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Regular footbeads vs custom footbeds

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
All this fuss about custom footbeads.... are they allways so much better than the original ones? Anybody swap back to the original ones after having custom ones made? Any good/pro skiier here using regular ones?
post #2 of 16

The Hype surrounding a custom insole.

it's a big fuss, but for nearly everyone it makes a difference. the real differences are that you have a warmer foot, a snugger fit, better foot control, and a better boot fit.

your foot is warmer because your foot is supported completely underneath so that your muscles don't have to contract to hold your foot up. relaxed muscles allow for the best blood flow through the foot, hence better circulation, hence more warmth.

the snugger fit comes from the fact that your foot does not have room to move, it's held in place, but in a comfortable way, because the insole is customized to the foot. saying it's snugger is a little bit of a lie, because many people actually feel like there is more room lengthwise inside their boot with a custom insole. this happens because your foot is held back in the heel pocket by the arch support that is built into the custom insole. but, it feels great in a sung, controlled fit kind of way.

better foot control. you fuss for weeks about which boot fits your foot shape best. and you get the boot punched and dremeled. you've got a super fit. everywhere except underneath your foot, where you've got a pretty much flat insole. so, to complete that custom fit you've got everywhere else, you have to somehow or other make the bottom of the boot conform to your foot. once you have done this, you have more control because the boot moves even more instantaneously to movements of your foot, weight shifts, etc. a custom insole helps to align your bone structure correctly, so that your knee is centered over your, and so on. this makes starting from a neutral position much easier, which in turn makes skiing easier.

better boot fit: alot of people complain that their ankle bones don't fit in their boot right, or that they have alot of pressure on the side/over the top of the arch. these are usually not problems of the foot, but rather problems related to misalignment of the foot in the boot. when the foot is correctly aligned in the boot with a custom insole, these problems tend either completely disappear or require very little additional attention. and like stated above, when your boot fits right, you ski better.

so, all that said, i know plenty of hard skiers who don't use insoles. what they do is squeeze their feet into boots that are not optimized fitwise at all and remove the insole all together. this works for them. some people's feet are so voluminuous that there is no room for an insole.

so, maybe it's all bunk. but i know there was just a post from someone about what an amazing difference a custom insole and some shims made in his skiing experience. we do a 100% guarantee on our insoles at our store. we buy back one or two a season. that's not bad.

from my "hyped" opinion, anyone who does not at least try one (you should get a 100% guarantee and a good shop will fix an insole if it's not right) is missing out.

if you're convinced it makes no difference, ski with and without it back to back runs. if you're still not sure, get your money back. just remember that you've got a custom fit in your boot, everywhere but under your foot without a custom insole.
post #3 of 16
Even if custom insoles made no difference performance wise, and they do, they'd be worth it from the standpoint of fit and comfort.

I have seen people who were happy with noncustom aftermarket insoles, but have never heard anybody sing praises of the originals.
post #4 of 16
It´s definitely one of the best things you can do for your squeezed feet.
If you combine the insole with an inspection by an othopedist you might get a real medical-based compensation of some faults
thus preventig some slow-but-sure damage to you joints, especially knees.

Last but not least, is there any worldcupper racing with no-orthotics?
I bet my last piece of wax there isn´t.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have been using custom foot beads for over 20y and Ive been verry happy with them. However, last year I bought Nordica Beast 12 and they have some kind of elastic material (rubber) underneath the footbead that doesent give any flexible comfort if I use my custom footbeads since they are made from hard material. The original footbeads actually felt really ok from this standpoint. Also my new custom footbeads raise my foot alot inside the shoue making it too snug. My 12y old ones dont.
post #6 of 16
Go custom or go home

No really they do make a exceptional differnece in your comfort and skiing. even a non-custom but aftermarket foot bed like a surefoot (non-cork) or a down under should really help. I found that they actually allow you to get into a more true size boot to your foot because it supports the arch which actually retracts the toes slightly giving you more room in a smaller boot.

post #7 of 16
Custom footbeds was unequivocally the best investment I have made in ski equipment.
post #8 of 16
Custom foot beds work for me.
post #9 of 16


Originally Posted by RotoFury
Custom footbeds was unequivocally the best investment I have made in ski equipment.
post #10 of 16
Custom footbeds was unequivocally the best investment I have made in ski equipment.
This will be true for me until (I hope!) sometime about a week from now when I hope I'll finally have boots that fit me properly.

Until then, though -- yeah, HUGE difference. I had non-custom, and I got custom footbeds made by Steve B last year in Utah; no comparison. I'm an intermediate skier, so it's not like you have to even be advanced to notice a big difference.

I've got a very tiny foot with a fairly high arch. What I noticed right away was: (1) much improved comfort with the arch support; (2) my foot movements were transmitted much more efficiently to my skis. Before, because my boots are too big, there was more of a lag -- sort of a sloppiness.

