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The first laterally articulated ski boot!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I just created what may be the first laterally articulated ski boot!  After major surgery on the cuff of a very very old pair of lange 4 buckle recreational boots I now have one right boot where the sole can be inclined about 5 degree onto either edge with only ankle eversion/inversion. the side rivits for the cuff were removed, and I fastened to cuff to the lower boot at a pivolt point just above the heel. with several other changes to shape different parts of the shell and create a pivot point in the front, I was able to get a working prototype.  

 

The first thing I notice is that there isn't that much difference when you first put the boot on. it still feels pretty firm side to side, maybe a little more movement range. But then when I start setting the boot on edge I find it is much easier to set it to a very sharp edge angle without torquing my knee. It feels much more comfortable and controlled to set the boot on edge. support leaning backwards is about the same, but I had to add some forward flex because the design is so crude. I have certainly seen "soft" boots with more forward flex.  

 

So I can't wait to ski on these boots! one is unmodified for comparison. I hope to try them tomorrow and report back here.  

post #2 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowSteady View Post
 

I just created what may be the first laterally articulated ski boot!  After major surgery on the cuff of a very very old pair of lange 4 buckle recreational boots I now have one right boot where the sole can be inclined about 5 degree onto either edge with only ankle eversion/inversion. the side rivits for the cuff were removed, and I fastened to cuff to the lower boot at a pivolt point just above the heel. with several other changes to shape different parts of the shell and create a pivot point in the front, I was able to get a working prototype.  

 

The first thing I notice is that there isn't that much difference when you first put the boot on. it still feels pretty firm side to side, maybe a little more movement range. But then when I start setting the boot on edge I find it is much easier to set it to a very sharp edge angle without torquing my knee. It feels much more comfortable and controlled to set the boot on edge. support leaning backwards is about the same, but I had to add some forward flex because the design is so crude. I have certainly seen "soft" boots with more forward flex.  

 

So I can't wait to ski on these boots! one is unmodified for comparison. I hope to try them tomorrow and report back here.  

 

 

would love to see video...

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
no video the first day. i prefer to meet my maker alone without an audience, lol.
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

I tried the boot tonight and it worked really darn well! I was using vintage semi-shaped 190 cm skis. 

 

Walking: easier to walk, much more comfortable, didn't feel so much like concrete galoshes. Unmodified boot was quite uncomfortable. 

skating: the modified boot gripped and glided better skating on flat ground. 

hard packed groomer: I felt there was a clear advantage to the modified boot in setting an edge and modifying the radius of the turn. There was no instability at 30-40 mph, rather, the modified boot held a more stable carved edge. I found myself steering more with the modified boot via ankle movement while turning in either direction. There was a slight degree of ankle inversion/eversion when standing still, but once the ski was on edge it was possible to increase the edge angle in a controlled way by rolling the ankle. 

 

softer snow -3 inches of somewhat granular old snow that hadn't been tracked much. 20-40 degree pitch.  The modified boot really shined in these conditions, initiating and holding carved turns significantly more easily and cleanly. 

 

ICe on 40degree slope: dull edged skis wouldn't bite with either boot, even with increased edges with the modified boot. IT was a bit more work holding the edge angles using ankle muscles under these conditions, but not terrible. 

 

little icy/rutty moguls: the skis performed pretty well despite their long length. They were easier to turn quickly.

 

One footed skiing: I would say there is a definite advantage to the modified boot. I can carve in both directions on one foot. 

 

Weaknesses: the boots I started with are too big and very old with stiffened foam in the liners. the unmodified boot performed particularly poorly. As far as the modification, it may be a disadvantage in rutty, icy, irregular snow surfaces.  It also should be easier to use once i get some ankle muscle development. 

 

I find myself wanting a bit more freedom of movement in the boots  to be sure of the effect 

post #5 of 21

SlowSteady:

 

I'm kind of slow-witted, so I'm having a very hard time envisioning what in the world you're talking about.

 

If you can't post video of the skiing, could you maybe post photos of the boots or a diagram or something?

