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How tight should boots be?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I was pondering the question of boots, alsays interesting, and reflected that while I have what I think are good fitting boots, I never have to release the buckles for each chair ride, as do many of the very good skiers I know. From this I infer thier boots are very tight, probably tighter than mine. How tight is tight enough, andshould the desired tightness vary by intended use? FWIW I am a L2 PSIA-E instructor, and have had my boots fitted at GMOL.
post #2 of 19
I don't know about the "tighter than yours" thing, FOG.

Yesterday you were talking about those Gransports bringing the shell to the foot like a typical 4 buckle boot. I wonder if the lower buckles can actually do that effectively? To me, it seems that the way the shell moves, these can bring the shell down towards the foot a fair amount, but how much can they really bring it in along the sides of the foot? Maybe their boots aren't tighter than yours after all and they are trying to make them so by over buckling - and shutting the foot off with pressure across the instep.

I ski in a pair of Nordica Dobermann WC150 that were shell fit with maybe 1/4" behind the heal and I have a C/D width foot. I can only close the lower buckles so they 'catch' but cannot have tension on them or my foot gets shut off. After a few runs, the instep buckle will pop out of the catch and I tighten back to where it will just catch again and ski the rest of the day. If it's cold I might unbuckle them at lunch, otherwise they stay buckled while I'm skiing.

I'm a recreational skier with no resume, and my boots were fitted by our own Jeff Bergeron.
post #3 of 19
I have what I believe is a good "performance fit" on my boots...I only set the instep buckle to the first setting and make microadjustments as needed.

Once they were broken in, I have not had to unbuckle them when skiing. I unbuckle them during lunch but even that doesn't make much of a difference.

I did have to unbuckle my old boots on occasion, but they were 2 shell sizes bigger and I was really cranking down the instep and toe buckles.
post #4 of 19
Tight but with not so tight you are suffering from pinching and hot spots. I think the trick is to get a boot to cradle- support your foot to a level that if it fit any closer you would have "rubbing" occurring and calluses forming on your feet at that point. Ideal fit would have lower buckles on first bale. That's the profile of fit, I'm striving for. Currently in a boot (Atomic CS) where unfortunately I have discomfort in the heel area. Trying to dremmel, and I've made a mess out of it. I don't think you have a good fitting boot if you have to unbuckle for the lift ride.
post #5 of 19
Fog,
I'd describe a good snug fit as feeling like a really firm handshake. Not so tight it hurts, yet not so loose it feels wimpy.
Another analogy; feels like a pair of jeans that are one size to small. You've got to suck it in to get them zipped, and it feels good to take them off, but it doesn't hurt to have them on.
post #6 of 19
If GMOL did your boot fitting you should be ok.

Mine are fit good enough so I don't have room for those little white throw away boot heaters. I don't understand how theres enough room in peoples boots the fit them in. They must be in boots to big for them.

I can feel my whole foot except for the toes is in contact with the boot without the boot appling pressure in any one spot. My toes, I can wiggle a little bit. If I need more performance, not very often, I can tighten the micro adjustments.

When I come in for lunch, I don't have to do anything with my boots. I have friends who have to unbuckle there's, I basical don't know I have mine on. I have taken naps with them on. Yea, they fit that well.

If it get's warm out like Spring time, that's when they get to become a small problem. My feet begin to get hot and swell. When the temps say 35 degrees or below I'm happy.

I also find that I can stand in a lift line for to long. If the line stops moving, I have to step out of the bindings. If I stay in my feet become to uncomfortable. Don't know why that happens.

I find that for the first couple of runs I'll adjust them a little, then I'm normally set for the day.

The other issue I have is when I put them on for the first time after working at the Mt. I sometimes spend the morning in snow boots then after a few hours get out on snow. Then the boots don't feel as good as when I put them on at 7:10AM and go out and wait for the free bus that takes me to Okemo.

If your looking for the (IMO) best boot fitter in VT, see Shon at Northern Ski Works in Ludlow VT, 802 228 3344
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Capacity View Post
If GMOL did your boot fitting you should be ok.

Mine are fit good enough so I don't have room for those little white throw away boot heaters. I don't understand how theres enough room in peoples boots the fit them in. They must be in boots to big for them.

I can feel my whole foot except for the toes is in contact with the boot without the boot appling pressure in any one spot. My toes, I can wiggle a little bit. If I need more performance, not very often, I can tighten the micro adjustments.

