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Becoming a bootfitter?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Over the summer I have done massive amounts of studying and research into lower body biomechanics.  I've got lots of jargon in my head now, like varus/valgus, invert/evert etc.  I also learned a lot about how the alignment of the lower body affects the alignment of the hips, spine, neck and head, which affects nearly everything a human being does.  I also learned a great deal about muscle imbalances and how those can affect posture and athletic ability.

In order to better understand the biomechanics of sliding on snow, I also looked into podiatry, pedorthists and bootfitting.  What I discovered is that the art of fitting ski boots is A: probably more pragmatic and functional than much of what a podiatrist does, at least in my experience, and therefore that B: bootfitters are better at pragmatically and functionally fitting feet.  Not to put down podiatrists, as they do some amazing things, but based on seeing a couple for myself I am not sure that they are very practical.  They can't seem to see the big picture of function > theory.

Even more interestingly, I learned that I really, really am into bootfitting.  I've started helping my friends with their boots (and I've actually had success) and this is something I enjoy a great deal.  In fact, I was talking to a skier (I've never been on skis - I've never been able to point my feet straight ahead without a lot of effort) in a ski shop the other day and we were discussing the differences between the softboots most snowboarders use and the hardboots most skiers use.  Well, I didn't know it but their Master Bootfitter (he had certs from here and there and everywhere) was listening, and he asked me "Are you a fitter for another shop"?  He thought I was trying to take his customer from him, when in fact I was only discussing the pros and cons of the different boots and how they affect the feet and legs.

So, I think I might be interested in doing this.  What would be a good way to get into the field?  Is there even a market to do this for snowboarders (I obviously can't fit a skier since I don't ski, at least I don't right now).  I can already tune the snot out of anything with PTex and metal edges, and I know a great deal about boarding, so I figured already having those basic skills could help.

Any advice would be appreciated, thanks! 
post #2 of 13
where are you based?

one of the best things you can start with is going on a fitting course, the most extensive one is the masterfit university courses,  there even even  a couple of dates left this season have a look at  http://www.masterfituniversity.com/  after that, then experience is the only way you will learn to get good at it, experience with a great mentor or be prepared to work your butt off researching if you can't find the great mentor.  there are loads of guys on here who have worked in the business for many years, i am sure many will be willing to help you go the right direction.... studying pedorthtics may also be useful to you, the information is purposefully general but it can be transfered mostly to ski boots

hope all that makes sense, if you have more questiosn just ask, there is a lack of people interested in doing the job properly the more who want to the better (as long as you do not open on my doorstep)

good luck
post #3 of 13
 Get yourself some skis and boots and start skiing!  
post #4 of 13
i didn't notice that bit in the first post...as Bud says get onto the mountain
post #5 of 13
 I'll echo what Bud and CEM have said. No skier is going to trust you if you don't ski and if you try and fake it, they will spot it right away. I would also suggest Masterfit as a great jumping off point. Perhaps find a shop that you can apprentice at.
post #6 of 13
Hi Superhero,

  I agree with the 3 previous posts---until you have skied how can you relate to the problems a skier faces when he is our of balance (fore/aft) and can't figure out why.
     One of the best learning experiences I have had was to put on a new pair of boots and work on finding the sweet spot, over which my torso needed to hover in order to initiate a turn with less effort.  Learning terminology will help but hands on experience if priceless.  You will find fixing your own problems to be interesting and challenging and sometimes will require help from a knowledgeable observer.

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
I don't really want to fit skiers. I want to fit snowboarders. That's why I asked if there was even a market for fitting boarders. The softboots can be very forgiving as far as minor fitting issues are concerned. Thanks for all th advice though!
post #8 of 13
the masterfit course material could be taken to work with snowboard boots the problem is that they are much less adjustable and you can do not much with them...best piece of advice will go completely agaisnt most boarders...fit em tight just liek a ski boot...all that soft mush will pack out
post #9 of 13
Originally Posted by Superhero View Post

I don't really want to fit skiers. I want to fit snowboarders. That's why I asked if there was even a market for fitting boarders. The softboots can be very forgiving as far as minor fitting issues are concerned. Thanks for all th advice though!

There are things done to ski boots that can translate to a SB, but it is limited IMO. Snowboarding has a whole different thing going on in regards to body movements. Being such a soft boot, fore/aft and lateral issue become lost. There really is just too much movement in a SB boot.
post #10 of 13
The biggest distinction in my experience is that on a snowboard you can stand however you want.

Most of the performance related alignment issues in skiing are caused by the often arbitrary angles of the equipment conflicting
with those of the athlete.

Being able to abduct or adduct the stance is a big plus. Most snowboard boot fit issues I see are really snowboard binding issues.
I do a fair number of orthotics in snowboard boots, but that's about it.

Remember, the first question is "Dude, are you regular or goofy?" How complicated can it be?

post #11 of 13
 Right on man way to take the bull by the horns.  All the happy people who end up doing what they love for a living.  Later in life often start the story of how did you become a boot fitter say "I did not mean to become this".  If I wrote a book about life it would be the following 3 words.  follow your passion.  If nothing else it will probably keep you out of the bar.  

We work on snowboard boots every day it seems.  The usual complaint is pressure building up on the little toe side of the foot.  This usually happens when someone is severely pronated and cant actually stand flat footed without the knees looking like they are collapsing. After a while muscle tension is used to create a position and that obviously leads to a pressure buildup somewhere.  Lots can be done but we always start with measuring pronation, the root of all evil in any sport.  The dudes dig it!
post #12 of 13
Hey Superhero,

I am with you concerning the disconnect between the science and the reality of how far off based the medical community is on the subject of the foot and sliding down the mountain.

you never see the doctors discussing the implications of their orthoses on leg, hip and spine alignment. However, if one were to fit an individual for a ski boot, not taking at least the alignment of the knees into consideration would be a mistake.

post #13 of 13

Several posts were moved to the Gear Discussion Area in this therad http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/87022/becoming-a-bootfitter

The reason for the move was conformance to Boot Fitter Forum Rules.  My apologies for any confusion this may cause.  Permission fixes are on order.
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