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Dialing in my Boots

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

My Stats:

Age: 29

Height: 5'11

Weight: 170-175# (weight may trend upward a little after a minor hand surgery this offseason and I can start strength training again but I don't want to gain much)

Days Skiing Per Year: Now about 40+

Skiing Style: Fast & Aggressive

 

Current Boots: Scott G1 FR130

 

Current Mods:

- Toebox blown out after loosing 2 nails on my big toes

- Booster "Expert/Racer" Strap

- BD Insoles FF S9

 

Concerns: 

Although I've skied most of my life, I've never really thought much about my boots really hampering my skiing abilities. I honestly didn't know you can modify them as much as you could until I got my latest pair of ski boots from Peak Ski & Board in Wexford, PA and read The Athletic Skier.

 

Initially, what got me into the bootfitter this season was needing to have my toebox blown out due to blood blisters forming under my big toes & subsequently the toe nails falling off.

 

The major problem I've noticed over my years of skiing is I have difficulty turning to my right going forward. It's not a huge problem on wide open bowls & groomers, but affects me most when I'm in tight spaces (bumps, trees, chutes) or on extremely steep off-piste slopes (only time steepness affected me) when I can't flatten my skis to smoothly initiate a right turn. I can turn left almost thinking about it, but to turn right I almost always need to physically pivot my skis to do so. Also when I look down, I often notice my right ski is wobbling (weight not on it? fatigue?), and my skis at times ski in this shape: | \ . That's a bit exaggerated but you get this point. At this point, I feel like my boots are the main thing plateauing my skiing abilities.

 

The first issue I decided to take care of was getting footbeds. I wanted fully custom footbeds, but left with BD Insoles FF S9. I don't actually think these are custom though. The bootfitter said I had "flat feet," and this is why he choose these insoles. He also recommended canting at least my right boot because after assessing me, as he noted I was not getting on my right edge. This season I was getting some right hip pain after skiing, but haven't had it since the putting in the footbeds.

 

While I was recently in Jackson Hole, I stopped in JH Sports and spoke with their bootfitters (Tom and Pat). Tom took a look at my insoles and instantly recommended custom insoles done by Pat. Although mine were heat molded, he noted that these would provide more support and prevent my inner foot from rolling over and maybe negate the need for any canting. Essentially, he noted that I didn't have enough arch support with these which to me sounds like my arch is more neutral than flat. I took some photos of my footprints and maybe someone can give me a more qualified opinion:

 


FYI, I saw two different ways recommended for determining footprint type so I tried both. I didn't know which method was best.

 

In the next few days, I'm going assess the center of my knee mass in my boots and see if my boots are over, under or correctly canted. If I can I'll try to get some photos to document this.

 

Questions:

 

1) Would it be worth it for me to invest in custom footbeds/orthotics for my boots? What foot type am I in your opinion? I almost pulled the trigger in JH but I was hesitant because I'm not always out there and not sure how much mods need done to footbeds after they are made. I'm in the Pittsburgh area and usually ski in Wisp because we have a place there but I'm not sure if anyone does fully custom footbeds in the area. I would prefer a certified pedorthist or masterbooter to do this. If none are in my area, can a podiatrist create a custom footbed/orthotic for me?

 

2) I'm pretty convinced I'll need canting done to at least my right ski boot. I know from reading The Athletic Skier I should strive for my knees to be 1-2 degrees medially biased, although it's skier specific and not a one-size fits all solution. My current bootfitter said we'd have to get on snow and place shims underneath to see what felt best and then my boots would be modified. Does this sound like the way canting is normally done today? Should I ask about fore/aft balancing during canting?

 

Thanks for all your responses! I appreciate them all! Any questions ask and I'll answer the best I can! I want to get this done right.

post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpb161 View Post
 

My Stats:

Age: 29

Height: 5'11

Weight: 170-175# (weight may trend upward a little after a minor hand surgery this offseason and I can start strength training again but I don't want to gain much)

Days Skiing Per Year: Now about 40+

Skiing Style: Fast & Aggressive

 

Current Boots: Scott G1 FR130

 

 

Questions:

 

1) Would it be worth it for me to invest in custom footbeds/orthotics for my boots? What foot type am I in your opinion? I almost pulled the trigger in JH but I was hesitant because I'm not always out there and not sure how much mods need done to footbeds after they are made. I'm in the Pittsburgh area and usually ski in Wisp because we have a place there but I'm not sure if anyone does fully custom footbeds in the area. I would prefer a certified pedorthist or masterbooter to do this. If none are in my area, can a podiatrist create a custom footbed/orthotic for me?

