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Entire foot goes numb in new boots (Head S12)

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Recently purchased some Head S12 boots, had to go online since we have no local shop. The nearest boot fitter and real ski shop is 12 hours drive each way.

I measured my foot at 26.3cm so I ordered 26.5 which is 1/2 size smaller than my street shoe. Shell fit seems correct with 1.5 - 1.75cm between heel and back of the boot and good room on either side of the foot as well.

They were extremely tight at first but I've had them out on the slopes about 10 times in the past week or so. Liners seem to have packed out but still a little tight at the very inside tip of the big toe. When I flex forward the toes pull back from the end of the boot and I can wiggle my toes and all still feels nice and snug. They are heatfit boots but with no shop nearby I've had to pack them out the hard way. I did warm them a little bit with a blow dryer one night to get them warm quicker.

At this point I consider them to feel comfortable with no hot spots or painful pressure spots while wearing them around the house. They feel like big heavy comfy slippers.

The problem is that after wearing them for about 30 minutes my entire foot goes numb, feeling begins to come back immediately after taking the boots off. The onset is gradual and worsens if I leave the boot on over a very short period of time. This happens whether I am just wearing them around the house or out on the hill. It makes no difference whether I have the stock footbed in or out. I've tried with a very thin sock and a medium sock, this doesn't seem to make any difference in the amount of time until the foot goes numb. I have the comfort last installed in the boot, shell as soft as it will go along with canting set to full rear.

I don't experience any pain or real discomfort while just walking around the house in them so I'm at a loss as to where circulation is being cut. I suspect it's somewhere near the ankle or back of the calf because the entire foot goes numb.

Any suggestions or ideas as to how I could locate the problem before heading down to the bootfitter? As it is now I can only do a couple runs before I need to get out of the boots.

Thanks in advance,
JStrudwick
post #2 of 29
Try loosening top buckle and strap they should not make leg feel like a sausage link..make sure next 2 are tight"so foot feels snug in boot" and bottom should be just tight enough to have some tension as u buckle it.Also make sure the only thing in boot is foot with sock .Do not tuck in long underwear.Make sure u are only wearing 1 pair of socks.Try a thinner sock.As far as the toe area,try a heel shim under liner and a footbed with arch support to keep foot from splaying down and out.
post #3 of 29
also, try buckling your boots in a specific order; if I don't follow this lame method, my boots feel tight all day (although I have defeated numbness.)

1-slam your heal into the floor while you're seated and sink your foot into the heal lock.
2-Craaank your #3 buckle, just above your ankle. Waaay tighter than you ski it.
3- set your #4 buckle as you ski it.
4- set your #1, then #2.
5- position your tongue and set your strap as you ski it.
6-loosen all buckles for the chair ride and stand on your shins in the lift coral.

The above sounds mildly obsessive compulsive, but I really do notice a difference if I don't set the heal first. Now that my boots have a good 20 days on them, they're golden and I no longer unbuckle at lifts. But I still crank that #3 first thing.
post #4 of 29
jstrudwick...Do you still have your old boots? If you do, and they are similar size to your current boot, try the old liner in the new boot. See if the numbness is reduced or disappears. If it does, you may need to have the heatfit liners "break in" more. (ie..either heating them up and molding them to your feet or skiing in them until the foam compresses.) Getting them heat molded will be much faster. Also, you may be able to find a liner for that boot or something similar that is not heat moldable and will break in quicker.
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions.

I'm hoping to avoid heel lift unless I need it to correct balance issues, which I don't believe I need to. I've never had a problem with my arches in my life and I spent 5 years in the infantry, which means plenty of walking. Along with many years already spent in ski boots without any arch support. Ski boots actually helped form my feet while I was growing up, my toes all have perfect indentations in them for the toes around to squish together hehe.

Would getting an arch support act as a preventative measure towards potential arch problems in the future?

I just put the boots on again with all buckles and the strap as loose as possible. This time I paid specific attention to what went numb first and how it spread. Big toe and second toe first (big toe and second toe are the same length) and it seems to spread across the toes and back towards the heel from there.

