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The Abducted Stance thing in Fischer and other Boots

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

This is a fork from the interminable Fischer Vacuum thread that I can't bring myself to try to read in its entirety.

 

Many people, maybe even most people, have some degree of duck-footedness. If you pay attention, you'll see this among family, friends, and strangers on the street or on the beach. I don't have any amount of this stance, as far as I can tell. When I walk naturally in sneakers or bare feet on a surface where you can see my footprints, they are absolutely dead straight ahead. (Of course this and everything else I say in this post comes from someone who has no professional training in any of the disciplines involved.)

 

This leads to the following thought experiment: Picture someone who is naturally duck-footed standing in front of the base lodge in a pair of abducted boots, clicked into his bindings. Let's assume that the amount of abduction built into the boots matches this skier's natural duck-footedness exactly. Therefore when standing on the skis in a natural stance his skis point straight ahead, even though his feet inside the boots don't. Now let's pretend that this person is still standing in exactly the same place, except suddenly by magic he's me, with my naturally straight-ahead feet. Standing there, I'm uncomfortably duck-footed, so I allow my feet - not changing anything else - to rotate inward, assuming their natural straight-ahead alignment. What happens? Exactly. My skis are now in a subtle wedge. How can this not be a problem? Is it because the amount of duck-footed stance built into the boots is so tiny that it's immaterial? If so, why bother to build it in at all? Presumably it's there precisely so that people who ARE duck-footed aren't fighting a subtle herringbone tendency all the time.

 

In the middle of last season an unexpected event occurred that led me to need to get a new pair of boots fairly quickly. I went to a shop that has a long-standing region-wide reputation for outstanding boot-fitting and general customer service. This shop is one of the few I've been in that has a real selection of high-performance boots for people with small feet. (I take a 24 shell, which is one size smaller than is commonly available in most men's models.) I was pretty sure of the general direction I needed to head, but they confirmed that independently in short order, saying I needed a low-volume boot but one that was not stupid narrow in the forefoot. I did not go in with any serious preconceived notions about which brands or models might work best for me, and I tried to squelch the minor ones I did have. I tried on at least a half-dozen boots in my size, including an Atomic, a Technica, a Nordica, a Dalbello, and possibly more. (Unfortunately there were no Salomon candidates in my size that day. I was coming off a Salomon Falcon that had suddenly developed an irremediable issue ... or at least I had developed an issue with it. But the fit was always good.) Generally these were detuned race boots in about a 110 flex. I eliminated most of them right away for the same reason I always eliminate boots (including hiking boots, xc boots, ice skates, etc), which is that there's way too much space at the extreme upper boundary of my instep, in the "2nd buckle from the top" area, where I always find myself over-cinching to get firm boot-foot contact. (Yes, I have good custom footbeds.)

 

The two finalists ended up being the Lange RS 110 SC and the Fischer Vacuum 100 Jr. The Lange fit my foot really well out of the box. The Fischer not quite as well, but it was a close second. I was definitely leaning toward the Lange, but ultimately, after a whole lot of walking around the shop in 23s and 24s, decided I was smack between sizes, and that the smaller size just was not going to work on my bigger foot, punching or no punching. So the Fischer it was. I figured that the minor fit differences which made me favor the Langes originally would be compensated for by the molding process, and as it turned out, I think they were. They definitely hold me in as well as or better than any boots I've ever had. Note that at this point I was only vaguely aware of the ginormous Vacuum thread going on here at Epic, and had paid no attention to it. I was dimly aware of the Soma-tec sticker on the boots, and I had read about the concept casually before, but I paid no heed because I was really trusting the fitter and also trying, like a good dobie, to focus on fit and not on "features," a.k.a., bells and whistles.

 

My first day on the hill with the new boots was truly horrendous in every way. But after three or four visits back to the shop, over the course of the rest of the season, for their patient and expert adjustments, things were much, much better, even if not totally perfect. They had to do some pretty radical cuff alignment work - work that went beyond the maximum range of the star-shaped cams - to get me off my inside edges and onto a flat ski. From the beginning, my big problem with the boots had been that I was not only inside-edge-heavy, but also that I was always fighting against an insistent wedge in a way that I have not felt since I was about twelve. I mentioned this multiple times at my adjustment sessions. The fitter insisted gently that this was a simple function of being too much on the inside edge, which naturally leads to one ski carving into the other, since they are tipped unequally. Makes sense. Their spiel was that once that problem was straightened out, my perceived wedge issue would disappear. Well, it has been much reduced by the alignment work, but it has not disappeared.

 

I also mentioned a couple of times at the shop that I was wondering if the "Soma" stance could be contributing to my issues. Their answer was similar to what certain other posters here have said, which is that there is nothing all that unique about Fischer's implementation of the abducted stance, that other mfrs. have it too but just don't call it out, and that that (basically) I was over-thinking it. 

