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Custom footbeds can't be made for some feet?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I've read about how custom footbeds are supposed to be better. So I've tried them over the years. I have very wide feet (not very big either). My boots are a 26.5.

I tried Surefoot about 6 years ago. I remember having to go into their shops all the time and my feet were constantly hurting all season. I finally tried some Superfeet ($30 off the shelf footbeds) and my feet felt better. I was so annoyed that I threw away the Surefoot footbeds. (I know they guarantee them, but I didn't want to do anything with them). I can't remember exactly why my feet hurt with the custom footbeds back then.

So.. I was skiing on Superfeet for the last 6 years. I got some Nordica Speedmachine 10 ski boots at the end of last season. I thought it might be a good idea to try custom footbeds again.

I tried settings something up with Jeff (who talks about boots on these forums a lot) but couldn't set up a good time. So I went to a local Ski shop in Summit county, CO who was supposedly a good bootfitter. He set up some Korks for me, but they were painful in the shop before I even took them home. They made my right arch hurt. He tried one or 2 things but then basically said there was nothing he could do and gave me my money back.

So I decided to try The Custom Foot down in Denver (Lee Kinney is the owner). Lee spent a lot of time on the footbeds at the end of last season. They are Conformible. Still my right foot arch was painful. I skied on them 2x and figured I would try them some more this season to see if I just needed to get used to them. After a month, it wasn't getting any better. So I tried some Superfeet again. Again, my feet felt much better. I went back to Lee and he did some work my the footbeds, and I tried them this weekend, but I still had pain in my arch. Lee is a great guy and offered to work on them some more or give me my money back.

The pain in my right arch is kind of like a cramp. It feels like the footbed is pushing up on the front part of my arch. It only happens on my right foot.

I really like how the custom footbeds hold my foot in my boot, but I can't enjoy skiing with the pain.

So... Should I just give up on custom footbeds? Or have I just been going to the wrong places (It doesn't seem that way, as Lee really seemed to know his stuff)?

If I'm destined to not use custom footbeds, then superfeet seem to be working well for me, except if I make my right boot snug (the way I'd really like), then the inside bone on my ankle rubs against some thing in the boot and starts to get painful towards the end of day. This isn't nearly as painful as the arch problem with the custom footbeds, but it would be nice if I could get rid. Maybe I can get some kind of foam to put inside my sock? Some modification to my boot?

Are there any experts on this who can tell me if I should bother wasting my time with footbeds, or if my feet are just too bizarre for them.
post #2 of 28
Not much to add. I would just say if it can be done sounds like you'll need to do one of the footbeds where you are standing when it's molded. Sounds to my untrained ear like your foot must really flatten out with weight on it (korks are done unweighted - with maximum arch).

The hotspot on your heel sounds like a candidate for a little grind or would likely be fixed with a heat moldable liner.
post #3 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mogulman1 View Post
I've read about how custom footbeds are supposed to be better. So I've tried them over the years. I have very wide feet (not very big either). My boots are a 26.5.

I tried Surefoot about 6 years ago. I remember having to go into their shops all the time and my feet were constantly hurting all season. I finally tried some Superfeet ($30 off the shelf footbeds) and my feet felt better. I was so annoyed that I threw away the Surefoot footbeds. (I know they guarantee them, but I didn't want to do anything with them). I can't remember exactly why my feet hurt with the custom footbeds back then.

So.. I was skiing on Superfeet for the last 6 years. I got some Nordica Speedmachine 10 ski boots at the end of last season. I thought it might be a good idea to try custom footbeds again.

I tried settings something up with Jeff (who talks about boots on these forums a lot) but couldn't set up a good time. So I went to a local Ski shop in Summit county, CO who was supposedly a good bootfitter. He set up some Korks for me, but they were painful in the shop before I even took them home. They made my right arch hurt. He tried one or 2 things but then basically said there was nothing he could do and gave me my money back.

So I decided to try The Custom Foot down in Denver (Lee Kinney is the owner). Lee spent a lot of time on the footbeds at the end of last season. They are Conformible. Still my right foot arch was painful. I skied on them 2x and figured I would try them some more this season to see if I just needed to get used to them. After a month, it wasn't getting any better. So I tried some Superfeet again. Again, my feet felt much better. I went back to Lee and he did some work my the footbeds, and I tried them this weekend, but I still had pain in my arch. Lee is a great guy and offered to work on them some more or give me my money back.

The pain in my right arch is kind of like a cramp. It feels like the footbed is pushing up on the front part of my arch. It only happens on my right foot.

I really like how the custom footbeds hold my foot in my boot, but I can't enjoy skiing with the pain.