 

I'm having a very hjard time figuring out why an alpine ski boot that hinges or flexes sideways would be a good thing.

 

Props to you for imagination, but I'm just struggling to understand why this would be an improvement.  I particularly would like to see some illustration of what the boot does on 40-degree ice.

 

Thanks.

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Of Course. let me build the other boot and fiddle a bit more. running out of ski days here, so i'll try to move fast. 40 degree ice was the weakest condition. a rigid boot might be superior there, but both boots and the skis were poor on that. it was very hard, dense ice, carvable only in racing skis, i would say
post #7 of 21

Come on you ski historians! This is the design of Sven's Nordica GT as used by Tamara McKinney to win the overall World Cup. Take any pinned 4 buckle boot, remove the side rivets and the uppermost rear rivet, and elongate the hole of the remaining rivet. Presto. I can't believe that no boot company hasn't revived this design. Great idea by the Op.Erdz

post #8 of 21

This sounds like the lateral equivalent of having a boot with a walking mode and then skiing while in the walking mode: you can ski while in the walking mode but it feels weird.

 

Maybe it will turn out more useful with a on/off control that would allow locked or free ankle rotation depending on conditions.

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank You Erdz! I want one, end of story. it didnt even feelnthat different, just more comfort and control, and the last vestigial urge to initiate a turn with tip pressure was gone.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by erdz View Post
 

Come on you ski historians! This is the design of Sven's Nordica GT as used by Tamara McKinney to win the overall World Cup. Take any pinned 4 buckle boot, remove the side rivets and the uppermost rear rivet, and elongate the hole of the remaining rivet. Presto. I can't believe that no boot company hasn't revived this design. Great idea by the Op.Erdz

Trust me plenty of companies have revisited the design. It's that it doesn't work for the masses. Building a boot for a top racer is one thing but the dollars are in the mass market. Most recreational skiers do not have the torsional control of the boot or ski to have this be a viable boot for the market. Go for it, but this is my no means revolutionary or marketable for the general skiing public.  

post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
 

you can ski while in the walking mode but it feels weird.

 

That is the worst!  I've done this accidentally a few times after hiking for a line, then completely hacking my way down in the backseat wondering what the hell is wrong with me.  Then I realize and feel like an idiot... and it's pretty harsh on your leg muscles.

post #12 of 21

The Nordica GT (and the ladies version Astral Elite ) were not special race boots made only for WC skiers but were wildly popular sellers. I remember that in Stowe in the 70's that most of the race team ( like the late, great George Tormey and current USSA prez Tiger Shaw ) skied them. As for skiing with a boot with the walk mode open, I suggest you take a run with Geoff Bruce ( of Hotronic) sometime as this how he likes to ski. It ain't for me but it can be done at a level far beyond anybody here. Erdz

post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Tried Google, Ebay, Nothin. I'll Try The Ladies Version. Thanks For The Additional info.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Got It.Mens Version possibly nordica GP for Grand Prix? I see how it would be easy to modify. I'll finish the other boot today,maybe get to try it once before the snow melts. i doubt video will help. the ankle movement is too subtle to see on video. i can demonstrate the movement statically with close ups, though.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SVmike View Post

Trust me plenty of companies have revisited the design. It's that it doesn't work for the masses. Building a boot for a top racer is one thing but the dollars are in the mass market. Most recreational skiers do not have the torsional control of the boot or ski to have this be a viable boot for the market. Go for it, but this is my no means revolutionary or marketable for the general skiing public.  

just saw your post. This keeps getting more interesting. So it's not only an old idea but the advantages are also well known, for an elite racer? Im sorry, but it seems strange that a racer could win a world cup title with a design innovation, every boot maker could know about it, and then no one uses the same innovation for years in elite racing because its not good for the mass market.

on the other hand I find your comment about torsional stability fascinating. it did seem, in my briev testing, that i would need to build ankle strength to get full benefit from the boot. ankle strength is also limiting me on how much movement i dare allow in the cuff, as well as how hard i dare ski in the boots. so far it isnt much problem, but i plan to open the cuff movement more to give a more exaggerated demonstration. Thanks for the great info.
post #16 of 21

