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Boot paradigm for women

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
The logic presented to the female consumer is this: we add lift to the back of the boot and/or binding to compensate for the lower/rearward weight bias and help centre women over the ski.

It's as if there's an inherent "problem" with their stance and balance that needs to be fixed, and that high heels are a "natural" way of overcoming this.

Interestingly enough, some of the Canadian women's alpine team has gone exactly the opposite way and straightened their boot cuffs to greater effect on the racing circuit.

Their logic being: equal weighting on the ball and heel of the foot, and the back of the calf results in the strongest and quickest reacting base of support. Something called the stretch reflex (??).

The emphasis on foreward lean and pressing into the front of the boot seems to have gone by the wayside.

I wonder how the "master" bootfitters are addressing this?

post #2 of 4
Boot companies are years behind in stance. The heel lift for women is very over done. There are plenty of women that need flat ramps, and upright cuffs. Even if they don't build a heel lift into a women's specific boot, the smaller size of their boots will increase thier ramp angle. Not to mention, the shorter distance between toe piece and heel piece on the binding. What a mess. If boot companies knew what they were doing they would make boots flat and upright, as it is very easy to increase ramp with heel lift, and forward lean with spoilers, and buckle extensions. Instead, we get overly ramped, way too forward leaned boots, especially for women and small guys. By tilting everyone forward, they cause many to drop their hips back; The exact opposite of thier intentions. Last year, I dropped the heel and cut the upper cuff on probably half a dozen of my instructor's boots. This included a full range of sizes, and both sexes. Two of them are guys over 6'1", long legged, and ski in the Head WC, a fairly upright, and neutral boot. Their stance was immediately improved, and even though most people would have considered them to already be expert skiers, it became painfully obvious how thier boots had held them back. The problem most of these people had, was that the boot ramp, and forward lean caused them to pressure the heel when ever they extended. By changing this, they were able to extend, and pressure the middle of the ski, which is what you need to do on a modern shaped ski. This also enabled them to ski in a tall strong stance, and use their full range of flexion, especially from the ankle. It also often had the side effect of negating the need for under binding cants, as the new taller balanced stance straightended them out. One thing everyone seem to benefit from, is moving the powerstrap inside the upper cuff, and doing it up snggly before the buckles. This gets good shin/tongue contact, and promotes a taller, more neutral stance. Guys with chicken legs really love this. Girls with a large low calf; be careful about moving buckles, you may be better off taking liner material out from behind your calf.

Personally, I skied in the San Marco ZX9 for years, never realizing how much I benefitted from thier flat ramp, straight cuff design. That was of course until San Marco became Head, and I got the Head WC. They were horrid for me. On the chair, my ski tips pointed up to the sky. On the steeps, my quads burned. What the hell? I compared them to my old San Marcos. Ugly. I gound down the bootboard's heel. I cut the back of the upper cuff, jammed some plastic between the lower and upper, and then put in two rivets, low on the back of the boot, to keep the rearward integrity. It worked. I could now stand upright and strong, and pressure my skis in the middle. I could land jumps in balance again. My legs did not burn. I could carve to whole way through my short turns again. Now, I hoard old San Marco ZX9s in a 25 shell. So if anybody out there has a pair...
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks spinheli for your insight.

I incorporated the powerstrap "fix" a few years ago thanks to T.J. Mora at Green Mountain which has added a heck of alot of responsiveness to my skiing. I have passed this tip onto my jibbing buddies who have virtually eliminated shin bang from their assortment of ailments.

Do you have any thoughts on Atomic boots and some of their design philosophy?

post #4 of 4
I have had very little experience withthe Atomic boot line. The interchangeable lug thing is cool. I was very interested in trying a low heel/high toe lug thing out, but I really like a boot that is not lifted. I have some skis with lifts, and some without for a reason. It's got quite a bit of potential though, especially if they use thold Daleboot/Salomon canting lug patent.
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