So... Should I just give up on custom footbeds? Or have I just been going to the wrong places (It doesn't seem that way, as Lee really seemed to know his stuff)?

If I'm destined to not use custom footbeds, then superfeet seem to be working well for me, except if I make my right boot snug (the way I'd really like), then the inside bone on my ankle rubs against some thing in the boot and starts to get painful towards the end of day. This isn't nearly as painful as the arch problem with the custom footbeds, but it would be nice if I could get rid. Maybe I can get some kind of foam to put inside my sock? Some modification to my boot?

Are there any experts on this who can tell me if I should bother wasting my time with footbeds, or if my feet are just too bizarre for them.
Your feet sound like mine. My shoe size is 8 EEE and I have the same problems. I wear anything fron a 8 1/2 ee to a 10 D. I'm breaking in a new set of MOJO 26.5 heat fit boots with a 103mm toe box right now. My right foot is my problem foot and my heels dont really hurt but they do fit tight. I'll have to see how they feel after a long day of skiing.The boot fitter told me that because of my foot shape it would be difficult for me to get my heel all the way back in any boot and set me up with superfeet insoles that are larger than my foot size to move the arch support foward. So far they're working out but I have'nt broken them in yet and may need to go back and have adjustments done on them after skiing in them for a month or so. I think the superfeet insoles are probably worth a 1/2 shoe size because they're thicker than the stock insoles. My problem right now seems to be my heels and the width of the toe box on my right boot. My feet are pretty much the same size except that I had surgery for turf toe on my left foot and it's not quite as wide as my right foot. The arch support seems to be good so you might want to try a different size superfeet insole for that foot if it's alot different from you left.

I'm not a expert but maybe my info can help you out. I definatly understand where your coming from. Good luck.
post #4 of 28
The problem (in my mind) with any custom footbed is that they are created "away from" the boot, away from the "system" that they will be used in. They feel great outside of the boot, but when your new footbed and foot are inside of the boot the "relationships" change. I found with my custom Superfeet Kork that my foot actually was about a 1/4" to 1/2" further forward thus changing the position of the arch in relation to my foot.

I believe the best way to deal with this issue is to go to someone who addresses the entire "system" (foot, footbeds, boots) and considers how they will all relate together when everything is combined.

I went a different route though and it worked for me (but may have messed with my alignment - not sure at the moment). My solution was to take my Superfeet Kork footbeds and re-heat them in a toaster oven to about 200 degrees. I then inserted the hot footbed into the liner and put the boots on for 15 minutes. Initially I kept my feet unweighted, but progressively added some weight as the footbeds were cooling. By the end of the 15 minutes I was completely standing up in my boots and flexing them.

This process obviously changed the footbeds a bit, but removed the problems I had with the arch being in the wrong place.

Note that the Kork material will expand a bit upon heating. You can reduce this by heating very slowly and watching them carefully. The goal is to fully and evenly heat all of the Kork material (especially through the thicker arches) without overheating the thinner areas.

Since discovering this issue I've been building my own Superfeet Kork footbeds. I was lucky to find quite a few "raw" kits for sale without the fitting portion of the service (only $25). I've developed my own method for forming them and aligning my foot. I have no idea if it's right and I was going to have a full custom alignment done this season in Aspen - that was until I blew up my leg.

So I thought I'd offer you an option, but take it with a grain of salt - it's not for the faint of heart.
post #5 of 28
Being that I own a pair of really screwed up feet, I might be able to offer a little advice. OTOH, I'm not a bootfitter, so this is probably worth what you are paying for it.

I did a fair amount of research WRT footbeds to make sure I got what I needed for my feet. One of the things I learned was that in my case I absolutely did NOT need a fully posted footbed with a rigid arch. I also learned this was the case for many types of feet too. i.e. flat feet, cavus foot, etc.

In my case I have high arches and insteps and my right foot is cavus with a forefoot valgus. (See: http://www.biomech.com/db_area/archi...es.55.bio.html Lucky me: ) Plus, my right ankle is pretty much locked with only 2 degrees lateral range of motion. My footbeds in my ski boots are semi rigid and it's posted on the LT side of the right foot to take out some of the forefoot valgus. The idea being to put my right foot in to the closest approximation of neutral so I can use my limited range of ankle motion to pressure the BTE and LTE.

Bottom line is you might be better off in a semi-rigid footbed like the Superfeet off the shelf insoles. (Again, take this advice for what it's worth. ) OTOH, seeing how I am a poster child for custom bootfitting and alignment, and the benefits derived, I cannot recomend that process too highly.

