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Foot beds: where to start - Page 2

post #31 of 57



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

 

Holy dead thread resurrection...

 

I'm now interested in the Conform'able Ski Pro footbeds.  John at Foothills Ski & Bike has switched to this footbed after years of making the Superfeet.  He's now "down" with the new school view of making a footbed that is supportive yet flexible to allow the skier to pressure the medial wall of the boot with varying degrees of ankle pressure (same school of thought as the Ha*b PM*S crowd).

 

I did have some new custom footbeds built for me last season, but they didn't work out so I returned them.  I've also "burned down" all the homemade Superfeet footbeds I created in order to use the Kork material to build custom bootboards.  I've been skiing on Downunders and SOLE Slim Sports mostly for the past couple years.

 

Atomicman - so how did those Conform'able footbeds work out for you?  The Ski Pro is definitely an impressive looking and feeling footbed and I like the process they use to build them - seems like it should result in a very accurate footbed that will do a good job.


 



 How do you like the downunders?

post #32 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

 

Holy dead thread resurrection...

 

...I'm now interested in the Conform'able Ski Pro footbeds....

 

 

 

 

...Atomicman - so how did those Conform'able footbeds work out for you?...


 



This is what I make.  I love working with the product.  Accepts posting, long lasting, and easy on the foot.

 

post #33 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiing-in-Jackson View Post





This is what I make.  I love working with the product.  Accepts posting, long lasting, and easy on the foot.

 

 

Are you building them using a fully weighted or semi-weighted method?  Pros/Cons?  I know this has been discussed before ad infinitum, but I'm more interested in just your opinion specifically in regards to the Conform'able system.
 

post #34 of 57

      Quote:

Originally Posted by MojoMan View Post

 How do you like the downunders?


I think it depends on your foot.  I don't think I have a hard to fit foot.  The biggest issue I've ever had with OTC footbeds is making sure that the arch length matches my feet.  I have short toes - if I get a footbed that is marked as sized for my foot the arch ends up being too short (too far rearward) on the footbed.  So given that caveat they can work for a lot of people who don't want to spend the cash on going the custom route.

 

For me, it wasn't a matter of the cash.  I just had bad experience after bad experience with supposed skilled boot fitters that couldn't build me a footbed that would work for me better than what I was getting out of the OTC stuff.  I still have a dream that there's someone out there that can get the job done.  I'm working on coming up with another attempt in the next month.

post #35 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

      Quote:


I think it depends on your foot.  I don't think I have a hard to fit foot.  The biggest issue I've ever had with OTC footbeds is making sure that the arch length matches my feet.  I have short toes - if I get a footbed that is marked as sized for my foot the arch ends up being too short (too far rearward) on the footbed.  So given that caveat they can work for a lot of people who don't want to spend the cash on going the custom route.

 

For me, it wasn't a matter of the cash.  I just had bad experience after bad experience with supposed skilled boot fitters that couldn't build me a footbed that would work for me better than what I was getting out of the OTC stuff.  I still have a dream that there's someone out there that can get the job done.  I'm working on coming up with another attempt in the next month.


I actually had good experience with Sole footbeds. I have a very high and rigid arch and am a bit supinated. Custom footbeds have never worked for me. The best pair of footbeds I have had was from a shop in Ellicottvile. I got the Sole size 13 cut down to fit my size 10 feet. It fit my arch nicely and molded quite well. In the past, the high-priced sessions involved fitters molding  Conformables to my feet using my regulatr size insole. This never accomodated my arch.  I went through a lot of money before ther fitter reccomended an oversized Sole in lieu of the customs. It worked.

post #36 of 57

footbeds do not just increase comfort, that is the least important effect. they make your foot stronger, giving you more power to the ski. my fitter does alignment and cant with the footbed, after the footbed, to be specific. the good ones are digitally scanned and cut with a CAD router, the material is polyurethane I believe.

 

I doubt anything conformable is good because a footbed is designed to keep your foot in its most dynamic and powerful position. a good boot fitter gets your foot in that position before raising the digital scanning posts on the device.

 

skiers travel great distances to come to some of our fitters, so don't think about where you find the best tech for this. It will set you up for many pairs of boots when done right.

 

I'd buy new boots unless the ones you have can be replaced by new boots with the same exact shell design. Like the Technica Diablo Race is the same shell exactly as the Agent 130. this way I will probably be able to replace the boot at least once and keep the footbeds, as Technica likes that shell and will likely keep the main properties of it for years.

