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Custom Boot Liners

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I got custom liners the other day and skiid on them yesterday for the first time. I wanted to share my experience so other people will know what to expect.

The liners were done at Surefoot. They are made by ConFormable, and use a two part liquid foam injection. Before putting on my socks, they put a neoprene toe sleeve on my toes, and strategically placed some low density pads on pressure points (different for each individual). For me this included both sides of the ankle bone, the sixth toe Tarsal, and the top of the foot (above the arche). When I put my foot into the boot with the neoprene toe bootie on, the fit was really tight, numbing, actually. Just after my feet went into the boots, we began foaming. The feeling of warm foam enveloping my foot has to be very high on my all time list of strange sensations. It's painful when you're going through it actually, there is a tremendous amount of pressure, a lot more than you expect. You have to pull down on metal bars while the foam is coming in to keep your heel back in the heel pocket. You get white knuckles after doing it for a few minutes straight.

But Wow!

I skiid with them for the first time yesterday and ended up taking a 3 hour private lesson in the afternoon. Near the end of the lesson, I unbuckled my boots when we got on the lift. At the top of the lift, I forgot to buckle them. My instructor had me making GS and SG turns at full bore on a very steep black diamond run. I skied better than I ever have. At the finish line, he had me look back at the tracks. The snow contact was near perfect. He then informed me that my boots were unbuckled. I just laughed.

For anyone who is thinking about doing it... go for it. The boots are more comfortable than ever, perform better, my toes don't go numb... I can even wiggle them. The fit is better than anything I have ever had, and I don't think 300$ was too much for the increased performance. I hope anyone who was contemplating this now goes for it.

GF<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by GF (edited January 11, 2001).]</FONT>
post #2 of 17

The liners sound great. Did the liners enable you to ski without your boots being buckled, or are you simply a very good skier who skis with excellent balance? I'm not trying to sound sarcastic, but I've heard various instructors say that if your balance is good enough, you could ski with your boots unbuckled.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

I wasn't able to do this with my old liners. I could ski easy intermediates with my boots unbuckled using stock liners, but not race on black diamond runs.

GF<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by GF (edited January 11, 2001).]</FONT>
post #4 of 17

Sounds good. Can the custom liners be made for any boot?

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

I don't know of any restrictions, but you should call Surefoot to find out for certain.

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
if you don't have the pads, the resulting liner can compress large veins and result in numb feet.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by GF (edited January 11, 2001).]</FONT>
post #7 of 17
Be careful and hold onto your old liners!! Several years ago I went the same route and had the cusom liners made at Surefoot in Park City. I had the same fitting experience as the initial poster but my ski experience the next day was not pleasant. Thenew custom liners packed down after three runs and I started to get "heel slop" and was catching edges all over the place. I literally had zilch feedback through my boots. The tech at Surefoot who fitted my boots placed some "blocks" between my liner and the shell to take out the void areas and the result was more control but an excruciating fit regardless of where I buckled. Bottom line--make sure the person doing the fitting knows what the hell he or shee is doing--ask for the most experienced person at this procedure in the shop.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
The foam does not go underfoot. I have orthodics in the boot and had them in when we performed the foaming.

The liner did pack in a bit more during the second day of skiing. It's hard to tell exactly how much it packed in, as the day was quite warm, and Lange's tend to really change characteristics based on temperature. Later in the day, as it got colder, the boots returned closer to normal.
post #9 of 17
I was recently fit for a pair of Conformable liners. The procedure was similar to the one described above, except that there were no pads on the top of the foot or arch. After they finished the foaming they told me to wear the boots around the house for a few hours when I got home. He said that this helps to maintain the fit while the foam cures. I wore them that evening but the fit was so snug around the forefoot and instep that I was sure that there was no way that I could ski in them. I was planning on trying to doctor the foam around the instep, but decided to at least try skiing on them first. They were quite uncomfortable for the first ride up the lift, but once I started skiing, and got the blood flowing, they felt great. The forefoot area, which felt so tight at home, was snug but comfortable. I have very thin ankles and have never been able to get a really secure fit around my ankles and heel. This boot locked me in, and gave me control that I have never had before.

The only problem that I had was that the tounge on these liners is also foam injected, and is much wider than a standard tounge. There is quite a bit of overlap on the inner side of the boot. By the end of the day the inside of both of my shins was very sore and tender. I was able to cut away the foam in the problem area and had the tounge re-sewn. I also softened the boot a little by notching the back of the inner shell. These were installed in new race boots and it was hard to stay forward unless I loosened the top buckles.

I have not had a chance to ski on them since the alterations but they feel great. I think that once I get these things dialed in that they will be the best fit ever. I would definately recommend foam liners, especially for a person with thin ankles such as myself.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Just a note- In my case, Surefoot kept the boots over night as the Foam Setup. I was told that it was actually a bad idea to try them on any longer.

