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A different approach to boot fitting - Page 4

post #91 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
Actually, I only have questions. They are really the same questions everyone else has, but the answers I get contradict my experience.
BK
I think the challenge is that your experience is anecdotal with a 'n' of one.
post #92 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
I'm not sure your analogy applies. Your body has far more freedom of movement than any car. But even so, drivers set up cars in different ways based on personal preference. The ultimate set up is determined experimentally, based on results and the driver's preferences and judgment, not by comparisons to some ideal as measured in the shop.
BTW, I'm an engineer and a coach, not a philosopher.

BK
The analogy is perfectly reasonable, and as you've noted the skiboot impairs freedom of movement in the foot and ankle.

I am a big advocate of testing and adjusting on hill - this is where it counts. However, you still have to know what you're doing and why, which reflects the need for some deep knowledge to make seemingly simple adjustments. Doing & reading kinematic studies (on top of work experience) improves knowledge. As an engineer, I'm sure you appreciate this .

I agree with you - there is no "ideal" to be measured in the shop and static alignment/measurements/"balance" are not perfect predictors of on-hill dynamic movements. As Bud has posted many times, the goal of indoor work is to get people in the ballpark, and then use on-hill testing and feedback to refine the setup.

Precisely because the ski boot limits natural movements (a trade off for support and energy transmission) one must pay attention to the platform created by the equipment - there is less natural compensation available due to the effect of 'casting' the lower extremity.
post #93 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
I understand what those are, and I would still call them stick figures. The fact that anyone had to go to the trouble to mark joint centers and use a pressure plate to measure static balance confirms my opinion that you can't see differences in static balance, in a ski shop or on the hill. I can evaluate my own static balance far more accurately than any observer.


I think the issue is that we are starting with a boot that disrupts the natural function of the feet by holding them too rigidly and/or by pressuring the feet from the top down. Everything that you do after that with regard to set up is just mitigating problems caused by the boot. I don't know what the solution is. It doesn't seem practical to ski in sneakers, but some kind of different boot design might work better. I've heard rumors that Sven Coomer has been working on boot modifications that allow the forefoot to flex a little, but that's all I really know about that. DavidM and David Mcphail have been mentioned several times here, but I don't know who he is, or what his approach is.


I'm not sure your analogy applies. Your body has far more freedom of movement than any car. But even so, drivers set up cars in different ways based on personal preference. The ultimate set up is determined experimentally, based on results and the driver's preferences and judgment, not by comparisons to some ideal as measured in the shop.
BTW, I'm an engineer and a coach, not a philosopher.

BK
BK, David's approach was different from anything I have come across. His research was conducted by placing skiers on the snow in a device he called the birdcage. He won a Canadian National award for this invention. It was a device that performed the same function that a ski boot does except that it could be adjusted to various ramp and forward lean angles. Two other important aspects of the birdcage was that It held the foot down from above the instep, which allowed the foot to always be loaded, but it didn't squeeze the foot from the side, so it allowed natural forefoot movement. The second was that it allowed about 7-8 degrees of ankle movement then an increasing resistance to flex kicked in, but the flex didn't spring back or push back on the skiers lower leg. It should also be noted that David was not a fan of “soft” boots.


He also felt it was important to leave room for the ankle to articulate to the medial side (big toe side) as well.


Finally, there were twenty pressure sensors in the device so that a computer could record where the skier was pressuring the device under the foot and in the cuff, so he could play with boot angles and then see how the skier reacted and skied, based on not only visuals but also by how they were pressuring the device.


His researched used differing levels of skiers, from novice to world cup skiers. In the end his research showed that there was not a lot of difference to boot setup between skiers, but that when a skiers was outside of this range then the skiing suffered. He also stated that beginners skied very effectively when they were placed within this range, as did the expert skiers.


The industry turned their back on his work and he then shifted his emphasis on transferring his boot principles to off the shelf boots in a way that the average skier could handle. He eventually gave up on this as well. Which is when I got to know him and learned all I could from him. He no longer has anything to do with skiing from what I hear.



He is an engineer like you BK, and I hear he is currently the head building inspector in Whistler. If you want I could email you some of what I was able to save of the materials that came out of our groups discussions on Paragon, Nolo's private web site.
post #94 of 118
There are several assumptions and bits of "conventional wisdom" I think I'm gonna poke at. First is the notion that there is any consistent body of knowledge universally accepted in the bootfitting business. There are well regarded bootfitters who assume that most or all of their clients should be on fully posted cork or even molded polyethelene (or similar) plastic. And who believe in significant forward lean and major ramp angles. And very controlled movement along all axes. And it takes something significant to make them deviate from this for any client. On the flip side, there's a well regarded school that believes "less is more" - and they are using a baseline that looks more like unposted less imposing footbeds (just enough to provide for even support & pressure transmission), boots modified (both shell work & spoiler removal) to allow more upright basic stance, and often shell mods to open up an ankle pocket to allow the joint to flex more freely.

