass in the right place to pressure the tips.  Perhaps if i was stronger or skied faster or was just better this wouldn't be a problem, but I need to leave the top a little loose to maintain the stance that works for me.  Emphasis on little - it's not loose by any reasonable definition, it's just not Gorilla-tight.

 

As with most things, 'just right" is somewhere in between too little and too much.

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post

... For whatever reason (not clear in my head) I decided to buy a much softer boot, one that advertised a 100 flex rating (though they were much stiffer than another pair I tried at 110) and I've fallen in love.  I haven't found that I have lost any control at all and they are much easier on my legs, especially my shins.

 

My advice it to set them where they work best for you and don't worry about what others say about it.  Everyone is built differently and if you experience more control with a looser setting, then good for you.  I would mess around with various combinations of booster strap tension and buckle tightness to see if you can find the best combination. 

 

 

was also my revelation, quite a while back, when I went from the old 'Rubber' Orange Banshees to Dynafit comp 3F with an adjustable flex...

everything skis better, feels more stable, less squirrly for me, with more nuances of ski control...

Well stated by Posaune - Totally agree with trying all possible variations and seeing how it works for you, whether equipment or technique. Besides, there's great fun in actually feeling the differences in equipment experimentation. Often you find ways to improve technique.

OP, no way to tell what 'caused' the experience you noted above, until you're able to reproduce it in some fashion by making and 'undoing' a change. Work with 'non-permanent' changes to simulate a permanent one.

I would have, again and again, gone through the loosening and tightening process to 'confirm' that bucking effect... Then you could mullover how to make that 'improvement' a bit more permanent. Sometimes it just takes backing off the bail ladder just a couple turns...

Riding a $40-$50/day boot demo, which is different than your boot; and then jumping back into your boot, on the same day, often helps in feeling how a change will affect you.

Honestly, the ski gear forums are buried with every tiny nuance of ski models, but actually discussing the most important piece of equipment (outside of the skier) is more difficult and happens way less - except for the recent threads about the vacums...

Commonly, once you think you have 'your' boots and they fit, you're done... but really the boot universe is as diverse and the ski universe....

 

I'm NOT advocating 'soft'er boots - I am advocating being discerning on what might work better for you (each of us...), and that can often change

post #9 of 14

I presume you were skiing somewhere in the Pocono's following a day of rain and fog, followed by a freeze. I skied at Blue that day, and, early conditions were the worst that I can remember skiing, refrozen ice and death cookies where the groomers went. Two questions

What is the stiffness of your boots?

Do you try to flex the boot forward when you ski, or do you just try to stay centered between the front and back?

 

Conditions were so bad that day, all I did was slide across  the frozen snow until it softened. I would not worry about what you experienced, unless, you can duplicate it on a normal day. My liners change and loosen up as the day goes on, it's common to re-tighten after a few runs But, if the booster strap is tight, loosening the top buckle should not make much of a difference (IMHO). Plenty of people ski with the top strap loose. I don't push forward onto the tongue, just try to tip the boots laterally.

post #10 of 14

It sounds like the boots used to work just fine and then one day they didn't. I wouldn't change anything until you figure out what happened, like has been previously mentioned or until it becomes a constant.  Even then, I'm not sure the flex of the boot would be the culprit.

 

i have had on more than one occasion have my boots seem different and many times they seemed too stiff (Salamon X Max 120). Sometimes it's because it is wicked cold, possibly my heel slid forward or the second buckle down is one ladder too much.  Many things can affect this.  When it does happen, I go through several things to see what is causing it.  I check to make sure my heel is pressing against the back of the boot, pay attention to the temperature, I'll even ski on one ski to make sure I'm getting forward.  Often it is as simple as that.

 

im in the opposite camp that prefers to have a stiffer boot.  Lately, the more I've been skiing, the stiffer I've wanted it.  It might be a style of skiing too.

 

anyways, if the boots were working, don't blame the stiffness or boots for that matter.  Figure. It what is really causing it.

