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Women's boot fitting problems

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
My sister-in-law is a beginner/intermediate with some potential to be an excellent skier. Her family moved to Colorado last year so she decided to buy a pair of ski boots instead of continuing to rent.

Unfortunately I couldn't accompany her on her quest to buy boots. She ended up purchasing the Fischer Vision 90 Somatec boot at Christy Sports. Upon her first day on the slopes in these boots she found that she could barely complete 2 runs without collapsing due to her quads being constantly loaded to keep her standing upright. I looked at her boots and they do seem to have a fair degree of forward lean. I've been a proponent of using boots with a much more upright stance to allow the body to take advantage of "skeletal stacking" so that your bones are holding you up without a ton of muscle required.

However, I started looking at other women's boots that are available and I've found that most of them seem to have the same degree of forward lean (except maybe some of the Dalbellos). She went with the Fischer because she has a very thick Achilles area up through her calf which is fairly thick for a women of her size (she's probably about 140 at 5' 7"). She has had problems with rental boots cutting into the back of her calves so this was a priority for her when buy her own boots. Unfortunately even the Fischers gave her some problems in this area too. I did modify her boot cuff since there was a built in function to back off the rear spoiler by maybe 3 degrees - it was really much, but it was something.

Anyhow, the Christy salesman never shell fit her for these boots. I checked them and she has around a 2.5 finger fit - too much in my opinion. The shell was too large while the liner was short-lasted (surprise, surprise) so she thought the boot was tight when it was really only the liner. I can't believe these stores still do this to beginners - they make the most basic mistakes when fitting a boot and then they deal with the aftermath.

Christy has a "fit guarantee" and so my sister-in-law went to the Christy in Vail village with a list I wrote regarding the problems I saw with this boot. I was hoping they would either put her in new boots or at least modify the shells a bit to address her problems. Instead they built her a DFP footbed to use in the boots (another sale $$$). They told her that the lack of a supportive footbed was forcing her onto the balls of her feet and loading her quads (personally I don't think the lack of a higher end footbed would do this, but who knows). She came back from the shop and went back out on the mountain and of course nothing really changed for her.

So I have some questions that I hope will help me get her some answers so that she feels like her investment was worthwhile.
  1. What should she expect from a ladies boot in the area of forward lean. Am I correct that we should be striving for less forward lean for her due to the problem with her quads being loaded?
  2. What could be done to the boot cuff to ease the pressure on her thick calves?
  3. Is the DFP footbed worth anything for her? I noticed that this footbed is very soft/pliable and barely posted (honestly I'd hardly even say it's posted at all). I think I've read though that the trend is going toward softer footbeds and that the Kork Superfeet like I have are not the choice of the pros these days.
post #2 of 3
To change the boot she has you can lower the cuff (cutting it lower), a heel lift might get less of the calf in the boot, so it might make the boot feel better, and allow her to stand more upright too (less pressure on the calf)

sounds like the starting point is just wrong in that boot as it is too big....

can't you/her just get a refund/credit and go see a bootfitter (not a boot seller)?
post #3 of 3

This is a tough one without seeing her in the boots and/or seeing her ski to identify the cause of the problem. On one hand the boots may be too big but probably not the primary cause of her issues with her quads burning. A skilled alignment specialist should be able to assess whether a heel lift is appropriate for her or whether a change in delta is more appropriate.

The DFP footbeds are very soft and more for comfort than correction. Note that softer posting material is generally more appropriate for a rigid arch while firmer posting foam is more appropriate for a mobile arch. Without assessing her foot and ankle it is difficult to make accurate suggestions here.

As mntlion suggests, find a good boot fitter.
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