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what happens when boot length is too long?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have been struggling with correct boot fit for years. I have a very small foot (21.5) and am a level 8 skier; thus I need a high performance boot. I've been living with the compromise of using junior race boots (22.0) in a Lange, low volume race boot. I might also add that I'm 105 # so i don't want something too stiff. Anyway, I feel that I'm never quite "secure" in these boots, even though the heel area is a pretty good fit. when I get on steep terrain I start to feel that I'm shifting inside the boot and it's unnerving. I don't feel that I have a good contact with my ski.

I'm curious about what is actually happening in terms of biomechanics; what goes in a boot that's really too long for the foot?

I've exlored alternatives, to no avail so far, other than taking up snowboarding.

Thanks for any feedback.
post #2 of 13
Have an orthotic built for you. Then have a good bootfitter fit the boot or suggest a better fitting boot for your foot. Or have one of the custom boot builders build a boot for your foot.

You might get better advice if you told us what you had done in the past that didnt work.

You may also want to discuss the issue with Bergeron the resident boot fitting expert.

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
[ February 22, 2003, 04:36 AM: Message edited by: JaneB ]
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the thoughts. I have had an orthotic built and have discussed this problem with Jeff as well as other boot fitters. At this time (other than a custom-built boot) there aren't any shells available, except perhaps in Japan, that would be the right shell size. So essentially I have to live with a compromise right now.

My question was really about what is happening inside the boot because it's too long, rather than asking for solutions. I want to know why it feels so unnerving to ski in these boots. I feel it is really hampering my skiing but would like to understand why. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #5 of 13
You raise an interesting subject. If you have discussed this with Jeff Bergeron, I'd be curious to know what he has said about a sole length that's too long.

Your initial post above suggests an answer to your own question: Do you say that you're slipping inside the boot, is that a correct reading, or not? If you're slipping from front to back, then obviously your feet aren't staying in the same place during a turn - or at least that seems obvious to me, but I may be wrong.

Although you've said you're not asking for solutions, here are some thoughts: (a) Neoprene tongue shims inside the tongue can help keep the foot back. (b)When I was a small child, my father would always buy shoes too large, so that as my feet grew, the shoes would still fit for awhile. He'd stuff crumpled newspaper into the toe to take up space. This may or may not have application to your situation.

I haven't work with Jeff, but I have worked with Steve Bagley, and he did some ZipFit liners for me. Wow! What an improvement!

Another thought: DaleBoot in Salt Lake City.

However, if the inside of the boot fits your foot well and you still have that uneasy feeling due to something else, it could be a question of the leverage of that length sole which does not work well for your foot size. If the unease is attributable to the sole length itself, the only way out of it would be either to find ways to shorten the sole on an existing boot or to have custom shells - and if they exist, please let us know about it.

By the way, since I like a close fit but can't do justice to an adult race boot, I use a junior race boot, which is plenty stiff enough for me. The ZipFits improve on that even further.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm assuming that the foot must be moving forward too far into the toe area but I'm not sure that's what is happening. I had asked Jeff Bergeron about other boots that might be available but not about why the long length doesn't work.

When I shell-fit in my boots I have about 3/4" behind my heel. I'm assuming this is way too much, given that I have a size 4 or 5 women's shoe size.

Any other thoughts are appreciated. The current compromise assumed that a low-volume boot would keep the heel in place but I'm not convinced this is happening, at least not on steep terrain where there is more force on the boot/ski.
post #7 of 13
Hi Jane, that's a pretty tiny foot and it would be good to know how tall you are as well. I think one of your best answers would be to try to get a hold of a smaller boot and you're right that Japan is a place they make some of those available. 3/4" between your foot and shell is too much but I have seen people in bigger. Measuring the shell length is really just a guage to get people into the snuggest functional fit. I have fitted people with massive wide feet into longer boots because when it comes down to it, if they are held firmly around the mid foot and rear foot a little extra room at the toes doesn't really matter because the foot ain't moving. With you it sounds like you also have a very low volume foot so getting into a very low volume shell is key. You might look at some of the raichle/kniessel boots. The flexon or the rev team may be good for you. The rev team has a very narrow ankle/heel area but the high instep volume may not be for you. What is critical is having that ankle area held and especially the front of it to hold you back. A foam tongue would be a good option for you. I believe zip fit and comformable make them available separately. Any foam liner would be good as long as it has a foam tongue. Make sure the tongue is foamed first to drive you back and hold you there. Barring that you could shim the tongue (I do a lot of that) right down to the instep. Put shims in the bottom of the boot to take up some volume and AFTER you have shimmed the tongue you can build up some padding at the sides of the ankle/heel area. These are places I would start and if you have any more questions just PM me.
post #8 of 13
Like L7 said, the raichle flexon, is very narrow and the 22 in that boot is a bit smaller then the 22 in some other ones, That with a thermoflex liner might just fill in the volume that you need. I think that boot in 22 has a 255mm sole lenght.
post #9 of 13
Have someone measure your ability to dorsiflex. A limited range will lead to a sensation of heel looseness. brian
post #10 of 13
Okay, I'm not a boot fitter, and i don't play one on TV. But Jane is asking for biomechanics, not solutions, so I'm going to take a few GUESSES.
Keep in mind, that a dirty little secret of the fitness industry is that foot biomechanics are not really covered in EXTENSIVE detail in any of the certifications. If they were, people would not do some of the things they teach in classes.

So I am taking serious GUESSES here, simply based on what i set out to study on my own, and what I have learned in ski school.
Definitely open to correction.

My first instinct is diminished edge control, with a possible problem in fore aft alignment.

Maybe the arch would collapse and the instep could move up and down, which would in turn de stabilize the ankle?
As edging and pressure is applied, there can possibly be too much rolling of the foot? If this were happening, my guess is that the ankle may shift to the inside, causing some pressure.
Then, if you folow the kinetic chain actions, could be some twisting actions of the tibia, and possibly the knee.

Questions. Playing around with the scenario above, I would suspect that you may get pain in either your big or little toe. Or your toes hit the front of the boot. Any black toes?

In most sports, an unstable arch will not provide good shock absorption. This would mean that the biomechanical forces would be transferred to the knee. So in order to increase edging, you would have to angulate your KNEE more, which could possibly over stretch or even injure your MCL.

Ok, how far off am I?
post #11 of 13
erdz knows his feet & boots, I learned much from him in my days at Ski Center, and much of it has stayed with me - it's the way he conveys what he knows, almost Socratic. hey what can I say, he and a couple other Ski Center folks had a big impact on my skiing ability & knowledge. I'm pretty sure that without erdz' guidance on many things skiing-related, I'd still be a slackjawednewbiegaperposeurDearValetregular

...heh [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #12 of 13
also, what about GMOL? they get race stock boots that fit completely differently (read, thinner liner boot), and many of those boots really help the "skinny foot" skier. they talk especially of helping narrow-footed good woman skiers with one of the Nordica Dobermann models.

Check out GMOL.
post #13 of 13
HOLY CRIPES! I just re read his one liner, and played around with it. That makes so much sense, much more than the volume I just wrote.
Ok, back to the corner for me! [img]redface.gif[/img]
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