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New innovation in ski boots

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
Hey folks, just saw in Skiing magazine that next fall Fisher is going to have a boot on the market that will allow for the natural toes pointing out positioning of the foot. It was designed by a team of race coaches, athletes and doctors, and will the feet to point outside while the skis point straight ahead.

I remember a little while back this very topic being discussed here in a different thread and someone questioned whether mounting the bindings on an angle to compensate for the discrepency between feet and skis could be beneficial. I forget who posted the question but congratulations, looks like you were ahead of your time and this boot is going to test your therory!

So what do you guys think about this. Seems to me this could have a profound influence on technique. I certainly don't have any personal experience with skiing in this manner, I imagine few have so we are left to speculate, but it seems it would effect body positions, the inside/outside ski ussage issue, range of motion in joints and angulation, etc.

Any predictions on how this story unfolds? Are we again on the dawn of a technological innovation that wiil bring a revolution on technique and how we teach it as the shape ski did, or perhaps will this prove to be just another of the multiple marketing ploys we have seen in the past that were pitched as a technological breakthrough but proved impractical or ineffective and blew out as fast as they blew in.

Really curious to hear your thoughts on this, especially from you allignment/biomechanical pros out there. :
post #2 of 37
Well, my knees track straight as I flex only if my feet point out a bit. I doubt if MY exact "pointing angle" is the same as anyone elses though.
Plus, is this not a learned thing? I know of people who are toed- in as well.

To do? to do? Oh bother and toil!

Where is David when you need someone to tell you " I told you so"?

post #3 of 37
I work in Surefoot part-time and recently saw a pair of boots in the shop that had the boot sole ground down so that another sole could be attached in a caty-whompus fashion that would allow the feet to point outwards when the boots where attached to the bindings. I'll add that Surefoot didn't do the work.

I think that MAYBE for the rare individual who walks and runs with their feet pointing 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock it's something to consider. I think it matters none that your feet may point that way when you're standing still. What counts is what the feet do when you get your ankles, knees and hip joints moving.

Any master boot fitters out there reading?
post #4 of 37
Well said Pinhead.

I had thought of this subject when David brought it up, and concluded that no one runs with feet splayed! (at least not fast!)

post #5 of 37
I remember that in the wooden ski era I occasionally saw a pair of slalom skis with the toepieces mounted intentionally off-center. I never tried it myself though. Supposedly having the toes splayed this way helped get the skis on edge early. I'd have thought this would have been hashed out long ago and the effectiveness (or lack of) evaluated.
post #6 of 37
I recently asked my bootfitter about the Fischer boot, and he told me that since orthotics make the knees track straight and bring your foot into alignment when you are on the snow, that the Fischer SOMATEC boots are simply accomplishing what an orthotic already does. Unfotunately, everyone has feet that splay or point in at different angles. He thought the boot was more of a marketing ploy-Fischer wants to get their racers in their boots. The Fischer rep did tell us that Bode tried the boot and loved it-he wanted to get in the boot for next season but Fischer wouldn't take him unless Bode got back on their skis as well. It may have been just the rep blowing smoke up our A$$.
post #7 of 37
I'm with dawg on this. A proper neutral position with the help of an orthotic if necessary should take this rotation out of the lower leg. I pronate horribly and track way inside with toes pointed straight ahead. However when corrected I track dead straight. I think the boot sort of accomodates a symptom instead of treating the root problem. I had them on the other day. It's minor enough that you really don't feel it or see it. I didn't get to try skiing in them though. For some people that just can't get rid of the rotation they may be great.
post #8 of 37
It sounds interesting. Inovation represents exploration of what the furure might become.

I am curious as to how it would work with, or require a change in, the movements we use to ski in conventional boots. Now, when we roll (invert/evert) out feet to edge our skis, the rolling axis of the foot is lined up with the long axis of the ski. Is seems in this new "duck foot" boot that relationship would be changed somewhat and may require a slightly different movement focus.

