Boot Problems

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Boot Problems

Postby dwanjr » Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:47 pm

Hi all,

I know that online is not the place for bootfitting but as the new season approaches, I am looking for suggestions. Sorry in advance for the long post.

I got new boots in February as my then current boots were too big (2013 Head Vector 100, size 29). After trying every boot they suggested, I ended up getting a pair of 2017 Lange RS130 Wides (they did not have the regular ones) in size 27 with blue superfeet footbeds. This put me in a race fit but it didn't feel too tight and they stretched or punched the boots in areas that were causing pain. My feet were still falling asleep in them after about 20 minutes or so. My feet measure at about a size 27 when unweighted with the left foot being about 5mm longer and wider but my feet expand to a size 29 when weighted, again with the left being bigger.

I skied them a couple days and noticed an immediate difference in the performance compared to my previous boots, which was expected. My feet were still falling asleep fairly quickly and the pain pre-stretch/punch was back, like they never happened. I go back to the shop they redo the stretches/punches and heat mold the liners. Ski them a few more days and notice the same thing again along with very quick quad fatigue. Like 'having to stop every half dozen turns or so to rest' quad fatigue. Now, I can usually ski a full day and not get that kind of fatigue until the very end of the day when skiing hard all day so something did not seem right. Back to the shop, same stuff again (stretch/punch/liner) plus I ask them to check my cuff alignment and I remove the spoilers in the boots, thinking a more upright stance would help ease the quad fatigue. I think they thought I meant canting instead of cuff alignment as they had me stand on balance plates in my usual leg separation while skiing and determined that that was fine. I asked about the cuff alignment as every time they shell checked me in the boots, it felt like the cuffs were in quite a bit of contact with the medial sides of my legs. They suggested that I ski the boots more to work in the liner, which would give more space in the boot. I do that and on my second last ski day of the season, I ski for a couple of hours in the morning and then have to take the boots off due to pain. I rest for a bit in the lodge and then back out onto the hill, pain was gone and the boots felt great for the rest of the day.

Last ski day of the season, I figured the boots must be good to go and then pain is back again in all the same places as well as the numbness/feet falling asleep and quad fatigue. I didn't get back into the shop before they closed for the summer but the last time I was there, the fitter was talking about doing a custom footbed and grinding the boots so the shell couldn't revert back as it was doing with the stretching/punching.

Work done on the boots: They stretched mostly for width in the forefoot, a bit for length, along the 5th metatarsal, one side of the left heel to accommodate a spur, and over the navicular. They heated the liners two or three times with one time having foam inserts attached to my feet to get more space in problem areas, mostly the toe box and along my arches. Both the shell and liner did not seem to hold the modifications.

Pain was in the 1st phalanges of both feet, the 5th metatarsals (mostly at the head and base), and navicular areas, with the left foot requiring the most work. The navicular stretches seemed to help the 5th metatarsal pain areas as well. At times, it felt like my foot was being folded along the length of the 2nd metatarsal. Another couple of times, it felt like there was a bump under my middle metatarsal heads. They did some work on the footbed to try to accommodate these sensations. The last few ski days of the season, it felt like the boot was trying to twist my foot in such a way that the lateral malleolus was pressing into the liner/shell; this happened mostly with the left foot but occasionally with the right. The 1st phalanges of both feet felt like they were curling under, more prominently in the left foot, but this was helped some when they added some length. This seemed more like a liner issue though.

A few of the people I ski with think that the boots are not the right fit for me based on my being in pain. They think I should see about exchanging them for a different boot at the same shop or selling them and buying a different boot altogether. I think that based on the way they feel when I am skiing them that they will be the right fit once they are properly fitted. I am thinking of getting a custom footbed done first either way before doing any further modifications to the boot as my foot likely won't expand as much once a proper footbed is in place and it will also change any potential pressure points. Does this seem like the best course or should I listen to my ski buddies? Thanks in advance for any help!
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Re: Boot Problems

Postby Max_501 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:50 am

A lot going on there. Any chance you can get to HSS for boots, footbeds, and alignment?

See this thread about off the shelf footbeds: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1801
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Re: Boot Problems

Postby jbotti » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:29 am

I agree 100% with Max. But I will ask this, do you know and understand the basics for getting into boots and buckling them so that they will not cause problems? My boots fit me perfectly but if I don't get into them properly (set my heel deeply into the pocket) and if I don't buckle them properly they will cause me significant issues all day. The reason I ask is that you report that on certain days the boots are fine and on others they unbearable. It would behoove you to make sure you are putting them on and buckling them properly before you do a lot more work on them.