Something interesting is going on. Either they are working with different assumptions & goals or they have 180 degree opposed models of the mechanics and biomechanics of skiing. It is because one group or another is flat out wrong? Is it because there are different assumptions about technique that deliver different "correct" answers for different populations? e.g. driving through the tips vs rolling in the middle?

Inquiring minds want to know...

edit: funny/interesting that this landed right after RicB's post
post #95 of 118
Fore/aft balance can be attained and managed in any boot set-up. The problem comes in the poor body positions a skier must assume to achieve that balance if the set-up is bad. A bad set-up can also affect the ability to load the front of the ski. Adjusting the bad set-up can have a dramatic affect on body positions, energy efficiency, safety, and the ability to make the skis perform.

While fine tuning on the hill is always advisable, initial in-shop ball-parking alone can prove very helpful for obvious bad set-ups. And seeing good/bad is not at all hard. Even a skiers verbal descriptions of what they feel happening as they ski can lead you to the right set-up correction answer. I've helped high level racers achieve gross performance improvements by tweaking their fore/aft set-up based solely on what they told me they felt. And I'm not a boot fitter, just a lowly coach.

Don't make the mistake of dismissing the value of fore/aft set-up adjustments. Like I said, it's possible to ski at a very high level in any set-up, but bad set-ups just add challenge and compromises to the task.
post #96 of 118
Rick
post #97 of 118
Just a couple of morsels to add to this interesting thread. If ramp angle is critical enough to gain improvements from, say, a 1 degree change, what are the consequences of using several different pairs of skis with bindings from different manufactureres which may or may not cause the boot to sit at the same angle relative to the ski? On the subject of range of ankle motion inside a ski boot- Caber manufactured a boot in the late seventies/early eighties with a zeppa that could basically roll left/right/left-called the Bio System if I recall correctly-the idea of which was to free up the sub-talar joint, again if I recall correctly. I'm not sure how many degrees of motion this gave but it seems to have a strong connection to the whole flexible/firm foot control debate. Does anyone else remember these boots?
post #98 of 118
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
I respect your philosophy on boot alignment but don't believe you are going to convince most here it has any merit... sorry.
I'm actually surprised to hear that. Most bootfitters aren't so respectful. I've learned to smile and nod when talking to them, because I know eventually I will need them to punch out the hot spots. OTOH I think at least some people here already agree with me.

BK
post #99 of 118
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB View Post
BK, David's approach was different from anything I have come across. His research was conducted by placing skiers on the snow in a device he called the birdcage. He won a Canadian National award for this invention. It was a device that performed the same function that a ski boot does except that it could be adjusted to various ramp and forward lean angles. Two other important aspects of the birdcage was that It held the foot down from above the instep, which allowed the foot to always be loaded, but it didn't squeeze the foot from the side, so it allowed natural forefoot movement. The second was that it allowed about 7-8 degrees of ankle movement then an increasing resistance to flex kicked in, but the flex didn't spring back or push back on the skiers lower leg. It should also be noted that David was not a fan of “soft” boots.

He is an engineer like you BK, and I hear he is currently the head building inspector in Whistler. If you want I could email you some of what I was able to save of the materials that came out of our groups discussions on Paragon, Nolo's private web site.
I'd like to see his materials. Thanks.

BK
post #100 of 118
Boots that are supportive do restrict ROM but without that support edging is quite difficult. Especially on ice. Ski around with your boots un-buckled if you need more proof. Maybe that's why we don't see a lot more low leather boots out on the hill.
post #101 of 118
The Cabers you mentioned pressed the instep into what they said was an optimal shape. The ankle moved a bit but overall the boots just hurt a lot. Sort of like a Chinese torture boot that deforms the foot permanently. A tight race fit made it impossible to ski them very long.
post #102 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old School SL View Post
Just a couple of morsels to add to this interesting thread. If ramp angle is critical enough to gain improvements from, say, a 1 degree change, what are the consequences of using several different pairs of skis with bindings from different manufactureres which may or may not cause the boot to sit at the same angle relative to the ski? On the subject of range of ankle motion inside a ski boot- Caber manufactured a boot in the late seventies/early eighties with a zeppa that could basically roll left/right/left-called the Bio System if I recall correctly-the idea of which was to free up the sub-talar joint, again if I recall correctly. I'm not sure how many degrees of motion this gave but it seems to have a strong connection to the whole flexible/firm foot control debate. Does anyone else remember these boots?

