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Grinding vs Stretching?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

My previous bootfitter didn't believe in heat stretching at all, thought grinding was the way to go.  But my current bootfitter (I had no problems w/the other guy, I just moved) is a big proponent of stretching and doesn't even have equipment to do grinding. 


Since there is such a difference of opinion, I'm guessing the matter is not nearly so clear cut as either guy suggests, but I was hoping some of the fitters here could tell me what the pros and cons of each method are.


If it matters, my next purchase will be an AT boot (if I can find one that fits!), so the shell will probably be polyurethane (that's what it says under the specs of one of the boots I'm hoping to try on, the Dynafit Titan TF-X.


Also, if it matters, my feet are wide (widest point about 3/5ths of the way btwn toe and heel), with a somewhat high instep, a tendency to pronate, and big ankle bones, which is one of the places I sometimes get pressure/pain. 

post #2 of 8

I use both. IMO it depends on what part of the boot I am working on and what I am trying to fix. I tend to use grinds for small issues in specific areas and stretching when I want to affect a larger area or make a bigger change.  Grinding is a lot less forgiving in certain cases than a stretch, but you can ruin a boot with both. Stretches can return if the initial stretch was not done correctly (boot not heated enough). The pros on grinding is that it can be done rather quickly, where a stretch takes some time to both heat and cool the shell. They are both tools that any competent fitter will have in his bag of tricks.

post #3 of 8

     I have to agree with JDoyal on all that he said.  I will add that the stretching tools are expensive (may be prohibitive) and some shops will grind to satisfy the customer if that is a workable solution.


    We started off stretching and then added grinding equipment as needed and often will do both as the situation calls for.  



post #4 of 8

talking specifically about AT boots. they are typically a nightmare to either stretch or grind.

the exception being the dynafit titan, zeus, or gaia, which are made out of high quality polyurathane. however as with all AT boots, these shells are thin and there is not a big fit pocket that can be ground, usually with the dynafit boots i prefer to do any large changes with heat stretching.


since we are talking about AT boots, if your old boot fitter has his way, you will have air conditioned titan's. for your sake it is probably a good thing your new boot fitter does not grind. actually i am just having some fun with you, your fitter really does need to be able to do both, especially with AT boots.



post #5 of 8

I agree with all these guys although unlike Starthaus we do a lot of stretching of AT boots.  Of course we sell quite a few and he is correct they are too thin to grind.  And really even on alpine boots I don't see how you can only do one.  Boots are only so thick and if you need more room than the boot thickness allows (which isn't uncommon) then unless you are looking for an AC model you'd better resort to stretching



post #6 of 8

as the guys have said above,


the ability to do both is key, and it depends on what you are doing and where as to what you do, on race boots for example we grind a lot more than we stretch as the plastic is thick enough to create some pretty large adjustments, on recreational alpine boots and touring boots i tend to stretch more due to thickness of the plastic and as Jim says the type of plastic that many of them are made from


not sure i understand why a good fitter would only ever do one, ah thats right i do, because they haven't bought the tools to do the other..... personally i believe that a boot fitter needs to have invested in the tools and the education to enable them to do all they can to make the boots fit well, and to be a good boot fitter you need to have the passion for what you do (but this is the topic for a whole other thread)

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the clarifications, I think this will help me a lot in working with the fitter.

post #8 of 8


Originally Posted by cometjo View Post

...my current bootfitter...doesn't even have equipment to do grinding...

Find another bootfitter.

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