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custom (foamed) boots/liners

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
So, have just finished up a long weekend of skiing up at Copper. Long story short - I ski on Technica Diablo's with a Surefoot orthotic/custom footbed. My problem is simply the harder and longer I ski the more my feet hurt. Also, get numbness in my little toes by the end of the day. Have returned to Surefoot on several occassions and various tech's there have done some tweaking to the boots. Now they say there is nothing left to do except to pull the stock liner and (for several hundred more dollars) switch to their injectable custom liner. My problem: the absolute worst pair of boots I have ever owned was a pair of Nordica's that were custom foamed. Now this was ages ago when an injectable foam liner was a brand new thing. But still, I have never owned a pair of boots that caused me more pain skiing then those Nordica's. End result is I am very gun-shy of spending that much on something that from my memory doesn't work. So, I'm wondering if there are any Bears that have some experience with Surefoot's custom liners and/or custom liners in general and if they are worth the money for someone whose feet hurt, but not so much as to keep me off the hill.... Additionally, I've been told from some good friends that the custom liners will help address some pronation problems and make my skiing better. Again, if you have gone this route, did it help your skiing?

post #2 of 6
I don't know that all the claimed benefits of a foam liner you listed are true, (solve pronation, solve little toe pain)?

If they couldn't make enough room by grinding and/or stretching for your little toes, how will a foam liner create more room? especially since the foam stops before the met heads? How will a foam injected liner help pronation? Sounds like snake oil to me?...

I will not second guess what has been done or speculate without seeing your feet but my hunch is your woes could be solved without the expense of a custom liner.

Personally, unless you are a hard core racer the need for a foam injected liner, vs. a Zip Fit or an Intuition which are both remoldable and more comfortable and more consistent, is doubtful. Even though the foaming process has improved over the years it is still a one shot roll of the dice to get two good liners on the first try! Then you live with what you got or start cutting out foam here or there to make them work? Just my .02.
post #3 of 6
I am with Bud on this one. Any bootfitter that can only offer you one solution that may or may not be the answer, sounds like a carpenter that does not have a lot of tools on his belt. Or like Barney Fife that only has one bullet that he keeps in his shirt pocket.

Bud told me this saying a few months ago he said that " if the only tool you have is a hammer, every solution looks like a nail" From where I am sitting that injected liner looks a lot like a nail.

So, start with what I am thinking is a poorly made footbed have that fixed or replaced. A good bootfitter should be able to do a quick windlass test and a visual matching to see if footbed is OK.

Second, I venture to guess that the poorly made footbed is sitting on a bootboard that has not been flattened to match the bottom of the poorly made footbed.

Third, have a bootfitter assess your ankle dorsiflexion range of motion to determine heel height ( that Tecnica has a low ramp with a lot of forward lean to the shell) good bootfitter will adjust accordingly.

Then last but not least, your new bootfitter should fix whatever is causing the pain. Punch, grind, pad.......?

One additional question; is the liner a hotform liner?
post #4 of 6
a copuple of peices of sound advice from Bud and Jim, my first port of call would be to look at the footbed and the shell if that is correct then look at the ROM of the ankle etc only when all these things are right should you even consider a foam liner, as there is a danger that just filling voids with foam will not give you the correct fit, also to consider is that not all feet are suitable for foaming....just like that wet wimpy hand shake you get feet which are mobile and compressible, if you have one of those feet then you will never be comfortable in afoam as the pressure created during the foaming process will compress your foot and it will never sit in the correct place...I learnt this the hard way in the late nineties when the shop I worked in did a run on foams.... 80+ pairs in a season and we had more problems than we had ever seen 15+ returns... the last season i worked in that store we sold over 1200 pairs of boots and had to refund 4 pairs...how many foam liners did we do 20 maybe and a shed load of zip fit and thermoform liners.

does the store have another fitter who can look at this with a fresh set of eyes

Oh and don't they offer a 100% fit guarantee
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Boots for an extremely duck-footed skier

Yes, they do offer a 100% fit guarantee; however, you have to buy the boot from them as well as the orthotic. I purchased the Technica's from another shop. Don't mean to bad-mouth Surefoot. I purchased my orthotics with a pair of Atomic race boots from Surefoot at Copper Mtn, but the Atomic's also caused my feet problems, and were an extremely cold boot (and I usually don't have problems with cold feet), so I finally gave up on the Atomic's and went boot shopping. At that point, Surefoot didn't have anything in my range of performance and price, so I wound up buying the Technica's back home in MN. So, Surefoot is really under no obligation to help get the Technica's fitting properly beyond making sure that the orthotic still fits.

I like the Technica's a lot, but they are a bit on the soft side (another reason why I am reluctant to put @$300 more into custom liners for this boot) and I do sometimes feel that my feet have a bit too much slop, though being only two seasons old with about 50 days of skiing, they shouldn't be at all packed out. I still have my old Salomon Equipe boots with Superfeet custom foot beds as my backups.

I've always had a tough time with boots. I have always thought my biggest problem was my extremely flat feet, but over the course of the years, I've discovered that it's really my very flat foot which gives me a wider forefoot, combined with a narrow heel and ankle which seems to be a tough combination. Add to that what I guess is a strong case of pronation, if pronation refers to what is commonly called duck-foot. For example, my snowboard bindings are set to 18, -18 degrees and that feels tight. I get lots of complaints from race coaches at clinics about my A-frame turns which are directly related (I think) to my knees turning in when my feet are set parallel. I really wonder if a custom liner is going to help address that issue. I have been very curious about the Fischer Soma "technology", wondering if getting that 9 - 10 degree of offset would help. Unfortunately, haven't found a dealer here that carries Fischer boots (lots of skis, but no boots).

What boots would the experts here recommend for a narrow heel/ankle and wide flat forefoot?
post #6 of 6
From what I gather Surefoot is very hit or miss when it comes to getting a good boot fitter. Are there no good fitters in MN? I can make a call and see if one my friends up there has any suggestions as to who to see (he is a reputible person who works in the ski industry). To me it seems like you have much more going on than what a "custom" liner can fix. Alignment issues as well as fit issues.
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