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Toe lifting?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I think by listening to advice here and experimenting I may have found out why I always have trouble feeling my whole foot in the boot. I measured my 'dorsiflexion' as outlined at a bootfitting web site and found I can lift my forefoot 4+inches off the ground while my shin is perpindicular to the ground while sitting. I have a very 'loose' ankle and always walk slightly titled forward due to this. I never really made much of it until I read about fore/aft balance here.

I think this may be an aggravating issue as to why I have trouble edging as I find it difficult to feel the front of my feet pressuring the front of the boot board. It's like I always feel the heel press hard, but never feel even keel in the boot in terms of pressure fore and aft, even with my custom footbeds - its as if I am either pressuring the heel a lot or working hard to feel the front of my feet, but never feel anything in between. I placed 30 sheets of paper on the floor and put it under the toe of my boot and noticed I felt completely balanced and level throughout the foot from heel to toe, I actually felt my arches pressuring the footbed, which I have never felt in the boots. I also noticed my spine was straighter and I was not leaning forward hard against the boot cuffs.

I think besides skill, perhaps this is a piece of a puzzle that I have been overlooking? I always had the sensation that something is just not right and always attributed this entirely to lack of skill in my lessons on edging. I am starting to think my fore/aft allignment is seriously messed up and preventing me from advancing. Is this possible?

I have Atomic Btech 90 boots 26.5...street foot size 9 1/2., very wide EEEE forefoot, thin calves, high instep....superfeet custom footbeds
post #2 of 16
Wow, that's a wide foot!

Congratulations on realizing your possible alignment issue! How thick is your 30 sheets of paper? What model bindings are you using? How tall are you? You may want to "gas pedal" your boots by lifting the toes with sole plates to help pre-stretch your calf a bit and allow you to feel sooner pressure on the forefoot?
post #3 of 16
here we go ! if in fact you have that much flexion in the ankle you need to do two things IN THE BOOT . 1.) get rid of the superfeet. reason being the heel cup is probably tight ,high,and thick ceating a heel lift affect. Your heel does not need to be higher as you are realising via guided discoverey. Yes this is a place in time where playing with yourself is allowed.2.) try taking your paper ,but only 15 sheets , and cut it to the out line of the forefoot of your footbed and tape it in place. Put this carefully IN THE BOOT and see what heppens. If this feels great then click into that ski and go skiing,after some dynamic tresting you can play with delta adjustments OUTSIDE THE BOOT.Be careful and enjoy your new sensations , you will have new relationshonship with your ski tips!!!!!!
post #4 of 16
Yeah, Greg is right! you will need to get as much net forward lean out of your boot as you can. This can be done by doing what greg mentioned as well as a couple more ways, but play with what he suggested. You can use pieces of cardboard more easily than layers of paper to lift under the toes.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info greg and Mr Heishman...I think I am onto something here.

Yes I have very wide feet...in fact it is hard to get street shoes that fit properly, let alone ski boots. I end up buying a size higher on street shoes just because of my wide feet.

I have the Atomic E7 with stock bindings and a recently purchased Fischer RX6 with Railflex 10. I am coming from old straight skis. I am 6 foot tall.

Basically when I ski I am either real far forward while trying to put pressure on the heel, or far back all the way on the heel. It's like I either feel heel pressure or toe and cuff pressure, but nothing in between. I always end up sliding around on the back side of the skis and when I try to edge with the new gear I always feel the front sliding away from me and end up skidding around. It is frustrating and last year I thought perhaps this new gear just isnt for me or I am not cut out for it.

The atomic ski boot is the only boot I could downsize in and not get smashed in the forefoot. In the boot there really is no bootboard, which I have never seen before - just a piece of black cardboard to keep the boot from slipping. The inner boot sits directly at the bottom of the shell.