When I come in for lunch, I don't have to do anything with my boots. I have friends who have to unbuckle there's, I basical don't know I have mine on. I have taken naps with them on. Yea, they fit that well.

If it get's warm out like Spring time, that's when they get to become a small problem. My feet begin to get hot and swell. When the temps say 35 degrees or below I'm happy.

I also find that I can stand in a lift line for to long. If the line stops moving, I have to step out of the bindings. If I stay in my feet become to uncomfortable. Don't know why that happens.

I find that for the first couple of runs I'll adjust them a little, then I'm normally set for the day.

The other issue I have is when I put them on for the first time after working at the Mt. I sometimes spend the morning in snow boots then after a few hours get out on snow. Then the boots don't feel as good as when I put them on at 7:10AM and go out and wait for the free bus that takes me to Okemo.

If your looking for the (IMO) best boot fitter in VT, see Shon at Northern Ski Works in Ludlow VT, 802 228 3344
My boots fit like the famous firm handshake, but not enough to make me want to unbuckle on a regular basis. I just was wondering if some of the really hot skiers are skiing in even tighter boots. Almost every examiner I have skied with unbuckles his or her boots on the chairlifts. I also was pondering whether a really tight fit is needed for ultimate precision. I know that is what plug boots are supposed to be about. I further was wondering if below a certain level of precision if a minscule amount of slack, as in the slack caused by a thick liner, makes boots more forgiving, and therefore more suitable for us mere mortals.
post #8 of 19
FOG,
Don't worry too much about what others are doing. If you're getting the performance and fit out of your boots that is comfortable for you - don't give it another thought.

I've skied an XT17 for about 5 seasons now and always unbuckle the toe and instep buckle for the ride up. I could keep them buckled, but the slight relief of pressure is a little more comfortable. Sometimes when it is very cold, even with the buckles undone, I can feel the boot tightening around my instep as everything "hangs there". My feet get very warm while skiing and when I stop working - like sitting on the lift- the heat begins to escape and the shell constricts on the ride up - especially when it's windy. There are times when the constriction even gets a little uncomfortable.

Right now I'm playing with three sets of XT17 shells (2 old, 1 new) to find the holy grail fit and range of motion. I have a very low-volume ankle/instep and am trying to find the ideal solution for that area. The toe box and forefoot is perfect. I don't want a lot of padding inside the shell and too tight on the lower cuff buckle shuts down all hinge flex (still get flex through shell deflection) which is the one thing I don't like about the XT17. On warm days (20+) the cuff sometimes pinches my instep from shell deflection. On cold days (zero and below) I don't get the range of motion I want. So I'm basically working on creating a "warm boot" and a "cold boot". Now "radiusing" the lower cuff 1/8" for more range of motion before bottoming out on the shell. Three years ago a shop I frequent was closing out his stock of XT's for $199, so I bought three pair to "play" with. Still have 2 sets of new XTs on the shelf to transfer the perfect fit to if/when I find it.

Just about the time I get these dialed in, it will be time to search out a new boot.
post #9 of 19
If you had them fitted, don't have any sore spots, don't have any numbness and don't have to back off the buckles between runs - where's the question?

They seem to be a perfect fit in an imperfect world...
post #10 of 19
Don't worry about other "seemingly" hot skiers that are unbuckling boots between runs - they're either doing that for added comfort or they truly do not have their boot fit dialed-in. I don't have to unbuckle my boots nor do the other good-to-great skiers I'm usually with. You'd be surprised at how many skiers really don't have an ideal fitting boot - so they just get by with what they're stuck with.

Keys to fit IMO - 100% absolute heel hold down and a total lack of "slop" anywhere in the boot. You want the boot to instantly react to input (if you're an accomplished skier). Also, I feel it's critical to have some wiggle room in your toe box for warmth.

On the heel hold down thing - I've had plenty of shop guys claim that as long as you can't lift your heel while you're flexed forward the boot is fine - that's a bunch of horse hooey. I won't accept any fit if I can lift my heel even when I'm just standing normally in the shop. There are plenty of situations you can end up in while skiing where your balance is off and you'll be much better off if your heel stays put.
post #11 of 19
I had some fitting done by Jeff Bergeron back in January and although I was correctly shell fit by my local shop I wanted to get the snuggest fit possible without pain.

I liked the 29.5 Kryptons I was in (I measured with Jeff a 29.5 on the right and 30 on the left) and thought I might be able to go a shell size smaller. I bought a 28 Krypton and tried them on at the local shop. NO WAY I could get in them. I had the 29's with me and stuck the 29 stock liner in the 28 shell and could at least get them on.