 

2) I'm pretty convinced I'll need canting done to at least my right ski boot. I know from reading The Athletic Skier I should strive for my knees to be 1-2 degrees medially biased, although it's skier specific and not a one-size fits all solution. My current bootfitter said we'd have to get on snow and place shims underneath to see what felt best and then my boots would be modified. Does this sound like the way canting is normally done today? Should I ask about fore/aft balancing during canting?

 

 

"Yes" on the custom foot beds.

 

shell check please, as per the article "Which boot will work for me"at the top of "Ask the boot guy's" section---just wondering about the toe bang issue.  foot size in mm---boot size?

 

I have high lighted a few sentences/questions in you post----

 

1.  Warren Witherell and I spoke about the 1-2 degree medial bias issue at my home one time, and he agreed, that with modern skis the medial bias is not as important, as long as you are not out side of the medial lateral center line of the boot.  the Athletic Skier was written before parabolic skis came onto the scene, straight skis needed a little inside edge bias to react well.

 

2.  An "on hill" evaluation is some times the best way to determine what a skier needs, concerning canting and fore/aft balance.

 

3.  what size/circumference calf muscle measured at the top of the liner?

 

mike

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by miketsc View Post
 

"Yes" on the custom foot beds.

 

shell check please, as per the article "Which boot will work for me"at the top of "Ask the boot guy's" section---just wondering about the toe bang issue.  foot size in mm---boot size?

 

I have high lighted a few sentences/questions in you post----

 

1.  Warren Witherell and I spoke about the 1-2 degree medial bias issue at my home one time, and he agreed, that with modern skis the medial bias is not as important, as long as you are not out side of the medial lateral center line of the boot.  the Athletic Skier was written before parabolic skis came onto the scene, straight skis needed a little inside edge bias to react well.

 

2.  An "on hill" evaluation is some times the best way to determine what a skier needs, concerning canting and fore/aft balance.

 

3.  what size/circumference calf muscle measured at the top of the liner?

 

mike

 

Thanks for the reply miketsc

 

Foot size

Some quick measurements of feet showed they are approximately 266 mm (left foot) and 264 (right foot) --> This was very rudimentary measurement

My current boot size is a 26.5

I have between half to three-quarter of inch between my heel and the back of the boot (more so on the right)

The sides of my feet lightly touch the boot sides.

 

Toe Bang Issue:

I'm not sure I'd call it a toe bang issue since my toes were not banging. But this season, the toe box was just a lot more snug on my feet and the top of my toe box was placing a lot pressure down onto my toes. I lost a few toe nails and circulation was getting cut off.

 

Calf Muscle Circumference:

Both legs are about 375 mm in circumference

 

 

Is that a 'yes' to everything I asked regarding custom footbeds?

 

Thanks for all the info, especially the info regarding parabolic skis. It makes sense. Its a been a long time since I've skied on a straight ski.

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpb161 View Post
 

 

Thanks for the reply miketsc

 

Foot size

Some quick measurements of feet showed they are approximately 266 mm (left foot) and 264 (right foot) --> This was very rudimentary measurement

My current boot size is a 26.5

I have between half to three-quarter of inch between my heel and the back of the boot (more so on the right)

The sides of my feet lightly touch the boot sides.

 

Toe Bang Issue:

I'm not sure I'd call it a toe bang issue since my toes were not banging. But this season, the toe box was just a lot more snug on my feet and the top of my toe box was placing a lot pressure down onto my toes. I lost a few toe nails and circulation was getting cut off.

 

Calf Muscle Circumference:

Both legs are about 375 mm in circumference

 

 

Is that a 'yes' to everything I asked regarding custom footbeds?

 

Thanks for all the info, especially the info regarding parabolic skis. It makes sense. Its a been a long time since I've skied on a straight ski.

with you size calf muscles , It would be worth while to know how much forward lean you boots have.  Place a carpenters square behind the heel of one of you boots and measure to the back of the liner at the top of the rear of the shell.  get back to me with the info please.