FWIW, I wear Superfeet green insoles in my street and golf shoes (except for my good pair of Ecco golf shoes which doesn't need an insole.) It helps my shoes last longer and my feet feel a lot better too.
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by X-EastCoaster View Post
Not much to add. I would just say if it can be done sounds like you'll need to do one of the footbeds where you are standing when it's molded. Sounds to my untrained ear like your foot must really flatten out with weight on it (korks are done unweighted - with maximum arch).

The hotspot on your heel sounds like a candidate for a little grind or would likely be fixed with a heat moldable liner.
The footbeds at Custom Foot and Surefoot were done while standing.

The part that rubs is my ankle not my heal. Can they grind this part? I had my boots heat formed (nordica boots) when I got the footbeds. Maybe I just need to have the re-done with the Superfeet instead?

Can I do that myself using a hairdryer?
post #7 of 28
You should definitely have the liners re-heated at the shop using the footbeds you plan on skiing with. You can't do this properly at home with a hair dryer (you'll damage the liner without getting it to reform correctly). Make sure that your footbeds are NOT in the liners when they reheat them.

Another method I've used with my ZipFit liners is to heat up everything (shells, liners, and footbeds) and put it all together with my feet buckled in until the entire "system" cools down. Worked great.
post #8 of 28
Mogulman,
Telephone the folks at Harald Harb's shop in Downieville, http://www.harbskisystems.com/alignment.htm. To the best of my knowledge, Harb is the only bootfitter in the country that has had a technical paper accepted for presentation at the International Congress on Skiing and Science (Second Congress, 2000).


Ken
post #9 of 28
Just to set the record straight I've also had a paper accepted and published but like Harald's it doesn't speak about footbeds, so doesn't say anything about either of our qualifications regarding footbeds.

However, as someone who has worked extensively with footbeds both in boots at the store and for research I'm at least entitled to an opinion and here it is.

There is not a problem with footbeds being manufactured outside the system so to speak, anymore then there is a problem in the medical applications with footbeds being manufactured outside the system. However, they must then be made to function within the system. If your foot is 1/2" further forward in the boot and not correctly aligned with the footbed there is a problem with the job done at the store to make the system work.

Personally I find that many footbeds when inserted into the empty shell contact the shell medially. This means the footbed is artificially supported by the shell and will not move with the foot as the foot pronates. Arch cramps result.

Complete work requires the footbed to be trimmed to the point that it fits within the boot without being suspended by the boot. This problem is more acute with footbeds that are completely filled in under the arch which is why I'm more a fan of models such as Conformable or DFPs than Superfeet.

Lou
post #10 of 28

Race510

Race510 - Lou in Calgary. Would this be Lou from Lou's Performance Skiing Centre?
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by race510 View Post
There is not a problem with footbeds being manufactured outside the system so to speak, anymore then there is a problem in the medical applications with footbeds being manufactured outside the system. However, they must then be made to function within the system. If your foot is 1/2" further forward in the boot and not correctly aligned with the footbed there is a problem with the job done at the store to make the system work.

Personally I find that many footbeds when inserted into the empty shell contact the shell medially. This means the footbed is artificially supported by the shell and will not move with the foot as the foot pronates. Arch cramps result.

Complete work requires the footbed to be trimmed to the point that it fits within the boot without being suspended by the boot. This problem is more acute with footbeds that are completely filled in under the arch which is why I'm more a fan of models such as Conformable or DFPs than Superfeet.

Lou
Lou - it sounds like you understand the "system" issues I was pointing out. I've had Superfeet footbeds built in two separate shops and a set of DFP footbeds built. I think you may have hit the nail on the head regarding the trimming of the custom footbeds. I think many of these "technicians" are only concerned with the overall length of the new footbed and they just trim back the toe. The way the footbed ends up sitting in the liner and shell have a huge impact on how the footbed will end up feeling in the "system". I never considered that the trimming was where everything probably went wrong.

So I have a question to anyone who has received the "real" training from the available custom footbed companies. Are the issues of how the footbed will "relate" to the shell considered? If the bootboard used in the shell isn't perfectly flat (built-in arch) then how do they properly compensate for the bootboard curves?
post #12 of 28
From someone with really messed up feet and anatomy( I have 10 EEEE, bony ankles, excessive pronation and 3 degree tibrotation) I believe the footbed must be built around the entire system and not just fitted and thrown in your existing boots. The latter method just created more issues for me while solving some others. It wasnt until I finally got an entire setup from the ground floor on up that I really had everything come together nicely. This included starting with new footbeds then selecting a shell appropriate for my foot, getting custom foam injected liners, canting the cuff etc. Prior to this I was always getting new footbeds and visiting various fitters but nothing worked. I was always in big pain somewhere and control was a problem.
post #13 of 28
Calgary skier, Race510, Lou and Lou's Skiing Performance Centre are indeed one. Hope that is a good thing. Do I know you?