You bring up a good point which skiers should give more consideration than they do! I see many avid skiers who have a quiver of skis with a variety of bindings which create a variety of delta angles. This definitely affects the fore/aft plane. It is alway encouraged to use the same delta angle on all your skis to avoid changing this fore/aft plane. The first order of business is to find the optimum then recreate it on all your skis.

There is good news here! I recently measured most of next year's binding toe and heel stand height differentials at a trade show and found that all the manufacturers are getting closer to one another in this area. Most binding, and this is a generalization, are in the 2 to 4 mm difference range between toe height and heel height, where a few years ago the range was 1-2 mm larger.

I remember the Caber Bio boot but never had the opportunity to ski it. It didn't last long?
post #103 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
I'm actually surprised to hear that. Most bootfitters aren't so respectful. I've learned to smile and nod when talking to them, because I know eventually I will need them to punch out the hot spots. OTOH I think at least some people here already agree with me.

BK
I'm waiting for my blood pressure to come back down to normal, and then I'll make an attempt to respond in a reasonable way to some of your posted questions .
post #104 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
I'm actually surprised to hear that. Most bootfitters aren't so respectful. I've learned to smile and nod when talking to them, because I know eventually I will need them to punch out the hot spots. OTOH I think at least some people here already agree with me.

BK
Curious. So do they scoff at you ? Tell you you are ignorant or full of sh$t or have no clue ? And they are retailers ? I just can't imagine. Maybe you should check the thread about when women walk into a ski shop looking for new ski's and they are asked "What COLOR were you looking for ?" ! One thing I find truly hampers learning something new or expanding knowledge , is being stuck in pre-conceived notions &/or experience. You just NEVER know when dropping those barriers of knowledge opens up a new whole wide world of learning.

Come help me down some trees, cut them up, split & stack. Then go chainsaw shopping with me. Experience what a "girl" goes through with salesmen. Then I'll take you to the REAL shop, with the REAL person who finds out what a person's skill, knowledge, ability & actual jobs to be done discusses pro's/con's of various sizes of equip. & can & will match up with the right stuff. This occurs EVERY WHERE in life. You just need to find the people who care & can do what's needed. BUT you have to have an open mind & LISTEN. We are all somewhere in our journey, including those who sell, find the one's who match up with where you are. But, you have to LISTEN & LEARN & TRUST when you find them. And RESPECT them as well.

I have to add, just because, my 10 yr old has picked up that passive/aggressive saying of "Whatever" & I'm tolerating it myself. Kinda sounds like your smile, nod, etc. cause you are going to use them/pay them for work you aren't going to do yourself. Issue here ? I absolutely love the response I get from the 10 yr old when I'm reciprocal in the "Whatever" disrepectful department. The saying won't last through Summer. Just in case I'm not clear here - I am one who does not agree with you. I didn't agree with some shops while trying to get fitted for boots, but I was honest & told them so. My REAL bootfitter, well, he goes above and beyond my knowledge & I love my boots, insoles & performance of boots. So I just give appropriate HONEST feed back & it works beautifully with MUTUAL honest respect. Blatant honesty is pretty funny, so I end up laughing a lot as well !
post #105 of 118
Heishman's Heirarchy of boot fitting (generalities)

:traveling ski swap salesman - beware and just try to find them after the sale!

::big box salesperson - little to no knowledge of boot fitting, expect to be oversized as this is the easiest solution to every problem they encounter.

:specialty shop boot fitter - This guy/gal may have a bit of training and motivation and do a fairly good job of properly sizing. Actual fitting skills may be all over the map, from poor to excellent. Ask around and ask the fitter educated questions if he/she doesn't impress you. May or may not have a clue about alignment methodology.

ski resort area boot fitter - Generally better and more experienced and more dedicated to his profession.

specialty "ski boot" shop - generally those who specialize in boot sales and fitting and Alignment have made boot fitting their focus and have the tools, experience, education, track record to do the best job. Will always have multiple recommendations at local ski resorts and from ski teams, ski instructors.

:Individual boot specialists - these are individuals with stellar reputations who are sought after nationwide for services, some of which are listed here on Epic!
post #106 of 118
post #107 of 118
Bud your honest assesment just cracks me up ! And, you were like, totally respectful.

