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Superfeet?

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 
Hi All,
I don't remember where, but I ran across info regarding the "Superfeet" custom footbed systems. I was wondering what the group thought about that brand.
Thanks,
[img]smile.gif[/img] Chas
post #2 of 63
chasboy this is more appropriate for the gear discussion but I will answer it here.

I think the Superfeet footbed system is the very least amount of work that any shop can do the get into the business of footbed making. It requires a small amount of investment, no grinding and very little labor. I would recommend them if you run a shop and you hire less skilled labor and want to maximize you're profits and offer the public something better than stock footbeds.

If you are a skier that is purchasing the Superfeet footbed system and are really only interested in much more comfort and mild gains in edging then go with Superfeet. I don't consider them to be a high performance footbed. More like a recreational footbed. If you are not near a decent reputable shop with top notch people or are not willing to travel to one of these shops then go with the Superfeet system. They are much harder to screw up than high performance footbeds.
post #3 of 63
The best answer I know to this question is the answer to another question: How can I have my ski boots fit and work as well as possible?

Answer: Go to an excellent bootfitter, and that person will know which materials and techniques will work best for you.

Check this URL: http://www.epicski.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi
post #4 of 63
Pierre says it best.

I will only add that Superfeet are pretty ridgid and will not let the foot articulate properly. A good bootfitter can do surgery on them to get them to function properly. They are inweighted during the forming stage. I think that partial weighting is necessary for a proper fit, due the changes in the foot when weighted.
post #5 of 63
Sorry guys, but I am going to disagree with Pierre and Rick H...
I have been using Superfeet since 1979, and will swear by them... (not at them)...

They are as high performance a footbed as you'll find on the market. And they can be made in various ways, based upon the preferences of the customer. And a really nice feature is that they can be remolded. Most footbeds cannot be reshaped after the initial fitting. At the local shop that I do some favors for, I still make the footbeds their customers need.

Over the years, I have tried several different brands/types of footbeds, and haven't found any which give me the degree of sensitivity to the snow,a nd support, and comfort as my Full-Cork's. And they are WARM!!! As cork is a pretty decent insulator, I find that they help provide a nice layer to help block out the cold after hours standing on the snow, day after day.

One point of agreement is that the basic requirement is the need for a competent craftsman to make them, just as would be needed for any product. Some barely trained shop flunky can do a skier more harm than good with a poor fit, regardless of the product used.

I worked for Superfeet for a few years back in the 80's, and the system hasn't changed much since its introduction, other than adding a few additional products to the line. At that time, we were sent through a full training program to learn not only the product, but also a good deal of anatomy, and the various ways to adapt the product to various individual needs.

There are a lot of good, beneficial footbed products on the market. But to say one is better than any other doesn't hold water! Any footbed is only as good as the technician making them.

:
post #6 of 63
Possibly so vail snopro but I have had to make adjustments to every Superfeet footbed that I have come across.

[ January 10, 2004, 06:12 PM: Message edited by: Pierre ]
post #7 of 63
The problem with Superfeet is that they required the sort of training Vail SnoPro went through for each initial "franchise" shop set up, but then the shop employees changed and a retraining was not required. The result is the shop owners, who had sent employees to the training, tried to absorb some of the techniques without understanding the basis for them, and then passed their version of the information on to newer employees.
post #8 of 63
Well Kneale that is what we must have around here in NE Ohio. I haven't seen one decent Superfeet footbed yet. Then again, these guys around here all got into footbeds within the last two years.

[ January 11, 2004, 08:22 AM: Message edited by: Pierre ]
post #9 of 63
I swear by superfeet as well. I have my original footbeds from 17 years ago. Still skiing them. Have had them re-evaluated by several great fitters including Greg at GMOL (he actually showed them to others in the masterfit U clinic I went to because of the "vintage of the cork") All have said they are still a good footbed and no adjustments are needed.

