|Originally posted by EddyMac:
In my opinion an orthotic is the best way to improve comfort and performance in a ski boot. Everyone from certified podiatrists to world cup racers agree with that claim. If your foot naturally rolls in (pronation) your foot is not in its strongest structural position. This means you can't put as much strength to the edge as you should. If your foot rolls out (supination) you will have a tendency to catch your edges. If you are lucky and you neither pronate or supinate, that's great. But skiing requires you to roll from edge to edge. This can push even the most perfectly aligned feet out of neutral. Not to mention the comfort gained by redistributing the pressure more evenly along the bottom of your feet.
[snip]...Orthotics should be used to make a neutral foot position.
I used to ski race in high school without anything but the stock footbed. Not to say I was the greatest but you can definately ski without using a custom insole or orthotic. I agree with ssh and coppernyc, custom orthotics make a big difference, in both comfort AND performance. If skiing is what you choose to do, then why not have the right equipment.The cost of a well built orthotic will be meaningless after a few hundred days of comfortable skiing. Mine have lasted two pairs of boots and look like they'll easily go a couple more.
EddyMac, this is definitely true.
I had my first appointment with Jeff Bergeron today (I think I'll create a different thread to talk about that in detail later), and I learned that it goes beyond a neutral foot position; it has a direct effect in overall body alignment. In my case, one of my legs (and only one!) flexes funny (towards the inside) and the ankle pronates (doesn't happen when walking or anything else!). Without orthotics (and probably a few other things--including the right boots!), I have to "tuck" my right knee behind my left to get enough edge pressure. There is no way to fix this kind of issue without orthotics, and I am of the opinion that virtually everyone has some kind of alignment issue for which orthotics should be used. Interestingly, the well-made orthotics that I had in my boots did not
However, there are very few people who can help with alignment to this extent. Fortunately, I live relatively near one of the best.