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How to tighten boot buckles properly

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Please forgive me if this is a DUH question.

Long time ago, while I was taking a lesson, the instructor told me that the proper way to tighten the boot buckles was to leave the 2 buckles on the cuff as loose as possible. The only ones that needed tightening are the ones on the foot (lower shell).

Now I am hearing that the most important buckles are the ones on the cuff and to tighten those really good. This suggestion seems to be make more sense.

Most boots nowadays have a powerstrap so I am assuming that we want to tighten the cuff buckles tight.

By tightening the lower cuff buckle, the boot becomes stiffer and harder to flex.

So, what is the proper way to tighten the buckles?

On my new, proper fitting boots (Lange 120 FR), the foot buckles are barely on but my cuff buckles are pretty snug but I feel that I could make it a little tighter.
post #2 of 25
eh wow, so many ways to go with this. I tighten my boots down as much as need control. Ie icey day ripping GS carves my circulation is almost cut off, too a lazy spring day skiing bumps my boots are kinda of loose. It jsut depends on day and task and the run.
post #3 of 25

Tightening Boots

The way i have always understood it is this:

On the first couple runs of the day you want to leave the boot buckles a little on the looser side. (By no means leave it loose enough to risk injury)

I have been told that this allows the foot to adjust to the boot and to get the blood flowing. After the first couple of runs, retighten the buckles to a comfortable but snug setting. This way, your feet will get the proper blood flow and will remain comfortable and warm in your boots.
post #4 of 25

Tightening Boots

Also, the first couple runs out should be relatively easy for your feet to adjust to the boots.
post #5 of 25
I prefer my boots to fit so that they can be buckled somewhere in the "middle range" and "evenly" (meaning not super tight some places and much looser others)
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by (SKIBUM)
The way i have always understood it is this:

On the first couple runs of the day you want to leave the boot buckles a little on the looser side. (By no means leave it loose enough to risk injury)

I have been told that this allows the foot to adjust to the boot and to get the blood flowing. After the first couple of runs, retighten the buckles to a comfortable but snug setting. This way, your feet will get the proper blood flow and will remain comfortable and warm in your boots.
I have always felt this was due more to the foot contracting and the liner getting "warmed" up.
post #7 of 25
at the parking lot, I just make sure the buckles are not rattling. just enough they aren't loose. in the gondola (few euro resorts start with a chair) I tighten every buckle one step.

after the first couple of easy runs, I close buckles 2 and 3 one more notch. in the hardest conditions i crank down the top 2 one more notch.

by then, i usually have 2 notches left for whatever may come.

generally, i like the boots to be snug everywhere for carving groomers, and a bit looser in the cuff for bumps, slush, offpiste etc. however, this only works in properly fitting boots.

for minor adjustments on the fly I engage or disengage the power strap.
post #8 of 25
The important thing to remember about buckles, especially the instep buckle (2nd from he bottom), is that the boot should already retain your foot fairly wel so that you dont need to crank buckles all the way down. If you have a very sloppy fit in an unbuckled boot, it probably doesnt fit as well as it could in the first place.


I always make sure the cuff buckles are as tight as they go, as the boot (Lange Comp 130 lf) seems to have a very unpredictable flex when they're loose. The toe and instep buckles are only cranked down for SL.
post #9 of 25

My two cents

It's a trade-off that is entirely personal. This is what I think, and how it affects ME:

Loose cuffs will improve my ability to balance, since my ankle joint has more freedom of movement. Loose cuffs will decrease my ability to load the tips without feeling that I am moving so far forwards I'm out of balance.

Tight cuffs will improve my ability to load the shovels of the skis with less movement. Tight cuffs will also give me more spring from the boot. Tight cuffs restrict my ankle's contribution to balance, as well as to roll the ski.

Tight lowers restrict my ability to roll the foot. Loose lowers allow me to roll it, but like loose cuffs, they don't transmit the rolling action to the ski as aggressively.