So for those of you who have never seen it, here is a picture of the Nordica GT Erdz has been talking about. You can't see the notched attachment on the rear of the boot, but you can see there are no hinge rivets. I actually skied these when growing up skiing in Stowe Vermont. They were great boots and you did not need to be a World Cup skier to ski them. Sven Coomer who designed it is a brilliant boot designer and is still innovating to this day.

post #17 of 21

I remember skiing in lace-up leather ski boots that barely came above the ankle.  I can attest that a lot of lateral ankle flexibility is not a desirable thing.  However, I would never think to deprive you of first-hand experience.  :rotflmao:

post #18 of 21

Cirquerider I wouldn't say there was a lot of lateral articulation as it was limited by the lower part of the boot and the rear attachment. Its much like having some articulation in the mid foot area as opposed to having the foot completely locked up. Hence the reason people like Eric Schlopy have softer material on the medial side of there boot boards. SVmike I would love to know of one boot company who has revisited this design and decided not to market it. I've been a hard goods buyer for over 25 years and cannot think of one other boot even as a prototype that had this design. Second, I can tell you from experience it did not take a high skill level to ski this boot. They sold it quite good numbers to men and there was a women's model also.

post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Wow! Thanks, Very Interesting. looks like my boots. i found them hard to ski on ice today after i loosened the lateral hinging more, but they were comfortable and skied well when the movement was kept more limited, or when the snow is soft. ankle strength is a big factor. i think they would work decently with practice. thank you so much for the wonderful info
post #20 of 21

That is MY picture of my Nordica GT. The faux leather strap was used to hold the cuff on a leather telemark boot. This illustration shows it rejoined to the original lower. There is a tab that is covered that should be showing through the back lower part of the cuff which is the only secure attachment between the cuff and the lower. The part of the lower that is hidden in the cuff is comparable to that of today's boots. It comes up and overlaps in front of the tung and wraps around the ankle.

 

I had the original Nordica GP (Grand Prix) which was a classic overlap boot with two rivets on each side locking the cuff to the lower. I used those for SL and GS. The GTs were used exclusively for DH. I wanted the more supple flex that the GT offered over the GP, which was a pretty stiff boot. That GT was what I was using racing in 1977.

post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post
 

That is MY picture of my Nordica GT..... The GTs were used exclusively for DH. I wanted the more supple flex that the GT offered over the GP, which was a pretty stiff boot. 

It's a small world! Great to hear from you.  I was thinking my lateral hinging boots would be a nightmare on that blown powder and steep icy bumps run we did, but then I couldn't ski that one even in my good boots.  So tell me, because I'm sure the questions are coming, why did you want a supple flex for downhill. You were hitting very steep icy courses in the Northeast at the time, IIRC. Were you using ankle movements to hold the edges?  With 90 mm underfoot and no riser plate, I found it quite difficult to control my ankle movements with sideways hinging boots on boiler plate ice. With the old racing skis and higher boot sole height you would have needed maybe 1/2 as much torque or less to control an edge, plus the advantages of year building ankle strength, so I can imagine how it could work.  But why for downhill rather than slalom?  Having never had any ambition to go bombing straight down Whiteface over the ice, I have no way to imagine what kind of boot might allow me a modicum of opportunity to survive to the bottom.  I do know that when I attached my cuff the same way it was immediately a more comfortable boot with more edge feel, until I took it too far and opened up the lateral movement more. I have a feeling we have lost something important in boot design since the GT went out of production. 

 

It sounds like this isn't a modified boot at all, but actually a boot designed with just one attachment point at the heel.  Actually, when you mentioned a tab at the back it started to ring a bell. I think I remember those boots now. 

 

Anyway great to hear from you. I hope the great conditions keep up a bit longer. We are seeing grass and sun for the first time in 3 months. I think this may be my last ski day. 

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