Heishman's heirarchy should be a sticky !
post #108 of 118
Bud you forgot the end user to end user type of sales.
post #109 of 118
end user to end user - "These boots fit me great they will be perfect for you"
post #110 of 118
Quote:
OTOH I think at least some people here already agree with me. -BodeKlammer
I have no idea what we (the royal) would be agreeing/disagreeing with. Just went through the whole thread and see no theory at all other than question on first post:

Quote:
The real problem is not that I never find the perfect ramp or cuff angle, it is that my foot was never intended to be jammed into a rigid boot in the first place. The boot, regardless of how perfectly it is aligned, disrupts the normal function of the foot by holding it rigidly, and prevents the skier form balancing on it effectively.

There is no solution to this problem, only compromises between boots that are soft enough to allow a lot of foot movement and boots that are rigid enough for good power transfer. Bootfitters talk about ramp angles all the time, but I rarely hear them talk about how the foot functions.
Am I on to something here, or not? BodeKlammer
I wouldn't agree with "rarely hear them talk about how the foot functions" - that's pretty common actually. Also the concept of non-rigid footbeds is nothing new at all. I don't consider posting to have anything to do with rigidity of a footbed - more creation of a properly angled platform. I may be wrong on that though. One can always argue/disagree with the "proper" level of posting and where "neutral" is in the ankle joint. Some high level skiers despise footbeds and don't want to ski with them.

I think the ramp angle issue in pro sports may be taken up by some of the people who make footbeds for them. I'm curious actually if a batter like Kevin Youkilis for the RedSox had a different ramp angle in his cleats would that change his stance? His knees are usually over his toes while waiting for the ball.
post #111 of 118
well said Tog, i too have just read this 4 pages of someone who has obviously had a bad boot fitting experience and a load of the boot pros trying to defend what we do

ramp angle, lateral canting be it in the boot out the boot under the binding, footbeds of whatever rigidity suits the skier and most of all the knowledge of how to put it all together are key to the best fit

bode klammer prehaps you need to seek out a better fitter one who understands the function of the foot and the biomechanics of skiing and has the patience to sort your problems if you are going to one of the good guys maybe just maybe they have given up on you
post #112 of 118
While not exactly related to boot ramp angle, Lou presented at the BigSky esa some of the research he did with Nordica on binding fore/aft placement. What's relevant to this discussion though is the skier's compensating for the change in binding placement. I don't remember exactly what was measured, something like the force input of the skier throughout the turn. This was graphed with different curves for varying fore - aft binding placements. There were some world cup skiers and high level rec skiers.

The fascinating thing was that the graphs for the world cup skiers were really not that much different until you got to the very extreme range and even then the force input was very similar until a spike near the end that wasn't there in the other graphs. Basically, the force graphs for different placements just varied up and down around the 'normal' binding placement but the overall shape of the graph was the same. Even the variation wasn't that great.

In other words, they were compensating very precisely for a change in fore/aft binding placement and making the same turns. It would be interesting to correlate the binding position with their perceptions of what they had to do or felt while skiing. I'm not sure that was done but it might have been.

The rec skiers had very different graphs though. Their force inputs were all over the place with a change in binding position. It was quite obvious that they could not compensate and make the same turns over a large range of fore/aft binding placement.
post #113 of 118
Tog,

the core strength and stability of a world cup level skier is something most people can only dream of, it is this level of training which enables them to compensate for changes in their set up so precisely, their superior feel for their position on the ski through the turn is what allows them to ski at the speeds they do with the precision required
post #114 of 118
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post
While not exactly related to boot ramp angle, Lou presented at the BigSky esa some of the research he did with Nordica on binding fore/aft placement... There were some world cup skiers and high level rec skiers.

The fascinating thing was that the graphs for the world cup skiers were really not that much different until you got to the very extreme range and even then the force input was very similar until a spike near the end that wasn't there in the other graphs. Basically, the force graphs for different placements just varied up and down around the 'normal' binding placement but the overall shape of the graph was the same. Even the variation wasn't that great.

In other words, they were compensating very precisely for a change in fore/aft binding placement and making the same turns. It would be interesting to correlate the binding position with their perceptions of what they had to do or felt while skiing. I'm not sure that was done but it might have been.

The rec skiers had very different graphs though. Their force inputs were all over the place with a change in binding position. It was quite obvious that they could not compensate and make the same turns over a large range of fore/aft binding placement.
What's interesting to me about this is that boot placement wasn't found to be critical for WC skiers. In racing, equipment is always far more critical then anywhere else because you measure success in fractions of a second. What this tells me is that skiers should work on skills, and not be obsessed with equipment. I think the obsession with equipment can be a kind of self-deception, in which the skier believes that the only difference between himself and elite athletes is that he can't find the perfect shoes. Nothing could be further from the truth.