I look forward to a demo to see what my body can tell me.
post #9 of 37

Ok I am back in my chair (I momentarily fell on the floor after reading this thread) *GIGGLE*

If you all could see my boots you'd know what I am being SO damn dramatic. I ski the Rossi Power 9 (junior) boot. I have the standard insole with heel lifts, both outside heels are ground out a tiny bit, inside I have my custom footbed and I just got my right boot canted 1 degree.

The very idea that "one boot fits all" or that everyone needs the same correction is ABSURD!

Cheers to you all with perfect bodies! [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

post #10 of 37
Thread Starter 
Something to ponder: the following is a quote from a post by Vailsnopro in a seperate thread (that will remain nameless for obvious reasons) that I think may have some relevance to this topic.
=========== Quote:
What really makes more of a difference is the structural relationship of the femur / pelvis. Where in a ----, the hip joint is much further forwad than in a ------. This greatly affects the ability to rotate the femur, and the range of that rotation.

The ------ is at a disadvantage just by straightening their feet to a parallel attitude. This movement is already using a significant amount of the available range of rotation. So, as they attempt to rotate the femur further, relative to the torso, they will reach the end of that range, often resulting in a rotation of the pelvis or torso to complete the turn.

(edited for controversy avoidance [img]tongue.gif[/img] )


Do you think placing the foot in it's more natural outward position would offer those skiers with a duck foot stance a greater available range of motion in the femur/hip joint and thus address the problem Vailsnopro referred to above?

Would that resulting ability to employ greater degrees of rotation really be something of great value to us as skiers. Do we infact rely on exteme rotation ussage in high skill level skiing? Would this exta range afforded us be useful?

L7, are you saying that the orthotic removes that initial tax on the femur/hip available range of motion?
post #11 of 37
Thread Starter 
And just for clarification, that rotation in the femure is the movement, I believe, that allows for placing the hip in a position of counter in a turn. For the hip to be countered during a turn the femur must rotate to allow the foot to maintain its orientation to the ski.

Please combine use this thought in combination with my above post in drawing forming your opinions.
post #12 of 37
fastman - you are 100% correct about the differences between men and women - it's in the hips. THIS argues the point of female-specific equipment.

but, I ski in teenage boy boots. *sigh*

post #13 of 37
In what stance/position are they supposed to be pointing naturally outwards? Just sitting here in a relaxed position, my feet point straight forward. They're forward when I stand up, when I walk... (I think I'll start getting some strange looks if I get up and try replicating ski movements in the office so I'll hold off on that for now...)

edit: I just realized that after years of military training/experience there's probably a reason why my feet now now point straight forward. I can think of a few drill sergeants who might have had something to do with it...

Back to the topic - wouldn't the angle that they point out at differ from person to person? And wouldn't the boot modifications make more sense if they were tailored to a specific person's geometry? Even if they were set up perfectly - how easy would it be to modify your movements and get used to what amounts to your skis being at a different angle than normal?

[ March 04, 2003, 09:58 AM: Message edited by: altagirl ]
post #14 of 37
I read that article, too. Don't some Atomic boots already have a similar feature like that with their offset shells?
post #15 of 37
Originally posted by FastMan:

L7, are you saying that the orthotic removes that initial tax on the femur/hip available range of motion?
Yes I am saying that, not in an absolute or in every case. However most of the clients I see I am eliminating most or all rotation in the tibia with a foot bed that aligns them properly. I beleive the rotation from the hip comes from the need to remove the rotation at the knee that comes from misalignment of the foot/ankle. If that becomes the norm then the musculature will build around this movement pattern and the hip/femur will naturally show this tendancy. It's a bit of a chicken or an egg thing.

I've had the discussion with several physios who apparently tend to split into two camps; 'feet up' or 'hips (core) down'. I've made converts of two physios I've recently worked with and made beds for.

I think it's important to keep in mind that it depends if you are talking mild pronation or moderate to serious pronation. I am a hideous pronator and my beliefs come from my personal bias no doubt.