 

have fun,

 

Ken

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by RatherPlayThanWork View Post

I spent about 2 hours yesterday skiing frozen groomers.  My first couple of runs I always ski with my boots very loose or my feet will go to sleep.  No problems on these runs.  I then cranked them down to their normal position and noticed I couldn't engage the whole edge of the ski nearly as well.  Fyi, Booster strap was snug under the shell as always.

 

After a few runs sliding around like this I loosened just the top buckle and left everything else the same.  My edges came right back.  Now, should I soften these boots or just ski them with the top buckle very loose? Or get a lesson?

 

After 2 hours it was over 40 deg out and Spring hero conditions meant technique was not necessary.


Keep em as is.  It worked. 

 

This is common.  Your foot must be able to pronate in the boot to ski well.  If you boot if over tight, your foot will get cramped, go numb, becomes locked, pinned, etc etc.  Too tight, is as bad as too loose.

 

I dont tighten my boots as tight as they go...and I ski best like that.

 

 

 

 

 

Its important to remember, that it is highly unlikley that you will get away with 1 setting for your boots.  Boot flex changes alot with temperature (a surpising amount actually), your feet swell and shrink, your socks are thicker, some thinner....so varying where you buckle the boots should be expected. 


Edited by Skidude72 - 3/14/13 at 6:43pm
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Living Proof View Post

I presume you were skiing somewhere in the Pocono's following a day of rain and fog, followed by a freeze. I skied at Blue that day, and, early conditions were the worst that I can remember skiing, refrozen ice and death cookies where the groomers went. Two questions

What is the stiffness of your boots?

Do you try to flex the boot forward when you ski, or do you just try to stay centered between the front and back?

 

Conditions were so bad that day, all I did was slide across  the frozen snow until it softened. I would not worry about what you experienced, unless, you can duplicate it on a normal day. My liners change and loosen up as the day goes on, it's common to re-tighten after a few runs But, if the booster strap is tight, loosening the top buckle should not make much of a difference (IMHO). Plenty of people ski with the top strap loose. I don't push forward onto the tongue, just try to tip the boots laterally.

I was at Blue, right there with you.  I wouldn't want to be on anything really steep when it was that frozen, but at least at Blue that's not a real problem.

 

The boots were 130's but have been softened a bit already, so who knows now.  I try to stay centered, but with icy conditions I probably pressure the tip too soon trying to get the edges to lock rather than slide.

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post

It sounds like the boots used to work just fine and then one day they didn't. I wouldn't change anything until you figure out what happened, like has been previously mentioned or until it becomes a constant.  Even then, I'm not sure the flex of the boot would be the culprit.

 

 

Pretty sure the big issue was how icy the conditions were that day. A little bit of slipping when the conditions are soft is not an issue.

post #14 of 14

IMO, loosening the top of the boot to make it work doesn't = working. Skidude is right that your foot needs to move a bit, but you sound like you have a super tight and super stiff boot that you loosen significantly in one place, not a touch all over. In doing so, you lose a certain amount of control and responsiveness in exchange for circulation. Fine, but Ocam's Razor doesn't always apply to the real world; have a hunch you have two problems with your boots: Too stiff and too tight over the instep. Which may mean too tight period; loosening buckles midway may help one problem and create another. Agree with Moreoutdoor - and some technically strong skiers like Scots Skier - that many of us would benefit from dialing the stiffness down. This is particularly relevant if you don't have much ankle flexion, but also is a better fit to modern technique on variable terrain, which emphasizes lateral movement rather than riding the tips. I ski 130 flex when I'm racing, but prefer 110 when I'm a civilian. And real plugs are a different plastic that doesn't stiffen as much with cold. A 130 in a typical plastic is a monster if you're under 180. Don't know your weight, or why you choose such a stiff boot in the first place...

 

And "a bit of slipping" because of your boots is never justifiable, regardless of conditions. You should skip when you choose to. Not when you allow blood to enter your feet.

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