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Which caused my injury: liner seam vs shell sizing?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I've skied around 40-50 days in my "new" boots with varying degrees of comfort, and ongoing tweaks by the bootfitter who sold them to me. But last week, right in the middle of a week-long exam course, a long-simmering but hitherto benign blister on my little toe imploded and became nastily and unattractively infected. After cramming this swollen thing into my boot for the last two days of the course, I am still reluctant to wear anything (including a sock) on that foot, but I did go in and see my bootfitter today. The centre of the blister aligns suspiciously with a seam on the boot liner, but my bootfitter says this shouldn't have caused the blistering without movement, and he wonders if the shell is slightly too wide at that point, allowing my foot to move while skiing. It certainly doesn't feel loose -- if anything it is still uncomfortably tight, even in a flexed position. I don't feel as if I have any movement while skiing. The thought of going any smaller in a ski boot makes me squirm. 

 

He's going to try some Palau boot liners (taken out of a pair of new but replaced-under-warranty boots) and heat-fit them once my toe returns to normal to confirm (or otherwise) if my liners were to blame. I tried on several different brands of ski boot (on my unaffected foot) in the store today to see if any fit better than my current boots, but they were all worse. We went through a fairly long and exacting fitting process when I bought the boots last year, and they were actually very comfortable and supportive for at least the first half of the season last year. When things started getting uncomfortable, I had a bit of work done to them, including getting new custom footbeds, having a piece of the tongue cut out, some widening of the forefoot on the affected boot, and some tweaks to the footbeds. It was starting to get better ... But I think the bootfitter is flummoxed by this latest thing. 

 

Any knowledgable suggestions as to what the problem might be?

 

For reference, the skiboots are Salomon Quest 100W in a 24.5 shell. I would wear a 25-25.5 shell in other brands.

post #2 of 19

pictures of your feet, the boots, the liners, and the footbed please.

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

Ok, here they go. Alert: yuck factor. Look away if you're squeamish.

 

 

AppleMark

 

AppleMark

 

AppleMark

 

AppleMark

 

AppleMark

 

AppleMark

 

AppleMark

 

AppleMark

 

AppleMark

 

AppleMark

 

AppleMark

 

 

AppleMark

 

AppleMark

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

The Palau liners, which haven't yet been worn or heated. Note placement of seam (nowhere near little toe).

 

 

AppleMark

 

AppleMark

post #5 of 19

Nice shots.  My compliments to the photographer.

 

I'm not as familiar with the exact boot as others here might be since I don't sell it, but most boots with a walk mode don't qualify as low volume.  Your heel looks narrow to me so I'm wondering why the walk mode on course instead of a narrower lasted boot that would hold you better?  Also wondering if you are a 25 by measurement or by previous purchases?

 

I agree with the fitter that there must be some movement to rub the blister but even in the most firmly fit boots there is all kinds of foot movement happening in all planes during skiing.

 

Lou

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi Lou, I believe the ski boots are medium volume. I haven't been getting any heel lift in them. My feet were measured, and 25 was the size recommended. Right after I purchased the boots, a small area in the toe box was ground out to accommodate the big toe on my slightly longer left foot, while the right boot (pictured) was widened to accommodate my wider right foot.
post #7 of 19

thanks for the photo's. general observation of your foot.....keep in mind that i cannot see any reference to corroborate my initial impressions, however i see it similar to lou. your heel/ankle looks on the thin side, your forefoot looks wide at the fifth met head and your toes look very wide and square relative to the toe box shape of the boot.

 

first thought is that out of the box, your boot is shaped opposite of your foot. that boot has a huge heel/ankle profile, and the toe box swings into pinky toe side. in my guestimation if you were to give us a top down photo of your foot next to the boot shell, it would be obvious to anyone looking that the toe shape of that boot does not look anything close to the shape of your toes. those two mis-fits combined allow for your foot to move easily into the narrower lateral toe box, because that shell is not containing your heel or ankle.

 

if you scroll from the top down shot of your toes or the shot in front of your toes to the shot of the boot shell that shows the amount of curve or swing from the toe buckle to the edge of the sole, you will see little in common with the shape of your foot. the boot shell has to be widened and squared off in front of the widest part of your foot at the met heads. and your heel ankle need to be contained so that your foot cannot slide forward into the toe box. a neoprene tongue shim or eliminator tongue would go a long way in solving that piece of the puzzle.

 

so, could it be the seam of the liner? yes it could, however neither the liner or the shell match your forefoot shape, and the order that i would problem solve would first lock the heel down and back, then heat change the lateral forefoot shape of the shell, then see if the liner will expand into the shell shape change. if the seam is still a problem, then heat mold the palau inner boot. 