Worth it.
post #11 of 16
Ok, I'm sold. So what should I look for in a custom footbed? Brand names? Materials? How will I know if the guy fitting me for custom footbeds is doing it correctly?

I have a pair of Tecnica Entryx 7's that feel somewhat uncomfortable. The toes on my right foot feel jammed. And there is pressure on the lateral arch--just in front and laterally--to where the foot connects to the leg. It seems that, from what I have read herein, footbeds may be the answer.

(Lastly...what is a last?)
post #12 of 16
I find it interesting the Pete Keelty spends hours and hours getting his boots customized except for his footbeds. He uses off-the-shelf Downunder footbeds in all his boots. I've put some in my Nordica Beasts and really like them.
post #13 of 16
I have been using the full customs for 2 years, with this being my third...the same set, no less.

One day last year, I forgot my footbeds at home. That's because in addition to skiing with 'em every day, I also wear them in my street shoes almost every day. Anyhow, back to the point. After skiing at a low level (doing lessons) for less than 3 hours, my knees were killing me. Towards the inner side of my leg, they ached and burned like nothing I'd ever felt before. Quite obviously due to pronation that happened due to my lack of supportive footbeds.

Case closed, for me at least. These things stay with me forever.
post #14 of 16
Harvardtiger- a last is the form around which a shoe is made. I am not sure that this really applies literally to a ski boot the way it does to a running shoe, but the concept is that the ski boot is formed to a certain shape which may or may not be compatible with the shape of your foot. In ski boots, of course, the actual shape of the boot can be subjected to a fair amount of modification assuming that the boot is the right size to begin with (and that it can be stretched or ground in various places, but not shrunken).

I think the key to the footbed is the person who makes them, rather than the materials. There is a fair amount of controversy about weighted vs unweighted vs semiweighted footbeds (in other words, are you standing with your weight on the foot as the bed is being molded or are you seated in a chair with your foot hanging in the air while the bootfitter positions your foot in a neutral position during the molding). I do not know enough about this to tell you what is best- I suspect that it depends on the anatomy of the individual and what you are trying to correct.

I would start with the bootfitter's guide here on the website and go from there. Do not waste money on a less than expert bootfitter. Having them done near the mountain offers the advantage of allowing you to give feedback to optimize the fit right from the hill (some will even go out and ski with you to help diagnose a particular problem). I have used Steve Bagely (at Snowbird) and Jeff Bergeron (at Breck)- both are nothing less than magicians and highly recommended. Good luck!

(by the way, the tiger is from Priceton, not Harvard.... A mixed metaphor, perhaps?):
post #15 of 16
Unless you are one in a million, it is unlikely that you stand perfectly flat on your skis in stock boots and footbeds, so by simply standing on the ski you are pressuring the edges in ways you don't want. If the ski is not neutral on the snow then you are constantly fighting it. A properly tuned ski with a flat stance allows you to relax more on your skis. I believe that custom footbeds are pretty much a necessity and I have been using them for over 20 years.

If you don't buy boots from a shop that is proficient in fitting, then take them immediatly to a shop that is and pay the extra $30 or so to get them right. Your boots are the connection between your movements and your skis, it is critical to get it right. A simple test is to stand on one ski at a time while going fairly fast and straight on a cat track. If you can't relax and have the ski effortlessly track straight, then you've got a ski tune or boot fit issue that you need to address. This sport is hard enough without fighting your equipment with uncomfotable feet.
post #16 of 16

Thanks, dp!

Originally Posted by dp
Harvardtiger- a last is the form around which a shoe is made.


I have used Steve Bagely (at Snowbird) and Jeff Bergeron (at Breck)- both are nothing less than magicians and highly recommended. Good luck!

(by the way, the tiger is from Priceton, not Harvard.... A mixed metaphor, perhaps?):
I finally now know what a last is! Thanks!

And our trip this year will be to Breckenridge. I first heard of Jeff herein; I appreciate your mentioning him and positive comments about his work. I think I'll give him a call, describe the issue and see if I can set up an appointment for when I'm out there. Not looking for anything stratospheric; just comfort and usability while the learning curve progresses.

HarvardTiger? I completely understand your : ! Actually, it's a "mixed metaphor" from my undergraduate school (Auburn, as in Auburn Tigers) and grad school (Hahvahd). I initially used it as a screen name years ago and it has become de facto with me. Anyway, it was a great year for my schools' football teams Both went undefeated (so far). But, as usual, Auburn got screwed in favor of the media match-ups so they can sell more beer and trucks to the masses. I was sure pulling for Colorado to wax the Sooners last week....

Thanks for your kind post.


- Jim
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