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How tight should your boots be?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

There's a conundrum I've wrestled with, which (to strain the metaphor) you could say has successfully dumped me on my butt more than once on the ski hill.

 

I like my boots (all my shoes, really) tight.  Especially for skiing and bicycling, the feeling that my feet can shift around at all makes me reach for the buckles to crank them down.   For both biking and skiing, this can lead to numb or sore feet (yes, they can end up tight enough to impede circulation), and not just when it's cold.

 

My current boots were fitted, canted, punched out, padded around the heel (which was shifting sideways more than I liked), and I've got custom footbeds.  I have trouble believing they're too long:  my toes definitely hit the front of the liner when I first put them on.  And while the boot is wide (Tecnica Phoenix HVL 120), so are my feet (EEE or so, with a narrow heel and lower calf).  Actually, the forefoot of the current boots is even wider than they started out---that's one of the areas that got punched out.

 

All of the bootfitters I've seen have said some variant of "boots should feel like a firm grasp around your foot, not a chokehold."  But the way they demonstrate buckling them, while it feels ok in the store, on the hill feels like my foot is shifting around.   For example, should I need to settle my heel back and down into the pocket, after getting off the lift or walking around?  Should I be able to engage an edge from standing on a flat ski, simply by flexing my foot?   Eventually, I end up cranking the buckles tighter, and tighter, and TIGHTER, as the day goes by.  The end result can be a couple of notches tighter than where they started in the morning.  The third buckle (over the ankle) can end up so tight I really have to strain to get it to close.  And this isn't for racing.  I'm the kind of "intermediate" skier who can ski (not sideslip) western blues and easy blacks, but worries about getting going too fast.

 

Or am I just trying to get the boot to compensate for a lack of control/strength/balance in my feet and ankles, and what I really need is to leave them a little looser and build up those muscles?  

 

Thanks for any pointers.

post #2 of 6

SlowObstacal,

 

 

Instead of tightening the top of the foot (instep)-----tighten the ankle buckle (second from top) till it hurts then back off till it is just comfortable

 

you might need to move the buckle ladder to get them too tight.  You might need extra leverage to close the buckle too tight.

 

as you already know the instep buckle will put your feet to sleepmad.gif never tighten it.

 

tighten up the power strap inside the shell around the tongue and liner only, this will spread the load vertically along the shin.

 

never tighten the top buckle---it will cut off circulation in the calf muscleeek.gif.

 

The HVL series is a large bucket which is why you needed to pad the heel---not good.

 

only high volume feet (really meaty) need apply. won't necessarily fit low volume wide feet, they only rattle around in there.

 

over tightening the buckles is a give away-----the boot is too big.

 

mike

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Mike,

 

Thanks for the detailed response.   To clarify one point, I was tightening what you're calling the ankle buckle---I just described it badly.   Then I ended up tightening all the other ones, too...

 

I will try using the power strap as you suggest (ok, once there's actually snow again...).

 

Your conclusion that the boot is (probably?) too big unfortunately makes sense to me, given that I needed quite a bit of padding around the heel.  And I've spent a lot of time and $$ on those boots, working with a guy who is supposed to be a really good bootfitter frown.gif.

 

I'll try one more time, tightening as you suggest.  If things still shift around, I guess it's back to the drawing board frown.gif frown.gif frown.gif.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by miketsc View Post

SlowObstacal,

 

 

Instead of tightening the top of the foot (instep)-----tighten the ankle buckle (second from top) till it hurts then back off till it is just comfortable

 

you might need to move the buckle ladder to get them too tight.  You might need extra leverage to close the buckle too tight.

 

as you already know the instep buckle will put your feet to sleepmad.gif never tighten it.

 

tighten up the power strap inside the shell around the tongue and liner only, this will spread the load vertically along the shin.

 

never tighten the top buckle---it will cut off circulation in the calf muscleeek.gif.

 

The HVL series is a large bucket which is why you needed to pad the heel---not good.

 

only high volume feet (really meaty) need apply. won't necessarily fit low volume wide feet, they only rattle around in there.

 

over tightening the buckles is a give away-----the boot is too big.

 

mike

post #4 of 6

SlowObstacal,

 

     I described tightening the ankle buckle as "tighten till it hurts" because a lot of folks will tighten it as tight as they can physically close the buckle with a gloved hand----many buckles lack good leverage and are hard to get really tight ("hard to close" may not be tight around the ankle).  

 

     We often drill a hole through the buckle lever and give our customers a short steel rod(tool steel, 1/8th by 3" to carry it in a pocket) to insert into the hole to increase the leverage.  This allows them to really tighten the buckle, if you really get it tight, you will not be able to lift the heel inside the liner.

 

I still think the boots are too big----how long are your feet in centimeters?, and if you have narrow heels this boot is a very poor choice.

 

mike


Edited by miketsc - 7/15/13 at 7:51am
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

What you say about leverage on that buckle (or lack thereof) sounds very familiar.  But I'm currently out-of-town, returning Friday.   When I get back, I will measure my feet (and be able to say what size the boots are).

 

Thanks again.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by miketsc View Post

SlowObstacal,

 

     I described tightening the ankle buckle as "tighten till it hurts" because a lot of folks will tighten it as tight as they can physically close the buckle with a gloved hand----many buckles lack good leverage and are hard to get really tight ("hard to close" may not be tight around the ankle).  

 

     We often drill a hole through the buckle lever and give our customers a short steel rod(tool steel, 1/8th by 3" to carry it in a pocket) to insert into the hole to increase the leverage.  This allows them to really tighten the buckle, if you really get it tight, you will not be able to lift the heel inside the liner.

 

I still think the boots are too big----how long are your feet in centimeters?, and if you have narrow heels this boot is a very poor choice.

 

mike

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Boots are labelled as 27.5  My feet vary in length.   Left one is just over 28 sitting flat, closer to 27.5 flexed (I have footbeds which do include a bit of an arch).  Right one is 28.5 or slightly more flat, flexed about 28.   Measurements were taken by marking a sheet of paper and measuring that.

 

I'm still going to see if I can close down the ankle the way you describe---though I might need something like the steel rod you describe---once the temperature drops a little.   Wool socks and ski boots at 90+ deg. is just a bit too much to contemplate.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by miketsc View Post

SlowObstacal,

 

     I described tightening the ankle buckle as "tighten till it hurts" because a lot of folks will tighten it as tight as they can physically close the buckle with a gloved hand----many buckles lack good leverage and are hard to get really tight ("hard to close" may not be tight around the ankle).  

 

     We often drill a hole through the buckle lever and give our customers a short steel rod(tool steel, 1/8th by 3" to carry it in a pocket) to insert into the hole to increase the leverage.  This allows them to really tighten the buckle, if you really get it tight, you will not be able to lift the heel inside the liner.

 

I still think the boots are too big----how long are your feet in centimeters?, and if you have narrow heels this boot is a very poor choice.

 

mike

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