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post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
After responding to a question about footbeds I starting thinking about the construction of them in a weighted vrs. an unweighted system. I prefer unweighted (neutral) because it seems putting weight on a mold or "pillow" would just exacerbate any alignment issues a person might have.
Any opinions?
post #2 of 5
This is the biggest debate in the footbed world. Unweighted puts the foot in the natural position, but is dealing with the situation in a muscular sense. Weighted footbeds support you structurally the way the bones were meant to be. I've skied both and I can honestly say I couldn't tell a bit of difference. I could tell enough between like Superfeet Trim-to-fits vs. Custom Kork, but not between my Superfeet Korks and a full custom Comformable.
Also keep in mind the shop doing the work. If they don't have your foot completely neutral doing an unweighted footbed, it's hard for you to tell. Also, if they screw up, you can't redo Korks and they'll be less likely to admit they screwed up and make you a new bed. I know Conformable is redoable, but hopefully your shop is honest enough to stand behind its products, espescially when they make the errors.

Just my brief $.02 on a long standing debate.

Powder to the People...
post #3 of 5
Think about this. Semi-weighted. That's right. The shop that I used to work at does conformables in a semi-weighted position. How does this work you ask?

Conformables use the vaccum bags to take a mold of the foot. Most shops do this as a weighted system with the person standing on them. The philosophy against this is as was stated above. If the person tends to pronate or supanate, then standing on the bags doesn't prevent the feet from doing this to a certain extent. So you end up with footbeds that don't keep your feet in the neutral position.

Is Superfeet an unweighted system because you sit with your feet hanging? No. The technician building the footbeds lifts the foot into the desired neutral position. So it is actually the same as putting weight on that foot, but without the rolling of the ankle.

Anyhow, about a semi-weighted system. This shop has the person sitting with their feet resting on the vaccum bags. The foot is pressed down onto the bags to make a nice deep mold (weighted?). Then the foot is massaged into a neutral position and the form taken of the feet. This eliminates the problem of the feet collapsing while standing on the bags and does not rely on the tech to hold your feet in the exact position (a la superfeet) while the mold is taken. This is a technique taught by MasterFit University. A clinic put on by some of the best bootfitters around. They should have a website up soon at www.bootfitter.com I don't think it is up yet, but it should help to answer a lot of the questions that seem to be floating around out there about boot fitting and custom footbeds.

Pray for snow
Go big or go home
post #4 of 5
My opinion, for whatever it's worth, is that any of the major systems for making a custom footbed will give good results IF AND ONLY IF you have a good technician making the footbed.

My first pair of custom footbeds were Superfeet Kork-Vac (sp?). Many people have told me that they've gotten good results from them. I don't know, but mine just didn't seem to put my feet in a good position (I have incredibly flat feet). I would've asked for a refund or a new pair or something like that, but I had it done when I was visiting my parents for the holidays in Vancouver, so it really wasn't possible to do that. In this case I don't blame the system itself but probably the guy doing it.

Then last season I had a pair of Amfits done at the NYC Surefoot. Semi-weight bearing with the tech holding the subtalar joint in a neutral position (or close to neutral). They have been a revelation. I can't rave more about them, not only in my ski boots but also in my inline skates. I play inline hockey, and with these insoles I have so much better lateral balance than I've ever experienced before. I can easily glide one-footed now, when before it was really difficult because my foot kept wanting to collapse inward. IMO testing your ski insoles in your inline skates is a very good way to see if they really put your foot in a neutral position. I've lately been playing around with outside-foot dominant vs. two-footed short turns with some good results on skates.

After all this I'd definitely say that getting good insoles will instantly pay off in a big way. The system matters much less than the shop/tech doing it. It does seem to me, though, that Surefoot has gone to some effort to ensure that the quality of its bootfitters at its stores is reasonably good--this in contrast to other systems, where just because a shop does Conformable, Superfeet, etc. doesn't necessarily mean that it does it well.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by andrew_tai (edited September 19, 2000).]</FONT>
post #5 of 5
I just got the Superfeet footbeds. Skied with them for the first time yesterday. Prior to that I had custom insoles that were at least 11 years old. The difference was amazing. I felt a significant improvement in control. I was able to ski with my boots looser, I am sure that had it not been so damn cold my feet would have been fine temp wise. Added bonus they utlize the OUTLAST Temperature Regulation Fabric, touted to absorb, store and release body heat. Hard to tell as again it was so cold.

I bought them at REI Flagship Stor, TJ was the boot fitter.

From now on its only operator error.
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