I also think in skiing a lot of the design work is born of the high end, World Cup and such. I think this skews the sample badly compared to a couple of dozen sorry saps who walk into a boot fitting shop because their feet are killing them. Lets face it guys (and woman) get to the World Cup partially (largely) because they are biomechanically pretty sound. Apples and oranges.
post #16 of 37
Originally posted by TonyD:
I read that article, too. Don't some Atomic boots already have a similar feature like that with their offset shells?
I'm on Atomic and I always understood the offset to be a couple of mm through the whole length of the boot. The fischer rep tells me that Atomic offsets the front of the boot outward but leaves the heel centred. The fischer goes a step further doing the same with the forefoot but also moving the heel slightly medially. As for the Atomic I'm no longer sure of exactly which is correct.

[ March 04, 2003, 12:27 PM: Message edited by: L7 ]
post #17 of 37
Wow- i just posted about this in the gear forum before I read this. First of all, with the atomic boot, the offset has more to do with the placement of the toebox. Your foot still aims straight ahead.

It seems that no one here has skied the boot yet. Thats too bad, because you really should. I swear by that boot now- it changes everything. You can get a ton of power at the initiation phase of your turn with little to no effort. All of the contorting required at the hip to get good stancewidth and parallel skis during inside knee drive is gone.

You can debate the merits of the idea and the boot all you want, but for me and my best friend it works wonders. From the people I know who have tried it, it seems to work more often than not. I think it may require that you have a certain type of frame, but I think that more people might have it than they expect.

The Bode story is true- when he was skitesting for this year he forgot his Dobies and was actually testing the fischers and the rossis on the Fischer boot. Who knows, maybe when his contract is up with rossi he'll come back for the boot...
post #18 of 37
Originally posted by kieli:
fastman - you are 100% correct about the differences between men and women - it's in the hips. THIS argues the point of female-specific equipment.

but, I ski in teenage boy boots. *sigh*

Sorry if this is slightly off topic and this is probably going to open a can of worms. It's not that I don't believe men and women have different hips it's the effect I question. I had the discussion with a friend of mine (high level coach, masters in kiniseology, training coordinator with the national team and incidentally a woman). Her stance (sorry for the pun) is that women have 4 clearly defined basic hip structures and one of them is not much different from a male hip structure. She feels the woman specific concept on this basis is bunk I guess unless you were going to assess which structure a woman had and treat each differently. This only ties in by way of furthering the argument there is no one correction for everyone.
post #19 of 37
Here's an excerpt from an article that explains the boot's design from the company's standpoint.

“There’s a lot going on in so-called “soft” boots these days as other manufacturers try to make their boots more comfortable,” said Chris Clapp, Fischer product manager. “But we came at it from the idea that making a boot with proper stance and alignment would be more comfortable than anything.”

A new abducted last allows a skier’s feet to retain their natural ‘V’ position inside the boot. According to Clapp, this results in the most natural and efficient way for a skier’s feet and knees to work together, improving his power and control over the ski while edging.

“In a traditional boot, you’re always a little left or right of center,” said Clapp.

“Centrifugal force pulls you off the edge in a turn, which is one of the reasons you see so much “rutting” in World Cup racing. The way we set it up, all the flex is focused on driving forward. It’s unbelievable how much power you can generate on the inner wall of the shell when you’re properly aligned.”

The list of people who worked on the Soma Tec certainly reads like a who’s-who of podiatry and World Cup wins, including race boot specialists Johann Lietner and Herbert Auer (who owns a shoe shop and is an expert on boot liners), Dr. Hubert Hörterer, Senior Consultant at the Department of Orthopedics and medical director of the SOMA TEC project, and former World Cup skier and Fischer Race Director Siegfried Voglreiter.

Working under the premise that other alpine boots force your feet into a parallel position, the team studied the foot and determined the most “natural” stance is one that allows the feet to sit in the boot in a relaxed V-position."

I have a question: why do we want to generate power on the inner wall of the shell?

