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Breaking In Boots

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I have a new pair of Atomic boots I purchased and just got a chance to use them last weekend. I went through what I felt was a proper fitting process. I had no pain when wearing them for an extended period of time at the shop and the fit felt right.

Getting on the snow was a different story. The boots were quickly painful and a burden the entire three days of skiing. I see some conflicting comments on breaking in new boots. This is my first pair so I'm not familiar with the process. Is this expected and how long does it typically take? Is there anything I can do to accelerate the process?

post #2 of 6
I tell my customers that they should expect "break in" after about 8-15 days of skiing. Of course, this depends on many factors.

Just a few of these can include:
-your weight
-temperature (are you sweating in the boot?)
-how strong of a skier you are
-how stiff or tough the liner is in the first place.

Also, lets not confuse "break in" and "packout". To me, break in defines the amount of time a new pair of boots takes to get comfortable as foot compressed the foam in the liner. Packout is a term that means the boot is shot and the liner has little or zero life left in it. Many bootfitters, I try not to do it, will say "packout" when they actually mean "break in"

Recreational and entry level boots have much softer and plusher liners and therefore break in faster than higher level race boots. This also means that the boot liner will have less life expectancy.

Which Atomic did you get
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
I would consider myself a strong intermediate though I've been pretty aggressive the last couple of seasons on improving my skills. I'm 6'3'', 37 yrs old, 220 lbs, and in pretty decent shape. I have a tendency to sweat a good deal (I'm typically soaked when I leave the gym) though conditions were somewhat to very cold last weekend (Copper and Eldora). The boots I purchased were iTL100s.
post #4 of 6
read and answer please


So a few questions that you can answer that will help this out.

1) What is the shell fit like for length? Remove the liner, put your foot in the shell only, have your toes lightly touching the front of the boot and see how much room is behind your heel and the boots shell. Use a pen as a spacer and measure this for thickness. You want 5-15mm (3/16 to 5/8 inch) of room. If you have more then 25mm (1") stop here

2) What is the shell fit like for width? Now center your foot front to back, (same amount of room behind the toe and heel) and is the width of your foot touching the sides of the boots shell? You want anything from lightly brushing to 2mm per side. If you have 3mm per side stop here.

3) Do you have any footbeds? Most people find an off the rack, or full custom footbed more comfortable, and helps to hold the foot in place better, Get one.

So if your boot is within all of the above parameters we can go on. If your boot is just too big it is not worth working on. Your foot will still move around; you have to over tighten the buckles, and cramp to foot and cut off circulation (cold toes). Your boots are too big, and nothing will make that much better. Don’t waste your time, and money fixing a broken leg with bandaids. You need boots that are 1-2 sizes smaller. If you really want work on what you have, a boot fitter can do some-things, but it will not get much better, and will be $50 - $150 for not much progress.

So now that your boot is within a workable size range in length, width and with a supportive footbed we can go on to getting more info.

A few basic things to check first:

1) You just have one, thin, clean ski sock in the boots
2) You just have a sock in the boot? (no thermals, jewelry, etc)
3) Your toe nails are trimmed short?
4) They are YOUR boots and not borrowed?
5) You are just skiing in your ski boots? (not walking, driving etc)?
6) You dry your liners out at night either with a dryer or remove liners?
7) The left liner, the left footbed are in the left boot and this is on the left foot?
8) You are loosening the buckles if you are not skiing (while standing, on lifts, etc)
9) You are not skiing all day in new boots? They need time to break in
10) Buckles are pointing to the outside?

So your boots are the right size, AND you are doing everything else right, but still the boots are not 100% right. These questions will help a boot fitter will have a better understanding of the problem and can start to help you:

Better Or Worse = (BOW)

1) BOW with the buckles tighter or looser?

2) BOW with thinner or thicker socks?

3) BOW with any footbeds (custom, stock, none, etc)?

4) BOW skiing, standing, or feet un-weighted (hanging off a chair lift)?

5) BOW throughout the day (and when does the pain start?)

6) BOW on the first vs the third day?

7) BOW on harder or easier terrain?

8) BOW with the power straps (Velcro straps) tighter or looser?

9) BOW if you do any particular movements, or actions?

10) Any medical, health, or weight changes since you used them last?
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info. They are brand new boots and I skied them pretty hard for three days. Sounds like the I need to give them some more time.

post #6 of 6
Boots are not broken in, feet are. If the boot was so painful that it ruined your days then this is not a liner problem that will go away. Your shells need modification. See a fitter and get it fixed and pain will be gone immediately.

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