The toebox in my boot liners has no foam. I have room to gently wiggle my toes, but not lift my foot.

post #11 of 17
...I need to do a little shavin'...have you found anything that seems to do a good job of shaving/rubbing_off the foam...

post #12 of 17
What kind of liner and what kind of foam.
I'm told the new technique is to use a hypodermic needle and inject a small amount of Acetone into the spot you need to get a little space and massage it in. the foam breaks down a little. do a little at a time. you can always do it again. This leaves no mark on the liner and a cleaner look. no holes that you need to patch up. (Thanks Lyle)
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

I've heard this too. But, it has to be the right kind of foam. Check with the manufacturer, or at least the installer.

post #14 of 17
The problem in my boot was the upper part of the tounge on the inside of the shin. The Conformable liner has a very oversized tounge. It is also attached by velcro and is easily removeable, which was helpful.

I removed the tounge and cut the stitching along the inner seam with a scalpel. I then cut out all the foam in the affected area, trimmed it up a little, and took it to a friend who stitched it back up.

I have not had a chance to try them out yet, due to a foot injury (non ski related). I will be skiing in them this weekend (Sunday River) for the first time since doing the alterations. They did feel much better when I tried them on in the house though.

I don't know if I'd recommend cutting open the liner itself though. The problem that I was having was in an easily accessable area that could be sewn up after I was done cutting.

I have also seen the acetone injection used as mentioned in a previous post.
post #15 of 17
***** Foam-Liner & %FIT%_UPDATE *****

I have been miffed as to what had happenned
to stiffen up by boot's flex since the injection...not to mention the couple of painful spots up on top...the upper edge-portion of the liner's sides were pressing against my foot so much...and so much against the base of the boot tongue... ..Sunday....they were even stiffening up the tongue's(forward) flex...it was so bunched up...the *discretionary acetone injection* with a razor_blade_shave has done the trick....
post #16 of 17
The foam injection did not actually stiffen the forward flex of your boot. That is built into the shell design. What happened is that all of the play that was in the fit of your liner has been filled, and you are feeling the true flex of your boot for the first time. The foam used for the injection also probably has a stiffer feel than what was in your original boot. Do not mistake a loose fit for forward flex. Especially in the upper cuff.

You do not say what kind of boot you are using, or what ability you are. If you are in a race boot, and you are not a true expert, you should probably get the boot softened. I am using the Salomon X-scream Course, which is an advanced boot, but not the race model. After the foam injection I needed to soften them. The Course actually has the spot marked on the inside of the lower shell cuff showing you where and how much of a V to cut from the shell to soften the boot. I only cut away about 1/2 of the amount marked, and they feel pretty good. I may take out more but I want to wait until spring because the warmer weather can really soften the flex also. A good boot shop can do the cutting for you if you are not comfortable doing it yourself.

You also do not say what kind of liners you are using. I have Conformable liners. I find that the arch and forefoot area are a little
uncomfortable for the first run or two, but then loosen up and feel great. If this area is too tight for you a couple of things that you can try are thinner socks or lower footbeds.

I also had a problem with the tounge digging into the inside side of my shins. The tounge of the Conformable is much wider than a standard boot tounge. It has an piece that extends quite a ways towards the inside of the boot. I cut the stitching in this area shaved out all of the foam and had it stitched back up. It was MUCH better. I still had a little tenderness, but not nearly as bad. I am going to open the tounge again and bevel the inside edge of the foam so that it is not digging in. Then I am going to cut off all of the excess material and get the tounge stitched back up. A shoe repair shop or athletic reconditioner can do the stitching for you.

This may seem like a lot of trouble, but I have very thin ankles, and have tried many boots, but have never had boots that perform as well, or feel as good as these do. I feel that I am just a couple of minor adjustments from the perfect fit!

The biggest drawback of these is that they are MURDER to get in and out of.
post #17 of 17
Hey, I've done a little experimenting, not anything major..gonna hit on my bootfitter tomorrow. Your right on about what's affecting my forward flex...as I'm having extreme tightness up on top of my foot..where the sides' foaming ends..that's continuing on up to the ankle area...to where it's binding with the tongue!..too much material...as you hinted to. The tongue's fine.. As I took out the boot's bottom bed...the flex approached normal..still a little stiffer than with the cushy liners..as you hinted to. I'm in the Atomic 9.50. I'm also noticing a little room around my thin heel..that I'd like my BF to look at too...he's a great guy..one of his proteges did the actual foaming..but Greg can work miracles when needed. Anyways, the fit and flex was significantly better with me a bit lower..of course..but I really want that bed in...my stance is absolutely purrrrfect with it in...so I'm guessing that I have to have them do a little shaving..etc...
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