[ March 04, 2003, 12:45 PM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #20 of 37
L7, I think you are right about the footbed aligning the hip, tibia etc in a normal boot. However, what I think is different here is that rather than orienting everything forward like a normal boot does to your hips, you are still rotatated outwards with your hips in the fischer boot.

I'm not sure whether we are talking about the same things, and the problem is on my end, not yours. The thing I noticed the most when skiing the boot besides the performance was that my hips were much more relaxed at all points, inside ski, outside ski, and at rest, standing around. In my current boots I have done everything to be as perfectly aligned as possible (footbeds, cuff alignment, canting, ramp), and while I don't find it to be unnatural, when I'm in the Fischer boot the angle of my hips matches the angle of my feet, opening them up.

If I have totally misinterpreted the topic I'm sorry.

One other thing about the boot which I found absolutely disturbing the first time I tried it: it is very hard to stop. The physical act of a hockey stop is the toughest thing you can do in that boot. It has such a propensity to carve at all costs that when I tried to stop at the bottom of the run the skis hooked up and started carving. Thats what confirmed to me that something very different was going on with this boot to align your body into a better carving position. It really takes no thought to get a perfect 2-track carve when you turn. Even so, the boots don't have any resistance to being run flat, unlike the feeling you get with a slalom ski which wants to turn at all costs.
post #21 of 37
I thought more about the hip alignment and can see benefit there, especially as I have one pretty screwed hip. I'm more interested to try them now than before this discussion. Hopefully I can hunt down a pair that fit better than what I tried on. There were too small hurt pretty good.
post #22 of 37
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by sanchez:

One other thing about the boot which I found absolutely disturbing the first time I tried it: it is very hard to stop. The physical act of a hockey stop is the toughest thing you can do in that boot. It has such a propensity to carve at all costs that when I tried to stop at the bottom of the run the skis hooked up and started carving.


Sanchez, your description of the boots tendancy to want to carve makes sence. To steer our ski we use rotary skills, which entails orientating the hip to the inside of the turn. Because the foot is locked onto the ski it can't join the hip in the inside orientation so the femur must make a lateral (outside, counter) rotation in the hip socket to accomodate this redirection of the hip.

IN the traditional foot straight ahead ski boot, the range of motion available for the femur to perform this lateral (counter) rotation in the hip socket world be greater then in the Fisher because the femur starts out somewhat rotated in the hip socket. The hip has built in range of motion before femur neutral (the position in the Fisher) is even reached. That sound accurate L7?

I am not surprised that you might feel that more limited ability to counter rotate the femur in your ability to displace the tail of the ski through rotation. Is perhaps the trade off in this setup? Easier to carve, tougher to steer?
post #23 of 37

I'm a little confused, so I'm going to try to clear some things up here. You are saying that the femur rotates (on the z axis, ie up and down) to the outside during a turn? Would that move the knee?

Ok, from the beginning- orientating the hip to the inside of the turn - inside in what direction? Do you mean inside as in a shorter radius than the ski?

I have always felt like the range of motion of my hips in a normal ski boot was very limited. In the Fischer I feel like I have more of an ability to rotate in both directions. Particularly it helps with the strain on the inside hip during a turn. I don't feel like I have to hyperextend or contort my hip, just that I can roll my knee in and keep my skis parallel.

I guess I'm confused because I have been taught to ski with my shoulders knees hips and feet all in the same plane, so I don't know where that leaves room for a femur rotation, unless it is part of it to keep things stacked?

More comments would be immeasurably helpful. I have fallen in love with this boot, and want to know why it works like it does. Historically my coaches have shyed away from very technical explanations of how skiing works, but little tidbits like this really help.
post #24 of 37
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by sanchez:

I'm a little confused, so I'm going to try to clear some things up here. You are saying that the femur rotates (on the z axis, ie up and down) to the outside during a turn? Would that move the knee?

Sorry for the confusion sanchez, I'll see what I can do to clear up what I was trying to say.

First though, I will freely admit to not being the ultimate authority on the biomechanics of skiing in this forum and I readily relinquish that title to other more qualified Epicski contributors. My expertice lies more in the on snow technical aspects of skiing and racing, so do not take my perspective on this topic as gospel. I too am looking for imput from those scientific souls out there to help figure these boots out.

