EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ask the Boot Guys › Boot fitting theories - do they work for everyone?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Boot fitting theories - do they work for everyone?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Boot fitting theories miss the point. Measurments galore, putting your knee/foot relationship where it SHOULD be -BALDERDASH!!

Do I care where someone else thinks my knee/foot "should" be? Not at all.:

On the other hand, do I care when my foot is canted, raised, lowered - whatever - and as a result I (a) feel discernably better balanced (b) in discernably less pain, and/or (c) discernably skiing better? OH, YA!!!

I have been plumb bobbed, measured, and whatever you may have until I was blue in the face - all for naught, UNTIL . . .

Having the good fortune to meet Eric Ward at Aspen( Foot Foundation/Shim Balance System). He had me stand on a gizmo he uses - a flat metal platform - and balance on one foot. The gizmo is adjustable: By turning a crank, Eric canted the metal plate until we found the cant angle which allowed me to balance. He then used wedges (shims that are thicker on one side than the other) inside my boot to achieve that balance. And of course, there's more to this than I'll set forth here, and more to foot beds, etc.

What's my point? It's this: Eric helped me find my balance rather than tell me what "should" work. That's the point. Isn't that what boot fitting is for?

Will the boot fit guys address this principle: Theories don't help a customer. Results do. And results aren't the important thing - they're the ONLY thing.
post #2 of 21
Awsome! Isn't it great when things click and you meet the person that helps you. Sometimes it takes many years and a lot of wasted time bootfitting before the gods allow you to go to the next level.
Eric Ward and his products are top notch.
post #3 of 21
Just so the point isn't missed.. Eric Ward aka mosh can be found in the EpicSki Who's Who of Bootfitters, and is a frequent contributor to these forums.

Thanks oboe. I think all of our contributing bootfitters strive for these kind of results, and this forum is here to expose what they do to the everyday skier who has never heard of bootfitting as an essential element of good skiing. The number of first time, or relatively new posters here, and testimony from "founders" like you, are testimony to the service these "Boot Guys" are performing for our community.
post #4 of 21
Thank you for sharing your opinion Oboe. I like to consider all theories and keep an open mind to all methods whether they support or conflict with accepted methods. I have found situations where the SBS system has worked for my customers too. Recently, I had an appointment with a skier who I had previously built footbeds and canted symetrically and centered yet expressed problems with balancing on his right foot while his left foot was spot on. When we looked at his one footed balance and played with different degree SBS shims, we found a 2 1/2 degree shim under his foot (which was very pronated during one footed balancing) positioned him better and calmed down the movements to balance. His other foot liked a one degree shim. Upon checking his Zeppa angle and finding it had one degree varus, I put a 1 1/2 shim in the right boot and nothing in the left. He was pleased with the results. Here both canting and SBS worked together to offer a complete solution. As I have said before one is not a substitute for the other. Canting affects edge engagement and SBS affects dynamic balance IMO.

My point is, there are many solutions for the many different misalignments presented and to think that one method that worked for one will work for all is a bit naive. A good boot fitter will evaluate the merits of the various methods and theories available and use the ones of value where he/she feels they are appropriate to solve a particular need. Some fitters like to poo poo any concept they do not understand or have no experience with before giving it fair thought and evaluation. Some don't have a full tool box so they swing the same hammer over and over again hoping for solutions to all the problems they see. I don't think this is wise IMO. I believe understanding all the theories and concepts out there and using good judgement in reaching conclusions as to their validity is key to building a good tool box.

Oboe, have you ever experimented with canting since you have been fitted with SBS? I believe there is evidence that both can compliment each other. SBS does not change where the knees position over the skis, canting does not change the needs under the foot inside the boot.

Just because you find a flavor you like doesn't mean there are not more great flavors to be tasted, and blending two or more flavors together can make a most delicious recipe!
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Bud. Once it works, why mess with it?

For what it's worth, I have never been able to distinguish between in-the-boot shimming and on-the-sole canting as to different results. As I've said, the result is what counts. If the footbed and boot are worked on together from the get-go, then the posting of the footbed for use in that boot would seem to resolve all issues. There would be no need for any outside-the-boot work except for aligning the shafts. If this process results in the best balance, comfort, and skiing - end of story. Of course, if for any reason it doesn't, and if additional work outside the boot improves balance, comfort and skiing performance - go for it.

Again, my main - and ONLY - point: It's the results that count - NOT whether a theory is "correct". If a fitting is not results oriented and measured by eventual on-snow balance, comfort, and skiing performance, then as far as I am concerned, it has no good reason for existance.