 

post #37 of 57

I really like my Sole OTC footbeds.  I  have three pairs, including one that SkiinginJackson molded for me on a slow fall day last year using his state of the art conformable molding machine.  I also have a pair of Conformables that he molded for my ski boots.  IMO there is no comparison.  The conformable are much better.

post #38 of 57

davluri - if your footbeds are completely rigid and basically locking your foot in a "supported position" then you're about 3-4 years behind the current trend toward more flexible footbeds.  All the research now shows that you must still be able to use your ankle for balance and edging power and if your foot is locked out the only way to accomplish those movements is through the use of the larger leg muscles which aren't as nearly precise for balance as those in the ankle.

 

If you have a footbed that allows this movement then I'm right with you and totally agree with your post.

 

Anyhow, the Conform'able Ski Pro is one of the newer generation of footbeds that provides the necessary support without locking out your ankle and impeding balance and edging control at the ankle.

 

Basically Superfeet Kork (as typically built in a shop) are old school - there's been some new thinking surrounding footbeds in the past few years and many WC athletes have adopted this new stance.  It's hard to argue against the logic and I have also experienced the change by going with less posted more flexible footbeds.

post #39 of 57

   Quote:

Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

I really like my Sole OTC footbeds.  I  have three pairs, including one that SkiinginJackson molded for me on a slow fall day last year using his state of the art conformable molding machine.  I also have a pair of Conformables that he molded for my ski boots.  IMO there is no comparison.  The conformable are much better.

 

I have also had some good experiences with the SOLE Slim Sport model.  Very good bang for the buck OTC footbed.  Conform'able also makes a nice Volcano model that is a lower cost semi-custom footbed.

 

tpj - which model of the Conform'able custom footbeds do you have?  Are they the Ski Pro?
 

post #40 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

davluri - if your footbeds are completely rigid and basically locking your foot in a "supported position" then you're about 3-4 years behind the current trend toward more flexible footbeds.  All the research now shows that you must still be able to use your ankle for balance and edging power and if your foot is locked out the only way to accomplish those movements is through the use of the larger leg muscles which aren't as nearly precise for balance as those in the ankle.

 

If you have a footbed that allows this movement then I'm right with you and totally agree with your post.

 

Anyhow, the Conform'able Ski Pro is one of the newer generation of footbeds that provides the necessary support without locking out your ankle and impeding balance and edging control at the ankle.

 

Basically Superfeet Kork (as typically built in a shop) are old school - there's been some new thinking surrounding footbeds in the past few years and many WC athletes have adopted this new stance.  It's hard to argue against the logic and I have also experienced the change by going with less posted more flexible footbeds.



I don't know what they are called. I felt more control immediately, finesse and otherwise. several WC racers and quite a few top freeski pros still get their boot work done at this shop. what would the linkage between supporting your foot and any mobility of the ankle? for me, a strong foot was able to command the ski better.

post #41 of 57

I couldn't say for sure.  Maybe Stephan can enlighten us.

 

Edit...  In Stephans' post he says that he works with the Ski Pro.  Really great footbed.  He did a fantastic job molding them for me!

 

Double Edit...  I use the Sole OTC footbeds in my street shoes and rollerblades and stuff.  I have a 2 thin and one thicker Sole.  I use the high end Conform'ables in my primary ski boots.  I have several other custom footbeds I use in my secondary ski boots.  The Conform'ables are the best of the bunch.  I also use three pairs of Intuition liners that Stephan expertly molded for me.  One in my primary ski boot, one in my secondary alpine boot, and one in my tele boot.  I highly endorse both Conform'able footbeds and Intuition liners.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

   Quote:

 

I have also had some good experiences with the SOLE Slim Sport model.  Very good bang for the buck OTC footbed.  Conform'able also makes a nice Volcano model that is a lower cost semi-custom footbed.

 

tpj - which model of the Conform'able custom footbeds do you have?  Are they the Ski Pro?
 


Edited by tetonpwdrjunkie - 10/12/10 at 10:06pm
post #42 of 57


SSH , as per your post below, is there anyone in vancouver or up at whistler you suggest who is seasoned in balance/allignment?

 

I just got some custom footbeds made up too at $180 as sometimes I had pain both under the balls of my feet (and also under big toe) last yr when skiing in my new dalbello krypton cross boots...maybe I was just breaking them in.....dunno for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post

I am now more convinced than ever that getting into neutral in your boots and on your skis is the first step to higher-level skiing. As a result, I recommend as strongly as I possibly can that skiers of any level (but especially starting at the intermediate level) get balanced by a boot/alignment specialist. Given that this is a relatively rare skill, I would suggest visiting a fitter that is recommended by others as being effective in alignment.

