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Fischer Vacuums - A Real Boot Guy Challenge

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I sure could use some help from the expert bootfitting community.


I bought a pair of Fischer Somatec Vacuum Fit 110’s for Masters and NASTAR racing last summer. They are the best fitting pair of boots I have ever owned, but BOY ARE THEY COLD.


My key questions are:

      • Did I get the right shell size?

      • Are these boots in particular (or racing boots in general) inherently cold or in some way flawed?

      • Am I am biomechanically predestined/doomed to have cold feet?

      • Is there a solution or set of solutions to my boot fitting dilemma?



Specs regarding my new boots:

       • I bought them in July 2013 (I assume, that’s the 2012/2013 model).
       • They have a black upper cuff and a white lower boot shell (with black concentric swirl design, red VACUUM and black FISCHER lettering on the bottom).

       • They are size: 25.5, 298 mm.

       • They have the original Fischer factory Vacuum Fit liner. It's black and grey and marked 8 12 255.

       • They have thin, custom-fitted Sidas insoles, which I believe are their “Winter Custom Race” model.

       • They have a black sole plate integrated and screwed under the forward toe portion of the white lower boot shell.

       • I wear compression ski race socks, size 3, CEP Progressive+.



About me, the skier:

       • I’m a 155 lb., 5’-9” tall, 60-year-old NASTAR Platinum racer (HC 13), looking to train and race with USSA Masters.

       • I currently ski on 2011-2012 Atomic Doubledeck GS Non-FIS (174 cm) Race Skis with Neox TL 12 Bindings
       • I plan to purchase a pair of slalom skis such as:

               o Fischer RC4 Worldcup SL (155 cm FIS women’s skis)

               o Head Worldcup Rebels i.SL RD (155 cm FIS women’s skis)



About my boot fitting challenges in general:

      • Lengthwise, my foot measures into 25.5 shell, foot width “C.” That’s the easy part.

      • Pressure point wise, I have a rather high instep, a prominent navicular bone, and plenty of bone spurs on my ankles and heels from wearing leather boots as kid.

      • Volume wise, I estimate I'm on the order of a 100 mm or greater last.

               o The best fitting alternative racing boot I’ve tried on in the store is the Lange RS 110 Wide.

               o You can forget any other boots with 95-98 mm racing lasts.

               o Last year, I skied in Nordica Firearrow F3’s, size 26.5 (an out of the box solution to a high instep, but a little upright and loose for racing).

               o For years, I used the Salomon SX 91 Equipe, size 335 (Yep, the red rear-entry ones! The only boots I ever owned that weren’t extremely cold or painful).

      • My fitness and circulation in general are excellent (I’m a cyclist and marathoner, too). In particular, you can easily see the veins in my hands, arms and feet stick out above the surface of my skin.

               o This makes me worried that I am biomechanically predestined or doomed to have cold feet. It’s easy to squeeze my veins down with your hand, with a tight fitting glove, or a pair of performance-fitting race boots … And there goes half my circulation?

               o The compression race socks seem to help for an hour or so, but ultimately, are they counterproductive for an athlete like me?



About my Fischer Vacuum Fit 110’s in particular:

      • I’ve skied these new boots six times and believe they should be “packed out” by now, but they are still intolerably cold.

               o I LOVE the fit, except for the forefoot.

               o I like the performance, the aggressive forward lean, but wonder if they are a touch too soft flexing.

      • They were fitted at “medium” pressure, not the > 200 psi “race fit” pressure.

      • The forefoot and toe box seems WAY too cramped.

               o We used thin race socks and little toe covers at my first fitting.

               o When I put them on it feels like there is lots of “extra sock” wrinkled beneath my toes.

               o When I skied in them barefoot, it still felt like there was “extra sock” beneath my toes. The only problem was, it must have been extra skin and muscle!

      • I’m concerned that heat molding even at the loosest buckle setting may have prevented my boots from expanding to allow room for my toes and my high instep.

               o Buckling the boot at the first notch, using the loosest adjustable screw setting adds unwelcome pressure.

               o I’ve even skied in them with the first two buckles completely unbuckled and they still feel too tight and my feet freeze.

               o As currently molded, at the top of my instep, the two sides of the lower boot shell only overlap about ¼ inch. (Is there any more room to fit or “grow” into? Is this too wide and does it let in too much cold and snow?)

               o Conversely, I use the widest of the three factory-drilled holes in the top cuff with the tightest or second tightest buckle pressure. I also pull the Velcro power strap way tight, almost to the factory preset “halfway, middle” position. Feels great, but does that contribute to cold feet?

      • I’ve used chemical Grabber and Yaktrax toe warmers and they barely help.

               o Would battery powered boot warmers really “solve” the problem? Are they even powerful enough to “mask” the problem?

      • I’ve noticed that there seems to be a lot of moisture or condensation inside my boots even after 24 hrs. indoors drying out.

               o Is this because my feet sweat too much? (Maybe, but I kinda doubt it, especially given the amount of moisture and since my feet are close to frostbitten.)

               o Is this because racing boots (or these boots in particular) are inherently tight and cold, but in some way under insulated, “leaky” or flawed? (In my case, is this perhaps a bigger problem than usual—with zero boot buckle pressure on my forefoot to keep out the snow and cold? Does this mean I need a larger shell size so I can actually buckle my boots?)