OK, disclaimer done, now to your question.

As to femur rotating to the outside during a turn. No, we have a wire crossed here. Lets try again. During a carved turn we counter the hip to assist us in developing high edge angles. (See my post in the recent "To Much Counter?" thread for my position on counter) In doing so we counter rotate the hip socket about the ball of the femur (turn the hip to the outside of the turn) THIS ACTION PLACES THE FEMUR (which tends to stay more orientated with the direction the ski points) IN A ROTATED POSITION(turned in the direction of the turn).

Each person has a limited amount that their hip joint will rotate(medial, inside) or counter rotate (lateral,outside) about the ball of the femur. In a traditional boot a degree of the ability of the fumur to rotate (allowing the hip to counter) is consumed by the necessity to turn the foot to match the direction the ski points. This puts us in a hip neutral stance with our femur already partially rotated, which places limits on our ability to counter.

In the Fisher boot the foot does not have to perform this initial turn to match the ski, so the we are able to possess a neutral hip / neutral femur position. This removes the initial depleation of femur range of rotation and allows us to more easily, and more fully, counter the hip. At least this is how I understand the therory. In your post you described that feeling so maybe they are onto something!

Where I recognized a potential for limitations in the Fisher was in the ussage of rotation as a turning force. I may have misused the term steering here for I believe the two use different movements (are you out there Bob Barnes?). In using Rotation as a turning force you rotate the hips and shoulders inside the plane of the skis (toward the inside of the turn)which displaces the tail of the ski. This utilizes an action in the femur converse to its movement during counter rotation of the hip. Because ultimate range of motion in the joint is finite, without having to go through all the explanation, it is clear what is gained on one side of the equation with the Fisher must be lost on the other end. In fact I bet you might have the details of the why all ready figured out on your own. In my opinion lossing a little ability to rotate turn is not a big deal because it's not something used much by upper level skiers anyway.

Hope this helped. :
post #25 of 37
Can someone put up a link to the article and the boot? There site does not show boots. [img]smile.gif[/img]

[ March 05, 2003, 04:45 AM: Message edited by: Learner ]
post #26 of 37
In my opinion lossing a little ability to rotate turn is not a big deal because it's not something used much by upper level skiers anyway.
Upper level skiers in steep chutes might disagree with you, Fastman. All upper level skiing is not carving.

And again, why do we want power against the inside wall of the boot? Anyone, anyone?
post #27 of 37
I was under the impression that Rossignol race boots of the mid-late 90's had an offset last - can anyone confirm? My observations of watching skiers in that boot generally indicated they were WAY over-edged - kinda like watching Benni Raich's setup.
post #28 of 37
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by nolo:
Upper level skiers in steep chutes might disagree with you, Fastman. All upper level skiing is not carving.

Good point Nolo, my racing/carving perspective ignored that. If my observation were correct do you think this boot might then not be the best choise for that skier?
post #29 of 37

Any of us can try this thing out!

7 degrees is but 30 mm over a 300 mm boot sole.
that is about 15 mm off set each for the heel and toe binding location. 'tight, but could be had by relocating the binding screws.

Easy with a "plate type" binding.

I am just so damn comfortable in my present gear, I doubt if I will bother. Though sanchez makes a case!

Grab some rock skis, and have at it.

post #30 of 37
The angle we're talking about is often referred to as "rail angle". I hate to inform everyone, but this isn't exactly a revolutionary idea to turn the feet out. Some boot makers change the rail angle- without telling anyone. This can make a boot unskiable for some. I believe it was the Technica Icon that had something like 3 degrees out. Then there was that Dolomite? boot that had a pivoting heel piece so that you could angle the boots to the outside (or inside for that matter). This never seemed to go anywhere and died a quick death.

I think DavidM had a short discussion of this angle in one of his threads. My recollection was that he was not in favor of turning the feet out, but I may be wrong.
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