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How Do I Heat-Mold Boot Liners At Home????

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure if I will dare to do this, but I have a new pair of Salomon Ellipse 9.0 boots with the usual thermo-moldable liners and I would like to know how to heat-mold them at home with melting or burning them. Any ideas? I've heard stories about people using hair dryers in some cases, or their oven. I know I could save myself a lot of trouble and take them to the shop, but still, how complicated can it be? Many thanks in advance for any ideas!
post #2 of 17
Too risky

Take them to a shop
post #3 of 17
According to the master fitter who set me up in my "the Beasts" there is no need to heat mold a boot. The natural heat and sweat that builds up in the boots over a couple days of good skiing will mold the boot. He never heats liners.
post #4 of 17
Originally Posted by Finndog
According to the master fitter who set me up in my "the Beasts" there is no need to heat mold a boot. The natural heat and sweat that builds up in the boots over a couple days of good skiing will mold the boot. He never heats liners.

That might be true of your "Beasts", but I thnk that Salomon needs to be heated. I know my Raichles do.
post #5 of 17
Nope, he said all boots will form to the foot. Unless the entire liner is moldable they will all mold in a couple of days. The actual amount (thickness) of the liner that actually molds is very little.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

About that liner ...

Thanks for the replies. First of all, sorry for the typo in my first post -- it makes it sound as though I want to TRY to burn my liners. :

I little more info on the Salomon liners that come with the Ellipse 9.0. Salomon has quite an array of liners, of course, even within certain models -- the Ellipse 9 has what Salo calls the "3D CustomFit liner"; the official description reads: "Wrap around customized fit and support : CustomFit Foam in the foot envelopment tongue and footbed area + thermoformable footbed." Basically, it's partially heat-moldable around the instep, footbed and heel, but not in the toebox or rear cuff.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
I saw this today http://www.moldableliners.com/pages/molding_liners.cfm

... I wonder if that 225 F degrees for 15 minutes is right. One thing for sure, it's significantly above body heat!
post #8 of 17
Sounds like those liners are going to nice and warm when you pull them out of the oven!

Id love to hear how these turn out for you, with the liner, and how they work on the hill too! I pretty much think Im going to buy a pair. Being able to pull your foot out of the boot shell with the liner still on, and walking around in just liners sounds waay to comfy to pass up.
post #9 of 17
I thought I had heard that boot shops will heat the linter to about 140 degrees (it took about 12 minutes to heat up my Atomic T10).

I did hear from another ski shop I went to that the boot will naturally mold to your foot. The heat/sweat from your foot will mold it after a few days. The heating just speeds up the "break-in" process. I still got mine head-molded, and after two days of use so far, they are working out great.
post #10 of 17
Salomon has a machine that blows air onto the liners. They don't tell you the temperature. Time is about 15 minutes.

post #11 of 17

Toast 'em yourself

I just read in this months issue of Skiing under the boot fitting story that they heat @ 250F. I've done this w/ many other boots ... just set your oven to bake and check after it comes to temp w/ a thermometer to see how accurate your dials are if you can maintain 250 for 15 min then do it, if it fluxes too much then go get it done. The advantage is that its cheap to do it at home. The problem is maintaining correct knee/shin alignment over your toes while it is cooling down. I've just stuck mine on a cookie sheet w/ a thermometer inside the liners set to 250 as soon as I hear it beep I set the microwave timer to 15 min then haul a$$ to get them in the boot and clamp up!

post #12 of 17
Heating-molding boots just makes break-in period shorter. But also I heard heating boots may soften the shell irreversibly. Especially if it is done by negligeble shop servicemen. I prefer to break boots by myself(ski & skates).
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Found this on alpinecarving.com, but it still sounds incredibly complicated to me ... and this seems to be aimed at Raichle boots. I don't know.