I think it's the fitter's skill that makes a good footbed. Superfeet, Downunders, Instaprint (I've tried these three) and they all feel and work great for me but I'm still skiing my original Superfeet Kork.
post #10 of 63
I do not use the superfeet system, we use the amfit system by archcrafters which is the same system Surefoot uses. That being said I think there are some inherent 'challenges' to making a superfeet custom footbed properly so it does what it is meant to. However, the right technician can overcome those challenges and come up with an excellent product. I have seen many and I have seen some that aren't as good or simply weren't finished/fitted well.

More and more I see blanket statements regarding footbeds on here and I don't get it. I will repeat the same thing, it all comes down to having the right technician do the work. There are lots of good systems out there and you need to find someone who knows enough to make a given system work for a given foot.
post #11 of 63
The footbed is as good as the person that makes it. I would post a question on the alignment of the foot as to get correct position. This is called neutral. There is quit a science to this and I have observed many footbeds that do nothing to help a skier. I would do lots of research on the subject before laying out one hundred plus bucks for a foot bed that doesn’t help you

Larry
post #12 of 63
I finally plunked down some dough for custom footbeds and wish I had done it years ago. I went with the surefoot system and love them. I consider myself an expert skier who has skiied for over 25 years. They have made me even better. How? Quicker in the moguls, better edge control on ice and easier turns in the powder. What I don't understand is why more boot makers don't start supplying them directly with the boots?
post #13 of 63
I'll add another testimonial to the Superfeet system. I've been using them since they first came out, and my original pair is still going strong at around 20 years old. And I'll also affirm what others have said--like a wrench, they are only as good as the nut on the end of the handle! I've had several pairs made since the originals, in addition to several non-Superfeet beds, and none has worked as well as the first pair of cork Superfeet. They were built by one of Superfeet's originators, who knew exactly what he was doing. A true expert can make pretty much any footbed system work, but few others will last as long, or be as warm as the Superfeet cork model.

Yes, they are rigid, rather than flexible, but they are designed to allow the foot to articulate as needed for effective skiing.

Do check Superfeet out--but inquire about the experience of the boot fitter who makes them. While the unweighted vaccuum-bag molding system is pretty fool-proof, it still takes expertise and care to make sure that the foot is aligned correctly, and to make sure the footbed molds appropriately to your foot, especially in the forefoot area.

Incidentally, Steve Bagley, who did a presentation about boots for our first EpicSki Academy, is a Superfeet guy. Sign up for the EpicSki Academy at the end of the month, and have Steve build you a pair at his shop in Snowbird!

Good luck!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #14 of 63
I still have trouble working out how anyone can really claim to correct any foot problem on a weighted or partly weighted foot mold

I can SEE the displacement as soon as my foot hangs down.... how can anyone 'compensate' for my foot bones all popping out of line?

& the proof of the pudding is in the 2 pairs of footbeds I have - which still don't come close to the orthotics my podiatrist built (which are unfortunately just a fraction too thick to keep in the ski boots.... )

I have tested all 3 in my inline skates & tele boots...
a) the surefoot things give me bad foot cramps
b) the instaprint ones are better - but still don't allow me to really balance on my right foot (left not bad)
c) my orthotics provide reasonable balance - although I can now feel the slight imperfection the physiotherapist noted (Ok - my ankle needed to be fixed before the foot was cast as it has a weird impact on foot.... more ankle work helps better movement - requires a change in orthotic)
post #15 of 63
Thread Starter 
I am real new at this topic, but my mechanical mind asks: Why would a footbed make when the foot is unweighted be better than one where the subject is standing up?
Chas
post #16 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by chasboy:
I am real new at this topic, but my mechanical mind asks: Why would a footbed make when the foot is unweighted be better than one where the subject is standing up?
The argument is that your feet bones are better supported when they are in a neutral, unweighted position. The argument with that logic is that our feet are designed to spread some when they are weighted, and that spreading has a function. If our feet are kept from spreading, some of that function is limited. As with most things, the truth is likely somewhere in-between. And also have a fairly significant individual component.