Noodler, don't actually know what the manufacturers train with the exception of DFP and Conformable. Their goal as I understand it is to have the foot achieve normal mobility while gaining some support and comfort from the footbed.
post #14 of 28
I just had Superfeet Korks made a week ago (also got new boots). Ski 2 1/2 days and went back to the bootfitter with all my hot spots marked with a sharpie marker on my feet (they got a kick out of this and said they wish every one did this). But one look at the markings on my feet they new exactly what needed to be done to my footbeds. They spent about 1/2 hour just grinding. By the time they were done, there was a lot less cork on the bottom, around the arch and heels of the footbed. The blue "shock absorber" was exposed and gave a bit more give to the arch. The difference was night & day. I have yet to ski them again, that will be the true test. It seems a lot can be done with fine tuning the footbed.
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
I ended up getting new boots (warranty replacement).

I was up in Boulder, CO this week getting my car fixed and had some time. I stopped into Larry's Bootfitting. Larry was great and spent a lot of time working on my boots (blowing out) and footbeds. I think things are getting a lot better. At least it felt that way in the shop.

I have to try it all out this weekend (if I can get up to the mountains) and see how it feels on skiis.

I was really impressed with Larry and his shop. Especially since I just walked in.
post #16 of 28
Bootfitting and custom footbeds are a process that often takes multiple slight corrections, that is why shops guarantee their work. They expect you to COME BACK and let them dial in their work. Going from shop to shop doesn't give ANYONE a chance to help you, it just confuses the process. Work with your bootfitter and do what Boy Scout Mom did, document areas where you feel pain/ discomfort, this info will help make you comfortable.
post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
Bootfitting and custom footbeds are a process that often takes multiple slight corrections, that is why shops guarantee their work. They expect you to COME BACK and let them dial in their work. Going from shop to shop doesn't give ANYONE a chance to help you, it just confuses the process. Work with your bootfitter and do what Boy Scout Mom did, document areas where you feel pain/ discomfort, this info will help make you comfortable.
Yeah... I did that...
  • Surefoot couldn't fix anything.. I spent a lot of time in their shop and couldn't get things right.
  • The Superfeet Korks I got from a local shop in Summit county. The footbeds hurt on-the-spot.. He tried one thing and then offered me my money back, saying they might not work for me.
  • The Custom Foot (Lee), was really great when I went in there the first time. He spent a lot of time on the footbeds back in April. When I called up in November to have them fixed up.. He didn't have appointments until Mid December available and only at 7pm at night. I did go in, hoping it would fix things. He spent some time working on it, but towards the end of the evening he was getting frustrated. They didn't end up really feeling much better when I skied on them. When I asked about appointments, he was booked until mid January. I even called a few times asking about any last minute appointments, no luck.
Larry seemed to have the time to work with me even though he was busy. He knew what to do, also. Things are a lot better, even though I haven't skied them yet, I can tell the the pressure I was feeling before is much reduced.

So... I agree that switching shops back and forth is a bad idea, unless you are trying to get things done with a shop that isn't helping you. I ended up switching a few times. I think Larry's shop can help me get it right now.
post #18 of 28
I can't add any useful technical info to that others have provided but I can say that I had a similar problem with arch pain when I got my last pair of boots (Lange + rigid footbeds). I have fairly immobile arches and I'd get arch pain, mainly on 1 foot, particularly for the first couple of hours each morning. I tackled this by putting an empty coffee jar under my computer desk and rolling my foot firmly back and forth over it while on the 'net for 15 mins or so each night for a few weeks before skiing. This helped stretch my arch ligaments and fixed my arch pain problem almost completely.

This certainly can't hurt and even feels good.
post #19 of 28
Thread Starter 
ok...followup after skiing this weekend. Larry's bootfitting in Boulder, CO fixed everything for me. If you are in Colorado, I'd definitely recommend him. Footbeds are good now. No pain at all in my right arch. Boots are wide enough now, but feet are secure.

I'll definitely go there first next time.
post #20 of 28
mogulman1 - so fill us in. What exactly did Larry do to cure your ills?
post #21 of 28
Thread Starter 
He took off some extra things, that the previous bootfitter added to my footbed to try and fix it.

Then he levelled it out (or something like that). I can't remember what he called it.

I didn't see what he did to the arch on the foot that hurt. I'll have to take the footbed out to look at it. I think he must have just reduce the size of the arch.