I guess the big toe is being squished more than I initially thought, but I didn't realize it's possible for the entire foot to go numb with just the big toe being pinched?

I have to pretty much fully flex the boot to pull my big toe away from the edge. Should it be pulled away when I casually stand in the boots?

As I mentioned the shell fit is good but my toe is still under pressure when just wearing the liner. It seems the liner around the big toe has plenty of squish to it still with my foot in. I've probably had my feet in the boots well over 10 hours now with an even mix of skiing and house wear. Should I wait and see if this packs out or alter the liner?

If I have to alter, what's the best approach to altering the liner? I've read on these forums about making a small lateral slit above the toe to allow for some expansion as well as actually regluing the liner. Is there a method to try and stretch the toe out a bit?

Thanks again for the help. The information in these forums has been an excellent and invaluable resource when living so far away from a shop.

JStrudwick
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantman View Post
jstrudwick...Do you still have your old boots? If you do, and they are similar size to your current boot, try the old liner in the new boot. See if the numbness is reduced or disappears. If it does, you may need to have the heatfit liners "break in" more. (ie..either heating them up and molding them to your feet or skiing in them until the foam compresses.) Getting them heat molded will be much faster. Also, you may be able to find a liner for that boot or something similar that is not heat moldable and will break in quicker.
My old boots are a second hand pair of rear entry Salomon SX91 from lord knows how long ago. They are 1/2 size larger than my new boots and pounded out they allow for plenty of foot slop. I've just had to make due for the past three seasons with those and 20 year old GS skis. The old boots fit into my new bindings perfectly, center point as well, but I don't believe the liners would fit.

Edit:
Having just worn the liners for 30 mins has made the top front edge of my big toe go numb, toe nails are trimmed and not contacting the liner.
post #7 of 29
There was another thread on this some months back. Without getting into the anatomy, your problem is that the top of the boot is interupting blood circulation. Put in a thinner footbed or try one with different cant. If that doe
post #8 of 29
We had another thread on this a while back. It's a circulatory problem created by pressure from your instep, pushing top of foot against the boot. Try a thinner footbed or one with a different cant.
post #9 of 29
Sounds like the cuff is too tight, loosen it up a bit.
post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
I've tried with and without a footbed and different thickness of socks, I've also adjusted the cant of the boot a few times. I've also tried with all buckles loose as they will go and strap just basically done up providing no pressure.

Pretty sure it's the pressure on my first two toes since I can get the numbness to start just by wearing the liner. I'll need to find out if the SH3 toebox is heatfit, if so I'll start by trying the homebaked thermofit project.

I realize this topic has been brought up many times, so many times infact that it's difficult to pick through all the information about it and becomes confusing.
post #11 of 29
Man its not fun having boots that arent comfortable but I gotta say that even if the nearest bootfitter is 12 hours away your problem was created by buying boots online since you gotta try the boots on to know if theyre worth leaving on your foot when you try on boots you can try on 10 different boots in the same size and maybe 2 or 3 will fit your foot and others will be too narrow some too wide some too much volume some too little volume they're different for different feet and buying boots online is a huge gamble unless you already know that the boot your buying will fit your foot. Boots are the only bit of gear that have to fit your anatomy precisely and its okay to buy skis or bindings or poles online but boots are a different story.

I wouldnt expect that your gonna make those Head boots work for you and oh yeah PS those old Salomon SX 91 arent sized like normal boots so you cant say they compare even remotely because their fit system allowed each shell to fit about 5 or 6 different sizes on the half size increment scale it didnt rely on foot shape or size the boots used thick neoprene liner boots and a complex system of movable plastic plates driven by cables and you could have a boot thats 2 to 3 sizes too big and it would still work in a Salomon if you remember back in the days of the SX 90 and 91 their sizes were totally different from every other boot maker.
post #12 of 29
There is a piece of material that covers where the tounge meets the liner, many bootfitters remove this to allow more room. Use a small knife or razor blade to carefully cut the stiches, if you know someone who does a lot of sewing, get them to help you (sewers are experts at ripping out stiching), you don't want to cut the liner itself, yet. This will create a little bit more room.

