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Boot Balance by Bergeron...

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
...an educational epistle...

In the hope that some of you would be interested in the process of being fit and balanced, I thought that I would share my experience in the steps as they occur. Feel free to jump in and ask questions, but if you jump ahead, you'll need to wait for my next experience to get the responses.

Jeff fit me into a pair of Tecnica XTs in 2003. While they were not ideal, they were about as close as he felt we could get at the time. By the middle of last season, I was having some challenges with my feet (especially my heels) moving around in the boots. As a result, I put ZipFits into them during the ESA. After further study, I don't think that going with the ZipFits was the right "fix." Fundamentally, I think the movement was due to the more aggressive forward lean in the XTs that exacerbated my physiology (feet quite short for my height). So, after trying on a pair of Nordica Aggressors at the Nordica Race Camp in May, I decided to look into new boots this year (for completeness, days 2 and 3 of the race camp are in those threads).

I visited with Jeff over the summer, and he took a look at my stance in stocking feet. He mentioned that he thought the Aggressor would be a good boot for my stance and foot shape. We chatted a bit, and after some encouragement from others (most notably Bob Barnes/Colorado noting that they are running low on inventory), I took the leap today and picked up a pair of Nordica Aggressor 150s, size 5. Now, I have a relatively narrow size 8 1/2 US foot and have been skiing in a size 25.5 XT (UK 6 1/2). The size 5 (24 mondo) is about a half-finger fit, but, as Scott at the Loveland Sport Shop notes, there is enough plastic to work it to a size 6, if necessary. Given my past experience with boots becoming too big, I decided to try the smaller size.

One item of note: the Aggressors come in a plastic briefcase! I felt like I should handcuff them to my wrist or something. Impressive.

After wearing them for 15 minutes or so, my ears were not bleeding (), nor had any parts of my feet gone to sleep, so I peeled them off, paid, and headed for Breck to visit Jeff.

When I arrived (as is typical), he was working with another client. I hung around a bit, he invited me to change into shorts (so he could see my knees more clearly) and also put on my ski socks. After re-familiarizing himself with my stance ("Oh, yeah, the Aggressors are going to work very well for you."), he checked a few more things. He noted my natural stance is somewhat duck-footed, my short feet also have a high instep (he described it as what is length for many people becomes height) and that my knees track inward when I stand with feet pointed forward--and straight when they are splayed out. Then he had me get into the boots.

He checked the location of the knee over the toe, had me flex and watched it track, had me tip each boot in succession, then both at once. Every time one direction, then the other. Turn 90 degrees so he's watching from the side. Then back.

He was delighted, "You were born for these boots!" he exclaimed (although I like to think that they were made for me... ). He likes the way I set up in them. That's where we left it for today.

I have an appointment later this month to do the next step of work. His goal with me (as for everyone) is to work the boot to the point where I'm balanced pretty evenly across my foot fore/aft. It seems that my foot type implies that I carry my weight primarily on the balls of my feet and this will by default be the case in ski boots. He is going to work to get me more balanced across the foot by changing the boot. Obviously, more on this when I next get work done.

A number of things I took away from my experiences today:
  • Stance and physiology are the key inputs to the right boot model for everyone
  • The input of a specialist who understands this is critical
  • There is no "best" in boots; they are very personal selections
  • There is no substitute for physiological and anatomical knowledge and experience from your boot balancing specialist
  • There are differing views of "optimal stance", with some being more upright and some more focused on range of motion. Make sure your balancer has the same concept you do
  • Fit is far more easily adjusted than is balance
post #2 of 51

Aggressor

Steve:
Your points are interesting. You don't say what skis you were skiing or the bindings or what the ramp angle was. I would from our past conversations have thought you had the ramp angle reduced. If not I can't eauate it with overall looseness but could equate it with difficulty in balancing, and a feeling of looseness more due to just an inability to stand solidly.

It will be interesting to see what you think of the Aggressors. Personally I think the new Fischer and now Nordica copycat designs are dangerous and irresponsible to skiers. By allowing you to stand duckfooted not only is your foot externally rotated but so is your tibia. I think it will increase twisting moments at the knee and but the knee at even greater risk.