If you are comfortable with a trip to GMOL, I can think of few better options in your part of the country. There may be others (as lowphat provides links), but unless you can get a knowledgeable recommendation, I would stick with the known excellent.
post #43 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post





I don't know what they are called. I felt more control immediately, finesse and otherwise. several WC racers and quite a few top freeski pros still get their boot work done at this shop. what would the linkage between supporting your foot and any mobility of the ankle? for me, a strong foot was able to command the ski better.

How much support your foot needs probably depends on how much force you are putting through the foot.  I have fairly rigid cork footbeds in my old race boots and softer footbeds in my kinder gentler Crossmax 10s.  For staying alive at warp 9, I would rather have the rigid footbeds; for sane skiing and landing air on hard snow the softer ones rule.
 

post #44 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post



How much support your foot needs probably depends on how much force you are putting through the foot.  I have fairly rigid cork footbeds in my old race boots and softer footbeds in my kinder gentler Crossmax 10s.  For staying alive at warp 9, I would rather have the rigid footbeds; for sane skiing and landing air on hard snow the softer ones rule.
 


Your comments accurately represent the old school of thought.  Dig into this issue and you'll find what I stated as true.  Lateral articulation of the ankle is now championed as a necessary function within a ski boot to achieve balance and edging control.  I believe that there's another thread around here where this was debated.

 

Ghost - just think of it as "rocker" for your footbeds.   I'm sure that'll get this thread going again...

post #45 of 57


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

...fully weighted or semi-weighted method?  Pros/Cons...

 


 

On TGR, somewhere, I went into depth on the subject.  I'll try to find where/what I wrote on the subject.

 

I was very pleased with the prose I generated that day, all I have to do is find it.

 

Yes, this subject has been covered Ad nauseam, but I like this kind of stuff.

post #46 of 57

S-I-J - I have read your posts on TGR on the subject (you have a link to them on your home page).  Is there anything specific to the Conform'able process though that you feel is better handled semi-weight or fully weighted?  Would you please describe your method in building footbeds with the Conform'able system?

post #47 of 57

I think the weighted vs. unweighted subject needs to be broadened.  That horse has been beaten to death and there will never be a correct black and white answer.

 

This is a post I wrote a few weeks ago on the subject of functional vs. accommodative fixes to boot issues.

 

Here is the original text, cut and pasted from TGR:

 

Like most things in life, it really boils down to two flavors...

In this case, Accommodate or Functional?

Footwear modifications come in two flavors. (We'll just be thinking all the time that our ski boots are really super fancy pieces of footwear.)

If you have an Rx from a DPM or MD requesting footwear/orthotic modification, usually they'll state if the fix should be an accommodative or functional one. Sometimes they don't say at all, letting the C. Ped make the decision.

When you accommodate a foot, you modify the footwear to fit the foot and whatever position it may be in at the time. Frequently bootfitters will accommodate a fit problem by grinding and stretching. Modifying the liner is an excellent example of an accommodative fix. Cutting the edge of the sole material that is bonded to the side of the liner is another. Spaghetti slicing the liner is yet one more. Not too many ski orthotics are accommodative unless there is an underlying medical condition to begin with.

When you use a functional fix, you are using the footwear to change the position (control the function of) the foot- many ski orthotics are functional in nature and attempt to correct to subtalar neutral as best as the user can handle without being too painful during the break-in process. Eversion/inversion problems are functional when they are fixed with wedges.

So BamBam here has a goiter growing on the side of his foot. Removing material from the liner will accommodate the problem and making sure the footbed is solid and supporting the foot properly would be the start of a functional fix.

Not having seen this guy's foot, I'd try to wedge his foot a little to see if that gives him some space. I am a renewed fan of stock liners- well... nice ones- and look at other fixes before tearing into the liner. Once you start removing material from the liner, structural, support or temperature issues can be encountered. That said, if I can slice up a liner and fix a problem that's a no brainer.

The only thing that really stands out to me, is you mentioned your navicular prominence has been growing. Lots of times, the body is responding to pressure and can calcify an area looking to protect it- your bump grows. If you accommodate the fix, you may just give it room to enlarge again, but if you opt for a functional fix, you may nip the problem in the bud.

