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Boots & heel/toe alignment

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Was reading through Skiing magazine's Buyer's Guide yesterday. Usually, I just stop after the skis, but happened to flip over a couple of pages when a familiar site caught my eye: the Surefoot store at Copper Mtn where I picked up my current Atomic boots (and custom footbeds). Continued on to read about what's new in boots this year, not all that much of interest until I read a section about the Fischer boots and their 'new' approach to alignment. First surprise was I didn't know that Fischer made boots. I assume that they have probably long owned a boot company and just now started putting their own name on the boots, as Head, Atomic and others have done. But I digress. What struck me about the 'blurb' in the article was a comment that Fischer's boots can be set up for a "heel-in, toe-out" alignment. I'm not sure how this works (how much room is there to really move the heel in and the toe out?). The article says that some testers found it really helped them get up on their inside edge faster and cleaner, others didn't like it at all or couldn't get used to it.

I am most definitely a 'heel-in/toe-out' type. When my knees and hips are squared up, my feet are pointing out at least 45 degrees (in my natural stance). While this was a real problem when I was cross-country skiing (I learned in the old traditional way, not the skating method used today), I've never felt it was a problem with my downhill skiing. I cannot imagine trying to ski with the ski pointing straight while my foot is pointing out. When my wife was getting her boots redone at a master bootfitter (who did a fantastic job), he mentioned in passing that he always looks at the total alignment of the skier and will even move the alignment of the binding (rotating the entire binding - again with only a few millimeters to play with, you maybe have a degree or two?) if it will help bring the rest of the body into alignment. Again, I just have a really hard time picturing what that would feel like to ski that way.

I have been told that I am too upright when I ski and I do note that it is hard for me to get a lot of forward flex, as in getting into a tuck because when I am not on skis, my feet would need to turn out to let me get down that far, especially now that I'm an old fart (as my 18 year old likes to remind me). An interesting sidebar to this to me is that the blurb in the article seemed to imply that the boots allowed for quicker engagement of the inside edge of the inside ski which to my understanding of current instruction should be more of a passive rider in the turn. However, when I learned to parallel ski, the breakthrough from forever stemming my turns was an instructor that got me to weight the uphill or inside ski.

So what's the opinion here? Is setting up in a toe-out alignment a good thing?
post #2 of 4
Tag, FYI, If you have recent Atomic boots they are offset also. This is not to the extent that Fischer is working with but you do have a slight toe out or that natural bar stance.
Think Snow
post #3 of 4
I think what Fischer has done with their bootline is very interesting in a variety of ways. I have only worked with a handful of them but the boot has some very functional adjustments and interesting concepts.

The first question would of course be how much is the foot actually abducted? Fischer claims the foot is abducted "10%".10% of what or from where? The average person left to their own devices will abduct the mid-line of their feet 15 degrees from straight ahead. My crude attempts at measuring this offset on the boot came out pretty consistently at 4 degrees of abduction. Perhaps some of you have other numbers?

My initial assumption was that allowing the foot to abduct would provide better turn initiation for the individual who was "overedged" ( someone with too much leverage and external rotational tendencies or insufficient internal tendencies.) Abduction of the foot will increase dorsiflexion and enhance internal leg rotation (try it!).
Conversely would it be worse for someone who was femorally anteverted or excessively pronated and abducted already? My inclination is to think yes. While turn initiation will be enhanced (not generally a problem for the underedged) leverage would be decreased and torque increased. Think ski flat on snow, a-frame, tail slide.

The boots I have worked with I addressed in typical fashion allowing for a little more inherent internal rotation in the system. In simple terms I left the people a little more edge positive than I might of in a different boot. I have yet to set up myself in a pair or someone with significant internal rotational issues.

It will be interesting to see how the boot and it's concepts evolve.

jl
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rockfordskiman
Tag, FYI, If you have recent Atomic boots they are offset also. This is not to the extent that Fischer is working with but you do have a slight toe out or that natural bar stance.
Think Snow
Interesting. My atomics are two year old models now, bought new off the clearance rack a year ago. Have skied on them now for one season. I noticed quite a jump from my packed-out boots to these but didn't really notice a different alignment. They are the GS race boot and like most race boots, they do hurt a bit despite the efforts of Surefoot. And they are cold which is a new problem for me. Had to put the footwarmers in to make them skiable.
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