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Are there exceptions for the <=15 mm shell fit rule for a performance fit?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Quick summary:  Epic's shell fitting guidelines, and posts on this subforum, are adamant that there should be no more than 15 mm fore-aft space, and certainly not 25 mm, for a performance fit.  Yet my previous and current 24.5 boots (race-stock Rossi Course KX and Dalbello Scorpion SR 130, both fitted by experts) have 22 mm and 25 mm of space, respectively, and I feel the boots fit closely, even with thin race liners (e.g., I don't use the forefoot buckles).  Am I missing something -- should I explore downsizing to 23.5 with my boot fitter -- or are these guidelines being presented too rigidly?




I've noticed that both Epic's boot fitting guidelines (http://www.epicski.com/a/boot-fitting-which-boot-will-work-for-me), and posts on this subform, are adamant that a performance shell fit should have no more than 15 mm of fore-aft space, and certainly not 25 mm ("You want 5-15mm (3/16 to 5/8 inch) of room. If you have more then 25mm (1") stop here").  I.e., it's presented as a hard rule, not a starting guideline.  


I'd never bothered precisely checking shell fit myself -- I just go to great boot fitters and have them do the shell fitting for me.  The last two both have national reputations, frequently appear in best-bootfitters-in-the-US-type-listicles, and fit most of the local racers in their respective areas.  They both know I want a performance fit (when I was fit for my previous boot I was racing) while accommodating my high instep.  My previous boot was a race-stock 24.5 Rossi Course KX, my current is a 24.5 Dalbello Scorpion SR130.  I skied 49 days last year, and 46 the year before.


But, now curious, I checked the shell fit on my 24.5 Dalbello Scorpions using dowels, and found a 25 mm dowel just fit behind my shorter (left) foot.  I also checked my old Rossi's; on the L foot they had 22 mm of space (yes, I also have a 22 mm dowel -- martial arts :)) (FYI, 284 mm BSL on Rossi's, 292 mm BSL on Dalbellos).


[OTOH, laterally I'm tighter than the Epic shell fit guidelines ("anything from lightly brushing to 2mm per side"), since I feel firm pressure simultaneously on both sides of the heel (just under ankle bones), as well as light touching laterally at the tuberosity of the 5th metatarsal, and light touching medially at the big toe (when I allowed my toes to spread). ]


[Foot dimensions, unweighted/weighted (mm):  L 235/237 x 85/89; R 238/240 x 83/87.  High instep, supinator, curved foot.]


Yet even with the 25 mm of space in the Dalbellos, or the 22 mm in the Rossi's, I didn't feel the "loss of control" or "sloppiness" that is supposed to result. [Pics of my skiing, in both boots, can be seen by going to my profile and clicking on my avatar; Rossi's are yellow, Dabellos green.]   In the Dalbellos (what I did in the Rossi's was similar), I use very thin socks (a bit thinner than the thinnest ski socks from Smartwool), a thin race liner (Rossi Z-series lace-up), a thin custom footbed, Dalbello's low-heeled bootboard (1.5 degree zeppa), and a Conformable foam tongue, and still have good pressure nearly everywhere. Note also that I never buckle the two buckles over the forefoot -- I just leave them open (even the minimal amount of tension needed to keep them fastened is too much, because of my high instep).  The only deficiency in the Dalbellos is heel retention could be a bit better, which my bootfitter attributes to the liner -- he says switching to a Nordica race liner should cure that (Zipfit would probably do that as well).   And I achieved a similar fit, in a similar way, with the Rossi's (where I also didn't fasten the buckles over the forefoot).


So am I missing something here -- should I approach my bootfitter about the possibility of downsizing to a 23.5? Or is this rule being presented too rigidly?  As it is, most 24.5 performance boots barely accommodate my instep, even with a low-heeled footboard/thinly-molded tongue over instep/thin liner/thin socks.  And some (e.g., the Head B-series) don't accommodate my instep at all -- I tried a 24.5 B5, and the instep rise from toe to tibia is too flat).   The only performance boot I can imagine *might* fit me in a 23.5 is the Lange RS 130, since the 24.5 RS 120 SC was too high-volume for me  -- though mostly around the heel and ankle, rather than the instep; plus IIRC its last felt a bit too straight and boxy for my curved foot (also, I like the Dalbello's stiffness, and the RS 130 might be too soft).