Here are the unabridged instructions for heat molding liners. After molding the liner at a bootfitter, make sure you get a bag containing all the boot fitting paraphernalia that was used (foam patches, etc) so that if you wind up needing another molding, you can bring back all the stuff and resume from a known starting point. You can re-mold the liners up to 6 times (and probably even more than that). Every time you heat mold the liners, the liners shrink a little bit, they get a little stiffer, and it takes a little more heat to do the job. The HPD Thermoflex liner is thicker, stiffer, and for the same size will take up more space than either the regular Thermoflex liner or the Intuition liner. If you have weird shaped feet, or need to fill a lot of volume around a skinny ankle, go with the HPD liner.
In the past, some Thermoflex liners came with plastic pieces, which were meant to be put over the liner instep, to prevent the shell from pinching the liner.
The inside sole base of each boot shell usually has a ribbed plastic structure for greater rigidity. You must make sure that this ribbed structure is covered with the thin plastic sole cover that comes with the boot, otherwise the liner will warp in the wrong way as it molds.
Prevent the liner from tearing by covering sharp areas inside the shell with duct tape.
Find a bootfitter who has a convection oven that circulates air to avoid hot spots. It can be any convection oven - it doesn't have to be the official Raichle oven.
Put the liners in the oven at 200º-250º F for 12-13 minutes, with the liners upright, facing you. Do not use hot air hoses to mold the liners.
If you have any sensitive areas on your foot that could result in rubbing/pressure problems, cut out a 1/8" thick foam adhesive patch and stick it directly on your foot: The patch will create extra room in the liner. Be sure to bevel the patch at the edges.
If you are using Intec heels, make sure the cable is in place, and tape it to the shell so that the liner molds around the cable.
If you have a footbed, hold it on the bottom of your bare foot.
Then place a toe cap over your toes and the footbed. The toe cap provides room in the liner for your toes so they don't get crowded. Raichle ovens come with neoprene toe caps of various sizes (small, medium, large). However, if you don't have one, you can make one by cutting the top off of a thick woolly sock: The cap should cover your toes and come down to the ball of your foot. As an alternative to using a toe cap, you can wiggle your toes like crazy while the liner cools, but this method is not recommended. If you need a lot of extra space in the toe box, you can put bootfitter's foam between your toes. It's not important for your toes to have a tight fit, since you will be balancing on the ball of your foot.
Put on a tight thin ski sock so that it holds the toe cap and footbed in place. Make sure there are no wrinkles in the sock. You need a tight sock to keep the footbed and toe cap from shifting around.
The liner will be hot enough when it has a jelly consistency.
Take the liner out of the oven and wrap it around your foot like a burrito. Then sit down and stick your foot out horizontally so that the bootfitter can shift the liner around so that the seam on the bottom of the liner sole goes exactly down the center of your foot.
Stand up in the liner and pull up gently on the liner cuff to make sure your foot is all the way in. Then put your foot (with the liner) into the shell while someone holds the boot shell open for you (it's a two-man job). When heat molding Intuition liners, It is recommended that you put a grocery store bag over the liner before you insert it into the shell - otherwise, the liner can catch on the inside of the shell and get squashed. This problem does not seem to happen with Thermoflex liners.
If you are having problems with wrinkles in the liner, have the bootfitter hold down the shell, and lift your heel and the liner up about 1 inch. Then while pulling gently up on the liner, push the liner back down into the shell with your foot. Don't pull too hard, otherwise the liner may get stretched and extend far above the shell.
Before you tighten the buckles, you can compress the liner around the cuff a little to keep it from sticking too far above the cuff.
Tighten the buckles half-tight, so that the liner just molds to your foot. If you tighten the buckles less, you will get a tighter fit after the liner cools. If you tighten the buckles more, you will get a looser fit.
Hit your heel on the floor several times, and flex a few times, to get your foot into the heel pocket of the boot.
The boot will feel looser as the liners cool, but do not tighten the buckles any further during the cooling process.
Do the process with the other foot. Then Wait 10 minutes while standing with your toe elevated about 1.5 inches above your heel to make sure that you correctly mold the heel pocket - a shop will use a bootfitter's angled platform. Make sure you have even weight in both boots: don't cock your foot side to side. Then stay in the boots for another 10 minutes until the liner cools completely.
If there are still some pressure points or rubbing, you can heat gun the liner and then crush it in a press. The liner can be compressed down to 1/8" thickness.
You can also heat mold the liners in a non-convection kitchen oven. Preheat the oven to 250º F, put the liners in the middle of the oven, then turn off the oven to prevent scorching, and cook the liners for 10 minutes.
For people who ask "Can I just do it myself?": If you have seen a bootfitter go through the process of heat molding the liners, you are probably clueful enough to do it yourself in your own oven. Otherwise, it's going to take a quantum leap of common sense to get it right.
Normally, convection oven molding followed by heat gun tweaking is supposed to provide a perfect fit with no additional bootfitting needed. However, some carvers still need major adjustments, like punching out the shell or adding/removing liner material.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
By the way, this whole heat-molding thing is not just a matter of convenience or academic curiosity, as far as I'm concerned. Getting boots heat-molded in a shop costs a decent chunk of change. I've seen rates averaging around $50. I have a convection oven and I'm definitely tempted. It's too bad Salomon is not more public about addressing this whole issue!
- Bill
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

My Kitchen Oven Worked!!!!

All in all, it turned out to be no big deal. I slapped 'em in our regular kitchen convection oven at 220F for exactly 10 minutes. Like a couple of PVC chickens, really. Took 'em out, put 'em on and jumped into my shells. I buckled to a medium adjustment, taking many people's advice, and voila, ten minutes later they feel almost too good to be something outside the bedroom. Let's see how they work at the mountain, but it's all feeling great so far. I suspect this would not have worked through body heat alone, but I may be wrong, of course. In any case, I saved myself enough in ski shop fees to buy a Vermont lift ticket. Two big suggestions through personal experience now: Make sure you get your heel into the boot, and be certain you know how the heat-moldable material is placed on your liner. The Salomon liner I have, called the CustomFit 3D, is a partial thermo-moldable liner. The jelly bits are the tongue, the footbed and around the instep and down towards the heel. If your toe-box is heat-moldable, you best follow the instructions I posted from www.alpinecarving.com about using a toe-box. I'll let you know if I learn anything else from this experience.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

Fears Are Unfounded

A few important things I learned about ski boots, at least my Salomons.

Boots are strong. I had this fear that by putting my boot liners in the oven, they would catch on fire or something or break down or melt. It became clear after a few minutes of watching them in the oven that heat-moldable means just that: you gotta heat 'em up. Somehow I have a feeling Salomon's engineers wouldn't be selling heat-moldable liners if the process somehow damaged the shells. The heat we're talking about here is very low. When you pull the liners out of the oven, they almost instantly start cooling. They are not painful to the touch. Plastic cools very, very fast. My feet felt a lot hotter sunbathing in equatorial Africa. Anyway, hope this all helps someone and thanks for all your interest!
post #17 of 17
Best instructions for thermofit liners is on Telemarktips.com. Look for "Cooking with Big Tim". It is a video guide to heating thermofit liners. But I agree with others who said that it is best to find a shop that does it.
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