Some solutions I’ve toyed with:

      • Argue for a larger shell size…

               o Pros: More room for my “higher volume-bony prominence prone-well vascularized” foot. More room to stretch the boot beyond the 1st notch, lowest adjustable buckle pressure setting in the forefoot. Maybe a thicker liner, maybe more warmth. Maybe better overlap between the two sides of the lower boot shell (to keep out snow, one setting available for training/free skiing, and can still buckle down for racing).

               o Cons: Really the wrong Mondo size? Kiss race fit and race performance goodbye? And try selling my boot fitter on an entirely new boot...


      • Re-fit and remold my current boots: The question is how…

               o Re-fit wearing a thicker, medium, warmer recreational skiing sock (cut to fit around my forefoot only)?

               o Re-fit wearing thicker, bigger toe covers? (However, the first and lowest boot buckle is barely closing as it is. Do you drill new holes and move the lower two buckles over?)

               o Shave down or replace the removable plastic factory bootboard somehow, someway for added room and warmth?

               o Use a new liner? Are Intuition liners the way to go? Are new liners a solution if the real problem is with the shell?

               o Use boot warmers? Are Hotronic boot heaters the consensus recommendation (and actually powerful enough to mask the problem)?




Edited by SkiRDude - 1/2/14 at 5:17pm
post #2 of 3
Thread Starter 

Someone has replied privately and at length to my post and helped me enormously. I'd like to thank him sooo much for that! He's not a professional bootfitter or a racer, but a happy Fischer Vacuum customer, and here's what I've learned so far and where I'm still at a loss :-)



Problem #1. THE LINER -- (What I've learned...)


For model years 2012-2013 and earlier, liners in the Fischer SOMA Vacuum boots do not expand in the toe box when the shell is heated. While the shell will adjust for wider feet, the liner does not, and this problem is amplified in the forefoot by causing constriction of the toes, cold feet and pain in customers with wider feet, or as in my case, high insteps. Fischer has sought to address this problem with a new liner this season that is a full thermofit with an elastic Thermo toe box made of a neoprene/lycra material to customize fit in the forefoot, with the addition of an aluminum insulation layer for warmth.


Possible solution(s) -

      • Check with my dealer about the possibility of upgrading my liner. (Is the new Fischer liner any good?)

      • Consider the Intuition Power Pro Wrap liner or similar model. I can call Intuition directly for advice.



Problem #2. THE SHELL -- (Where I'm still at a loss...)


I should not have to accept intolerably cold, leaky boots. If there is a problem with the toe dam seal itself, or insufficient lower shell overlap such that the boot can't keep out snow, moisture and cold weather (without absolutely crushing and freezing my forefoot), I think Fischer (or the dealer) should warranty the boots.


Possible solution(s), or rather, questions -

      • Do I need a bigger shell (i.e., a 26.0, or 26.5 point shell, if they are available) or should I stick with my current 25.5 point shell?

      • How do I know if I need a 95, 98, 101, 103, or 105 mm last and which ones will/will not work in my current and/or new shell?

      • If I should stick with (or am forced to stick with) my current shell, how to I go about increasing the shell volume to truly accommodate my foot, a larger last liner, and improve the lower shell overlap so that my feet have half a chance of staying warm and dry?

               o Grind down or replace the factory foot bed?

               o Remold wearing thicker socks and/or a bigger, stronger toe cover?

               o Re-drill, replace and realign the lower two boot buckles?

               o Reheat or remold at a higher or lower temperature or pressure?

               o As a last resort, what about boot heaters?

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback everybody. I'm going to see my bootfitter tomorrow and put a couple of your ideas to work.


Speaking with a couple of guys privately, and a few boot doctors on the phone, it does seem to be the liner is the main problem. My forefoot is so crushed it freezes and I can't really tolerate buckling the lower half of my boot. If I do buckle it, it is on the lowest possible setting and that does not provide enough pressure to close up the shell, thus letting in lots of snow, water and cold air...


Contrariwise, the fit in my ankle and calf areas are firm, rock solid, comfortable, the best ever :-)


From what I understand, 2012/13 and earlier Vacuum liners are almost identical to the race liners used in many of their pre-Vacuum RC4 race models. A particular issue with these liners is that they did not expand in the toe box when the shell was heated, not that the toe box itself was inherently tight. The older liners had a reputation for being tough and durable, but being wrapped in synthetics, they did not stretch like the shell did.


I will insist on either a new, fully thermo-moldable 2014 Fischer liner or an equivalent race-fit Intuition liner. I'm not too keen on slicing up my current liner to allow it to stretch. I'm not expecting Bahamas-style bedroom slipper warmth (this is a race boot after all), but anything is better than a little snow and sub-zero air almost directly on my foot.


Along with a custom footbed, my boots were fitted the first time with foam pads (navicular bones and ankles) and a thin stocking. This time, we might try a few twists like an extra pad on the instep (perhaps multiple layers?) and two toe caps (vs. the one small flimsy one provided by Fischer). Another bootfitter suggested a wedge under the toes during the molding process to provide some wiggle room afterwards since the compression process really does flatten and tighten things up.


Keeping my fingers crossed. I haven't forgotten about boot warmers. Thanks again!

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