I like the cuffs tight enough to load the shovels while remaining well balanced, but loose enough for the ankle to flex easily. I like the lowers loose enough that the foot does not go to sleep, but tight enough to transmit the rolling action to the ski.

Does that make sense?
post #10 of 25
My wife has custom boots. The fitters told her that the buckles should be on the loosest setting just to make sure the boot stays closed up. Buckles generally are for fit, the whole boot is for function. Having said that as my Langes have packed out over the years I've tightened down the buckles, again for fit. I never adjust the buckles otherwise, except when I'm done and am walking back to the car. Hell during lunch I leave my boots buckled up 'cause they're more comfortable that way. Good luck finding the right setting.
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE


Does that make sense?
very much.

i would like to add that the type of ski has an influence, too. a stiff slalom ski that asks for pressuring the shovel will require a tighter cuff than i.e. my easy Axis X skis who like to be skied from the middle of the foot, balanced over the center of the ski.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by TruckeeLocal
My wife has custom boots. The fitters told her that the buckles should be on the loosest setting just to make sure the boot stays closed up. Buckles generally are for fit, the whole boot is for function. Having said that as my Langes have packed out over the years I've tightened down the buckles, again for fit. I never adjust the buckles otherwise, except when I'm done and am walking back to the car. Hell during lunch I leave my boots buckled up 'cause they're more comfortable that way. Good luck finding the right setting.
Ditto. Of course, if your skiing hard pack, you'll tend to want them tighter. However I try to keep mine on loosest setting.

My 120 Comps were a bit wide and packed out rather quickly. Replaced liner with custom liner from Surefoot last year. Still on the first buckle notch so far (second notch at top buckle). I pretty much set it when I put on the boots and leave it there until the day is over. I try not to futz around on chair, at lunch, etc. Since the new liner, I've been real happy with fit / performance.
post #13 of 25
I wear mine relatively tight. Comfortable, but at least one notch past "just secure".

A bootfitter once recommended to tighten the upper buckles first, then the foot buckles. This supposedly allows the heel to more easily seat in the proper position without the foot being immobilized.

I really can't say that I've noticed much difference doing it this way, but that's how I've been approaching it and it works fine for me.
post #14 of 25

Boot

From an expert (Not me:-) though I follow the procedure everytime I put on my boots.

If your boots FIT that's half the battle. Friends don't let friends ski sloppy fitting ski boots.

Pull out on the toung to slide a thinly socked foot into the boot.
Once in, don't wriggle around too much. Stand up and flex forward lifting your heel, then pull up on the back part of the liner to lift the liner heel onto your heel. Step down in the boot, settling both the liner and your heel deep into the heel pocket of the shell.

Start buckling from the top down:
Booster strap goes UNDER the plastic boot snugging the liner to your lower leg.
Buckle # one snug to contact with the liner. i.e. leg, liner, booster,boot. NO Air spaces! No undue compression either.
Buckle #two: the ankle buckle More Snug than buckle # 1

Now with these two top buckles closed, Stand and lean forward in the boot, leveraging your heel into the heel pocket. Pulling the toes back away from the front of the boot. While leveraging, close the bottom two buckles, three then four. These just need to be closed, not tightened. You should just feel the shell closing around your foot like a handshake. Your boots do fit don't they? Let the ball of your feet flex a little. We are not practicing foot binding to make dainty walking after skiing. If these buckles come loose, snow gets in the flaps and makes for cold wet feet, so they need some tension.

Now your in! Give the Booster strap another hard pull to make good contact with you shin. We don't want any shin bang now do we? Go back to buckle # One and grab the next tighter notch. Then to buckle two. This is the "buddy buckle". If you are a racer, You get a buddy to buckle it down ;-) Tight. That's the control buckle. Tighten it.

That's a useful "how to buckle" How much to tighten buckles? I suggest you try different settings ands see what works for you. My "tight" might be your pain threshold.