A footbed will help you keep your arches, it will also keep your foot from trying to spread out as much. Even a trim to fit is better than none, but try them out before you buy them, some are thicker than others (blue or black superfeet are thiner than the green ones). I wear a boot that is smaller than my shoe size, but use footbeds larger than my shoe size, just based on where the arch hits my foot.

A trip to a good bootfitter is worth it, even if it is an hour or two drive away. Make an appointment and plan to spend a few hours at the shop - make a day of it.

Maybe someone else would know, but would a wooden shoe strecher work to strech the liner a bit?

I loved my SX91Equipes
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 
Ramshackle, If the shell fits well and I only need a little room for the big toe, why shouldn't I expect I will get the boots to fit?

BSM, I see the bit of material that you're referring to, I'll take a look at that option as well. I'll look into some arch supports but I can't get those in town either. Atleast arch supports are only a 4 hour drive away.

A trip to the nearest boot fitter is more than a day trip, it's at the very least a long weekend. From what I've read it can take a couple visits to get things dialed in, so I'd probably have to get a week off. It's a 12 hour drive each way on a somewhat maintained highway with enough wildlife to keep it interesting.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstrudwick View Post
Ramshackle, If the shell fits well and I only need a little room for the big toe, why shouldn't I expect I will get the boots to fit?
Hey I was going on the statement that opens the thread where you say the entire foot goes numb not something very small like a bit more room for the big toe so which is it does your whole foot go numb no matter what you do or is it just a bit snug on one of your big toes because thats a huge difference and if its not that your whole foot goes numb then maybe you need to change the title of the post and the description you put in the starting post up top eh?
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramshackle View Post
Hey I was going on the statement that opens the thread where you say the entire foot goes numb not something very small like a bit more room for the big toe so which is it does your whole foot go numb no matter what you do or is it just a bit snug on one of your big toes because thats a huge difference and if its not that your whole foot goes numb then maybe you need to change the title of the post and the description you put in the starting post up top eh?
I appreciate your input, but I expected that you had read more than the first couple paragraphs of my initial post. I've also elaborated on the problem and symptoms in another post from feedback other users have given as well. I wasn't attacking you, just curious as to why you thought these boots wouldn't fit.

It's my understanding from these forums that it's better to have a boot be a little too small rather than a boot be a little too large. So far it seems they are a bit too small in the big toe and second toe, which seems to cause my entire foot to eventually go numb as stated in the thread title.
post #16 of 29
Hey man Im just tryin to help and so I tried to answer your observation so let me restate it here okay.

If a boot makes your whole foot go numb then thats not a problem with it being just a little to snug in the big toe area because snugness in the toe box has nothing to do with the overall blood supply to your whole foot okay? Snugness in the toe box comes from one of a few things first the boots too short second the boots toe box is too narrow and third the boots toe box is too lowvolume which could be a combination of too short too narrow and too little space top to bottom eh.

The blood supply to your whole foot runs down the top of your leg and the most common place to have it pinched off partly or completely is when your boots too small in volume especially at the instep or on the other hand you can take a boot that might fit properly but if you tighten the closures too aggressively you can cut off the blood supply and in that case it has nothing to do with bad fit it has to do with bad fastening technique like maybe a little too eager to get em tight.

I never said your boots are too small what I said was that they probably wont fit if you buy them online without a trial fit unless at some other time you tried on another Head boot with the same last and I dont know for sure if they fit well Im just talking about whats likely if you havent tried them on before you buy them.
post #17 of 29
Have you tried them barefoot?
post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 
I found it odd that toe pressure was making the entire foot go numb, which is why I was confused and surprised about it. Thank you for expanding on your thoughts Ramshackle.

I tried em barefoot too Ghost, still goes numb eventually.

It makes more sense to me as well that pressure elsewhere on the foot is what's causing the numbness, but I can't feel significant pressure anywhere else. Even when I wore just the liners without putting them into the boots eventually the same numbness started creeping across my toes.

