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Boots/Custom footbeds Weighted or Unweighted?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi all
We have been through a lot of mud slinging about which method is better but how about a conversation just on the methods and technical merits of each.

My non medical understanding is

unweighted/neutral method = setting the foot in a neutral position (at rest) and molding a footbed to the bottom of the foot.
This supposedly "locks" the foot fully supported. done properly when you apply weight, the foot should not splay or pronate. as you flex forward the foot should remain stable and the ankle should not turn in or out (pronate or supulnate) this should translate to instant transfer of energy to the ski (no time/energy spent splaying the foot before the energy transfer moves to the ski)

The argument I have heard for weighted or semi weighted footbeds is "this is the natural position your foot is in when you are standing.
"you don't ski sitting down so why make a footbed that way"

Of course the quality/skill of the fitter/maker is paramount.

I have tried both methods and I felt there was much more improvement in my "feel and skiing" with the unweighted method.

I found that with the weighted method my foot still prontated and splayed when I applied weight to my feet and when I "transfer weight" when skiing this translated into slower response. I do have to say that the weighted method footbed was more comfortable at the beginning but once my feet got used to the unweighted method footbed the comfort was not an issue.

I am interested to hear other theories but please no passionate "this is the right way" and no need to bash or mention specific fitters. Just the facts and experiences please.
post #2 of 10
I like my unweighted footbeds. I have had mine for about 5 years now and they are great. They were done by someone that I would regaurd as a top notch bootfitter and that helps, because I have another pair just like them made by a lesser skilled person and they do not work well at all. I truely believe that the posting material makes a difference because that is what puts the neutral foot in the proper alignment. I have been told that the reason the an unweighted footbed is better is that boots were disigned around the neutral foot and therefore a better fit is achieved. People may have been blowing smoke on that one, but it is working for me.
post #3 of 10
My first pair were stand-up models made by the guy who pioneered the hot-mold system with a cork posting afterward and they were really comfortable but I couldn't detect any alteration in my skiing. I've had two subsequent Superfeet style seated sets made (change in boot size) and one stand-up set, all made by well-experienced fitters, and the Superfeet proved noticeably more helpful. I believe the static positioning, if done carefully, leads to the more supportive footbed.
post #4 of 10
I currently have about half a dozen pairs of custom footbeds. I mostly use an Instaprint molded with the old fully weighted foam pillows from Comformable, definatly not the most precise method, but seems to work very well for lots of people. At a Masterfit clinic, Hoffman looked at them, and asked me what was wrong with them. My response was "nothing". He than had me stand on them, and to everyone's surprise, it was true my foot was well supported. Some feet will definatly tend to come out pronated on the old Comformab'le pillow stand, but I have made some very nice footbeds off it. I actually have about 3 pairs of these, as I make myself new ones every season. My boss hate this!

Last fall, our local Superfeet rep made me a pair of the new quickie korks in unweighted subtaler neutral. They came out very nice, I like them much better than the old hard korks with big toes crests. Unfortunatly, they are much thicker than my Instaprints, and reduce the volume in my Head WCs too much. They are currently in an old pair of San Marco ZX9's that I still use sometimes.

In my telemark boots, I have Amfits, from Surefoot. These were made fully weighted on the pins, and done by computer. They were made for my WCs, but didn't really work, but do just fine for freeheeling. Like the Korks, they were pretty thick, and reduced the volume too much in my alpine boots, at the same time , my heel became looser.

I also have a pair of Instprints made on the silicon bead pillows, maybe slightly weighted, but not much. During the process, I had Sarah, my old boss, relly build up the arch, so that it felt really supportive. These footbeds are have wild. They make my boots feel stronger and quicker edge to edge, unfortunatly, they are not very comfortable. I think we over did it.

Un weighted vs. weighted. Hmm.. both seem to work fairly well if the fitter has a clue. My thought would be that the perfect footbed would take into account your ramp angle, and forward lean. It seems to me that if the footbed is moled in a position the foot can never get into inside the boot, that it may not be working as well as it could. I also wonder if many feet will be happier, and even more efficient a little bit pronated. I know Superfeet's opinion. How about toe crests? I think they are horrible, and will cause people to get in the back seat by trying to grip tham. Deep heel cups? Both Superfeet, and Instprint/Masterfit swear by them. I have had success with very shallow heel cups. Materials: a very firm old cork? a supportive yet soft foam ala Instaprint/ Conformable? I think it is ok for the footbed to give a bit, maybe even desireable in some cases. Lock it up or let it go?

Love to hear everyone's views on this. No rights no wrongs. By the way, our shop makes Superfeet, Comformable, and Instaprint, and I think the "new" Kork is the most idiot(me) proof. Although, the old Comformable foam pillow stand is way simple to use also, you have to watch for pronation. The Comformable silicon bead pillows do an excellent high definiton mold, but are a bit tricky.
post #5 of 10
First off, every skier should have footbeds. Everyone benefits from them.
I really don't know of any other single product that I sell that I can guarantee will improve the quality of their life. The reasons are well documented on this site and others.

Like spinheli, I have several different footbeds. They are all better than whatever they replaced and they have all improved the quality of my life. I have owned several pair of weighted beds and a couple of unweighted. Currently my shop offers only un-weighted. They are all as good as the fitter.

Last winter my original (and favorite) footbeds died. They were made in the mid-seventies and were a bare-bones Sidas. I had gotten some new boots and heated up the liners to speed their conformability and forgot to remove the beds. Doh! I tried to save them but..........DOA. They went to the big boot in the sky.

I believe that a skier should seek a fitter/shop that they trust and get the beds that their fitter recommends.

post #6 of 10
I prefer the unweighted. My most recent pair were made by a podiatrist who was a ski instructor for many years. The current pair is only 3/4 length,(a copy of my running orthos) but they seem to work very well. jd do you know Dr. Wendel in Seattle?
post #7 of 10
Okay, the big debate. Weighted/Unweighted, which is "better"?

A weighted footbed will tend to allow the floppy foot to collapse and/or roll. A good technician can re-align the foot somewhat, but it's tricky with somone standing on the foot you are trying to line up...

An unweighted footbed tends to produce a more pronounced arch. This works for a lot of skiers, and does support the foot more, but it may be too much. The flexible footed person may complain of standing on a baseball bat. It can be painful.

Rigid materials are not a good idea. Nice flexible (but supportive) arch that springs back into shape during tipping and rolling. Don't want to lock the foot, get the footbones to move and articulate a little.

Here's an interesting method... Have the skier sit in a chair, position the moulding pillow properly, especially fore-aft. Thighs should be close to level. If the "mouldee" then rests both arms on the thighs, just above the front of the ankle, you can get a very nice mould, with pressure that is "just right", guided by the technician. It's easier to accurately align the footbones this way during molding, too.

So, partially weighted? Trick question...

Visit me here >>>SnoKarver

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[This message has been edited by SnoKarver (edited August 25, 2001).]</FONT>
post #8 of 10

Are you describing the "Fastech" footbeds by ---- Cumberlain ?

post #9 of 10
I remembered his first name. It is Glen Cumberlain that started and owns fastech.
post #10 of 10
Partially weighted. The Instaprint putty/air stand, and the Comformable Silicon bead pillows both do a great job in the right hands. The Instaprint is easier and quicker though. (for me)
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