 

/End pasted text. (with errors in spelling corrected)

 

In the above blue text, I'm mostly talking about liners, but the same argument applies to footbeds/orthotics/general inserts.  Hopefully an understanding of the two will be gained here.

 

Maybe we should talk about footbeds that are accommodative vs. functional and when/how a good bootfitter knows when to use either one.  As a review, an accommodative fit is when you change liitle of the structure of the foot and are mainly supporting it.  A functional fit is when you are looking to change the function of the foot with an orthotic.

 

Better yet- How is the overall skiing experience (from the break-in process to the end of the usable life of the orthotic) affected by the fit of the footbed and the choice of the fitter to use either an accommodative vs. functional approach?

post #48 of 57

I think we should probably take the accomodative vs. functional discussion to a new thread.  Let's keep this simple for now - which method do you generally use with the Conform'able system - fully weighted or semi-weighted (or a mix depending on the skier's needs)?

post #49 of 57

Nice article Jackson.

 

I always find it surprising when I encounter the following scenario: A pedorthist or fitter states that every foot is unique and one approach does not fit all. In the next sentence, they will write off a particular footbed or molding technique as bad and to be avoided. Nobody should use that type of construction or approach, etc. The obvious contradiction is readily apparent. 

 

I always preferred more than one footbed option when I go to a fitter. That's why I would not just go to a place like Surefoot for footbeds. I have never tried their footbeds. It's not that they can't produce a product that works or will get results for folks, it's just that I will only have one option and they will be pushing that option as the best approach for everyone.   It may get me the results I need but if I really need something else, it's not like they are going to send me away and tell me I would have better luck elsewhere.

 

This applies to other fitters as well. They are "Conformable' shops or 'Sole' shops, etc. I just want something that's best for my feet. I don't care what brand, style, or fitting method it is. I avoid fitters who put all their eggs in one basket. The best ones are those who will be honest and tell you that you might be better off with another rpoduct, even if it's one they don't carry.

post #50 of 57


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post


Your comments accurately represent the old school of thought.  Dig into this issue and you'll find what I stated as true.  Lateral articulation of the ankle is now championed as a necessary function within a ski boot to achieve balance and edging control.  I believe that there's another thread around here where this was debated.

 

Ghost - just think of it as "rocker" for your footbeds.   I'm sure that'll get this thread going again...

Thoughts may change, old school thinking, new school thinking.  Physics remains constant.  The degree of support needed to maintain a functional position of the foot depends on the forces and strength of the skier involved.  I did say rigid cork footbed, not steel.

 

As to my thinking, it may be old school (I'm old enough) or not; I don't keep track of such things, but I generally agree with Daron Rahlves as far as extracting maximum  performance from boots is concerned.  Click on the Redbull co-pilot launcher and then click on gear then, after it does its thing, Atomic Boots.  http://www.redbullcopilot.com/

 

I might also mention that, perhaps in a concession to modern thinking, I much prefer my comfy boots than the two sizes too small, way too stiff race boots for 99% of my skiing.  And before you ask, I don't ski on the WC, but I have benefited from that small fraction of a second difference in reaction time that made the difference between me becoming one with the tree or living to ski another day more than once.

 


 

post #51 of 57

won't someone who keeps using special jargon explain their terms?  for example, what does "locking out the ankle"  mean exactly? and the rest of the rationale as expounded in tech jargon? as in other areas of this sport, if you have to use a whole special vocabulary to explain something, like most ski instructors, who the hell can understand you????

post #52 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

won't someone who keeps using special jargon explain their terms?  for example, what does "locking out the ankle"  mean exactly? and the rest of the rationale as expounded in tech jargon? as in other areas of this sport, if you have to use a whole special vocabulary to explain something, like most ski instructors, who the hell can understand you????



Lock out the ankle = inability to laterally articulate the ankle within the shell in order to affect balance and subtle edge pressure control resulting in the necessity to rely on gross motor movements of the larger muscles in the upper leg in order to maintain balance and control.

 

Or to put it another way (from the fitter who just built my new footbeds this morning) - it's actually a good thing to be able to pronate and supinate a bit within your shell.  Fully posted footbeds prevent these natural body movements from occurring and decrease a skier's ability to fine tune their balance and edge pressure.

post #53 of 57

how can what is under your foot prevent movement at the ankle? It seems to make movements of the ankle transfer more strongly to the bottom of your foot, and then to the bottom of your ski.