. . . and Bud, I commend you for your willingness to utilze the Shim Balance System in your work. If all bootfitters were as open-minded and results oriented as you, we'd all be more balanced, comfortable, and better performers on skis.
post #6 of 21
and that is the goal Oboe!

Don't agree that footbeds or in boot shimming solves ALL ISSUES or that it replaces the need for canting, but then what do I know.

"Better" is not always best!, it's just better than where you started! Don't let your mind dance to only one song
post #7 of 21
oboe,
the SBS system is fairly new and bootfitters often take time to embrace new ideas... usually, not because they do not want to, but because they have a system that works for them and the majority of their clients. I suppose it is a bit like asking a surgeon to change a technique for performing an operation beacuse there is a new method, when the one he has been using for several years works just fine and cures his patients.

i have been using the SBS system for the past 3 years or so with great success, but i still use other cant methods to get better results than i can using SBS and footbeds alone

I do think you need to look at all the options......

what happens when there is not enough cuff adjustment to align the boot you your leg without planing the sole or using an under binding shim?

at the end of the day it doesn't matter how you achieve the results just that you DO achieve them
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
CEM, you state the case well. I'll agree that boot fitting can bring the skier closer to ideal - perhaps not all the way to ideal. Like any kind of prosthetic or corrective type of device, we can make things better, and the user of the device needs to do the rest.

When shaft "canting" isn't enough, obviously, we need to do something more - maybe sole grinding. My point was only - what's good is what works. Having the goal of "this SHOULD be like this" and "that SHOULD be like that" misses the point. The result in satisfying the skier, howsoever it's achieved, is paramount.

The surgeon who uses an established method that works and is slow to change is not analogous. In my case, by doing what "should" be done to my boots, the problem was that it didn't work! In fact, the problem was exacerbated. Eric didn't decide the way my foot and knee "should" relate. In a very innovative - and practical, logical way, he searched for what helped me to balance . . . not "in theory", but IN PRACTICE. The guy even skied with me to see the results. I don't want a boot fitter to tell me what works. I want a boot fitter to help me find what does work. There's a universe of difference.
post #9 of 21
Oboe, I seem to remember after assessing your lateral alignment and telling what I saw, you adamantly protested that this did not work for you in the past as another fitter had suggested the same thing. I also seem to remember that I referred you to Eric to see if he could help you. Your particular needs are different than most and your solution (or at least one part of your solution) was changing the angle under your foot inside the boot. You are but one of the skiers who found a solution in SBS and that is great! but to tout your opinion and state that other "boot fitting theories miss the point" is a gross overstatement and is backed by very little knowledge on the subject. Yes, perhaps canting was not your biggest problem but I watched you ski before and after the SBS shims and noticed no change in the loads being transmitted through your knee ligaments as a result of poor alignment. In my opinion, you might want to now go back and revisit the canting suggestions you have received from others to see if All the pieces of the puzzle fit together now? But hey, if you are satisfied now and feel you are skiing to your goals, then by all means ignore everyone else's suggestions or observations. That is your choice, but please don't make uneducated statements condemning other services just because they didn't work for you, because they have worked for thousands and there are quite a few world cup medal holders to prove it!
post #10 of 21
Oboe,

YOU ARE AN INDIVIDUAL

now did i say that loud enough, individual things work differently for individual people....when i was talking about sole grinding /cant wedges to make up the differences that the shaft alignment adjustment does not it was nothing to do with the relationship of your feet knees or any other body part for that matter, but if the lower leg does not sit in the centre of the shaft of the ski boot, the sole of the boot CANNOT sit flat on the ground, simply because as the leg is wrapped in the cuff of the boot by the liner, the leg will pull the boot sole off the level. Is this the complete answer...of course not but it could be part of the answer,

As with the vast majority of fitters /alignment specialists all i want to acheive with any skier is that they are
1 comfortable [to what they perceive comfort to be]
2 can perform to the very best of their ability...whether that means alignment, balance, technique changes to be honest i don't care so long as it works

i was unaware that you and Bud had history, and from what i see of your posts you were not happy with his 'diagnosis' of your problem...as Bud himself said....
Quote:
I also seem to remember that I referred you to Eric to see if he could help you. Your particular needs are different than most and your solution (or at least one part of your solution) was changing the angle under your foot inside the boot.
most doctors would not suggest going to another doctor if they thought it would help...in most instances you have to go and actively seek the second opinion for yourself, not have it suggested to you