Huge culprit is often the lower two buckles. They should never have very much tension especially at that start of each ski day. They also should always be buckled last after your heel is set and the ankle buckle is clasped. Again too much tension here especially at the start of the ski day will cause problems. Boots that are not tight enough to be skied with minimal buckle pressure are just too big. If you need significant buckle pressure to hold your feet and ankles in place your shell is too big.
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Re: Boot Problems

Postby dwanjr » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:08 pm

Max_501 wrote:A lot going on there. Any chance you can get to HSS for boots, footbeds, and alignment?

See this thread about off the shelf footbeds: http://www.pmts.org/pmtsforum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1801



Thanks for the reply, Max! Man, I wish I could get there. If that were a possibility, I would have just gone there in the first place and wouldn't be in this situation.

When the guy at the shop sold me the boots, he took $100 off the price of the boots and didn't charge me for the Superfeet because of their fit guarantee and putting me in too big a boot the last time. Seeing that thread has confirmed my suspicions about the Superfeet. They were very hesitant about doing a custom footbed, even after I told them about the way my feet expand (excessive pronation?), but after my second visit to the shop, they were on board but in a wait until next season way.

They also suggested skiing in my dress socks as they would be thinner than my ski socks and might help with space in the boot. I tried that the last two ski days but, on the last day especially, that resulted in my shins getting friction burn (which is probably also technique related).

I know I should get a footbed made before any further boot work but I'm beginning to doubt whether I get it done there and part of me is starting to doubt if it's the right boot. Their senior fitter is confident that they'll get the fit right but I feel like I've made more trips there for boot work than the racers they fit. One of their fitters there also thought that the boots might not be stiff enough after seeing me flex them in the shop. (I'm 6'2" and about 240 lbs)

jbotti wrote:I agree 100% with Max. But I will ask this, do you know and understand the basics for getting into boots and buckling them so that they will not cause problems? My boots fit me perfectly but if I don't get into them properly (set my heel deeply into the pocket) and if I don't buckle them properly they will cause me significant issues all day. The reason I ask is that you report that on certain days the boots are fine and on others they unbearable. It would behoove you to make sure you are putting them on and buckling them properly before you do a lot more work on them.

Huge culprit is often the lower two buckles. They should never have very much tension especially at that start of each ski day. They also should always be buckled last after your heel is set and the ankle buckle is clasped. Again too much tension here especially at the start of the ski day will cause problems. Boots that are not tight enough to be skied with minimal buckle pressure are just too big. If you need significant buckle pressure to hold your feet and ankles in place your shell is too big.


Thanks, jbotti! Those are great points! I have watched the video HH posted about putting on boots properly and I have been using that method for a few seasons now. I know my heel is in the pocket and it does not move. I've also been making sure that the tongue sits the same way and that there aren't any places where the liner, footbed, or my sock might be bunched up. The only time the boots felt fine were either in the shop after stretching/punching and for a few hours on my second last ski day. So that would be a few hours out of about ten days of skiing in the boots.

My lower two buckles are on the first buckle hook (first being closest to the outside of the boot) and have barely enough tension on them to remain closed. The upper buckles are both on the first buckle hook and my leg feels locked in. I've tried them on the second hook but that is too tight around my legs. At least, at the beginning of the day. In my old boots, I had to crank them down to the tightest setting even after moving the buckle hooks to the tightest setting, and even that wasn't tight enough to hold my foot in place. My foot doesn't really move in the new boots.

I know from other threads that you like your boots quite tight, jbotti. What kind of issues would your boots give you if you don't buckle them up properly?
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Re: Boot Problems

Postby Obrules15 » Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:56 pm

I really experienced a ton of improvement in my day to day boot fit when I started wearing compression socks (31-40 mm, extra-firm, grade II compression).

I later realized that the different altitudes, different drive times, different diet/salt intake affected the size of my foot, which changed boot fit and caused numbness, but only sometimes.

With the high grade compression socks it doesn't matter if I've just gotten off a plane or splurged on Chinese takeout the night before, my feet stay the same size every day so my boots fit the same every day.

