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Vibram sole on an Alpine Boot - DIY

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Having had Vibram on my previous boots and noticed a huge difference returning to smooth plastic with my new boots – I was now weary of any uneven hard surface, and rock scrambling was now out of the question . Unfortunately the shop which had done the previous conversion was no longer. I also liked the idea of a rockered soul like my AT Boots, time for some DIY.

Supplies: screws, Glue – Evostick contact adhesive and later Sikaflex 291 marine sealant, Vibram sole from a shoe repair shop (who were horrified at the sight of ski boots!), bits of wood.
Tools: Large rasp (for filing horses hooves), power sander, power driver, sharp knife, C clamps. Duck Tape, Large Vice (handy but not really necessary).

First off remove the liner and footbed (the one in the shell). No point in trashing that and it gets in the way anyway. The Vibram makes the boot thicker so it won’t fit in bindings anymore, the boot has to be thinned..

..My Richlee F1’s had a replaceable toe insert, this gave me an good indication of how far I could thin the boot without going to far. To get a rockered sole to make walking easier I started with this as my thinnest bit and hardly removed any material from the rearward part of the toe section.

The heal section on my boots is removable, too bit to just replace , to shallow to remove much. I made it as thin as I dared. To make it fit in bindings I cut down the depth of the tread, the easiest way of thinning the Vibram. The Vibram also need weakening where it bends steeply right at the rear, or it just tries to flatten and unglues itself!

To make the boot smooth I sanded what I had filed. My buddies power sander is quite a noisy beast so ear protection is necessary. You have to be careful to sand flat, not lop sided.

Evostick contact adhesive has to be dry before contact is made....otherwise it doesn’t work....don’t rush or you will just have to do it again! Marine sealant is messier stuff but not so fussy. Clamping firmly for 24+ hours give the glue a chance to set. The best way I found was clamping a sturdy piece of wood underneath with little wedges to follow the shape of the boot.....couldn’t make a ski binding do this job...I tried.

I trimmed the sole to fit with a very sharp kitchen knife, it worked much better than a craft or Stanley knife. I also found that doing this at least trimming them to almost fit is much easier done before gluing.

To make sure the sole never falls off, even if the glue starts to peal I screwed the rubber on. The heal section had retaining screws already, I just put larger ones in the same holes. I put 4 large ones and 2 smaller ones in the toe section. All these had to be cut down to stop them sticking through into the liner. I put the screws all the way in, saw how much they stuck out by then cut them down. I put Vibram all the way down the instep, makes climbing ladders easier...my old ones didn’t have this but my AT boots do, there is quite a difference in practice.

I managed quite a rocker on my boots. This makes walking much more pleasant. Can’t make a walk mode on these boots, not being a traditional 2 piece boot the lower section comes up so high inside taking out rivets and freeing up the hinge jut would wreck the stability of the boot not make it swing for and aft any better . The rocker has the unfortunate effect of stopping the boots from fitting in lots of bindings. They fit fine in higher end Sallys and in AT bindings, but no different from my AT boots. I did squeeze them into some Tyrolias, but the didn’t release to well. They wouldn’t even fit into markers or looks

I’ve tested them by walking around the garden, up and down the street a bit and climbing the front of the house, for a real test I will have to wait until October! One has marine adhesive holding it together and contact adhesive on the other , time will tell which is the best option.
post #2 of 2
hey tom,

thanks for the info. this is dave i skied with you a bit off the aguille this winter the one day that comes to mind is the last day it got skied this year with the 2 meters plus. well i am now trying to minimize my slipping for next winter and am in the process of getting everything i need to put rubber on my boots. if you have any more info other than what you posted feel free to fill me in. you can contact me directly at telewacker2@yahoo.com. if not have a good summer with the kids and hope to make some turns with you back in cham next winter.

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