I will also back Bud up in his view about the sweeping statements that you have made about boot fitting, there are a very small number of people who do this job, even fewer who take it to the alignment / balance stage, without them where would you be .......if you had been left to your own devices would you have got the results that you are so happy with right now? [remember there are no bootfitters in this new world] which shell would you choose? which size? if you had not tried the approach which didn't work for you would you have known it didn't work? how would you have known what to do next?

a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and when sweeping statements are spilt over a public forum it taints others views of what works for them and narrows the thinking still further, skiing by its nature is a sport of balance and alignment be it good or bad balance, good or bad alignment it is a case of finding what works for the individual....

can i just ask you one question...if not bootfitting what is it that can take the skier all the way to ideal ? ....you say the user needs to do that themselves, but if the user is to do this surely they need some facitilation in this goal, are SBS shims, sole grinding, footbeds etc not after all helping to facilitate this goal of ideal and are these things not all items involved in BOOTFITTING

the most important thing is to have an open mind and try different ideas by different people rather than shut the door on a proven method....the guy who tried it for you first could have screwed it up and tainted your view


so i will finish this post with the same words that i started it with

Oboe,
YOU ARE AN INDIVIDUAL
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Well! It seems that both Bud and CEM got my point - but didn't realize that is exactly what I was saying. Every person is different - it's RESULTS that count, not theories of what "should" be. I'm not sure what lit your fires on this post. Are you saying that "what actually works" should NOT be the criterion?

Bud, I was not intending to make uneducated statements about particulars, even if I did refer to sole grindnig. I was making statements about the logic of the process. If either of you - CEM or Bud - feel that the RESULTS are NOT what count, please say so.

Bud, you DID ski with me and mentioned what you'd seen to Mosh. What you described to Mosh was an "over correction" on my case. It was the opposite extreme of the problem with which I'd started. After you left, he DID make further adjustment. The last person who saw me ski after the final adjustment was Mosh. We agreed we hadn't quite reached home plate, BUT - I felt better balanced and better able to execute. The skier does have a role in this, no?

Everyone IS different, and I hope that helping the customer get closer to the desired results is what counts for each of you. Please let me know if that is what guides you. If so, then there is no dispute. My problem is with being told that what I'm being given is what's "right" and that it "should" work. I'm interested in what DOES ACTUALLY WORK - WHATEVER IT MAY BE - in improving comfort, or balance, or allowing improved skiing performance for the customer. No, I am not an expert in boot fitting and probably haven't "studied" the subject more than most interested customers. Does that clarify?

Sorry if my post was irritating.
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
I just went back and read my offending post a few more times, and for the life of me, I haven't been able to see what lit your fires. Again, my apologies if my post came across as irritable or high handed.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oboe View Post
Thanks, Bud. Once it works, why mess with it?

For what it's worth, I have never been able to distinguish between in-the-boot shimming and on-the-sole canting as to different results. As I've said, the result is what counts. If the footbed and boot are worked on together from the get-go, then the posting of the footbed for use in that boot would seem to resolve all issues. There would be no need for any outside-the-boot work except for aligning the shafts. If this process results in the best balance, comfort, and skiing - end of story. Of course, if for any reason it doesn't, and if additional work outside the boot improves balance, comfort and skiing performance - go for it.

Again, my main - and ONLY - point: It's the results that count - NOT whether a theory is "correct". If a fitting is not results oriented and measured by eventual on-snow balance, comfort, and skiing performance, then as far as I am concerned, it has no good reason for existance.

. . . and Bud, I commend you for your willingness to utilze the Shim Balance System in your work. If all bootfitters were as open-minded and results oriented as you, we'd all be more balanced, comfortable, and better performers on skis.
As I've said . . . it's results that count. Did my experience with SBS "make" me a better skier? Of course not, any more than have my tires balanced would "make" me a better driver. Eventually, it removed one of the obstacles, though. After some soul searching, adjustments in AND OUTSIDE the boot, and miles on snow, I actually am a better skier today than I was a year ago. That's not merely my own feeling. It's the opinion of the Level III clinician who's skied with me for at least three seasons.

Now . . . if CEM and/or Bud would please let me know what it is I've said that resulted in your most recent posts on this thread, and why its affect was so inflamatory?
post #14 of 21
"Boot fitting theories miss the point"

That is a declaration.

Perhaps "Do boot fitting theories miss the point" would have changed the tone?