 

also curious what your foot actually measures with a mondo point sizer? 

 

jim

post #8 of 19

the shell of the boot in the photo does not seem to have been stretched. or if it was, the stretch did not hold. that is quite common if the fitter does not get enough heat into the shell when expanding the shell.

 

jim

post #9 of 19

I agree and honestly think you would benefit from at least trying on some different models.  The goal is to anchor your rear foot.  It may lead to a boot that out of the box feels to narrow in your toes but widening a boot in that area is common and easy for anyone with any skills.

 

Lou

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks, both of you, for your comments and suggestions. 

 

I have in fact wondered if some of the heat stretching has been ineffective -- I have had the toe area widened several times, and while it certainly made a huge difference shortly after I got the boots, later efforts haven't felt as noticeable. However I certainly don't feel that my foot bones are as compressed now as when the boots were brand new. I'm not sure about the heel thing though -- as I said, I haven't noticed any heel lift.

 

I did try on different brands of boots both at the time I bought these, and again this week, just for comparison. My bootfitter and I both thought these Salomons were the best fit. As is common with ski shops here, there was only a choice of about 4 brands: Salomon, Nordica, Black Diamond and Garmont, from memory. I doubt such a thing as fit guarantee exists here (it's certainly never been mentioned), so I am probably stuck with these boots in the meantime, but will ask about the possibility of locking my heel down and back, to see if that helps. 

 

Cheers!

post #11 of 19

late to the party on this one but i would agree with both the guys on this, it looks (from the angles of the photos ) like anything past your 4th toe is wider than the shell, if the shell has been stretched there then it most certainly has not held...more heat required and longer on the press to fix that  

 

one other question... how is your ankle joint range of motion?  if this is limited then you may also be prevented form getting right into the back of the heel pocket which could  be shunting you forward in the boot which will put the widest point of your foot into an even narrower part of the boot...again this is back to anchoring your foot back

 

i cannot tell form the picture but is there (was there) a line of sock fluff around the heel cup on the footbed (you might have cleared it off for the picture) this is a good indicator that you are not all the way back in the boot

 

if you cannot access a mondopoint foot measure, then at very least do a shell check, let us know how much space there is in that shell

 

good luck getting sorted

 

Colin

post #12 of 19

turtle,

 

     One other thing that can push the toes forward, is a large calf muscle---it will push the knee further forward than someone with a slimmer calf and

any upward motion (extension of the leg at the ankle/knee) will push the calf into the back of the shell and the foot and liner forward in shell (ouch).  

 

     So measure your calf circumference at the top of the liner and the length of your feet in centimeters and post the info.

 

mike

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

I have ridiculously skinny calves: 34.5 cm diameter at around boot-top (bearing in mind that I can't actually put that boot on just yet). My right foot measures exactly 24.8cm long. Left foot is 25.3cm.

 

My ankle range of motion is OK, I think -- I could certainly be more flexible but I can bend at the ankle a reasonable distance. 

 

I don't recall seeing any sock fluff on the footbed.

 

I don't know if this is relevant or not, but I am rather duckfooted: my feet don't naturally point straight ahead, so that when I ski, I have to consciously try to avoid a knock-kneed stance, and it's quite hard to do. This was pointed out by my course examiner last week.

post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle View Post
 

I have ridiculously skinny calves: 34.5 cm diameter at around boot-top (bearing in mind that I can't actually put that boot on just yet). My right foot measures exactly 24.8cm long. Left foot is 25.3cm.

 

My ankle range of motion is OK, I think -- I could certainly be more flexible but I can bend at the ankle a reasonable distance. 

 

I don't recall seeing any sock fluff on the footbed.

 

I don't know if this is relevant or not, but I am rather duckfooted: my feet don't naturally point straight ahead, so that when I ski, I have to consciously try to avoid a knock-kneed stance, and it's quite hard to do. This was pointed out by my course examiner last week.

1000

All boots in a given brand / model size run will have the same amount of forward lean, when measured where the picture indicates----If the boot has a 12 degree forward lean it will usually measure

60mm at that position.  In your boots size, this is too much for your 13.5 in circumference leg.  If you shorten the boot sole(and move the boot sole center back in under the upper shell) but don't change the forward lean then the person in the smaller boot will have more forward lean relative to the boot sole center.

 

In a 24.5 shell you would only need 43mm of forward lean to position your lower leg in the same place as a person with your size leg who was in a 27.5 shell.  This will usually cause a lower stance(using up available ranges of flexing) and haunt you by wearing out you quads until you really get in fantastic shape.  We have been modifying boot shells (changing the forward lean) to accommodate this issue for years with excellent results.  So, even tho you think you have really skinny calves, in your boot size, that is not the case and it may be that your calves are pushing your toes forward into the toe box of the boots.