As is typical of these kind of advancements in skiing, they were made from observations not from research or thought into biomechanics.

Lou
post #3 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by race510 View Post
Steve:
Your points are interesting. You don't say what skis you were skiing or the bindings or what the ramp angle was. I would from our past conversations have thought you had the ramp angle reduced. If not I can't eauate it with overall looseness but could equate it with difficulty in balancing, and a feeling of looseness more due to just an inability to stand solidly.

It will be interesting to see what you think of the Aggressors. Personally I think the new Fischer and now Nordica copycat designs are dangerous and irresponsible to skiers. By allowing you to stand duckfooted not only is your foot externally rotated but so is your tibia. I think it will increase twisting moments at the knee and but the knee at even greater risk.

As is typical of these kind of advancements in skiing, they were made from observations not from research or thought into biomechanics.

Lou
I've split this and the follow-on discussion out to this thread: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=45309
post #4 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
He noted my natural stance is somewhat duck-footed, my short feet also have a high instep (he described it as what is length for many people becomes height) and that my knees track inward when I stand with feet pointed forward--and straight when they are splayed out.
Are these the typical conditions for recommending the Aggressor design? Though it would seem logical, none of the boot folks / coaches I've talked to seemed to have an answer. The usual response is simply that it works for some people and not for others. Also I'm curious if you two discussed the implications of adjusting knee tracking by rotating the feet versus canting.
post #5 of 51

Follow my path? Or Bootfitting, the never ending journey!

I was a few hours behind ssh on almost the same path yesterday.

I went to Loveland Ski shop to try on the new aggressors and Nordica WC 150s. My current boots are Nordica Hot Rod 130s bought in early 2005 that now have well over 130 ski days. They fit well, but the liner is giving me some pain at the front of the ankle from bulky seams and tongue creases. They have also packed out enough that I have some side to side play even though there are 2 bontex shims under the liner. Jim Lindsey did the fitting on these boots and did an great job, but it's couple of hours from Silverthorne to Aspen so I decided to try Jeff's services in Breckenridge.

My feet are of medium width (D) with a medium to high instep. My legs and knees are somewhat abnormal because although they appear slightly knock kneed, my kneecaps point to the outside somewhat. I am also slightly duck footed.

Scott recommended the Aggressors for me with a performance fit of about 1 finger in a 26.0 mondo, 7 UK. The shell touched the sides of my feet, but I too could wear the boots with the lilners in and "my ears were not bleeding" and I didn't cry from foot pain.

So, following Steve, I drove over to Jeff's shop in Breckenridge. He was with another customer, but had me put on shorts, stood me on a platform and evaluated my stance and legs when I was barefoot and also in my existing boots. He had me try the Aggressors in both a 25 shell and 26 shell and recommended the 26 for me. He recommended the 26 because he described my toes as "Blocky" and the toe box would have more room and I still had a good 1 finger fit in this shell.

Jeff felt that I could use either the Aggressor or Doberman series boot, but it would be easier to get a neutral stance with the Aggressor.

So I went home and faxed my form to Nordica for a pair of 26.0 Aggressors. As soon as I receive them I will make an appointment with Jeff and get them fitted and aligned. They are really stiff and will have to be softened for me eventually.

This is the first time I have bought a consumer "plug" boot and hope that they will give me the best fit and performance to date after proper work is done on the shell.

We'll see!!
post #6 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltron View Post
Are these the typical conditions for recommending the Aggressor design? Though it would seem logical, none of the boot folks / coaches I've talked to seemed to have an answer. The usual response is simply that it works for some people and not for others. Also I'm curious if you two discussed the implications of adjusting knee tracking by rotating the feet versus canting.
I think so, but my focus on balance and stance is the reason why. I think that it's vital to get to neutral in a boot and have the boot's cuff track naturally for one's physiology. With my XTs, Jeff did some shell grinding to get a little bit of the toes-out stance (not a lot at all, mind you!), and his other work made a big difference, too, and helped tremendously. I got a pretty forward track, and I think a lot of that was the footbed and other adjustments he made.