 

I was more or less convinced by that argument. Then today I stumbled by accident across the post below from @Noodler, and for better or worse it got me thinking about this all over again, particularly since Noodler and I had had an ostensibly unrelated (but perhaps not so unrelated after all) private conversation last spring about a subtle sequential edge change habit and a bias toward the BTE that I need to work on weaning myself off of.

 

Should I get a second opinion about whether this Soma thing might be causing a problem for me? Maybe take a few runs on my old boots (which never caused me this issue) to see if I see any immediate pros / cons? Or should I just file this whole train of thought under "ski gear hypochondria" and get myself to the gym.?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldguy View Post
 

Just my experience but if you were to somehow do a blind A - B comparison you wouldn't be able to pick the Soma boot.  Fischer isn't the only abducted stance boots on the market, by the way, they just like to "market" the fact.

 

Those on this board who know me well will tell you that I'm not your "average" skier.  I have been in it and I can tell. wink.gif rolleyes.gif

 
post #2 of 16

I have some experience with the Dobermann Aggressor which has the same stance, and I think your problem is what could be expected. More power to the inside edges is exactly what they are supposed to do. I think you can align it out. You'll notice that when you change how your foot is aligned, your femur rotates. If you stand on the outside edges your femur rotates out and vice-versa.

post #3 of 16

This is an interesting question. I'm currently in a Lange RS110SC 23.5 that took many hours of punching and grinding by a good bootfitter to get my foot in. But I'm the opposite of you... my natural stance is very abducted (duck-footed) and I'm considering trying a pair of Fischers, both for the Vacuum and the Soma stance.

 

However, I've also been told by multiple people that almost all boot companies have a somewhat abducted stance - just that Fischer is the only  company that really advertises it. But you guys seem to be saying that there is a difference.

post #4 of 16

   Q,  were your Falcons the X3 s-labs or the 120's?

 

    zenny

post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by kauffee View Post
 

This is an interesting question. I'm currently in a Lange RS110SC 23.5 that took many hours of punching and grinding by a good bootfitter to get my foot in. But I'm the opposite of you... my natural stance is very abducted (duck-footed) and I'm considering trying a pair of Fischers, both for the Vacuum and the Soma stance.

 

However, I've also been told by multiple people that almost all boot companies have a somewhat abducted stance - just that Fischer is the only  company that really advertises it. But you guys seem to be saying that there is a difference.

 

It's quite a bit more than you'll see in most other boots.

post #6 of 16

Interesting how this new iteration of EpicSki sends you an email if you're called out in a thread. :rolleyes

 

Anyhow, IIRC the Aggressor's version of abducted stance is not the same as Soma-Tec.  The Nordica version's abduction angle used a point centered under the heel.  I believe that Fischer's version has the point more forward than that.  The net result is that the Fischer Soma-Tec moves the heel medially (inside) and the forefoot laterally (outside) in relation to the center line of the ski.  The Aggressor just kicks the forefoot out a bit without changing the position of the heel in relation to the ski's center line (and it's much more subtle).  My conclusion is that Soma-Tec is a bit more aggressive with their implementation of the abducted stance.  Note that I don't have any experience with alignment adjustments when abducted stance shells are thrown into the mix.

 

QCanoe - I'm not sure if you've tried the Head Raptor 115RS, but if you haven't you really owe it to yourself to find one and see if it meshes well with your feet.  The Head Raptor series are just very good skiing boots IME.  Life's too short to ski in the wrong boots. ;):)

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post
 

QCanoe - I'm not sure if you've tried the Head Raptor 115RS, but if you haven't you really owe it to yourself to find one and see if it meshes well with your feet.  The Head Raptor series are just very good skiing boots IME.  Life's too short to ski in the wrong boots. ;):)

 

Thanks. As a matter of fact I HAVE tried on the RS. It happens that it was the 90, not the 115, but I'm guessing that there are fit similarities. I did this at my more regular shop before I embarked on the adventure described above. After having written that tome, I don't have the time or energy to go into all the many complicated details around why I didn't end up in some version of the RS, but the short version is that the boot fit all of my foot except my toes super well (really short toe box) and I was temporarily excited. However the shop did not carry the inventory that would have allowed me to settle in on the correct size and model for my small feet. The shop that did have a range of boots in my size does not carry Head. With 20/20 hindsight, I wish I had asked the first shop if they'd be willing to bring in some of the Heads on spec for me to try on, but at the time I obviously didn't know that things were going to end up in their current state.

post #8 of 16

Head's liners do tend to be short-lasted.  I don't use the stock liners in my Head shells (Raptor 130RS, B3 RD, and Overkill).  Because I don't use the stock liners I have size 25 (or 25.5) brand new Head liners available if you want to stick them in a pair of 24 shells.  Don't let the liner fool you into thinking the shell is too small.  I have maybe a 5mm shell fit with mine and the only way I pulled that off was by switching liners.  The stock liners were excruciatingly too small for my feet.