No worries Oboe! we're cool, it just hurts our feelings a bit to say our hearts are not in the right place. I for one never set out to be a boot fitter. It was by coincidence through constant fiddling with my own equipment to find the optimum set up that I began being asked to help other instructors and people that I became dubbed as a "boot fitter". From my very first year teaching skiing I have enjoyed helping people ski better and trust me when I say, I am not doing this to get rich or influence people, I do it because I truly desire to help put smiles on faces and share my love for skiing with others. I believe I speak for most other top boot fitters (if I am even in that group) that we do it for our passion for excellence and little else.

You know a friend who told me he was surprised that our one day boot camp at ESA did not attract anyone while another series of camps always has a one day boot camp before their regular camp and it is full. I believe one of the reasons is the other camp has a very unified message sent to it's disciples that without any doubt, proper alignment is key to success. Whereas here on Epic threads and posts like yours dilute and confuse the uneducated.

We boot fitters work hard to help others and your thread title and statements simply diminish those efforts. That may be why some hackles are up????
post #15 of 21
Oboe,

don't think i have to say any more as Bud has summed it up...purely the title of the thread did it for me
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
hmmm . . . yes, I see what you mean. I guess I'm good at stirring coals. Sorry about that!

For the record, my personal [non-professional] discovery is that boot alignment is not only important - it's essential. I'm more than pleased that I'm at least on the road to improvement because of it. It allows me to go where I could not go before.

When I said that "boot fitting theories miss the point", I should have been more clear and explicit. I mean that any theory - scientific theory - is as good as its usefulness. The test of a theory is the result from using it. In the case of Bud and Mosh when I was at Aspen last time, they both had a strong interest in seeing what happened when the theory met the snow - the results of the "theory" of how I should be canted.

To repeat: My main - and ONLY - point is that results are what matter. On so many occasions, and not just in boot fitting, the expert (medical, athletic, HR consulting - you name it) has a theory which is held as a belief. IT IS RIGHT!! PERIOD!! If it doesn't work for you, it SHOULD!

An example: Ms. Thoren (and many, many others) have a formula of boot fitting, ski construction, and binding construction and placement FOR WOMEN. They will insist, for example, that "a woman needs heel lift". My wife - who, believe me, clearly and obviously possesses those womanly attributes which are supposed to require heel lifts - HATED heel lifts and high-delta bindings. She said it made her feel that she was walking around with high heels. The lifts were taken out. The bindings were replaced with ones with WAAAAY less delta. VOILA! Life on skis was better.

THEORIES ARE THEORIES. They are suppositions that do have a basis - but they are still suppositions. When they work, they're good. When application of a theory clearly does not work to achieve the desired result, then to regard them as religious certainties is worse than useless.

When I said that boot fitting THEORIES missed the point - that's what I meant to convey: All theories are subject to the test of utility. It's results that count, regardless whether or not the results do or don't comport with a theory.

While Bud and Mosh both were interested in what happened on snow after a canting procedure in my boots, there are other boot fitters who - and they'll say this - don't care. "That's not my depratment. I just make things right, and if it doesn't work for you, don't blame me."

'nuff from me.
post #17 of 21
oboe, if you'd like to change the title, let me know. We can do that...
post #18 of 21
Thanks for clarifying Oboe! Now I understand your point better.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
oboe, if you'd like to change the title, let me know. We can do that...
Change it, please. Should be, "Boot fitting theories - do they work for everyone?"

I could also enjoy the opportunity to clean up the opening post
post #20 of 21
Now that things have calmed down a bit and everyone is playing nice again...

I would just like to say thanks to all for your thoughtful words on the work I have been doing. It is often like pushing dead fish up river trying to bring a new idea to the skiing world. Beliefs have not been challenged much over time and equipment has changed so much.

Bud and CEM you both are two "Boot Guys" that have earned a lot of respect from me. You are both examples of people that don't just fold to any ideas but at the same time are always looking for a better way. We have all had a few beers over this subject and I am here to let the world know that you both are working to make the skiing world work better!

There are three skills nessessary to work with boots.
1 A solid understanding of the sport.
2 the ability to listen.
2 an open mind.

Again thanks to all for your passion for this subject and this silly sport.
Mosh
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by oboe View Post
Change it, please. Should be, "Boot fitting theories - do they work for everyone?"

I could also enjoy the opportunity to clean up the opening post
PM me the new version...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ask the Boot Guys
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ask the Boot Guys › Boot fitting theories - do they work for everyone?