I used to think that fit was the most important aspect of finding the "right" boots for someone. Now I'm convinced it's stance and balance. A good boot specialist can fix most fit issues as long as the stance and balance are right. Fixing stance and balance issues are much more difficult if the boots aren't as close to "right" as possible.
post #7 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
I have an appointment later this month to do the next step of work. His goal with me (as for everyone) is to work the boot to the point where I'm balanced pretty evenly across my foot fore/aft. It seems that my foot type implies that I carry my weight primarily on the balls of my feet and this will by default be the case in ski boots. He is going to work to get me more balanced across the foot by changing the boot. Obviously, more on this when I next get work done.

What whould this mean for the role of the calf during extension, both vertically and in transitions?
post #8 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
...When I arrived (as is typical), he was working with another client. I hung around a bit, he invited me to change into shorts (so he could see my knees more clearly) and also put on my ski socks. After re-familiarizing himself with my stance ("Oh, yeah, the Aggressors are going to work very well for you."), he checked a few more things. He noted my natural stance is somewhat duck-footed, my short feet also have a high instep (he described it as what is length for many people becomes height) and that my knees track inward when I stand with feet pointed forward--and straight when they are splayed out. Then he had me get into the boots.

He checked the location of the knee over the toe, had me flex and watched it track, had me tip each boot in succession, then both at once. Every time one direction, then the other. Turn 90 degrees so he's watching from the side. Then back.
In my opinion, if your bootfitter does not go through all of this, he's not earning your hard-earned money. Getting the fit right while you're sitting on your @$$ in the shop is not alchemy. Getting it right in a shop so that you can apply the physics intended on all slopes is pure magic and only the best get it right the first time. Balance and alignment are every bit as important as getting the fit inside the boot right.
post #9 of 51
Steve--thanks for posting your experience with the setup. I can't wait to hear and see what happens on the snow!

Race510--please see my reply in Steve's other thread, Aggressor and similar boots.

Best regards,
Bob
post #10 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjohansson View Post
Balance and alignment are every bit as important as getting the fit inside the boot right.
I believe very seriously that it is actually considerably more important than fit. Since fit is more easily got after the fact.
post #11 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltron
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
He noted my natural stance is somewhat duck-footed, my short feet also have a high instep (he described it as what is length for many people becomes height) and that my knees track inward when I stand with feet pointed forward--and straight when they are splayed out.
Are these the typical conditions for recommending the Aggressor design? Though it would seem logical, none of the boot folks / coaches I've talked to seemed to have an answer. The usual response is simply that it works for some people and not for others. Also I'm curious if you two discussed the implications of adjusting knee tracking by rotating the feet versus canting.
Yes that is typical of many duck footed people in boots like the Aggressor. There are lots of ways to skin the knee-tracking and alignment cat so it is one of the possible answers but not necessarily THE answer.
Have fun.
post #12 of 51
few other points:
aggresser stance: My wife had some knee pain after skiing (heli guide, 30 pound pack, 100+ days a year on snow), talked to Dr., a physio, other ski techs etc, and mounted her skis with a 2deg off set, knee pain gone the next day. She just ordered her agg. boots, We hope for the same results.


stance/ balance: again a great step, but one of many like ....

looking at where the ski is mounted front ot back on the ski is another (why I like demo bindings)

how the ski flexes (softer tip = start the turn faster = can be mounted further back on the skis)

how cold it is outside (colder = stiffer boots = less range of motion)

how much sidecut the ski has (12m 155cm turns different then a 190 with 40m)

how long the ski is.



and a bunch of other stuff, lots of variables and they always change, run to run, day to day, ski to ski etc
post #13 of 51
Thread Starter 

A pic

Some of you may get a kick out of this. I still find the case hilarious. It's got eggcrate foam on the inside of it...
Attachment 899
525x525px-LL-vbattach899.jpg
post #14 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
Some of you may get a kick out of this. I still find the case hilarious. It's got eggcrate foam on the inside of it...
TCB - they're all "bidness" ssh. What, no handcuff and shackle??

Best of luck on all your "missions" this season ... if you choose to accept them.
post #15 of 51
Thread Starter 
I told you I felt like they should be handcuffed to me!

