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Lateral rigidness of ski boots

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have Tecnica Rival RX Ultrafit (2001/2002 model). The boot's high volume perfectly fits my wide foot. I cannot complain.

The problem is, when I attended a ski camp for advanced skiers, I was told by the instructors that I need to use more laterally rigid boots to go beyond my current skiing level. I made all the avialable adjustments to stiffen the boots, but it is not enough. Also, I was told that my boots have too much forward lean and steeper ramp angle.

Does anyone know if there is any after-market parts or device that can increase the lateral stiffness of my boots?

post #2 of 13
Was this by chance a PMTS camp?
post #3 of 13
With the advent of shaped skis, it is definitely an advantage to having laterally stiff boots so you can make more side to side movements versus up and down. That way you can be lighter on your skis--especially on difficult terrain. Light meaning you don't have to weight/unweight the skis in an up/down motion sometimes causing your skis to skid.
However, a ski camp instructor telling you that you can't get any better without buying new boots is surprising. Sounds more like a sales pitch than something to help you out. Remember, there were expert skiers before ski technology changed in the 90's, and they did just fine by doing the up/down motion of yesterday. It is just much easier to ski using lateral movements today.
With that said, I'd visit a good boot fitter to help you find a solution to your problem. There is a listing of bootfitters on this site by region, so you might start there. If you want to go the route of buying new boots, Head makes boots for high volume feet, and most models are laterally stiff.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
how did you know?

I actually did meet a well-known boots fitter in NY. He meaured and looked at my feet and recommended a few different models. That's how I picked mine. Everytime I buy a pair of dress shoes, I have to find an extra wide pair. My wide feet really narrow my choices of boots. I understand that most performance boots are tighter fit for average shape feet. I guess what the instructors meant was that it would help me improve my skiing skills with right equipment.

post #5 of 13

The PMTS guys told me I should throw my boots away and spend a bundle buying new ones from them!!!

I went to an excellent boot fitter / alignment guy instead. He thought my boots were great for me and aligned them very nicely, much cheaper than new boots AND an alignment!!

Is there some reason you don't accept PM's?
post #6 of 13
Konayuki, there aren't any adjustments I know of on that boot for lateral stiffness. The flex-inserts (the red or yellow thingys) are for fore-and-aft flex.... I don't use them in mine and seem to ski OK.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
I tend to think what they are saying is true, but I just bought the pair less than a year ago and do not feel like buying anything new at least this season. Also, I do not believe that they carry at their shop boots that would fit my very wide feet. I just got my footbed made there.

Do you have wide feet, too? I did replace the plastic caps with metal bolts to lock the forward flex. I think that probably helps a little bit to make the boots laterally more stiff since, I believe, it prevents the boots to track right or left when the boots are flexed. I also use the yellow thing instead of the red one.

I also have learned from one of the threds that there is a product called Booster Strap, and have ordered one pair. I am hoping that they will make the tongue of the inner boots more upright position to compensate the boot's forward lean bias. I will see.

post #8 of 13
FWIW, I have skied in exactly the same boots since last season, and find it almost impossible to believe that they do not have adequate lateral rigidity. To be blunt, I would put a claim like this in the category of "voodo science" unless they could substantiate it.

If you would like to test their claim for yourself, its quite simple to do. Get in your boots, place your skis on a very hard but smooth surface (eg, a wooden floor), click into your bindings, and then have two helpers stand on one of your skis. Have them stand just in front of and just in back of your bindings to prevent any motion of the ski. You should then try to get that ski up on edge while the helpers are looking to see where the mechanical slop is in the system. Repeat your efforts while opening-closing your ankle, while deeply flexed, while not flexed, etc.

I have done this experiment on several pairs of skis (with different bindings), and found that the boot-binding interface always had much more lateral slop than (a) movement of my leg within the boot, or (b lateral deformation / bending of the boot.

Because of this, you could switch your present boots to other boots that were even more rigid (laterally) and still not substantially improve your edging.

FYI, I am probably much heavier than you (210 lbs) and in one case, did the experiment with wide powder skis which put much more lateral force on the boot when edging on hardpack (or a wooden floor).

Hope this helps.

Tom / PM
post #9 of 13

The PMTS folks probably weren't complaining about the rigidity of the boots. Their mantra is "lateral" boots. They maintain that, based mainly on the rivet placement, some boots are "lateral" and others are "rotary". They are concerned about which direction the knee tracks when you flex the boot. The rivet placement on my boots (technica icon) makes them "lateral", but they said they had too much forward lean and ramp angle so they would end up "rotary".

I went to a good boot guy who wasn't in the PMTS camp and got an alignment. He thought the forward lean and ramp angle were fine for me and that they were probably the best fit for my foot. Much cheaper than new boots, too!!!!!

There's lots of info about this on the PMTS web sites. It's an interesting idea, but I decided it didn't warrant a large expenditure in my case!
post #10 of 13
Kona, my feet are fairly wide with fairly high instep, but only average through the heel. I have the regular RX, not the "HVL" (high volume last) - the boots are tough to get on and almost impossible to get off, but once I'm in I could probably ski in them unbuckled without too much problem, the fit is so perfect. I do see your point about the inserts stiffening the cuff as a whole, but I think it would be a verrrry subtle change in terms of edging performance.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Not being an expert in ski boots technology, honestly I cannot really tell how laterally stiff my boots are. I just took what I was told at a face value just because they must have seen much more boots than I have. The last boots that I had was 1983 Koflac I boughed in Tokyo. The important thing that my Tecnica gives me a comfortable fit, and I am happy with it. I would be happier if the upper part of tongue of the boots gave me better hold.

I agree with you. I cannot really tell unless I buy a new pair that are supposedly laterally more stiff. But, I do not want to spend more money at this point. Again, I am generally happy with what I have.
post #12 of 13
If you really want to see if a new boot will work for you, you might want to try demoing a pair or two for the day. I have really wide feet too. Head and Dalbello make higher volume boots. Anybody know of any other brands for higher volume feet?
post #13 of 13
MXP - I agree that there is a good chance they might have been talking about "lateral" vs "rotary" (but the description got simplified down to "laterally stiff").

I have been aware for some time of this distinction that they have been making. I think there is some merit to it, but I also have some problems with it. For example, the exact path that the knee tracks is clearly not only dependent on the rivet placement, but on the differential flex of the shell material between the inside and outside of each boot. In other words, if the inside of the shell is softer than the outside of the shell, it will give more when you flex forward and thus your knee will track to the inside. Thus, you can't just look at the rivets and tell what sort of boot you have.

I have looked at my XR's in detail, and found that (a) the rivets are within a mm or so of being equal in height above the sole, and (b) when flexed, my knee tracks exactly forward to the best of my ability to measure it (carpenter's square to locate magic marker dot on knee cap while clicked into my bindings with skis flat on a hardwood floor). Thus, I am not sure I agree with the comment made to you that, "...but they said they had too much forward lean and ramp angle so they would end up "rotary". ...". Again, I remain quite skeptical about such statements until they can back it up with a measurement (which only takes a minute or two).

With respect to initial forward lean and fore-aft stiffness of the XR's, when I got mine, they were indeed set for more initial forward lean, and much more stiffness than optimal for me. I used the adjustment screws at the rear of the boot to make them as vertical and soft as possible. I also completely removed the stiffening inserts, and once this was done, I have been completely delighted with their performance.


Tom / PM
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