 

By the way, I got that picture from a manufacturer, they don't(or didn't) publish a forward lean angle.

 

mike

post #15 of 19

to make this clear as mud........there is a possibility that if your calf is super skinny, your stance could be quite upright which could allow your ankle joint to be "open" in the boot further forcing your toes forward. also the cuff on that boot has a flare to the rear, just saying.

 

remedial question......have you been skiing or teaching in the boots with the cuff in the hike position?

 

jim

post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 

Ok, that makes some sense to me: in addition to fighting my knock-kneed tendency, my examiner also worked on getting me to ski "within a box" ie much lower stance. So I was definitely too upright, which I guess meant my ankles weren't flexed enough.

 

But I don't think I've been skiing with the cuff in hike mode -- I'd notice, wouldn't I? 

 

Two bootfitters were on the case yesterday. One of them thinks that the "blister" may actually have been a chillblain (my toes, especially on that foot, were getting very cold, then numb, followed at the end of the day by an intense burning sensation), exacerbated by the placement of a metal rivet on the shell, right on top of that liner seam, just on top of my little toe.

 

So, the toebox was stretched again (on both boots, but more on the right) and I will stick with my existing liners for now. I did mention the possibility of the stretch not holding its shape, so hopefully this time it will. It is starting to feel better. I still don't feel as if I have any movement along the footbed, but what I feel in the shop vs while skiing will obviously be two different things. When I can ski again (little toe is still very raw) I will pay serious attention to what my foot is doing, and take it from there. Both bootfitters have been looking at the possibiity of heel movement, but they don't think it's happening.

 

Just out of curiosity, if your collective opinion is that this is the wrong boot for me based on the info above, what would you recommend? 

post #17 of 19

Can't tell from pictures how wide your foot is but in general I think boot fit should primarily focus on heel  and mid foot and forefoot is mostly along for the ride.  That means if someone has a wide foot but skinny heel I try hard to fit the heel.  If I fit the forefoot out of the box then the boot is almost certainly to large in volume everywhere else.  Boots can easily be stretched dramatically in the forefoot area.  So I fit the heel and stretch the forefoot.  Most skiers mistake is looking for a comfortable boot off-the-shelf instead of looking for a solid fit that may require modification.  The comfortable off-the-shelf fit is almost always loose.

 

Lou

post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all your replies. The infection hadn't properly cleared up after about a month so I went back to the doctor for more antibiotics, which (after just a couple of days) seem to be doing the trick. She is fairly sure that it wasn't caused by a blister but rather a chilblain, stemming from lack of circulation (possibly after my new footbeds were made?). The footbeds were later flattened out a bit in the toe area after I experienced numbness in my toes and along my sole (well before the infection set in) but possibly the damage had already been done by then. I haven't suffered from circulation problems since I was in my teens and don't think it's an issue again now unless constriction comes into play.

I rented wider ski boots (Head Next Edge 80) yesterday to make the most of the last few days of our season. Who knew rental boots could be so comfortable? My toe wasn't completely pain free, and they certainly weren't a great fit (my left foot was swimming in them) but at least skiing wasn't agonising and it was great to be back on the snow. While I won't be rushing out to buy those particular Head boots once my toe returns to normal, I do wonder if I should look for some that won't give me as much grief as the Salomon Quests have.
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou Rosenfeld View Post

Can't tell from pictures how wide your foot is but in general I think boot fit should primarily focus on heel  and mid foot and forefoot is mostly along for the ride.  That means if someone has a wide foot but skinny heel I try hard to fit the heel.  If I fit the forefoot out of the box then the boot is almost certainly to large in volume everywhere else.  Boots can easily be stretched dramatically in the forefoot area.  So I fit the heel and stretch the forefoot.  Most skiers mistake is looking for a comfortable boot off-the-shelf instead of looking for a solid fit that may require modification.  The comfortable off-the-shelf fit is almost always loose.

Lou
Hi Lou,
I'm fairly confident that the bootfitter who sold me the boots was focusing on the fit for my heel and mid foot, hence the later stretching of the forefoot area. I haven't had any heel lifting. I think the problem may be that the heat stretching hasn't held in a lot of the work he's done. Both boots were uncomfortably tight all over when they were purchased. That's not to say there mightn't be a better boot for my feet, just that he didn't stock it.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ask the Boot Guys › Which caused my injury: liner seam vs shell sizing?