Edited by chemist - 10/25/15 at 9:11am
post #2 of 9

I would try the next size down, but if what you have is working, that is everyones ending goal

post #3 of 9



tracked you down a bit and read a bit about your quest and morphology.


question;  from a vertical line where your instep meets your leg  to a vertical line at the back of your heel - what percentage of the total length of your foot would you  estimate this to be?   if greater than 35% or so your foot may act like the next size up with a short forefoot.  ankle functionality would be ok and fore aft movement reasonably controlled.  in other words- if from behind the second buckle to the third does the boot fit?


as far a general fitting principle - yes 22-25mm is way too much room especially with a thin liner that is only 2-3mm thick ft and bk or a total of 4-6mm plus your foot length of 238mm ( mondo is loosely based on this measurement and rounded to 24 which would be about 10-13mm in a 23 shell.  DRS WC 288 for example having more room than a 288 RP shell.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks Sandy.  Since there's a continuous curve where the instep meets the leg, I'm not sure where to draw the line, so I've attached pics of my unweighted left and right feet so you can do the calculation accurately, if you wish.   Depending on where you do draw the line, it looks like the ratio has a range of 35% - 40%.  If you need weighted photos, I can post those as well.


EDIT: I tried measuring again, this time doing it by feel to find the inner crease of the ankle joint.  Using this method, I got ~37% on the left and ~38% on the right.





Edited by chemist - 10/30/15 at 11:39pm
post #5 of 9

The space behind your foot is of course a guideline only, but with considerations that most shops and skiers never consider.


Not everyone has a foot that fits available boots with the recommended space behind.  Your instep is high enough the recommendation is ignored in order to accommodate your instep and since your instep is high your foot is still secure.  I'd go with the larger boot.


However, we sometimes, probably often, see boots that have missed the recommendation by two at a minimum and in my store a record four sizes and we see four sizes too large at least once or twice per year.  


Skis don't care about where the boot is located on the ski, but absolutely do care where your foot is located.  Since we universally use a boot centre marking position now without correction for boot length it means that a person using a boot four sizes to large has their foot located two cms too far rearward since for the most part their foot will be ion the rear of the boot.  For most skiers a two cm position to rearward would making skiing more difficult.  It will be harder to balance, to stay in the correct balanced position on the ski and skis overall will feel less responsive.


Your position about .5 cm rearward is not a concern, but the concept is important to keep in mind.



post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks Lou.  I am sensitive to fore-aft position, and can notice the difference 4 mm makes.  That's why all my skis have moveable bindings, or have been redrilled with fixed bindings after removing a moveable set.  


Just out of curiosity, are there any boots with performance comparable to my Scorpions that might have the instep height to fit me in a 23.5? 

Edited by chemist - 11/11/15 at 10:14pm
post #7 of 9

Can' be certain but there are two possibilities that I sell, so am familiar with.  The G2 from Scott is in my opinion a unique boot in that it has a very narrow heel in relation to its instep height and length.  So we keep it in the store almost exclusively as a woman's performance boot, since the typical woman's foot is narrower heel and higher instep when compared with a man's.


The new Rossi Allspeed Elite and Pure Elite for women have in my  opinion a voluminous instep and enough length that it is possible to size it down somewhat regularly.  Give this series a try as well.


Interested in what you find.



post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks Lou, really appreciate the suggestions.  Alas, I don't believe any of them will work.  I can't downsize to a 23.5 in the Allspeed Elite, because it's not made in that size (at least according to Rossi's website).  The Pure Elite is available in a 23.5, but its flex is listed as a 120, which I suspect makes it softer than the Lange RS 120 SC, which I tried and found too soft (as you know, equal flex numbers typically equate to softer boots as you go from plug->production race -> all mountain, etc.).  I like the stiffness of my Scorpions, which are reportedly stiffer than the Lange RS 140 and the Head 140 RS on their standard-flex settings.


Regarding the G2, I get the sense from its picture that it has too much forward lean -- I like an upright stance.  Consistent with this, bootfitters.com reports "more forward lean angle than most."  Curiously, they also say it's for "skiers with low volume feet (high insteps beware here!)".


Nevertheless, if I encounter the G2 or the Pure Elite, I'll give them a try.  

post #9 of 9

I sell the G2.  High insteps fit just fine.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ask the Boot Guys › Are there exceptions for the <=15 mm shell fit rule for a performance fit?