I played around with your advice but did it a little different. I used cutouts of stiff rubber stripping used for flooring along baseboards and walls. I took the inner boot and mapped out the shape on the stripping and cut out a few layers to place underneath - I cut off at the forefoot point. I would say each strip has the approx height of 5 sheets of computer paper. I tried with 1, 2, and 3 layers under the inner boot up front. The instep in the boot is high enough I dont think this will take up too much space. It actually snugged the boot up a bit near the instep(the only thing wrong with the boot IMO in terms of fit). It is a lillte scrunchy but believe it might pack out as the boots are only one year old still.

I definately feel a tremeneous difference in how I stand in the boot. I looked at my stance in a mirror and my back is actually lined up over the middle of the boots and I am not pressed forward leaning on the boot cuffs. With 3 strips in the boot I can feel the whole foot from front to back(if that makes any sense) and feel no need to sit on the heels or lean on the cuffs to feel balanced. I can also tip the boot and still feel even pressure everywhere on my foot. This is wierd !

I even put a single strip under my sole in my street shoe and it is like night and day as well - I do not walk with a slight forward tilt. I definately think this is something serious I have uncovered.

Look at what you can learn just by surfing the net. I am glad I read the article on fore and aft allignment.

Now I am really jumping to get on the snow and try this out. I really think this might be a breakthough type thing I have been missing.

Unfortunately nothing opens around here until late November.

Thanks again for the info and assistance. I am going to cary some of the strips with me and will post some impressions once I ski.
post #6 of 16
Note that your Tyrolia binding have about 2mm more stand height differential than your Atomics. This means your heel is 2mm higher on the Tyrolias than the Atomics which will make a noticable difference. You can have the shop shim under the toe piece so that both binding have the same delta angle. Keep them the same and if your cuff neutral stance while clicked into your bindings has your knees hanging out over the toes of your boots, shimming more under the toe pieces may be called for.

good luck
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
Note that your Tyrolia binding have about 2mm more stand height differential than your Atomics. This means your heel is 2mm higher on the Tyrolias than the Atomics which will make a noticable difference. You can have the shop shim under the toe piece so that both binding have the same delta angle. Keep them the same and if your cuff neutral stance while clicked into your bindings has your knees hanging out over the toes of your boots, shimming more under the toe pieces may be called for.

good luck
Thanks for the additional info.

Just a question - why do the binding manufactuers create the height differential into the binding? Is this intentional or just a reality of the setup for bindings? If it is intentional then what purpose does it serve? I would think a neutral binding difference between toe and heel would be best for a skier to start with, as the boots have some sort of ramp angle in them already. Come to think of it why is there a ramp angle built inside boots anyways? They should come with the ability to adjust this IMO so people who do not prefer a lot of ramp angle can easily modify it. The more I read about ski boots the more quirky and arbitrary a lot of things seem to my untrained eye. I would think form a practical standpoint a boot would come with default settings of zero and be supplied with such items that a fitter could build on a netural base, rather than take away or subtract from things.
post #8 of 16
Hey Paul go get some Earth Shoes
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulR View Post
why do the binding manufactuers create the height differential into the binding? Come to think of it why is there a ramp angle built inside boots anyways?
Join the club Paul, many boot fitters share the thought that binding companies should build zero delta bindings to simply remove that variable from the whole picture. I personally don't know why they do other than making enough room for the brake system?

As to your second question, I think boot manufacturers try to target a "norm" or the needs of what they view as the average skier. Some ramp seems to be good, some forward lean, some shaft angle, etc.. They invariably miss most skier's needs thank god! or us poor boot fitters would be out of work!
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregfits View Post
Hey Paul go get some Earth Shoes
Say What?
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
Join the club Paul, many boot fitters share the thought that binding companies should build zero delta bindings to simply remove that variable from the whole picture. I personally don't know why they do other than making enough room for the brake system?