I'm just going to have to try to plan a trip to the boot fitter in Smithers sometime soon and hope they know what they're doing. Atleast if I need different boots they'll have selection and the ability to make modifications there.

Thanks for all the suggestions and ideas everyone. Back to the old SX91s for the time being.
post #19 of 29
if ramshackles talks like he types, he must be a crazy fast-talker in real life.

What's the skiing like up in Yukon? I have basically the same boots as you, and have also had problems with cold/numb feet. Not sure if its a boot specific thing because I have a really high instep, but I would guess your instep has more to do with the numbness than just your toes. Are you sure your heal is getting all the way back into the heal pocket (therefore moving your instep further back)? That is the main source of my problem...
post #20 of 29
Might be pressure on a nerve. Definitely isn't big toe pressure! Both my big toes go black as soon as I ski my first day of the season, but the rest of the foot is OK.
post #21 of 29
I had this same problem while trying to resolve a heel lift issue in packed out boots. Much of what I did to tighten the boot around my ankle caused this same problem. Apparently (at least so I've been told by two boot fitters) there are some pressure points around the ankle, particularly the heel and achilles area that can cause this problem.

Just like you, I felt nothing overtly uncomfortable about the boot while I was in the shop or lodge, but sometimes my foot was completely numb before I got off the lift for my first run. It took most of last season and one day this year to resolve (just a lot of trial and error).
post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 
The skiing here is pretty good, the local hill (Mt. Maichen) is a 10 min drive from my house. Only 500ft vertical but all natural snow and as soon as we ski it out we groom it. Our ski club runs the hill so alot of us spend many volunteer hours up there to keep the place running. It's nice though, I've learnt how to run and maintain the groomer and we usually know everyone at the hill. The next closest hill is Mt. Sima in Whitehorse and I believe they're around 1200ft vertical, but not sure about that.

Now dem boots...
I think I have the same problem as you mentioned Garylk. Those two wedges in the rear of the boot that hold the ankle in place are the source of the problem. After I take the boot off I can see that they are making a perfect wedge shaped red mark on the sides and back of my ankle and achilles.

It doesn't seem like those wedges will pack out and they are definately holding too tight. Is there a way to make those wedges smaller or will a fitter be required to shape the shell?
post #23 of 29
Wow, twelve hours from the nearest bootfitter, and I thought my life sucked living in Va Beach, lol. And I feel your pain. There's not much worse than numb, painful feet due to ill-fitting skiboots. My advise, I definitely would get foot beds. no question. Not just any foot beds but some custom beds. You can order a kit on line where they send you molds, then they make the beds for you from the molds they receive back. When younger, I never needed footbeds, but when you think of how many G's you are putting on your feet when skiing, it makes little sense to have anything else. Also, what is the width of your foot? sounds to me like you have width problems, as I did. Everybody has hot spots unless they have a perfect foot in the correct boot. There are a ton of "B" width boots out there. A minor hotspot magnifies itself tenfold when your turnin and burnin. Something you can do is to take a fat sharpie and heavily mark the outside of the liner at the hot spots after checking the red marks on your feet. Put on enough ink to where the ink will transpose over to the shell. Then take a dremil tool and do some light grinding. And try it again. Or, take a deep breath and load up for a long drive. You are livin in paridise and i would bet there is killer terrain very near the bootfitter, so kill two birds w/one stone. And i would NEVER go to a bootfitter that wasn't very near skiing. It's a days worth or tweaking easy. I went back sever times. Also, use something like a smartwool ultralight sock. Anything else is too thick in my opinion. Hopes this helps.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstrudwick View Post
I think I have the same problem as you mentioned Garylk. Those two wedges in the rear of the boot that hold the ankle in place are the source of the problem. After I take the boot off I can see that they are making a perfect wedge shaped red mark on the sides and back of my ankle and achilles.