I know these things from my own experience.

If buckles three and four are too tight, my foot gets cold and looses "feel" associated with it's normal action of spreading etc. when pressured.
If these two buckles are too loose, I get snow in my boot, and the dreaded black toe nail from having my foot slide forward out of the heel pocket and toes jambing into the toe box.(I have one now, but from soccer cleats ;-(

When the going gets tough, steeps and bumps etc. I like to give buckle number three a few turns tighter on the micro adjust or even go an additional notch on the catches ( this does not apply to those who truely "buddy buckle".)

If buckle number one is too tight, my entire foot checks out and I have no "feel" for the skiing. If buckle number one is too loose, I rock back and forth and get wicked shin bang. This is the worst thing in crud and heavy deep and broken snow conditions.

Too much for such a simple thing, but get a routine and it becomes second nature.

CalG
post #15 of 25
Cgrandy has this completely right (and saved me a pile of typing). Take note of his nice post.
post #16 of 25
thanks cgrandy for this incredibly enlightening post.

I've printed it out. I have just bought my first pair of boots and find this info priceless.

it's funny how the thread began "duh." Nothing "duh" about all this helpful info.

This site rocks! I'm learning a lot here.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by 729Jim
This site rocks! I'm learning a lot here.
Ditto.
post #18 of 25
wow great information cgrand! This is exactly what I was looking for!

thanks. I printed it out too...
post #19 of 25
Just told by a "expert" fitter in CO.Put boot on, stand up or kick heel into pocket, close buckle on instep first to lock in heel, then toe, then bottom cuff then top, then booster. Such a complicated sport!
post #20 of 25

Have you tried this method?

What do you think?

I did, and I find that settling the heel in the pocket is one of the most important aspects of getting the boot to feel and fit. This more "simplified procedure" might leave some gaps.

When I buckle the instep first, I get a compression component down, along with a very small "pulling back" . Not as forceful and leveraging the heel back against the closed boot shaft buckles.

OH ! I forgot . The first step before even stating to put the boot on, is to really open up the boot by pulling out the tongue and spreading the boot flaps. Then dusting the boot inner with Gold Bond Medicated Powder (Shameless plug, I have stock in the company, purchase the big bottle ;-)
Really the powder helps keep feet dry and warm, and helps keep the sock from pulling and bunching while inserting the foot. Plus! the oder eater function.

It's all good

CalG
post #21 of 25
Get ZipFit liner (www.zipfitna.com).
Once the process of adjusting is completed you will have great fit with loose buckles.
post #22 of 25
The proper fi begins with the shell. If the shell isn't the correct size, then a new liner isn't going to make up for the poor fit.
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog
The proper fi begins with the shell. If the shell isn't the correct size, then a new liner isn't going to make up for the poor fit.
I couldn't agree more.
post #24 of 25
I tried different setups but there isn't one that is the best. This is not art. I buckle my boots starting with the lower buckles. Why? b/c the area where the lower leg and the instep come together is crucial for the quality of the flex. My boots barely overlap when i put them on (they have a low instep) and i tighten the instep buckle before the 3rd. This way, the overflaps come together and the lower part of the cuff will make contact with them much,much better than if i just closed the upper buckles first. This goes for many,many boots. It makes sense.



Again, IMO there is no magic formula here, but i will not close the upper buckles before the instep (for best flex).

Jamie
post #25 of 25

Bumping a 6 year old thread because I found out something that people don't talk about yesterday. Was skiing in new boots, about half way through the day was feeling pain in my right foot (my right foot is a good deal smaller than my left) and decided on the chair lift that it was because boots became too lose during the day from liners packing and general skiing loosening the boots up. Got off the lift and really cranked them down. On the run after that I realized I had cranked the instep buckle to the point where my arch had collapsed and was locked down. This resulted in a very scary loss of control. The moral of the story, DO NOT crank down your instep (2nd buckle from the bottom) down really tight.

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