BK
post #115 of 118
Quote:
What's interesting to me about this is that boot placement wasn't found to be critical for WC skiers. In racing, equipment is always far more critical then anywhere else because you measure success in fractions of a second. What this tells me is that skiers should work on skills, and not be obsessed with equipment. I think the obsession with equipment can be a kind of self-deception, in which the skier believes that the only difference between himself and elite athletes is that he can't find the perfect shoes. Nothing could be further from the truth.

BK
find me the recreational skier who has the time and inclination to train as hard as a world cup athlete and you may well be right!

adjusting the position of the skier using equipment may in some cases be a substitute for proper technique training but in most cases it is simply to give all the mechanical advantage possible

does your car have power steering and ABS...without these things do you not think your driving experience would be less comfortable/easy/ [insert suitable word]

if you or any other skier believes that you can train to thew levle of a world cup athlete then fair play and good luck to you.but do you not think that you would like the best starting position.

BTW i think the quote about the world cup skiers verses the recreation skiers said that there was a much less of a difference

Quote:
The fascinating thing was that the graphs for the world cup skiers were really not that much different until you got to the very extreme range and even then the force input was very similar until a spike near the end that wasn't there in the other graphs. Basically, the force graphs for different placements just varied up and down around the 'normal' binding placement but the overall shape of the graph was the same. Even the variation wasn't that great.
to me that says there was still a difference
post #116 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
What's interesting to me about this is that boot placement wasn't found to be critical for WC skiers. In racing, equipment is always far more critical then anywhere else because you measure success in fractions of a second. What this tells me is that skiers should work on skills, and not be obsessed with equipment. I think the obsession with equipment can be a kind of self-deception, in which the skier believes that the only difference between himself and elite athletes is that he can't find the perfect shoes. Nothing could be further from the truth.

BK
BK,

You may want to consider that the outcome measurement in the presented data was not speed so one cannot draw a valid conclusion re. the impact of binding position on the best objective measure of performance for a racer. All the data says is that skilled athletes were able to compensate well -this is not surprising. I would expect more critical thinking re. data interpretation from an engineer .

You are correct that there are other performance factors (technique, tactics, physical, psychological, environment, equipment) and all of them have to be trained and attended to. To suggest that one isn't that important is specious. As you point out, there are certainly cases where athletes become overly concerned about equipment, but this may be an indication of a psychological issue (confidence, critical thinking, problem solving, OCD) than really an equipment focus per se. This is something one learns with experience.

Every athlete is different re. biomechanics, skills, preference, equipment brand, capacity for feel/communication and you have to individualize the approach and attention to equipment setup. To apply a blanket philosophy of 'equipment nihilism' is an indication of ignorance, and does a disservice to the skier/athlete/customer.

Matt
post #117 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
What's interesting to me about this is that boot placement wasn't found to be critical for WC skiers. In racing, equipment is always far more critical then anywhere else because you measure success in fractions of a second. What this tells me is that skiers should work on skills, and not be obsessed with equipment.

I think the obsession with equipment can be a kind of self-deception, in which the skier believes that the only difference between himself and elite athletes is that he can't find the perfect shoes. Nothing could be further from the truth.
BK
Well to the first part about the wc skiers, I agree with what jdistefa says about it. Really, all the data show is the wc skiers amazing ability to compensate for changes in equipment. It also says how much skill it takes to make such compensations because the high level rec skiers couldn't do it. I doubt the wc skiers would want to race with bindings placed in all those positions. Compensating would make them far less efficient and thus slower. The difficulty would be finding the balance between what might be faster but they have to become more comfortable on and what is comfortable from the start.

As far as the obsession with equipment well there is some truth to that but sometimes you can blame it on your equipment as Mark Elling titles one of the chapters in his book. I actually don't think people are concerned enough on boot issues and spend far more time on skis. I think partly it's because skis are far easier to deal with. Boots make far more of a difference though.

Imagine if major league batters were allowed to use any bat they wanted. That probably would be far worse than most rec. skiers in trying to find the right solution. God, it would be endless with them and the tv commentators.
post #118 of 118
My goal is to not have to compensate for anymore than necessary. This is what proper alignment is all about.

Just think, if you do not have to make any movements to compensate, all your movements will be much more efficient and proactive. Your neutral position will produce optimum balance and allow recovery from imbalances, and allow you to edge, pressure, and turn your skis most efficiently.

We can all compensate! but why? if you do not have to?
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