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Limted Dorsiflexion and Stiff Boots

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I have been told several different times from people that are knowledgeable and I trust, that when a skier has limted dorsiflexion, boot flex matters little and they are better off in very stiff boots. I have limited dorsiflexion (although better than none) and I ski in 130 flex race boots and they work great for me. Intuitively it makes perfect sense to me that if you can't flex a boot due to range of motion issues finding the "right flex" for that skier is pretty much a waste of time. My real question is why would stiff boots work better and does this rule of thumb hold up with limited rather than no dorsiflexion. Any comments that might shed light on this would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 4
 If you stand and push you knees down you will achieve a lot of ankle flex.  if you hold your foot in the air and try to pull your toes up (ie, dorsiflex), it will be limited.  Just because you have limited dorsiflexion does not mean you will not find situations, such as slamming into a bump, where some flexion in the boot will be welcomed.

I don't buy the idea that limited dorsiflexion skiers should be in a 130 flex boot.  If you prefer a stiffer boot for the performance reasons, then great.  Just because you have limited dorsiflexion though, I don't think I agree.  

What you REALLY want is for the boot to be uprighted to the proper lean angle to support your ankle in its neutral position so that you can still flex forward and back from that position.  You don't need your foot locked in a cement block.   But you want to be able to stand on your foot.  If you have limited dorsiflexion, a bigger problem is that the forward lean of most race boots is literally going to lift your heel off the footbed.  You can use heel lifts and sometimes that will help, if there is room to do it.  But there can be issues with that as well.  
post #3 of 4

Since you posted your query in the "Ask a bootfitter" forum, I will offer my thoughts.  I don't personally choose boot flex for customers based on their range of dorsiflexion and don't agree with what you have been told.

B2ski makes some very good points above.

To keep this simple and short I will say IMO a stiffer flex boot will reward a better skilled skier provided they are properly aligned on the fore/aft plane.  If the boot places you in a static position which does not match your particular morphological needs, your balance will suffer.

So first if you do have limited dorsiflexion and your boot has a higher net forward lean angle it will be necessary to reduce that angle to better suit your dorsiflexion range.  This can be accomplished by increasing the ramp angle with a heel lift and/or reducing the cuff forward lean so that your heel solidly contacts the boot board with some forward range of motion left.  This opens the ankle joint to offer your ankle motion more congruency as B2Ski eluded to above.

Conversely, if you have a hyper mobile ankle a greater net forward lean is appropriate.

As you progress to stiffer flexing boots, getting this fore/aft alignment correct becomes progressively more important as you will be less able to flex the boot, or overcome the boot's resistance to find your equilibrium while skiing.

For more info on this topic check out www.snowind.com and click on boot fitting, 
post #4 of 4
100% agree with what Bud says, you need to assess each individual rather then work to a "rule of thumb" i think the starting position, as in the position that the skier is held in the boot is much more important than the amount of flex in the boot 
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