It doesn't seem like those wedges will pack out and they are definately holding too tight. Is there a way to make those wedges smaller or will a fitter be required to shape the shell?
Are you talking about the wedges inside the liner? My husband just had a similar problem. The bootfitter litteraly split open the liner on each side of the heals and pulled out some plastic pieces. I took one look at these things and felt sorry for my husband having those things digging into his ankles. The bootfitter was surprised to see such rigid plastic in the liner. The liner was glued back together (I think he has a wetsuit type glue) and now they are fine, duct tape may also work to seal up the cuts.

Just my opinion: I would not try a DIY custom footbed. Done correctly, it is more than just heating up the based and forming it to your foot, there is a lot of grinding and shaping that should also be done to make it fit your boot and feet together. They also tend to be really high volume until they have been ground down. I would try a low volume trim to fit (ordered online) until you can get to a bootfitter. Take precise notes and draw detailed pictures of all your problem area before you get to the bootfitter, include all the things you have tried and if it made things better or worse.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstrudwick View Post
Those two wedges in the rear of the boot that hold the ankle in place are the source of the problem. After I take the boot off I can see that they are making a perfect wedge shaped red mark on the sides and back of my ankle and achilles.

It doesn't seem like those wedges will pack out and they are definately holding too tight. Is there a way to make those wedges smaller or will a fitter be required to shape the shell?
Yo man those wedges may or may not be changeable it really depends on what your talking about I mean are you talking about the liner boot or the boot shell because to change the liner boot requires surgery that may or may not be successful and to change the shell requires grinding and there has to be a pretty big surplus of material back there in order to let you grind away the heel hold bumps. Boots are made for different feet and some have very small slender heel pockets and some are big and some are huge and if you need a heel pocket bigger than the Head boot provides it might be that you just have to get yourself another boot with a bigger heel pocket but only a skilled bootfitter can tell you that after looking at your foot and the boot.
post #26 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info. It's the foam wedges inside the liner which seem to be too tight around the back of the achilles and ankle area. I was hoping they would pack out or heatfit. The rest of the boot has definately packed out, so I don't think they're going to. They stick out a good inch into the liner, it's a comfortable material, just too much of it back there. Maybe once they pull some of that material out it will give my toes the little bit of room I would like as well.

I've made arrangements to get to the bootfitters down in Smithers the morning of the 8th. Hopefully they can make some adjustments and I can ski hard for the rest of the day to check for other hotspots. I can get back into the fitters on the 9th and maybe early 10th as well if there are further adjustments to make. If not, then I can ski hard for that extra day and a bit too.
post #27 of 29
I had the same problem with my new boots Rossi Expert E14. I had them heat molded in the shop and so on, but first time I went to mountain my feet was getting numb also. The numbness started from toes and gradually work up the foot.
Then I just experimented with buckles and found out that the best is to get them a bit too tight on the run and loosen them when getting on lift.
After a week or so I just forgot to loosen the buckles couple of times and discovered that there was no problem anymore. Of course I skied a lot then, probably 600 vertical kilometers per that week, intensely. So maybe you should do what I did and let the foot get comfortable with the liner or vice versa.
post #28 of 29
You are pinching a nerve in the top of your foot. I had the same problem with some old Salomon SX81s, except is is my 3rd & 4th toes that go numb. I actually have some nerve dammage from those boots, it appears anytime I have preasure on the top of my foot above those 2 toes. If I was you, I would do whatever you can to find a boot fitter. Sometimes the can slit the liner to releive pressure. Sometimes a good footbed can put your foot in the correct position so this won't happen.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstrudwick View Post
Thanks for the info. It's the foam wedges inside the liner which seem to be too tight around the back of the achilles and ankle area. I was hoping they would pack out or heatfit. The rest of the boot has definately packed out, so I don't think they're going to. They stick out a good inch into the liner, it's a comfortable material, just too much of it back there. Maybe once they pull some of that material out it will give my toes the little bit of room I would like as well.
There's 3 places where blood supply goes to the foot, and each one causes a certain part of the foot to go numb. I used to know, but not bootfitting for several years, I filed that info somewhere in the back of my head where I can't seem to reach. I'm betting it is the heel pocket putting pressure on the achiles area. you can take some of the pressure off by kneading the area of the liner with your thumb and fingers, or the bootfitter can grind some of the plastic away.
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