As to your second question, I think boot manufacturers try to target a "norm" or the needs of what they view as the average skier. Some ramp seems to be good, some forward lean, some shaft angle, etc.. They invariably miss most skier's needs thank god! or us poor boot fitters would be out of work!
I wish I had average feet! I guess people will always need bootfitters though. Unfortunately in PA there are no bootfitters in ski shops who know what they are doing. I am going to visit one of the VT fitters if this toe lifting thing works out on the snow. I probably could use a lateral test as well as I think I favor the inside of my right foot a bit. Unfortunately I dont think these atomic boot soles are grindable and they are the only boot that seems to fit my forefeet.
post #12 of 16
They are grindable!
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Alright guys...I had my first day on snow yesterday at Peak n Peak in NY. I was using small shims shims under my toes under the boot liner. I also repositioned the RX6 bindings by not only having the +15 position on the railflex but also remounted the bindings to the max forward 330mm position which put the ball of my foot somewhere near the center of the ski. (yes I adjusted forward pressure and twist tested the bindings and heel).

I spent the whole morning on the beginner trail which I had pretty much to myself, adding and taking out shims. The bad news is the shim that worked best scrunched my toes so bad there was pain so I think I need an external toe lift.

I first noticed it was harder to ride the tails and was a different experience. I just could not get centered before. I found pivotitng the skis and edging them was a ton easier. I think this solved part of the problem which is I was always riding the tails. I noticed I could feel when the skis were flat when transitioning to a new turn and I wasn't rushing to get them around. I even tried my hand at skating down the entire green run while doing turns and had no problem(could not do this before). Even balancing on one ski while riding was pretty effortless. Before if I tried this I would be way back on the heel.

After I got used to the new feeling my mid morning I was hardly doing any twisting at all - I was just letting them go flat and tripping them and around they would start to go. I also noticed I was much more comfortable with higher speeds(for me high speed = 20-25mph) once I got my confidence up to hit the blue runs. I had no crashes or falls the entire day.

I also think the skis had something to do with it - the new RX6's are like rockets compared to the E-7. I could not get the E-7 to react like the RX6 in any way. The are more 'sluggish'.

Anyays, sorry for the book...its pretty exciting.

..

also,

I noticed I was really working my quad muscles in my legs with this new setup. I don't know if this is normal. I could feel tension in the quads as I was turning the skis around. Once the skis started to turn I could feel a pressure buildup in the leg and feet. I have always been used to working the glute muscles before -because I twisted and pushed the tails a lot I think. After 9 hours I was sore and had serious leg burn which I feel even now. I don't know if this is because I am old or the new movements I am doing. I do a lot of cycling and never felt quad burn like that.
post #14 of 16
Sure would be nice to be able to see your skiing? Sounds like you have made some good changes but perhaps something else needs tweaked a bit too?
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
Sure would be nice to be able to see your skiing? Sounds like you have made some good changes but perhaps something else needs tweaked a bit too?
I read another thread here about instaprint tongue eliminator shims and heel hold. I purchased a pair yesterday. I noticed with the toe wedges in the boot my heel was coming up a bit and the heel hold was getting 'squishy'.Skiing with them this morning the quad burn was gone. I think I was using too much energy to stay centered last Saturday with the heel issue and the heel rising a bit. Now I feel pretty balanced fore and aft and don't feel like I am using my quads to stay centered all the time. I can always feel the cuff touching my shin all the the way from ankle to top. Before, I could really only feel shin pressure near the top of the shin, even with the buckles cranked down. I have very wide feet but very skinny shins. The toe box on the Atomic B90 is good and I just lighlty buckle the instep buckle, but I think I needed the eliminator tounges to snug up the contact with the heel and shin. Now I only use the first buckle notch as well on the shin buckles and still get a vice-like grip on the heel. I was really zipping along in the turns compared to last week and felt the whole foot in the turns. Another night-and-day scenario.

Another mystery solved and a lesson learned - firm heel hold is very very important.
post #16 of 16
Cool beans Paul! have a great season!
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