One thing I noticed with these awesome footbeds. I used to cut up the inside cuff of my ski pants. My skis were in many places, sometimes coming together and touching. Now my skis are always, always at hip width, on me about 8 inches apart. no more cut up ski pants. and that's a good thing.

post #54 of 57

Got my Conform'able Ski Pro footbeds built this morning.  I'm really, really happy with the result and I can't wait to ski them.  They're the first footbed I've had that feels like "nothing".  I mean I can't sense that there's actually anything between my foot and the liner/shell.  It literally disappears into the boot for me.

 

They were built using the fully weighted method and I believe that may be why I'm feeling this way about the footbeds for the first time.  I've never had any footbeds built for me using this method before.  The fitter performed some tests on my feet and determined (to my surprise) that I actually have a fairly rigid arch.  He said that I really never should have been on a fully posted footbed, EVER.  Oh well, live and learn.

post #55 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

how can what is under your foot prevent movement at the ankle? It seems to make movements of the ankle transfer more strongly to the bottom of your foot, and then to the bottom of your ski.

One thing I noticed with these awesome footbeds. I used to cut up the inside cuff of my ski pants. My skis were in many places, sometimes coming together and touching. Now my skis are always, always at hip width, on me about 8 inches apart. no more cut up ski pants. and that's a good thing.



If you have the ability to move your ankle laterally (significantly) in the shell while on a fully posted footbed I would hazard the guess that you may be in the wrong shell.  Of course that's purely an "Internet" diagnosis and I'm surely not qualified even for that.  Best to take this subject up with an expert.  I reason this diagnosis purely based on my own experience with MY shells on MY fully posted footbed where I definitely feel the difference between being locked out at the ankle versus how it feels with my new footbeds in the same shell.

post #56 of 57

I had a race boot fit last time around. too cold. too uncomfortable. I ski every day and need some comfort.  ski the Agent 130, niiiiice, no, it's the right shell. since I am skiing better with this set up, I feel that I'm there.

 

I was just thinking. I ski fresh snow most of the time, and deep crud most of that time. finesse may not be as important as power and endurance. I don't know, but it's possible. I mean how much difference does subtle edging pressure make in those conditions. and I give  up something on hardpack, which seldom transports me to blissful altered states any how.

 

Congrats on your upgrade. enjoy. pray for snow!


Edited by davluri - 10/14/10 at 4:34pm
post #57 of 57

 

You guys are missing an ingredient here.That would be it is not just the footbed preventing the lateral movement of the ankle/foot It is also misdesigned shells which are too tight on the medial ankle and foot (nevicular)

 

By the way I have been skiing in a non-posted footbed (Conformable) for aboput 6 or 7 years. I have a very rigid foot/arch. So posted foot beds are not a good match.

 

That is not to say that everyone would benefit from a non-posted bed. If you have a very flexible amorphous foot, or a very pronated foot on the contrary you probably need a more sturdy posted bed.

 

Here is a very interesting article on the subject. It is written by Harb, so for thse here that hate his guts, don't read it, but I think it is very valauble and germain to the discussion you're having

 

 

 

Harald Harb

#4 - Skiing Inside The Boot

At Harb Ski Systems we are always striving to put our customers and ourselves in the best products available in the ski industry. My staff and coaches are all professional skiers and have been for many decades. These people are not just instructors and coaches, but also boot fitters, footbed specialists and alignment experts. We feel that to teach skiing properly at the highest level you must understand the whole system: feet, ankles, boots and alignment.

With this level of understanding, ski instruction becomes very precise and effective. My staff and I are always looking to enhance our own experience on snow. Therefore I encourage them to try many products and to modify their own. Recently, we have been working on ski boot modifications.

Last summer, I modified many ski boots at Mt. Hood for FIS Junior US development racers with great success. We began this season modifying ski boots for many other racers including World Cup and US Ski Team racer, Erik Schlopy. This has become an ongoing relationship. We send modified boots to Europe for Erik and he sends his new boots to us from Europe to modify. Erik, remember, has access to the best boot technicians the World Cup can provide, but prefers to send his boots to us. We are working on two different modifications on Erik's boots. They increase the ability of the foot and ankle to produce edging power and the ability of the ankle to access the boot wall through medial wall and boot board modifications. These are the same movements of the ankle we try to provide for all our footbed and alignment customers.

