So I get a guy in the shop who has stood on TOP of a world cup podium. He asks to have the whole side of his boot blown out to let his ankle roll in some more. I'm sure many here of heard of this as have I but I'm skeptical as it's not something that would be good for me and my feet. I ask if he's sure and if he's done it before. He says he does it to all of his boots. I ask if I can see his feet and he obliges. I had not to that point seen such perfect alignment (let's face it most people coming to a boot fitter do it because they have issues). The foot and ankle were perfectly aligned sinewy and looked very strong.
If I had feet like that I wouldn't wear a foot bed either. What would be the point or benefit? This guy won a world cup, raced several years out of the first seed, had lots of top ten finishes and a couple of other podiums and was reknowned for winning training runs. He also started racing relatively late and is obviously blessed with superb biomechanics and lots of natural ability.
I get a kick out of the 'the world cup guys do this or that' line. I had a discussion with the sidas rep re: posting of footbeds and he used a line about 9 out of 10 world cuppers couldn't tell if their bed was posted or not. Bet you would find a very similar but inverted ratio of world cuppers who have foot/ankle alignment issues.
Skiers and racers need very good ankle/foot alignment to resist and work with the forces created in skiing and if they need a footbed to get that alignment then they should use one. Maybe then we will start to see more imperfect natural alignment and footbeds used on the world cup circuit. Until then if the focus is on 'what they use on the world cup' then those not naturally blessed will continue to be weeded out and never make it there.
The same goes for the 'best footbeds in NA' or Europe or where ever. The best footbeds made are the ones that work best for your feet and that will be different for most people.