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Gnarly blisters that won't go away.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Garmont Radiums.  I loved the performance all last season, but could not get the blisters under control.  I tried everything!  Heel locks, second skin, vaseline, thick socks, thin socks.  Did I just get the wrong boot? Trying to fix this before the snow comes again next fall.  

Thanks, Caroline

post #2 of 12



Blisters are not mysterious. They are caused by friction. The source of friction in ski boots is movement. This is compounded in AT boots based on the dual purpose of going up as well as going down.


Stop the movement between your foot and the boot, and you will stop the friction.


Where does the movement come from? The 2 most common sources are either over sized boots, or boots based on the shape that cannot contain the foot to prevent the movement. Over sized boots have one solution, get into the correct size. A mismatched shell shape for your foot can usually be improved by adding materials to the larger areas, or grinding or stretching in the tighter spots. (although the Radium is made out of a material called Pebax, that does not grind or stretch very well)


We could give you better advice if you could provide more details:


Where are the blisters on your foot?

What is your measured foot size and what is the size of your boot?

Can you decrease the movement by buckling the shell tighter?

What are you doing when the blisters show up? Ascending? Descending?

How old are you, any ankle or lower leg injuries?

Any issues with flexibility? Specifically in your ankle Range of Motion?

Any thoughts on how your foot is shaped? Wide, Narrow, Skinny ankles, Thin heel bone?


More detail will help us give you a better solution.





post #3 of 12

what he said ^^^^ but based on the limited information you have given so far my best guess is that the boot is a bit on the big side, if so it is a common mistake / occurance as the boot of the correct size will almost always feel too tight when you put it on first time..... but lets wait until we know some more details. One thing you could also do is to take the liners out and put your foot in the shell, toes brushing the front ..how much space is there between your heel and the back of the boot (mm please rather than fingers)

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

wow, you guys are awesome.  i really appreciate the help, in that the boots are expensive, so i'd like to make them work.  


the boots were fit a number of times.  my foot size is a women's 8.5/39, or men's 7ish.  the boots are a size 25.  my shell fitting was done by the shop where i got them, and they spent a lot of time with me, and i'm pretty confident the shell was fit properly.  as i do not have the boots with me (they are in storage for the summer as i am at another job), so i cannot say the exact mm measurement.  but i remember when i put my foot in the shell, and the guy from the shop stuck their measuring rod behind my heel, that was all the room there was.  


i am 29, 5'6", 130 lbs.  i am an ex-division I soccer player, so i have worked with my feet quite a bit.  my heel cuff is slightly narrow, and grows wider towards my ankle.  as an athlete, i had my left ankle redone when i was 19.  


the blisters are on my heels (both of them).  they show up when i ascend only, and i cannot feel them when i descend (unless its a really big day).  i buckle the bottom two buckles when i ascend to the point that my foot can cramp, but it gives a slight bit of relief to my blisters, so the cramping is worth it (it feels like i'm breaking in a pair of hockey skates).  


i am a yoga instructor, meaning quite flexible, and i have a pretty good ROM in both feet.  my ankles are skinny just like any other athlete, and i've got some calves on me, but nothing too crazy.  my foot in general is fairly normal.  i pronate outwards a bit (hence the ankle reconstruction... multiple ankle sprains). 


my biggest concern is that i tried everything i could last season, so i'm hoping that someone out there might have one more suggestion.  i really like how the boots ski, and hope to fix this problem.  i hope this all helps.  


again, thank you so much for taking the time to help me out.  its greatly appreciated.  

post #5 of 12

question: do you have a supportive footbed in the boot? if so what type is it / how was it made?  lack of stability may be causing your foot to move in the liner and cause the blisters,


stabilise foot, reduce/remove friction bye bye blisters


without knowing the shell check space it will be difficult to give you an accurate answer, but we will try





post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

no, i do not have a foot bed.  it was suggested to me by the guys who fit me that it wasn't needed, and they said that was personal for them, and that everybody is different.  i do have a foot bed in my tecnica's for down hill.  could that make a difference?  if so, i am no longer out west, but will be traveling new england this fall.  is there a good, reliable place out there that could be recommended?  

post #7 of 12

New England is a big target can you narrow your location down a bit? We should be able to recommend a good boot fitter in the North East.


I agree with Colin that there may be some minor movement that can occur from instability of the foot. Sometimes if there is limited rage of motion in the ankle joint itself, the heel will lever out of the heel pocket every step that you take when ascending. You said that you are a yoga instructor, and that brings up visions of extreme flexibility and good posture, however sometimes limited range of motion at the ankle is a mechanical result of your skeletal structure ( like having ankle surgery that may have compromised that ROM) A good boot fitter has a few tricks to check your ROM, and can determine if the ROM is limited because of tendon or muscle tightness, versus boney blockage or result of surgery.


This is important because if there is limited or low ankle dorsiflexion ROM, every step you take pressure is levered on the ball of foot. If the ankle does not give much, your foot becomes a lever that will pull the heel up out of the pocket. That levering up of the heel is where the blisters come from. There are fixes for this. One has to do with elevating the heel or filling the gap that occurs when the heel is levered up ( essentially bring the ground up to the bottom of the foot. Or some specific padding that can help to contain or capture the heel bone and keep it from moving upward while ascending.



post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Starthaus, I think you are in Truckee?  I got these boots at Alpenglow, and they did their best to work with me, but my feet were being stubborn.  


I am currently in Nantucket.  But this fall I will be traveling to Maine from Ohio, so that opens up my options as far as getting to a place.  I plan to visit friends in New Hampshire, and might go check out N. Conway.  So anywhere in there, if you you guys know of a reputable shop, that would be great.


My range of motion in my left foot (surgery foot) is not as good as my right.  It is tight as I roll my ankle outward.  However, my right ankle's ligaments are so loose, you can literally dislocate my ankle.  I was supposed to have that ankle "tightened up" as well, but ended up quitting soccer instead.  However, the blisters happen equally between each foot.  And this summer, as I'm running more and more, and training for next winter, the blisters are coming back, where they haven't been there before.  

post #9 of 12

Hi Penny4028


I didn't catch if you said the blisters were on the inside--outside--or back of your heels, also retaining the ankle is more is more effective by tightening the ankle buckle (second from top) the lower (instep) buckles will usually put the foot to sleep.  I agree a custom footbed will stabilize the foot and if the blisters appear on the outside border of the heel, will probably stop the problem.  Getting some orthotics in your running shoes will help there also.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

The blisters happen all around the heel, maybe a little more to the inside.  My question about putting on the ankle buckle, is won't that reduce my gate on the ascend?  It felt like I wasn't able to step as far ahead when I buckled the ankle buckle.  Or is that something I'm going to have to sacrifice in order to not have blisters?  Sounds like a custom foot bed is going to be the course.


As for orthotics, I have had the same pair for my running shoes since 1999 (since surgery).  They are rather old, but have maintained their shape.  Is it possible for a foot to change, meaning I should consider new ones?  I'd like to avoid that given the cost of custom orthotics.

post #11 of 12

Hi Penny4028,

Our shop Ski Stop in Westwood MA, could help you in the fall. We work on all types of boots including AT. We have many customers from the cape area.. some fly in from Nantucket to Norwood airport which is down the street from the store. ........If you are in the area give us a call we will see what we can do..



post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks Phil, I'll be seeing you this fall.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ask the Boot Guys › Gnarly blisters that won't go away.