P.S. And unlike the expensive ski socks, the ones I like are only $13 on Amazon.
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Re: Boot Problems

Postby dwanjr » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:38 pm

Thanks, Obrules15! I'll look into compression socks. Do you know if they are as thin as ultra thin ski socks? I'm just worried about them taking up extra volume in the boot.
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Re: Boot Problems

Postby Obrules15 » Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:09 am

dwanjr wrote:Thanks, Obrules15! I'll look into compression socks. Do you know if they are as thin as ultra thin ski socks? I'm just worried about them taking up extra volume in the boot.

The ones I use are way thinner than ultra thin compression ski socks. They're equivalent to a women's thin dress sock.

The biggest issue is that there are many different kinds. There are variations in strength of compression and thickness. The grocery store compression hose and the ski compression socks aren't nearly strong enough for me. Flying from sea level to Denver and driving to altitude really does a number on my ankles, so it has to be the extra-firm dress sock style.

P.S. I think JBotti did a post on them a short time ago.
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Re: Boot Problems

Postby tigernbr » Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:51 am

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Re: Boot Problems

Postby dwanjr » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:13 pm

Obrules15 wrote:
dwanjr wrote:Thanks, Obrules15! I'll look into compression socks. Do you know if they are as thin as ultra thin ski socks? I'm just worried about them taking up extra volume in the boot.

The ones I use are way thinner than ultra thin compression ski socks. They're equivalent to a women's thin dress sock.

The biggest issue is that there are many different kinds. There are variations in strength of compression and thickness. The grocery store compression hose and the ski compression socks aren't nearly strong enough for me. Flying from sea level to Denver and driving to altitude really does a number on my ankles, so it has to be the extra-firm dress sock style.

P.S. I think JBotti did a post on them a short time ago.


Thanks again, Obrules15, and thanks for the link, tigernbr! I'll check that out. I'm not having quite the same altitude change but it is probably still at least around 1000m.

I was doing some searching around and there is a spot in Whistler that is run by accredited PMTS instructors (Wendell Moore and Peter Shandro) who have also taken the alignment course. They do both in shop and on snow assessment. Would that be an option to get my boots/alignment checked out? It might be easier to convince my wife to let me go to Whistler for a long weekend rather than to Colorado. Not to mention it wouldn't cost as much to get/stay there.
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Re: Boot Problems

Postby noobSkier » Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:31 pm

I guess this depends on how comfortable you are with power tools, but I have a Dremel that I use to grind out problem areas. Try forcefully kicking the heels of the boot against the floor before you buckle up...my feet always go numb if I forget to do that. This relieves some pressure on the instep. It could be possible that the shell is preventing your heel from sitting in the boot correctly in which case you would need to grind more room around the ankles. That's been my experience anyway.
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Re: Boot Problems

Postby dwanjr » Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:24 pm

noobSkier wrote:I guess this depends on how comfortable you are with power tools, but I have a Dremel that I use to grind out problem areas. Try forcefully kicking the heels of the boot against the floor before you buckle up...my feet always go numb if I forget to do that. This relieves some pressure on the instep. It could be possible that the shell is preventing your heel from sitting in the boot correctly in which case you would need to grind more room around the ankles. That's been my experience anyway.


Thanks, noobSkier! I don't have a problem using power tools but I feel my inexperience with modifying boots would cause me larger problems. My heel feels locked in in the boot as it doesn't move but is it possible that, despite that locked in feeling, my heel isn't sitting in the boot correctly? When I take the boots off after being on for a while, the top of my arch on the navicular side, the base and head of my 5th metatarsal, as well as head of my 1st metatarsal and distal phalanx of the 1st digit are red. I also noticed at times that there seems to be pain in the area of my Achilles' tendon, though that was mainly on the last day of the season for me. It does coincide with the feeling of the lateral malleolus being pressed into the boot, so not sure what that means.

I'll probably go see the bootfitter again for a chat as he also indicated that they have yet to do anything to the boot that can't be undone so switching to a different boot might still be an option even though I've skied it about 10 days. I'm going to talk to my wife and see if she'll let me go on a "ski trip" to Whistler and get the boot work and alignment stuff done there with the PMTS guys as that should yield better results. Her brother is getting married next year and he wants the bachelor party to be a ski trip to Panorama in BC and I don't want to have to worry about boot problems by that point.

I just want to thank again everyone who commented! I really appreciate the help and suggestions. If any of you have any further suggestion or any experience with the guys in Whistler, I look forward to hearing from you.
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