 

 With large calves and too much forward lean your calf muscle will push into the top of the back of the shell when you extend and seesaw .  This action will push your feet/toes forward in the shell up into the narrow part of the toe box result = tight toes.

 

custom footbeds are a good idea so "yes".

 

mike

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

I've never particularly considered my calf muscles that big if thats what you mean. I would say my boots have a good amount of forward lean, but I haven't measured them yet. I'll be away for the next few days, but I'll measure the angles as soon as I get a chance.

 

To be honest, my toe problem is pretty much gone. Only when it's wicked cold do I have problems with cold feet. I do play with my front 2 buckles a lot to keep them as loose as I can though so maybe I do have an issue going on.

 

A friend of mine has a lot of problems with toe circulation, and has some massive calves but I'm not sure about his forward lean. I wonder if that could be his issue.

post #6 of 8

Big calf muscles:

 

Ski teaching term: Hips over knees---defined as, an extended position so that the skeleton supports the load not the muscles---this comes into play when moving through the middle of a turn with the femur in a more extended position.  IF the boot has more forward lean or if you have a large calf, this will push you too far forward and cause you to adopt a more hips rearward position, (not extended)  This position is dictated by 2 things, the amount of forward lean in the boot shell and the size of the calf muscle in the boot.  It is also affected by the amount of boot board angle and the difference between the height of the heel and toe of the binding (called "delta angle").

 

     For each inch of increase in calf circumference the knee will be pushed forward .320 inches (8.1mm) if you combine this with a boot with more forward lean your knees can be pushed ahead of you toes, which will cause you to move your hips rearward to balance.  The result will often cause fore/aft balance issues, with the skier lifting the uphill ski to get off of the uphill edge at the rear of the ski (a small step) to initiate the next turn.  Experienced skiers will often include a small hop into the beginning of each transition, (looks like a down unweighting) which of course releases both skis uphill edges.

 

    If we compare a pair of 28.5 to a pair of 26.5 boots, we would see that on the shorter ski boots, the boot sole center is located more rearward relative to the cuff of the boot (all boots in a model run will have the same amount of forward lean), which would require a more upright stance (less forward lean) to center up over it.  The skier with larger calf muscles would need less forward lean in this situation to allow them to be in the correct position when extended or else they will have a more hips rearward position to compensate for the imbalance.  Muscle fatigue would be involved until the thighs/quads got into good enough shape to support this kind of loading.  Getting the boot modified to allow a more extended position would result in less fatigue and better balance over the skis sweet spot. 

 

Compensate defined by Google : to make up for (something unwelcome or unpleasant) by exerting an opposite force or effect----that does not sound like fun or something i want to do. 

 

mike


Edited by miketsc - 3/10/15 at 8:03am
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all your insight miketsc!

 

I was able to get out on the hill the other day. The snow was pretty bad so I just really focused on how things felt in my boots. One thing I noted was the right boot feels looser than my left boot. When I skied bumps, at times I got the sensation that my boot was twisting around my foot! I hit some greens and just focused on turns without actually edging if you will. Again wherever I looked to the left I could just go there, but right required physically move my skis in position. It seems like my left ski did all the work for my turns.

 

Because at times this winter I experienced frozen toes for the first time in subzero temps, I started keeping my lower 2 buckles really lose. On one particular day this season, when I stopped midday my right big toe had lost all feeling! Part of the reason I suspect was from some water leakage from small gap where the boots were blown in the toe box. I placed some duct tape over it after to help rectify the situation.

 

My feet in the right boot had a lot more movement than in left boot, and even more so with the buckles lose so I hypothesized that I may have been losing some responsiveness due to the looseness in the buckles over my metatarsals (2nd buckle). I tightened the buckle and sure enough I gained some responsiveness in my right turns. I only had to slightly pivot my skis to turn right instead of just leaning way.

 

I made some progress but I feel there still a way to go with this. I still have get a carpenter's square to measure the angle of my boots. I'm hoping to do that in the next day or so. I'm also going to remeasure my calves with paper instead of string since paper has less elastic properties than the string. I think I'll get a more accurate measurement that way.

 

Do you do custom orthotics during the summer? I may be in Myrtle Beach this summer, and it looks like Columbia is relatively close by.

post #8 of 8
We are open year round and would be glad to help----bring your boots.

We do make custom insoles all year.

Mike
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