Then he spent a bunch of time adjusting the blowout on both of my boots. Having me try them a lot of times and then adjusting them.

I really think the footbeds were almost there except for that arch problem. I just think the original bootfitter didn't have the time to make the final adjustments that it needed.
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mogulman1 View Post
I really think the footbeds were almost there except for that arch problem. I just think the original bootfitter didn't have the time to make the final adjustments that it needed.
I'm convinced a large portion of the skiing masses do not have the time, patience, or intuition to go back as many times as it takes to get it right. Most good fitters can make it right, but it may take some trial and error.
post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NE1 View Post
I'm convinced a large portion of the skiing masses do not have the time, patience, or intuition to go back as many times as it takes to get it right. Most good fitters can make it right, but it may take some trial and error.
Or.. Like I said in my post... The bootfitter doesn't have the time or patience to fix the problem.
post #24 of 28
Here Here!!!
The day I got my footbeds and new boots, the bootfitter was extremely busy. They did minor adjustments, but said that I really needed to come back in after skiing 1/2 day, so that they could fine tune everything.

As I was sitting around, so many people were buying new boots, but wouldn't ever set foot on the snow until they were out of town for a week long vacation. They would either have to find someone where they were skiing or end up just making due. I know my boots didn't even start to hurt until I skiied a few hours.

I am now in the process of trying to change my husbands and a few friends view on how boots should fit and what it takes to get them comfortable.
post #25 of 28
I was fortunate. I bought the boots after two visits to the shop and made an appointment to come back the next day. He spent an hour or two with me, told me he'd prefer if I skied them 10 days before returning again unless there was a major issue. By day 7, I decided there were NO issues.
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post
Lou - it sounds like you understand the "system" issues I was pointing out. I've had Superfeet footbeds built in two separate shops and a set of DFP footbeds built. I think you may have hit the nail on the head regarding the trimming of the custom footbeds. I think many of these "technicians" are only concerned with the overall length of the new footbed and they just trim back the toe. The way the footbed ends up sitting in the liner and shell have a huge impact on how the footbed will end up feeling in the "system". I never considered that the trimming was where everything probably went wrong.

So I have a question to anyone who has received the "real" training from the available custom footbed companies. Are the issues of how the footbed will "relate" to the shell considered? If the bootboard used in the shell isn't perfectly flat (built-in arch) then how do they properly compensate for the bootboard curves?
Noodler

A reply for your last 2 questions: In my 25 years of being in the "Ski " business and countless "real" training by ski boot footbed companies, the premise of how the footbed will relate to the shell is just "glossed" over.
It takes a dedicated footbed technician to produce a truely compatible product. There is a certain "art or voodoo" which comes with making orthotics and/or footbeds. You can't learn it from a book. The real "training" comes from seeing thousands of clients, and learning from your mistakes. What really matters is the tolerance of your customer to the corrective/accommodative forces of the footbed/orthotic. Some people are more tolerant of these forces, some are not. It all comes down to whether your customer/client/patient will be compliant with the final proiduct. Finally, the bootboard/zeppa should always be flattened to allow the footbed/orthotic to flatten out completly. Usually I grind the arch area on the zeppa totally flat and then check the zeppa for any varus correction @ the medial heel surface. If there is any, it gets ground down to neutral also.
post #27 of 28
As far as footbeds go, we unfortunately are still in the "my feet hurt, get a footbed" mode of operation, and it is unfortunate. Because for the most part is is just dead wrong. That isn't to say footbeds can't help, but that rarely are they The solution.

Cantman is correct that footbed training sessions generally deal with making the footbed and very rarely deal with making it work in the boot.
post #28 of 28

?

The problems you are having may not relate to the footbed but rather to the boot. Someone who is setting you up properly would examine your foot and take measurements of it and the boot. They would do shell check and a liner check. Perhaps your boot needs work. Often it is best to ski in a boot a couple of days before you get a foot bed made.

As far as foot beds go. The one process I haven't heard you mention is the Harb Ski systems process. I just had a footbed made by them and the whole philosophy and process was compelely different. Previously, I had all my footbeds made by Jeff Rich who is acknowledged as the best. Here's the difference:

Stand on one foot and balance. What happens? You are making minor adjustments with your foot, It's moving side to side to keep you in balance. Now with the Harb footbeds I can get that same movemnent with my boots on because they are soft. If I stand on one foot in my boots with my Jeff Rich footbed ( same would be true for Superfeet, kork, Surefoot, GMOL etc), I can't make those same movements and instead balance by wobbling my knee back and forth. For me this is a big diference that I can feel. It may not be what everyone is looking for but I'm glad I tried it.

www.harbskisystems.com
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