I have had two pair of Superfeet, a pair of I-don't-know-what, and now a pair of InstaPrints. The current pair are the best ever and were built weighted, but they were built by Jeff Bergeron, who clearly knows what he's doing.
post #17 of 63
I have fairly messed up feet and wear footbeds in all of my shoes. I have four or five pairs of custom, including some made by a an ortho for $400. I still like my 20 year old Superfeet corks the best.
post #18 of 63
The specific brand doesn't make much difference - the maker does. I have a set of corks which I like on warm days. They are a little higher volume than a set of Comformables that I also have. I have the Conformables ground down under the toes to get them as thin as possible and the extra space in the toe box helps keep my circulation going, that keeps my feet warm. I ski a very, very tight boot, suffer through the black toe nails for the snow & ski feel. Not for everyone I admit but it works for me.

My wife just had a set of beds made at a Surefoot. THey have an interesting gizmo that makes a topo analysis of your foot and then transmits that to a CNC machine which mills out a new bed for your foot. Interesting. So far she likes them more than her corks. She also skis a real tight boot and I suspect that the corks were taking up more volume than they should have so it might not be a fair comparison. (See the note about the maker of the footbed ...)

I can't imaging skiing without a footbed. The comfort and the enhanced control are real.

Chasboy - I think you can net this topic out to one idea. Find a boot fitter that you trust, getting recommendations here is a good start. Try a custom footbed. Surefoot and Superfeet are two of the more expensive options. You should be able to get a set of Conformables for $80 or so. That might convice you to spend the almost $200 on a higher end bed in your next boot.
post #19 of 63
I am giving my thumbs-up to the Superfeet footbeds. I have been using the Cork-Vac for years, and swear by them. I have tried others, and have had good results with them too, but I am fortunate to have access to the services of some of the best boot fitters in the world.

You can give someone all the best tools, but if they don't know how to use them the product will be marginal.
post #20 of 63
The aspects of your feet should dictate what kind of custom footbed you should invest in. For example, I have fallen arches so my superfeet footbeds are only slightly better than my stock solomon footbeds. I just had my boots custom fitted a couple of weeks ago and quickly learned that I would have been better off with a different footbed. Of course, my bootfitter was great and told me that he would work with what I had for now and to come back if I had any problems. I would recommend going to an "American Best Bootfitters" shop, as they are trained to make footbed from Orthopedic Doctors.

http://www.bootfitters.com/

Good luck!
post #21 of 63
I have a pair of the older Superfeet full corks with blue tops. They were very good once I got my foot used to the weird, unnatural arch on the outside of my foot. The newer version of the cork footbed is not as good as the older ones. They seem to have sacrificed quality of the materials in their ability to mold correctly for an easier product to make. The new ones are too thick and are just plain not as supportive as the older ones. I use Surefoot now and I'm happy with them.
Ed
post #22 of 63
In the two cases aove, that sounds more like the fault of the technician rather than the material or brand of the 'bed...
post #23 of 63
I will have to agree with the idea that the knowledge of the bootfitter makes a huge difference in the final product, but there are some inherent biomechanical principles involved that cannot be ignored. Being a Certified Pedorthist and OST I have been fortunate enough to have tried more than 50 types of footbeds, my very first in 1978 which was a pair of Superfeet that are still going strong although they have been replaced by there newer model every several years as this is my business. I sell and fabricate Superfeet, Mastefit Instaprint, and DFP. For any thing but the most stable foot an unweighted footbed will perform better as it supports the foot in its neutral position which is the foots strongest position. You will find any medical professional with experience and some sports medicine knowledge always plaster casts in an unweighted position. i.e., (Orthopedics and Podiatrists)

As for training employees the Superfeet system allows less experienced fabricators to produce a quality product with less effort than any weighted system as the foot virtually hangs neutral rather than needing the technician to hold a weighted foot neutral which is almost impossible in any one except maybe a 100lb or less female. There are times when a weighted orthtic is appropriate such as in a Cavus or more rigid foot that needs shock absorption rather than biomechanical advantage, but htis only about 3-4% of the population.

