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"Duck feet"

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
We have cants to adjust for individual variations in the the side-to-side angle the lower leg makes with the ski.

We have ramps to adjust the fore-aft angle the lower leg makes with the ski.

However, I have never seen skiers talk about adjusting the third and last such angle, namely, the angle that the centerline of the foot makes with the centerline of the ski, namely, duck-foot (or splay-foot) vs pigeon-toed. (I have heard 'boarders discuss this).

I ask because I am slightly splay-footed. While skating moves seem incredibly easy to me because of this, I'm wondering if I'm not sacrificing some other area of performance.

While I realize there would be some practical problems in trying to adjust this angle (eg, you couldn't switch skis, you might not have enough room on narrow wasted skis to angle the bindings, etc.), I wonder if anyone ever has actually experimented with this adjustment.

I'm also wondering if there are not biomechanical limitations to this (eg, using your inside edges might get more difficult, etc.).


post #2 of 14
Dachstein made a boot with a rotating heel ("Servo Curving [sic] System") that adjusted for this kind of misalignment. The boot never caught on at all, though at a boot fitting clinic Scott Thompson (of Green Mtn Orthotics) spoke very highly of the design in response to my question.

Moderate misalignment of this plane most probably manifests itself in misalignment in another plane, since once you start skiing the equipment forces you into parallel feet. So you can adjust for it through standard alignment techniques, but anyone who is extremely misaligned in that plane might want to look into the Dachstein boots or even offsetting the bindings.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Interesting. I had no idea a boot like that was ever made.

I agree about the likelihood of a big in-out angle throwing the other angles off.

Another problem I was imagining was if you let the boots of a severely duck-footed skier point outwards, then edging the ski would seem to require that the knee would have to go backwards as well as sideways - weird.

post #4 of 14
post #5 of 14
Some people refer to this as the "rail angle". You can get a moderate amount of adjustment just by shimming one side of the forefoot. I know of one person who likes one foot at more of a rail angle than the other. He has the toe box blown out so he can move that foot at a higher angle out. How one determines this I don't know, but basically experimentation I guess.
Here's the annoying thing: the rail angles of boots are not standardized and manufacturers change them without telling anyone. The above individual told me how the Techinica Icon changed the rail angle and the pivot point of the ankle joint from the Explosion series. This can make the boot not work for some, and work for others. For him, he just could not ski in that boot and he ended up selling it for a big loss. "Life's too short to ski with boots that don't work" was his comment.

The angles: ramp (diff. in height of heel/toe), lateral (canting), cuff, forward lean (or "rake"),rail angle. Then there's the pivot point for the cuff hinge. This location varies. Two boots might fit similarly but have different rail angles or pivot points and ski differently. Such a quagmire...

One of these days Boot Man will slay the hideous beast that dwells in the black swamp that is boot land. Then we'll say "How did we use those boots for all those years?"
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Good info. Thanks.

It certainly is too bad that these variables are not standardized or at least available when you buy the boot.


post #7 of 14
So that's what happened to the Icon...
I'm one of the ones it didn't work for as well.
post #8 of 14
Hmm... I'm fairly duck footed, and I like the way the Icons ski compared to the Explosion. The problem is that they seem a little wider after they've packed down some. Wonder if that has anything to do with the offset, or if they increased the volume some. Boot techs I have talked to tell me the volume should be the same as the Explosion for equal shell and liner sizes.

post #9 of 14
There are people who insist a good portion of alignment problems can be addressed through fixing muscle imbalance.

I have heard many times the outer quad tends to be more developed than the inner quad causing splay footedness. It's why so many people walk with their feet out. This imbalance can cause the kneecap to track wrong and cause knee problems as well.

A lady ripper I know had such alignment issues she had to have the soles of her boots cut off, ground and reattached to accomodate. She's beeen addressing muscle imbalances and her alignment is improving to the point where a bootfitter can deal with it internally.


When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro...
post #10 of 14
I believe all boots have a rail angle to them. Some may consider this a "feature" but then color is practically a "feature" on ski boots...

It is so annoying how none of this is standardized or at least published. It is good to have boots with different angles but you need to know what they are before it's too late. I don't think a lot of boot techs are familiar with all this.

Roto, that's an interesting question. I've been wondering how much of the alignment issue is "natural" too. I recently started doing a little Pilates stuff and one of the things I'm working on is walking. I tend to walk with the feet splayed out, somewhat of a shuffle, and too much weight on the little toe side of the foot. This puts awkward forces on the knee as you said. After two acl ops I thought it best to look into the matter.
I'm trying to learn to walk with feet ahead and more weight on the inside "lane" of the foot. This is much harder than I would have figured to change, but I've got a lot of practice the other way.

So if I change all that will that change my alignment? I guess one should start with good body alignment first.
It is interesting to watch people walk. Very few people walk "properly" with good form. Then there's the dancers who are so well "aligned" and very graceful even when walking. It takes a lot of work to get that way.
I still don't breathe right...boy it's a miracle I'm still functioning at all
post #11 of 14

It has come to my attention that having alignment checked periodically is a good thing to do. Especially when changing boots. Many people switch footbeds with boots, maybe this works, maybe not. Every boot has different ramp angle, forward lean, etc. etc. etc. so it is not likely to be the best option. I have had such varied results from fitters in shops I no longer trust them.

There are a host of REAL professional fitters who do not refer to their own experiences in boots to fit people. They have tried and true assessments and tests they use before fitting boots to anyone. Finding a fitter is like finding a good coach or teacher. There are a lot of good ones out there, but how do you find them??

I have extrememly flat feet from birth. A yoga instructor told me I could change that. My personal trainer is having me strenghten my 'anatomical stirrup' muscles. This will change my alignment.

I also tend to walk toed out. Many people do as it is easy to develop the outer quads beyond the inner ones. I now weight train quads with my feet in various positions (toed in, out & straight) to deal with this muscle imbalance and it is working.

Another common imbalance is underdeveloped hamstrings-to-quads. Back problems can result from this. I was made aware by a rehab trainer how to take a lot of strain of my lower back by raising my torso (from bent forward) by first firing the hams, then glutes, then working up to my back muscles. This has had amazing results on lower back fatigue, pain & stiffness.

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro...
post #12 of 14
don't forget about "delta". It's the angle that the binding makes by having the standing surface of the heel piece higher than the AFD on the toe piece. Whereas "ramp" angle is the measurement inside the boot, that puts the heel up higher than the toe.
post #13 of 14
For Delta, I believe Atomics are flat and almost all demo bindings are flat. Look's used to have a huge delta but they've changed that. This is another area it'd be nice to have published specs.
post #14 of 14

Look/Rossi did NOT fix the delta. I was told the same thing last year. So when I got my Look Pivot 9s last October, I just had them mounted normally. I then measured the height of the bottom of the boot sole in the bindings, and it's still a quarter inch of delta. The year before, I put the larger plastic lifter under the toe, and the smaller one under the heel, and they came out dead level, but the screw pattern changed, and I didn't have anything to adjust the delta with. I almost considered making some custom aluminum plates to put between the built-in lifter plate and the binding, but never did it.

Yeah, most demo bindings are flat, and Markers are pretty darn flat too. Even the MRs and MRRs.
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