On my Jan trip to summit county Jeff did some punching/grinding as well as alignment/balancing and I skied the next 3 days with a very snug, but comfortable well fitting boot that I never had to unbuckle and was still warm.

Couldn't be more satisfied and will probably buy another pair for backup and have the same work done.
post #12 of 19
They should be tight enough so that when you first put them on you say, "man thats tight". If its tight and there is no pain then its just right. If the pain is only in one area then it can be modified to fit. That is all.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by FOG View Post
My boots fit like the famous firm handshake, but not enough to make me want to unbuckle on a regular basis. I just was wondering if some of the really hot skiers are skiing in even tighter boots. Almost every examiner I have skied with unbuckles his or her boots on the chairlifts. I also was pondering whether a really tight fit is needed for ultimate precision. I know that is what plug boots are supposed to be about. I further was wondering if below a certain level of precision if a minscule amount of slack, as in the slack caused by a thick liner, makes boots more forgiving, and therefore more suitable for us mere mortals.

I find it funny that "examiers" have to loosen there boots. Aren't these people supposed to know how to ski comfortably?

IMO if your a high level racer then you need everything possible to get the tightest fit possible. The other 99.9 % of us don't need to do that.

If you need that kind of fit, may be your skiing over your head...I will tighten mine from time to time. But 95% of the time I don't touch the buckles once I have them set. I have even skied hours before I realize my buckle are lose.

It's about being comfortable, that way you'll ski longer.
post #14 of 19
Disagree. Unbuckle every lift ride. Love my technica icons but no way I could leave them buckled all day.
post #15 of 19
Some fit info:
"Fine movement control is most accurately accomplished at the ends of our extremities. Toward our core, movements are progressively larger and more powerful, but certainly less subtle as larger and larger muscles become involved. Specifically it means that fine balance is best accomplished with foot movement. This movement, when standing, moves the ankle inward and outward, often into direct contact with the shell, which immediately blocks foot motion and inhibits balance. In this case everything rolls uphill until we use large, difficult–to-control hip movements to edge skis. Fortunately the solution is easy. When they are barefoot in shells only, I find many skiers’ inner ankle bone (medial malleolus) is against the shell, even when standing balanced and perfectly erect. Sometimes liners can reduce the associated pain, but they do nothing to restore lost foot motion. Punching the shell in the ankle and maybe the navicular (bone below and in front of the
inner ankle) area can restore the missing motion that is very helpful for a smooth transition between turns."
http://www.lous.ca/Articles/LOUS%20S...20PICTURES.pdf

My Nordica Doberman 130s fit just right, no slop and adequate room inside for the foot movement described above, and often I find a foot buckle flapping loose. I use Booster Straps cinched tight on the boots and don't have the cuff buckles as tight as they could be. The lower cuff buckle does a bit to regulate flex, and I loosen mine one notch for bumps or powder, and tighten that last notch for packed run skiing.


Ken
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Racer256 View Post
Disagree. Unbuckle every lift ride. Love my technica icons but no way I could leave them buckled all day.
Just threw away my Icon X after 4? years of service and never unbuckled them during the day. They fit me well, I only buckled them tight enough to keep the buckles closed, and had all the performance I needed.
post #17 of 19
I see many of the WC racers unbuckle between runs, I do not think that they have ill fitting boots. That being said I can ski plenty with my tight boots, but standing around is a different story, I usually need to unbuckle. I vary the degree of tightness depending on the terrain or how agressive I will be skiing.
post #18 of 19

Boots How Tight?

U should be able to free ski on groomers w/ them just tight enough to stay buckled. the more performance U need the tigther till you cut the flow of blood and felx of boot off.
post #19 of 19
racing is an entirely different situation, I see most racers buckle the be geebers out of there boots in the start house, to a point that you could not freeski in them. but they only have them that tight for (the longest Downhill is what about 2 minutes) 70-80 seconds.

I unbuckle my boots every chair ride, just the 2 bottom buckles. In fact, I can ski with those 2 buckles undone just fine most of the time. although as the day goes on I buckle the 2 lowere buckles on the 1st catch and sometimes must micro adjust them a bit

What I have found works best is to take a couple of warm up runs. got to the lodge for 10 minutes and then go back out for the balance of the day

the beauty of a plug boot is that the shell is ground out to fit the contours or shape of your foot and the liner is ultra thin, so there is no need to buckle tight
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