Nice thing about it is that they'll fit in the overhead bin during a planned plane flight later this year...
post #16 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
Some of you may get a kick out of this. I still find the case hilarious. It's got eggcrate foam on the inside of it...
Attachment 899
How long till we see ebay adds for these boot breifcases?

How long till we see griping posts of missing or stolen boot cases?

Do these cases fit into a ski locker?

Are you a gaper if you bring the case to the hill?

Can I buy just the case?

Do I get the boots cheaper if I don't want the case?

Does the case come in any other colours?

BU ha ha ha ha ha

I wish my boots had a case !
post #17 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
I believe very seriously that it is actually considerably more important than fit. Since fit is more easily got after the fact.
Happy to see you we agree. I have been saying this for quite a while, to what i thought were deaf ears!
post #18 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
I told you I felt like they should be handcuffed to me!

Nice thing about it is that they'll fit in the overhead bin during a planned plane flight later this year...
You're right, perfect for carry-on ... especially for traveling light. Bet you'd be able to count the boots as a "briefcase" and have a carry-on for shell/layers and not have to check anything for a "long-weekend" trip. (if demoing skis)

I go out of my way to avoid checking baggage whenever possible. For me, I'd probably have to lose the graphics somehow, but very cool!
post #19 of 51
Thread Starter 
With the size of my boots, btw, they leave a good chunk of space open. Probably enough for gloves, socks, undies, and maybe even my welded-seam jacket or pants (I don't think both). Pretty wild. But certainly much easier than trying to stuff the Transpack into an overhead.
post #20 of 51
Wow Steve, i think you got a great boot that will take your skiing to a new level!

My knees track inward when I stand with feet pointed forward and straight when they are splayed out just like you said in one of your posts.
I am very interested in getting the Aggressors. They should be perfect. No more knee tracking problems, a great upright stance and a great instep.

I tried the Hot Rod Nitrous yesterday and was suprised to see that they have a good instep. Jeff says it is not as low as the Atomic RTs but i found that using my leather lace-up liner i buckle the lower buckles second notch and they are very tight. I thought i would have to buckle third or even fourth notch. It was very surprising and i really liked that.
Although i liked the instep and stance, the hot rods have the "classic" last and i could feel that my lower leg was pushing against the medial wall and the higher lower shell when i was flexing. Not a natural leg position for me.

Steve, could you tell me if you have the same size in the Aggressor and the Hot Rods/regular Dobermann? I can only get the Aggressor if i i order it so i can't try it on first. The hot rods are the highest performance boot the shop carries. I know the Dobie WC 150 should be the same size but i am not sure about the Aggressor.

Thanks,
Jamie
post #21 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by sywsyw View Post
My knees track inward when I stand with feet pointed forward and straight when they are splayed out just like you said in one of your posts.
I am very interested in getting the Aggressors. They should be perfect. No more knee tracking problems, a great upright stance and a great instep.
I kinda wondering about this. My knees also track inward in this position. In fact, so do the knees for the majority of the population; it's more abnormal for knees not to track inward. So should the majority of skiers be in Aggressor or Soma style stances? Something tells me that it's not so simple...
post #22 of 51
As an aside to the Aggressor thread, All the the Atomic M (Tri-tech)series and B (Bi-Tech) series boots have a 3 degree offset shell.

They are offset 3 degrees from the boots central axis. I believe the Aggressor is 1.5 degrees.

Atomic Tri-tech & bitech's have had an offset shell since they origianlly were introduced. About 1998 or 1999 for the 10.5 beatrace.

Race Tech's are not Offset.

I bring this up as an alternative to the Ultra stiff Aggressor. Offset is available in a more user friendly Rec, rec/Race, non-plug boot.
post #23 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltron View Post
I kinda wondering about this. My knees also track inward in this position. In fact, so do the knees for the majority of the population; it's more abnormal for knees not to track inward. So should the majority of skiers be in Aggressor or Soma style stances? Something tells me that it's not so simple...

I agree that it's not so simple.
Jeff Bergeron answered my questions and he said that the aggressors work for some people only. My knees track track inward and i am a pronator but this does not mean that the aggressors are the best boots for me. I would have to order the boots and i don't want to do it. So i'll be getting a boot with a "classic" last.
post #24 of 51
As if there wasn't already a pretty good case for those boots!

