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Ski Boot Punch Instructions

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Every bootfitter I've ever met was a pompous douche that didn't know dick and acted like he was performing advanced condensed matter physics that my brain was far to tiny to comprehend.  Also, I don't like trusting my $700 boots to someone who's only qualification is attending a weekend long bootfitting seminar seven years ago and may or may not have graduated high school.  And I'm cheap.  End rant.

So I made my own boot punch for under $30.  I hope this helps some of you do-it-yourselfers with sore feet.
You will need:
round door knob ($1 at goodwill)
2" plumbing end cap ($.87 at Home Depot)
Irwin part number 18sp, 18" long locking c-clamp with swivel pads ($24 from Industrial Supply)

Boot Punch Tool

Remove the swivel feet on the clamp by grinding off the head of the rivet and punching it out using a punch or nail.
Cut off the end of the doorknob as shown in the picture.  I used a hacksaw. 
Drill a 3/16" hole through the center of the doorknob and counterbore one side.
Cut a 10-32 flat head bolt so that when you insert it through the doorknob, it's flush with the outside.
I used washers and a nut to center and attach the doorknob to the clamp as shown below.

To attach the cup to the clamp, drill a 4mm hole through the center of the cup and through the center of one of the swivel feet that you removed earlier.  Counterbore the swivel foot from the top.  I used an M4 x 20mm bolt to attach the swivel foot to the cup (see below).  Then use a 3/4" long 10-32 bolt to attach the swivel foot/cup to the clamp.

I also made a smaller ball and cup using a golf ball and a 1-1/2" pipe end cap.  I put the slice in the golfball using a Dremel tool.

And that's it.  I used this punch to make more room for the balls of my ankles and to widen out the toe boxes of my Dalbello Krypton Pro ID's.  I've taken my boots to the "professionals" before but they have never come close to the comfort level I have achieved with this gadget. 

A couple of tips: To figure out where you need to punch, tap on the outside of the boot until you feel tapping overtop of the problem area.  Another method is to remove your boot liner, put your footbed in the shell and stand in the boot.  Reach inside the boot and try to mark where your problem areas are.

Hold the heat gun about 8-10 inches away from your boots on the low setting and heat until the boot is too hot to touch on the inside (make sure to remove liners and footbeds).  I found it helps to heat the doorknob end of the clamp in boiling water before punching, otherwise the cold metal cools the plastic off too fast.  When you have the punch just where you want it run the whole setup under cold water in the sink to set the punch.  If you don't have a heat gun, you can heat your boots up in boiling water too.  The downside to this method is that you will have to heat a larger area than you want to work on, which risks undoing previous boot punches you've done.

To do a longer punch area like the side of the toebox, just work the clamp back and forth along the area you need to widen.  When you have achieved the right shape, run it under cold water to set it.

I have thermoform liners and I have found that heating the doorknob end of the clamp in boiling water, doing a light liner punch, and letting the whole setup cool works well for light problem areas.

Punches can be undone by reheating the area.

Good luck and happy bootpunching.
post #2 of 21

I really apperciated this post. I bought all the equipment for it, and made my own boot holder. I'll post some pictures. I'm gonna give this a try this coming weekend. I've been dremeling my boots myself (just for nav + medial mallelous + 6th toe). I think this will be easier. If i get more money I might go to a bootfitter and get them done right. But man it takes so many times and trips and trial and error which I think can be easier done at home.


post #3 of 21
Thought this needed a bump. Good information here
post #4 of 21

Very cool. Thankyou.


post #5 of 21

Hi Dan,


I have met some very helpful bootfitters although I appreciate your DIY info. What kind of a heat gun are you using?



post #6 of 21

I made a wood plug the shape of my foot and with a piece of threaded steel I am able to push it forward to reshape the toe of my boots. I'll try upload a pic. I put it in, heat the toe until it's too hot to touch and start turning the nut. It works great. I do this while the boot is in the binding to prevent distorting the sole too much.


post #7 of 21

That's pretty slick.  I woud put a washer between the nut and the wood so it doesn't wear the wood.  Notice the black circle forming where the nut presses against the wood.

post #8 of 21

Good thread. I like the ide to be able to do it myself. Martino, how did you manage to replicate your foot out of wood?

post #9 of 21

Hello TDK6,

This is very low tech. I traced the shape of my foot and cut the shape out of two pieces of plywood glued together. It's a crude shape that is symmetrical so I can flip it over for left or right side. I attached the wedge on the side later so the plug would push straight ahead. As someone pointed out, of course there has to be a big washer for the nut to ride on. I found that the traditional punches were leaving golf ball sized bumps and seemed to be pulling material from other places instead of making the toebox a different shape. This crude system stretches everything and leaves an even result. I'll try upload a pic of the first boot I did a few years ago and maybe you can see what I mean. I don't like my toes being crushed and misaligned in a small toebox and this feels much better and allows a smaller shell size. I'm not sure that this is better than having a pro do this with better tools but there are no bootfitters anywhere near where I live. It's partly a case of a desperate man doing desperate things.


