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Too much volume in boots?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Next year, I've decided to do something about my boot fit, either foot beds, new boots, or both. Last month at Sugarloaf, an instructor commented that my boots seemed to have too much volume. Since this was a huge class, I did not get a chance to ask her more details about this.
Question: What would be some of the "faults" in my skiing that would prompt someone to suggest this.
As always, Thank-you

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #2 of 23
Askdchan.com here
Since I have not seen you ski I can not apply info to your skiing but if you don't have custom footbeds get them. Then check your fit again. A good fitter will be able to check out the whole package. Remember however that with a good footbed, you do not need the boots as tight to keep your foot from changing shape and moving around. your foot will be locked in a neutral position. That being said, too much volume will cause a lot of other problems in your skiing. A fitter will be able to check this too. Make sure it's not just a sales pitch to get you to purchase a new boot. A good fitter will evaluate what you have already, tell you what he can improve what he can't and make suggestions if the boots are in good shape and close to the correct size before launching into the "you need a new boot" pitch. Be sure they do a shell sizing. (not the normal stick your foot in a boot and how does it feel)
also make sure you have the thin socks you will be skiing with when you get the fitting. I have 3 or 4 pairs of ultra thin socks that I ski in.

Hope that helps and is not more confusing.
post #3 of 23
You may also explore a custom blown liner to fit your shell. The quote I got last year was $175.

Also, consider the age of the existing liner since you ski so much. Sounds like about three or so days a week? The average liner will start suffering from compression of the foam after about a hundred or so usings. As you advance this becomes more critical.

Now I understand some of your posts regarding which buckle (sequence) to tighten in order to set the heel. My "philosophy" on that is that the initial sequence never mattered much because after the first half hour the shell "stretches", the foam compresses and I re-adjust the whole mess anyway.

Dchan is right on the money regarding the footbeds. I have endured the pain of Lange boots for too long because I depend on that tight fit (read hide weakness). With a $75 "bargain bed" this is the first year that I have been pain free without a sacrifice in fit.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by yuki (edited April 25, 2001).]</FONT>
post #4 of 23
The problem I always have from my badly fitting boots doesn't effect my skiing, but makes it so I cant ski. I get bruises under my toenails and on the edge of my toes, and the nails get jammed back into the toe. I tape them and everything, but nothing helps. And even worse, after each run I get terrible cramps in the arches of my feet as soon as I stop for a rest or get on the chair. I've broken my foot pretty badly before, and I have really bad feet as it is, but I am buying boots every year cuse my feet are growing. This is no problem since I can usually get connections for boots for like $100, but I can't dish out $175 a year for custom foot beds. Is there any other way to help your feet and stop the pain?
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
G-Dubs. There are a bunch of reasons that people get black toe nails. They are actually quite common in runners, especially those, who like myself enjoy running hills. The situation is similar for skiers: with the downhill action, the toes jam against the front of the boot, causing bruising. Some other causes are interesting, and not spoken of that often. It seems that people who pronate are more susceptable to bruised toe nails. And here's something interesting, if the shape of the boots toe box is very different than the shape of the person's toe area, that could cause problems.
You say that the arches of your feet are bothering you. Do you have flat feet? If thats the case, maybe you can just have some arch support added to your boots.
The problem of a teenagers growing feet is interesting. I think you should post a topic about it. Perhaps someone who coaches teenagers has some ideas.

My boot problems are the opposite. They are so comfortable that I don't even need to unbuckle them at lunch. Perhaps they are not giving me the proper support.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #6 of 23

If you are able to find boots on the cheap, you should probably be able to find less expensive footbeds. I know that even good cork Superfeet sell for around $125, and the cheaper Superfeet sell for around $75. Your best bet is to become buddies with a good boot fitter, because the product (Superfeet or other footbed) is actually really cheap. What you're actually paying for is their time to get you fitted. So if you can, hang out in the shop with a boot fitter that you get along with (play nice!) and maybe he'll start spotting you some of his time. Especially if you have something to offer in return. I send a lot of our new hire instructors to the best guy we have around here, with his name written on my card. That way he sees that I sent them. Because of this, I get all my boot work done gratis, and pay cost on things like footbeds. He actually replaced busted boot buckles for free for me too. I don't know what you might have, to offer in return, other than your witty personality... maybe you could set him up on a date with your sister... of course, that could make him hate you too
post #7 of 23

Some of the things that might happen if the boot is too big, are things like your skis not going where you are pointing them, or getting thrown around a lot more than they should by changing conditions (crud, bumps, etc). It will also make it hard to contol how much edge you are using. It'll make your feet hurt and cramp up even if you aren't banging around in there, because you will have to use your ankle and lower leg muscles to hold the ski stable. You might also have problems getting your shin onto the front of the boot because you have to move too far. If I leave my boots accidentally unbuckled in sloppy or bumpy conditions, I get a general feeling of the skis not doing what I think they should be doing, and in extreme cases, my feet start banging around in the boots. I'll notice my toes getting jammed and my heel lifting up.
post #8 of 23
My own experience:

(a) Boots too large can not be made to fit. Nohow. Start with boots that are the right size, and be sure to bring your current boots to the shop to determine if they are the right size.