 

Anyhow, we've strayed way off topic, but I guess my point is that the best way to determine if you're dealing with an issue due to the Soma-Tec is to try to ski another newer boot to have a direct comparison.  You might try to find a shop that will let you demo some, but I'm guessing that a 24 shell is going to be near impossible to find.  You might consider testing a women's shell since they would be more readily available in a 24.  I even find that 25 shells (my size) are hard to find.

post #9 of 16

Below is my comment from the Vacuum thread. According to my boot fitter, these boots will not work for some skiers stance's. It sounds like you may be one of these skiers. but also that your boot guy doesn't know this and is just throwing darts at boots for you. Sounds like your best bet would be to find a more competent boot fitter.

 

"Not specifically.  He mentioned a woman he was working with, he was punching her boot.  I said she sounded like a good candidate for a Vacuum boot. He said she also had hip and knee issues and an abducted boot would make things worse for her. He said Fischer is concerned that (inexperienced) fitters might put such skiers in their boots, and the outcome would not be good."

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
 

I have some experience with the Dobermann Aggressor which has the same stance, and I think your problem is what could be expected. More power to the inside edges is exactly what they are supposed to do. I think you can align it out. You'll notice that when you change how your foot is aligned, your femur rotates. If you stand on the outside edges your femur rotates out and vice-versa.

 

Thanks epic. When you say, "I think you can align it out," are you talking specifically about the kind of left/right boot shaft alignment I described having had done already (twice)? Or are are you suggesting that there are different / additional approaches to alignment that my fitter and I should look at if I continue to have issues this season? 

post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zentune View Post
 

   Q,  were your Falcons the X3 s-labs or the 120's?

 

    zenny

 

:rotflmao: Neither. They were actually the Falcon 100 Jr. race boot from a few years ago - I think it was the first year after the change from the old X-Wave / Spaceframe design. (Small guy, small feet.) Salomons had never fit me at all, and it was huge change when the Falcon shell came out.

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post
 

 

Thanks epic. When you say, "I think you can align it out," are you talking specifically about the kind of left/right boot shaft alignment I described having had done already (twice)? Or are are you suggesting that there are different / additional approaches to alignment that my fitter and I should look at if I continue to have issues this season? 

 

I'd expect it to happen in the footbed or maybe in the sole. If you love everything else about it, maybe you can make it work, but then again, it seems like it might be better to have a boot where you don't need to workaround that.

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JW MN View Post
 

Below is my comment from the Vacuum thread. According to my boot fitter, these boots will not work for some skiers stance's. It sounds like you may be one of these skiers. but also that your boot guy doesn't know this and is just throwing darts at boots for you. Sounds like your best bet would be to find a more competent boot fitter.

 

"Not specifically.  He mentioned a woman he was working with, he was punching her boot.  I said she sounded like a good candidate for a Vacuum boot. He said she also had hip and knee issues and an abducted boot would make things worse for her. He said Fischer is concerned that (inexperienced) fitters might put such skiers in their boots, and the outcome would not be good."

 

JW thanks for the input. It may well be that the boot is not right for me in one important way. If that turns out to be true, I'll be sad, not least because I've invested a lot of time, effort, and money in the the boots and the process. It's definitely not the case, though, that my boot fitter is inexperienced or incompetent. He and his shop have been very well known for decades as one of the best boot shops in New England. I suspect that if I mentioned his name on the Ask the Boot Guys forum they would all say, "oh yeah, you are totally in good hands." The care and responsiveness and thoughtful assurance with which he has treated me on each of my several return visits backs up this track record.

 

One of the hard-to-swallow realities of boot fitting, I've realized, is that the fittee needs to learn how to participate effectively in the fitting process. That is not always an easy thing, especially since most of us don't get to (and don't want to) practice more than once every few years. If this weren't true, we wouldn't all have made the classic "too big" mistake at least once, right?

post #14 of 16

   Well, I suppose you could always go back to Salomon if all else fails.....you're a 24?

 

    zenny

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zentune View Post
 

   Well, I suppose you could always go back to Salomon if all else fails.....you're a 24?

 

    zenny  

 

Well, the only thing I that I know for sure failed is that I failed to stop myself from paying attention when I came across Noodler's post. :rolleyes  [That is a self-deprecating eye-roll, not a Noodler-deprecating eye-roll, btw.] Ignorance was bliss. If I had replaced that ignorance with knowledge, I'd have made a trade that was arguably valuable, but I don't know that I've actually gained knowledge; I may only have picked a scab that was on its way to healing. 

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post
 

One of the hard-to-swallow realities of boot fitting, I've realized, is that the fittee needs to learn how to participate effectively in the fitting process. That is not always an easy thing, especially since most of us don't get to (and don't want to) practice more than once every few years. If this weren't true, we wouldn't all have made the classic "too big" mistake at least once, right?

 

Quoted for the truth.  If you truly have a great-to-perfect fit and the performance you require in your boots then you've probably worked for it.  I know that I've spent a ton of money on getting to the point I'm at today and my skiing has directly benefited.  Boots just have to be right if you're even somewhat serious about this sport.

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