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Gripping with little toe

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Gentlemen. I've skied my current boots for a couple of seasons, about 40 days last year. My first day out last season they practically killed me and I sought the help of a local boot fitter who worked wonders for me. So far, I'm pleased with the work he has done. He's a former world cup moguls and aerials competitor and has interned with a podiatrist etc. --I think he knows what he is doing. He corrected my alignment with simple adjustments to my boots' upper cuffs and gave me a little extra width with a couple of punches. He kept me in my stock footbeds thinking that we could trade them out later if necessary. I have high insteps, high volume feet,  and am a little bowlegged.


Late in the season last year,  I realized that I felt as though I was constantly gripping or pushing down with the little toe on my right foot. The result is fatigue and sometimes localized cramping--tiring and uncomfortable, not painful. I'll consult my boot fitter when he returns from the season in South America, but would like to have an idea as to places to start in correcting this issue. Any help will be appreciated.


I'd like to endorse this fitter and put my full confidence in him. Concurrence between your opinions and his would help verify his credibility--which at this point I have no reason to question.

post #2 of 8

I find gripping with the toes is usually a sign of a  too large boot.  Problem is it seems the guy your are working with should know what he is doing.  Can you tell me more about your boot and your feet?



post #3 of 8

definately need more info, to even give you any kind of answer worth having

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Guys. Thanks for your quick responses. Here's some more information.


I'm 46 years old, 5'10", 190lbs. I've skied off and on since I was preschooler. I'm currently a solid level 8 (PSIA) skier and am working on improving. I live in Idaho and ski here, Utah, Wyo, and occassionally in Montana, and Alberta. I ski regularly with some very good skiers including a 30+ year Level III PSIA instructor and coach. I ski all over the mountain and have a race influenced style. However I can rip the bumps better than many of racer style buddies.


My boots are Dolomite X10 Rage; 100 or 110 flex; 98 mm last; 318mm sole length. They are 27.5 and I wear a US 10 in street shoes. My feet measure 100mm at their widest point--not particularly wide, but high in the instep. They measure 272mm in length. I've owned them--the boots-- for 3 seasons, 2 of which I skied pretty hard (25-50 days each).


My original complaint early last season (after having skied 2 seasons reasonably comfortably in them) was excruciating pain along the outside edge of my feet. I didn't feel like I was standing flat across the width of my boots. My feet cramped badly across the width. I felt the pain especially along the outside of my feet, like my weight was being carried on the little toe side of my foot, not across the full flat surface of my foot.


I do have high volume feet that are flipper shaped--quite wide across the base of the toes and moving back toward the heal. I also have high insteps and low arches, but not totally flat feet. Without the liner, standing flat in the shell with my toe at the front, I have about 1cm of space at the back of the boot.


The fitter started by aligning my cuffs which had not been done previously. My uppers very nearly touched the outside of my shins and left a large gap on the inside of my shin. Apparently I'm a bit bowlegged and probably supinate some. The fitter aligned the cuffs so my tibias are centered in the uppers.


After aligning the cuffs he went to work to give me a little more width. He punched the outsides of each shell fairly agressively--but more on the right foot. Perhaps this was too much. I've wondered if perhaps this boot is too big now. Is it possible to reheat and reduce the effect of a punch? I don't think I could wear a smaller shell size.


In the effort to be conservative, the fitter left me in my stock footbeds, anticipating that they might needs some attention later. The relative improvement in my comfort was so great, I didn't think anything else was necessary until I noticed the gripping problem late in the season.


The fitter did not sell me these boots nor has he looked at them since I noticed the gripping problem. He was a newcomer to the shop where I bought them so I'm sure he didn't want to say anything too negative about the original salesman. However, he did say that the boot wasn't a bad starting point for my particular foot.


Hopefully this is the type of information that will help. I know a picture is worth 1000 words and seeing in person is worth a lot more. any help you can offer is appreciated.

post #5 of 8

The information you gave was good but I can't readily see a connection to the gripping problem but here is some information as a bit of a shot.  I sold a few pairs of these boots a few years ago and seem to remember them being fairly narrow through the heel, ankle and navicular area.  Just going by old memory here.


Bowleggedness (word?) usually drives pronation rather than supination which in a boot that is narrow in the rear could have the medial side of your foot contacting the shell.  This pushes the forefoot laterally resulting in pressure along the lateral side of the foot.  Regularly I find the problem with boot pressure in the sixth toe area is highly influenced by pressure in the navicular and medial malleolus area.  It means that before we work on the forefoot area we punch the medial ankle/navicular area and find that we don't need to move the sixth toe area nearly as much.


In short, it is possible the boot is now too wide because the fitter moved the forefoot more than is necessary instead of moving the medial rearfoot.  Some heat in the forefoot area will probably have it move back a little.   It is also possible  pressure in the rearfoot is sliding your forefoot sideways and you are gripping to try and stabilize your foot.


Right now i think the exact reason isn't as important as determining if the boot is too close in the medial ankle area.  Do a shell fit with the footbed on the zeppa and your foot back in the heel pocket.  Feel for pressure on the medial side and/or look with a flash light for contact.  If there is any punch the boot there and see what happens.



post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks Lou. I appreciate your well-thought-out response. Cheers

post #7 of 8



Lou is spot on with everything he has said. A combination of things I am sure will be your solution.


One thing I might add is...replacing the stock footbed with a pre-molded support footbed ie...(Superfeet or equivalent) or better yet a custom model.  The stock footbed is nothing more than a spacer.  I am from the school of, once you have determined the right size and boot - 'start by supporting the foot with a good fitting footbed' and proceed with fitting and alignment.


One thing that stands out with me is you saying "gripping with your little toe", which might indicate you trying to stabilize the foot by gripping with your toes. Again, a good footbed will help stabilize the foot.


Just a thought and one more thing to concider.


Good luck!



post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks Don. I picked up some Superfeet footbeds last week and hope they will make a difference. I appreciate the tip.

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