(b) Boot shape and type make a difference. If the size is the same, a Rossignol will fit differently from a Lange. The foot shape makes a huge difference in both comfort and control. RACE BOOTS fit snugger than recreational boots of the same size. I like a snug fitting boot, but because of my light weight, average strength, and piss poor skill, I can't flex an adult race boot. SOOOO . . . I ski in junior [kids] race boots - fit snug, flex great.

(c) Skiing without a custom foot bed is a no no. It just makes sense to have your foot sitting on a solid foundation. When your foot moves, the boot should move and respond. Can't happen when you foot sole doesn't fit the boot inner sole.

(d) Boots that are the right size and fit to begin with can be improved by the boot fitter. They have specially made pads and shims that do absolute wonders, both for comfort and better skiing.

(e) Since the boot is the connection to the bindings, and the bindings are the connection to the skis, looseness at either place must necessarily have a negative impact upon control. SOOOOOO . . .

Yuh following the right trail, girl, now go get yuh boots done right! And I bet you'll be delighted with the result. Someone of your kinesthetic appreciation will really feel the difference.
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Great info from everyone, as always. I do in fact get thrown around in bad conditions. My last weekend at Sugarloaf was the first time I ever encountered "death cookies", and I felt like I was "being taken" by the mountain, without any choice as to which way I wanted to go.
Okay, here's my next question. I live around the corner from where Gordon of solesystems.com works. He is one of the most popular bootfitters inthe New England area. But some of the New England resorts are starting to do on snow evaluations, where the instructor tells the fitter exactly what the student needs. Which do you think is better?

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #10 of 23

It definitely helps to have the instructor give the boot fitter some idea of what sort of boot problems the instructor sees. But usually, that has more to do with alignment problems. I'll usually write down the alignment problems I see on a business card, and have the person take that to the boot fitter (BF). That way, the BF has somewhere to start looking for alignment issues. I note things like "has a hard time getting onto inside edge of left ski" or gets hung up on inside edge of left ski", or something along those lines.

Since you are in New England, I'd recommend going over to Stratton, and seeing Greg Hoffman or one of his techs at GMOL (Green Mountain Orthotic Labs). These guys are so good because they do lots of PSIA big wigs (D-Teamers and such), and get lots of feedback about their work. A lot of the local shop folks, even if they have all kinds of certs and stuff, usually just do your average "Joes" and "Janes" who never know if what the BF did was actually right or not. So they always think they did a good job because of lack of feedback. The folks at GMOL do people who know what the hell they are talking about, so when they make a change that isn't perfect, they hear about it, and learn from it.

Edit: I'll add that instructors are not boot fitters. We can see problems, but we can't always determine why the problem exists, when we are on the hill. A ski instructor should give the BF info and maybe even recommendations (if the instructor is VERY good), but should never tell the BF how to do their job. So I'd be weary of having an instructor dictate a solution for you. Afterall, I may be in shape, but I wouldn't begin to think I could tell someone else how to condition themselves better than a conditioning coach can.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by JohnH (edited April 26, 2001).]</FONT>
post #11 of 23

Try having footbeds made first. They may take up enough volume to give you a good fit in your current boots. If your boots are still too high volume with the footbeds, you could try a cardboard shim under the liner or under the footbed. You'd be amazed how much difference just a 1/16 " shim makes. Bontex shims are made for this purpose - made out of an incompressible cardboard that is resistant to mildew. They come in 1/16" and 1/8" thicknesses. You can experiment with this yourself by cutting out a shim shaped like the bottom of your liner from some fairly incompressible cardboard such as is used in packaging beer. Coors Light cartons work well - the stuff does not absorb moisture and does not pack down much. Two thicknesses would be about the same as the thinner Bontex shim.

Of course, if your boot shell is too long, this kind of fit adjustment probably won't be satisfactory.

post #12 of 23
Everyone here is right on the money! Love this website! Gdubs, do this.... Reach all the way down inside your bot, grab the bottom piece and pullit out. Now, look at the wear pattern. I'll bet my left ski and right ear there is a wear pattern at the ballof your foot and at the heel. these are the only two places the bottom of your foot is touch the base! I HAD THE SAME PROBLEM YEARS AGO! Achy arches! I now have the $90 Superfeet... problem sovled. These go to the base of my toes. The spendier one go all the way. Depends on you what you want.
Technica's tend to have a toe box which tapers very quickly. Sme people have trouble with that. I understand Tech is changing that next year. Too big a boot and your foot slides back and forth... toe bang city! Too loose a fit means there is too much foot, and leg movement before the bott 'feels' what you are trying to tell it what to do. Therefore wasted time and movement transmitting this movement to your ski.
OK, break time! Who's got the pizza and beer? or was it my turn to fly and buy?

Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #13 of 23
I didn't catch your post completely until just now. You can reuse your footbeds so it's not 175 every year. I have been on the same footbeds for 15 years. They are still fine. I am now on my 4th pair of boots. You may have to make minor adjustments but not new footbeds. I even had them looked at by a totally different fitter in Utah last year and he said they were still in very good shape and very well made. They don't have the latest technology (outlast liners on new Superfeet Korks) but they work fine. As long as I dry them out after each day, so far no odors.
post #14 of 23
dchan, remeber he said his feet are still growing (he's what, 15?). So he would end up needing new footbeds every year for the next 3 or 4 years.
post #15 of 23
good point. I think my feet growth slowed down quite a bit around 15-16 and stopped at 17-18 if I remember. correctly.
you might try at least off the shelf footbeds. They are better than nothing. Or find a fitter like JohnH mentioned.
post #16 of 23
Dchan- I'm still really small and hopefully gonna grow, so my shoe size is like 6 right now, that would mean I would need new ones for the nest like 4 years.
post #17 of 23
thanks for the clarification. I would get some of the premade superfeet (20-25 and sometimes less on sale) and then cut them down to size for your boot. (pull the stock footbed for a template). Save the stock footbed incase you want to give the boot away at some point. The premade superfeet units are good for your hiking boots, street shoes, and rollerskates too.
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
G-dubs, we had the same problem with my step son . From 14 to 17, we had to get him a new pair of athletic shoes each year. Finally, at 17, his feet stopped growing. Too bad there dosen't seem to be a trade in benefit for used boots, as there is for skis.
post #19 of 23

Do a quick shell fit on yourself. Take the liners out and grab a flash light. Mini maglites or equiv. work well. Stick your foot in the boot (unbuckled) with a thin ski sock on and wiggle your foot up to the front so that your big toe is just touching the boot shell. Now shine the flashlight down at wher your heel is inside the boot. How much space is there? Anything over an inch and you should take a picture of the boots and rush it off to ebay and pray.

Performance fit can be as little as 1/4" space but you definitely don't want that little. Probably 3/4" would be good for you. (That's about a "2 finger fit". The fingers are on top of each other, not side by side.)
Depends how much your going to ski/year. More days/year means boot will break in quick so you'll probably want little less, like 5/8". You could go to 1/2" but that's pushing it. The tighter the fit, the more work they'll need in the begining to get them to
fit your feet.
You really need to go to a good shop. In the Boston area I've got this recommendation from someone else: Bob Smith's/Wildnerness House's Gordon Hay. Not sure if Bob Smith's is a store or a person. Do the flashlight thing then go see someone. If the shell's too big, doesn't matter how good the footbed is.
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks Tog! Bob Smith's is the store that's right around the block from me, and Gordon is the bootfitter of choice in our area. I think what I will do next season is take a class from either of the two instructors who commented that more technical problems are mostly due to improper boot fit: either Genie Jennings at Sunday River, or Linda at Sugarloaf. That way I can get specifics about what I need.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #21 of 23

Before you feel overwhelmed trying to get a good fit, the old way with leather boots was to give them a good hosing down. Lace them up real tight and then sit on a sunny front porch while they dried (sorta).

Repeat twice over the course of summer vacation.
post #22 of 23
Hi Lisa,

Did anyone mention "alignment?" I thnik if your boots are not too old or the linning not to compacted, you can start there. If the inner boot is too compacted, consider replacement liners, eg. Zip liners.

If that is just a compormise fix, then go for the new boots, with custom footbeds, and DON'T FORGET THE ALIGNMENT.

I'll bet that either your feet aren't perfect or your need to make some alignment adjustments, or both. You know by now how important boots are to the sport, so don't skimp here. BTW, alignment for me this past season made a huge difference. A great fitting boot, with wonderful skis, without footbeds and proper alignement is probably a waste of money.
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
Yep! That's pretty much of what I was talking about earlier. At Sunday River, the instructor does an "on snow" analysis of your alignment, then tells the bootfitter what the issues are.
The reason Genie suggested this, is because on flats, before I start skiing, she can get me into decent alignment, and she knows that I understand what she's talking about. But while skiing, its sometimes hard to stay aligned. And this being my profession, I know when I'm not correctly aligned. Its a bit frustrating when I can't seem to correct it. It was an instructor named Linda at Sugarloaf who gave me the specific suggestion that my boots have too much volume.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
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