post #10 of 21

i am just disappointed with the bad boot fitter experiences that the OP has suffered...sounds like he was not visiting a very professional establishment and this winds me up


there are too many wannabes out there, too many people not willing to help out...how can we change this??? what can we do to make things better? one of the biggest problems i see is that people blame the fitter (the last fitter to touch the boot) for any lack of perfection.... i will always try and be honest.. if the boot is a size big i will explain that it is and try and make things better...when the boot is two sizes big please understand that there is little we can do to make them right...this is not me trying to be arrogant and not wanting to help, but you can't make it right if it is so wrong in the first place, if this is what the OP means then he is out there on a limb, but if it is just people unwilling to help as the boot wasn't bought form the store then it sucks and the industry needs to address it 



at the end of the day the OP has made a tool which does the job he wanted to do, but please do understand that any 1/2 way decent fitter has tools to do this job and more besides, please take the time to get boots sorted early and not the day before you hit the hill as most good fitters will say no as they are booked up


anyone with constructive stuff they think is missing from the fitters on the forum please feel free to send me a message and i will put the points to the panel members (i am really busy right now as our season kicked off here a while back in terms of fitting but i will respond to anyone who sends a message as soon as a can

post #11 of 21

Martino, very interesting. I too live in a place with a limited ammount of boot fitters arround.


My foot is huge. Just short of 30cm long. That calls for a size 30 mondo. There are no semi racing boots arround at that size. So I need to fit into a 29 but there is not even one cm of space behind my heel if my toes are touching the front of the shell without liner. So I need to strech the boot at the toe just like you have done. The boot guy that did the streching on my new dobermans edt pro 130 did strech the big toe and some of the boot sideways but it still feels way too tight over my toes and instep. Especially since I want to use a footbed with a heater built in. So my question is really can such streching strech the boot vertically? Im desperate!

post #12 of 21

I'm not much help in regards to your specific question tdk but you are alluding to exactly my complaint with the standard ball type stretching tool, it stretches one area by pulling material from another. The result is that the toe box is wider but it's also lower so not really better. If you make a plug the right shape and get the plastic hot enough I think you could stretch the material to the right size. I have found in my limited experience that it's easy to underestimate how hard it is to get everything hot enough without wrecking something. Metal parts and rubber parts don't like being heated that much. I think I would go to a bootfitter if I didn't have to take a day off work and drive 500 miles. The local "bootfitters" are self-appointed experts who are working in the ski shop because they like skiing. It's hard to find someone who actually knows something about boots and even harder to find one who has the tools to do a stretch like you want without crushing the top of your toes. Good luck.

post #13 of 21

Thanks martino. I agree with you totally. Local bootfitters that are expert skiers and think they know it all are seldome willing to learn anything during the fitting prosess. And they dont want you arround when they work probably because they dont want you to find out that they dont know what they are dooing.


I will try to make a wooden plug myself. And the ball type of tool mentioned in the beginning of this thread for getting rid of pressure points.

post #14 of 21

tdk6, I made the exact same ball tool at the top. IT works so awesome!

I screwed up a few times, but reheat and the boots right back to normal. I was able to get just enough room for my navicular. The boots feel so much better now


! I don't quite understand how that wood piece works, maybe some more pictures of what turning the bolt does? I suspect it pushes that plate upward by using a wedge, but more pictures would help.



post #15 of 21

Wow, sounds like you need to go to The Boot Pro in Ludlow, MA. 


Nicest guys ever, class acts all around and really know their shit.  Cheap work too.  Can't recommend them highly enough. 


I like your stretch jig, but would like to make one suggestion- the long arm D-clamp vise grips like you have shown can't really provide a lot of pressure, and it's kind of a roll-the-dice situation as to how much pressure you're putting into the boot (but can be bent to get around corners, so that's pretty cool), and might require over-heating of the boot to make work.  I'd say to maybe try a deepthroat screw-type clamp.  They're a little more expensive but will be far more accurate in terms of force applied.  Other than that, I really like where your head is at.  Nice work!   

post #16 of 21

^^^Actually that's Ludlow, VT.  Sorry.  I'm posting from Ludlow, MA so it screwed me up... 

post #17 of 21

FTR, for the DIYer, we are now offering a modest assortment of Boot Fitting Aids and will be adding more options as the demand increases. Any suggestions for common needed items, please let us know. Adding a punch sounds like a good tool to add.

Edited by Alpinord - 11/28/15 at 6:04am
post #18 of 21
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post So I need to strech the boot at the toe just like you have done. The boot guy that did the streching on my new dobermans edt pro 130 did strech the big toe and some of the boot sideways but it still feels way too tight over my toes and instep. Especially since I want to use a footbed with a heater built in. So my question is really can such streching strech the boot vertically? Im desperate!

grind the bootboard thinner?   or pull some material out from the tongue of the liner over the pressure spot?

post #19 of 21



You can adjust how much the ball or doorknob goes into the endcap. Use an IR thermometer to heat the boot. I would heat for 5-10 seconds, measure and watch the rate of cool, as well as feel the inside of the boot. at roughly 250F with <5F/sec temp loss the boot would mold great and quickly. No overheated boot material like I have seen one shop do, where the plastic becomes discolored.

post #20 of 21


My DIY boot punch works by turning a nut to push the two wood pieces apart. Hold one end with a wrench so the steel shaft doesn't turn and then turn the free nut with a ratchet wrench to push the plug forward with a lot of force. I'll try upload a sketch to illustrate. 


post #21 of 21

I decided to give a try with your set up with my soon-to-be-ex boots. I started to trace my foot and got one question for you:

When you make the plug, you make it slightly wider than your foot shape since you are dealing with outer shell, correct? Otherwise, it doesn't look like it will stretch the width to accommodate the thickness of your inner boots.

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