I really like that case, actually, although I doubt I'll ever carry my boots in it. (I carry my boots on planes with no case at all, just thrown over my shoulder with the power straps velcroed together.) But I can think of a few other things that would go nicely cradled in the egg crate foam of that case--laptop, cameras, goggles, . . . .

Best regards,
Bob
post #25 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by race510 View Post
Steve:
Your points are interesting. You don't say what skis you were skiing or the bindings or what the ramp angle was. I would from our past conversations have thought you had the ramp angle reduced. If not I can't eauate it with overall looseness but could equate it with difficulty in balancing, and a feeling of looseness more due to just an inability to stand solidly.

It will be interesting to see what you think of the Aggressors. Personally I think the new Fischer and now Nordica copycat designs are dangerous and irresponsible to skiers. By allowing you to stand duckfooted not only is your foot externally rotated but so is your tibia. I think it will increase twisting moments at the knee and but the knee at even greater risk.

As is typical of these kind of advancements in skiing, they were made from observations not from research or thought into biomechanics.

Lou
Good point! Not to be a buzz kill for anyone, but the entire, yes the entire US Ski team has shelved the Aggressor as well as the Fischer.

Coup
post #26 of 51

boot flare

I believe the Aggresor is not off set diagonally as traditional boots. The rail,sole, is actually placed logitudinally closer to the medial,big toe side,of the foot. Traditonal offset starts at approximately the center of the heel diagonally towards the big toe side of the foot .

CUSTOM BOOT FITTING SERVICES AND CUSTOM ORTHOTICS -- AMERICA'S BEST BOOTFITTERS

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Reply
post #27 of 51
What adjustments need to be made to the boot to achieve the desired distribution of weight over the entire foot ? Is this a ramp angle and forward lean of the cuff adjustment? I am curious as to how weight distribution can be measured.

Its hard for me to understand how you can be set up in the boot and not have more weight on the balls of your feet than the middle and heel of your foot when you flex your knees.

I envy you guys that have access to the Jeff Bergerons of the world. I love those Nordica Aggressors, but I need to make a morgage payment again next month! But seriously, I think the money spent to get dialed in and be assured you have the correct stance and are flat on your skis is invaluable. I was thrilled last year when I stopped into Foot Loose at Mammoth thinking I needed tweaked on canting and with my own half a__ footbed postings done they thought I was flat and good. This year I need to mess around with the weight distribution thing. I'll be curious to read your comments concerning how your new set up skis . Thanks for sharing this stuff.
post #28 of 51
Roundturns,
I know that Jim Lindsey has a pressure pad that you stand on that is linked to his PC. He has a program that displays the pressure distribution of each foot. I don't know how these guys adjust for even distribution along the soles of your feet or if they do. I just know that whatever magic they work does the job for me.

I think that they really can't adjust a boot so that you always achieve optimum distribution in all conditions in every turn. I believe the objective is to get balance in a neutral stance. It is up to the skier to apply force as needed in the circumstances of each turn.

You can customize the tool for each user so that it can be used to its highest efficiency, but is up to the user to apply the tools in the best way for any given circumstance. The correct tools allow us to use our skillset in the most efficient manner.

bong
post #29 of 51
Thanks Bong for the explanation. Measuring in a neutral stance would seem to allow for more equal weight distribution . I just put my boots on for the first time since the season ended. We're still a good month away from our white ribbon of death opening, but time for my feet to get reacquainted .
I'm feeling some side to side play I didn't think I had last year. I'll have to go the $3 dollar bontex route versus the $1,000 Agressor solution, but I love that carrying case!
post #30 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregfits View Post
I believe the Aggresor is not off set diagonally as traditional boots. The rail,sole, is actually placed logitudinally closer to the medial,big toe side,of the foot. Traditonal offset starts at approximately the center of the heel diagonally towards the big toe side of the foot .
This is inaccurate. The rear of the heel of the boot is in the center of the lug. The toe is offset to the outside by a cm or so. So, the last does sit at a diagonal angle to the lug from heel to toe.
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