First of all, get a manual to use it properly and safely.
If you are not getting a good workout with sneakers, then you are not using the machine properly. Make sure you head is stationary (well, it has to move somewhat). Do not bend over at the waist. Try cranking turns keeping your knees bent more and your quads will start to quickly burn.
Check out the power bands to make sure they are in good condition (the company sells replacements). Once they start stretching out or fraying, you will have to replace them.
Last season I "broke in" a new pair of boots while training on it, just to find pressure points and test the fit. The boots were custom (Daleboot), and, therefore, close to perfect from the get-go. The experience did convince me that I probably wanted to reheat the liners at some point with a super thin sock because I am so used to a really tight fit. And I eventually did. I can't figure out why bootsfitters don't use The Skier's Edge for testing fit before customers leave the shop.
I actually just jump on the thing barefoot half the time, which is certainly not the right thing to do. I also crank out a few hundred turns per session w/o holding on to the poles, just to help with balance. The attachment for using one foot (whatever it is called) is much better for leg strengthening. I was told by the company that the national teams use a special version of the machine with one leg at a time for rehab and strengthening.
The company recommends a minimum 1000 turns per sessions, which is easy to build up to using both legs. Using one leg is much more difficult to get that many turns, at least for me. Then again, I'm no WC athelete.
The machine, if used properly, meets my expectations of having enough leg strength to make in through a week of skiing without pain, and staying loose with my lower body. If I just slide my whole body from side-to-side, I can crank out a zillion turns and never get a good workout. Get the instructions and use it properly for a decent workout.
Edited by quant2325 - 5/16/10 at 9:27pm