In reference to Superfeet being too rigid, among professionals in the know they are actually quite the opposite as opposed to something which is truly rigid in function such as a full carbon fiber or kevlar device. They also provide a good level of shock absorption and warmth. If they are found to take up too much room in a boot they simply need to be ground thinner. I would venture to say that no footbed system has the time and experience behind it as Superfeet as their parent company is Northwest Podiatric Labs headed by Dr. Chris Smith who has degrees in both Biomechanics and Podiatry as well as almost 25 years of research and teaching experience.

We fabricate and sell over 800 footbeds a year with virtually 100% success and Superfeet is by far our #1 seller. The real problem with many weighted systems is that any malady the foot experiences as it is weighted is molded into the footbed. Concerning cost fabricating a weighted footbed is almost always less expensive than Superfeet as the maker is saddled with most of the laborious posting and grinding work where as Superfeet has already built most of this into the 2 components that make up there blanks.

Hope this helps make your decision a little easier and more informed.
post #24 of 63
My husband and I both had custom Kork Superfeet fitted a couple weeks ago. We were impressed with the bootfitter-- he didn't care that we hadn't bought our boots from his store, just wanted to make sure we were comfortable and that the boots fit as well as possible.
We skied on the new footbeds just this past weekend, and I must say it was like cheating! The same skis and boots felt much more responsive, and turns were super easy to initiate.

Whether one buys Superfeet or some other brand, I'm now convinced that a custom-fit footbed is essential to have the best skiing experience.
post #25 of 63
Is Superfeet and actual FOOTBED, meaning, it lies underneath the boot liner? (between the actual shell and liner)

If so, what do Superfeet owners use for an INSOLE, INSIDE the liner?

What's the difference between Superfeet Kork and Superfeet Kork-Vac?

[ January 22, 2004, 10:10 AM: Message edited by: Snowbear ]
post #26 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Snowbear:
Is Superfeet and actual FOOTBED, meaning, it lies underneath the boot liner? (between the actual shell and liner)

If so, what do Superfeet owners use for an INSOLE, INSIDE the liner?

What's the difference between Superfeet Kork and Superfeet Kork-Vac?
I assume you're kidding, right? They go in the liner.
post #27 of 63
Sorry! Getting my footBOARDS and footBEDS mixed up!
post #28 of 63
OK so I just called an LA boot fitter (Doc's Ski Haus) to ask about Superfeet Kork as this seems highly recommended here, and the owner recommended AGAINST Kork because its given the store nothing but problems. He says customers kept having to come back multiple times getting extra grinding done etc and it was a real pain for everyone including his customers.

This of course comes as a surprise to me after reading the above high recommendations. Although some stated negative experience and others suggested this is due to the fitter.

He says they now use a different Superfeet model. He wasn't able to tell me (another surprise!) which one but he said it was flexible plastic I believe, and runs around $90.

Sport Chalet will do Kork for $130.

I know Coach13 highly recommends Instaprint ($190).

Whilst some have mentioned problems with Superfeet, no one yet has listed problems with Instaprint or Surefoot. Anyone experience problems with those?

More to the point: does anyone recommend a GOOD fitter in the Los Angeles area?!

[ January 23, 2004, 05:29 PM: Message edited by: Snowbear ]
post #29 of 63
Quote:
Originally posted by Snowbear:

I know Coach13 highly recommends Instaprint ($190).

More to the point: does anyone recommend a GOOD fitter in the Los Angeles area?!
The shop I go to charges $99 for the Instaprint if you buy the boots there, and $125 for walk-ins. I think the proof lies in the bootfitter, not the brand.

I found that the Instaprints were affordable, comfortable, and helped improve my performance. I'm sure that many here can attest to the same with other brands that were constructed by good bootfitters.
post #30 of 63
We have many problems with the Surefoot Amfit footbed due partially to the people making them and partially due to inherent problems by design I mentioned before. I do not know any good shops in LA but in Mammoth Mtn. California Footloose is an excellent shop and easily one of the 3 or 4 best in the country. It is definitely where I would go first if I did not work in the business and had to pick a shop to buy boots and have custom work done. It is definitely worth going there for the weekend. Ask for Corty he is the owner and a fantastic bootfitter.

[ January 26, 2004, 09:55 PM: Message edited by: BBski ]
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