The functional articulation of the ankle and foot in the boot provides and enhances the skier's ability to make refined, fine-tuning movements to adjust the ski edge angle on the snow. If this articulation is not available, movements are made at the hip using the adductor muscles to lever the ski on edge. This is a very gross motor movement and does not allow for much adjustment once the movement to the edge begins. In high-end expert skiing or World Cup racing the combination of ankle, foot and leg edging adjustments is essential.

So, why do so few recreational skiers have access to these movements? Because most industry footbeds are overposted and too rigid. This concept has been in my mind and I have applied it for generations as a ski racer, skier, coach and instructor. I have always felt that foot and ankle articulation in the boot are critical to skier performance, especially in the areas of ski edging, holding and controlling. But everywhere I investigated, even to this day, I find that the ski industry is trying to accomplish exactly the opposite.

With hard footbeds and ski boot walls that are very tight on the medial (inside) ankle, most products reduce lateral movement of the ankle toward the boot wall - reducing or eliminating foot articulation. In some ways of thinking this can be justified and explained to seem like a benefit. For example, if rigid footbeds with dense material filling the arch stop any foot movement, one could think that you would get immediate edge and energy transfer. Yes, this does seem to make sense - until you begin to understand that you are now forced to use your upper leg muscles to achieve this immediate edging and transfer. The upper leg muscles (adductors) do not have the ability to fine-tune the edge, thus eliminating any presumed "benefit" of the rigid footbed/immediate-edge-power concept.

Skiers whom we have converted from rigid footbeds to those that allow articulation become more balanced, smooth, and fluid. They also benefit from better foot circulation and therefore have warmer toes. Many overposted and rigid-footed skiers fight their edges. The lack of foot articulation creates chatter on hard snow and over-steering on soft snow. The skis are also super-reactive and feel nervous. Many skiers complain of arch pressure or even pain, but are afraid to mention it because they supposedly bought a "special upgrade". All these problems can be immediately relieved with a more compliant and accurately designed footbed. Now we must keep in mind that every body has different abilities and needs. Some skiers have excess foot movement that needs to be controlled, though not eliminated. A rigid foot and ankle demonstrate the opposite needs.

The rigid foot and ankle are particularly interesting because increasing range of lateral movement in the ankle and foot is much more difficult than reducing range of motion. Hence every footbed needs to be carefully designed and built for the needs of the individual foot to optimize lateral edging power, allowing the range of articulation of the foot and ankle required to apply force to the boot wall. Applying force to the boot wall can only be achieved if the muscles that tip - evert - the foot can function. The peroneal muscles that run up along the outside of the tibia must be able to move the foot through some range of motion for this to occur.

In our painstaking effort to evaluate a skier's balance on snow, we came across some interesting findings. We video all of the skiers who come to our camps while they perform on-snow balancing exercises. After careful analysis of the skiers before and after alignment, over a period of six years, we have determined that skiers with rigid feet and skiers with flexible feet both suffered similar consequences from rigid, inflexible footbeds. These skiers were not able to use their lower joints in the ski boot to help balance or edge the ski. They instead leaned or otherwise used the upper body in a contrived manner to lever the ski to an edge. Most of these skiers cannot engage the edge of the ski – make it slice into the snow. Instead, they demonstrate slipping of the ski.

After a complete set of range-of-motion measurements are taken and a footbed made to allow for proper articulation of the ankle and foot, the skiers again perform the on-snow balance exercises. This second set of exercises yields very different results. Again, slow motion video analysis is used to determine differences in balancing and skiing abilities. One noticeable difference is a new, relaxed body position. The lower body acts as an adjuster of balance and the upper body a stable unit over the boots and feet. Some observers go so far as to say that, the skiers skied as if they had another joint to use in the boot to edge and balance over the ski. Another noticeable difference is an improvement in the skier's ability to engage the edge of the ski, eliminating the slipping that was previously evident. In this season alone we have assembled quantifiable evidence that the footbed and movements I am describing in this article are not only effective but also necessary for higher performance and comfort. We have documented major performance increases with ski racers the very next day after footbed changes. In one particular case, the ski racer improved by thirty FIS points on three different occasions. This occurred without further coaching or equipment changes.

We can document such changes in recreational skiers by video and observing their improved edging and ski performance characteristics, but many objectors and detractors would claim that this is unscientific. When we have quantifiable results based on huge improvements in racing times, there is very little left to doubt. When the top ski racers in this country are noticing the performance benefits, and when our recreational skiers are noticeably skiing better and improving faster, that's all the proof they need.

 

 

 

 

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Foot beds: where to start