We don’t doubt your grit or ski ability but if your ski boots don’t fit well – you’re not gonna have a good time. It’s true – you aren’t yourself, emotionally or skillfully, when your feet hurt. Improper ski boots have accounted for broken-up relationships, hatred for the sport, and millions of dollars lost to bar tabs. The good news? The science behind bootfitting has come a long way and their are magicians out there who have perfected the art of making your feet happy! Whether you ski 100 days a year or 1 Weekend a season, we cannot stress enough the importance of a properly-fitted ski boot. Getting a custom-fit boot can be a game changer to your ski ability and attitude. We sat down with “OC” from Inkline Foot Science to get the scoop on how he tackles the art of boot-fitting!
1. How long have you been fitting custom boots?
For about 25 years!
2. What are some of the biggest issues you see people having with their ski boots and how do you go about fixing them?
One of the biggest issues we see is people being in a boot that is too big for them. We can always stretch areas of the boot to accommodate anomalous features, such as bone spurs or wide areas on the feet. If needed we can snug boots up by adding foam and shims for boots that are too big but this is sometimes a more temporary and less effective fix.
3. Why do you think people get too big of boots?
The liners are very thick in a new boot. As a person skis they compact the foam in the liner making it thinner and thinner. Boots should feel a bit too small on day one knowing that they will break in. It’s hard to convince people that what feels too small on day one will be the right size after the first few days. People want to be comfortable but if they have to crank their boots all the way down to be secure they create more pressure points and less circulation to the foot.
4. What are some of the common misconceptions associated with boot-fitting?
Well, I hear a lot of beginner skiers say “I’m not at that level yet”. Everyone can benefit from the right fitting boot. Comfort and performance of a boot will help a beginner skier progress much quicker. Knowing what questions to ask is the biggest battle, both for the customer and the boot fitter. Some people need extra work but some people don’t, knowing how and what you like to ski/ride helps determine what you need out of a boot. Custom foot beds and liners can make or break a fit. Just because a boot doesn’t feel good out of the box doesn’t mean it can’t be your perfect boot.
5. How does the low snow season affect your business?
Although we have still been very busy, we have not had as much boot stretching and other work to do, just because people aren’t out skiing their boots. But a lot of people are taking time and dialing in their fits right now, with more custom features like liners and better fitting boots. On high snow years people want quick fixes.
6. When customers come in looking for a new ski boot what are your first steps in finding the right boot for them?
Our first 2 steps are measuring the foot in such a way that it gives us a dimension of the foot. Then we get a lot of feedback and info as far as experience and goals from the skier.
7. What are your recommendations for choosing the right flex in relation to a customers ski style?
Flex is really relative to the individual. Experience and preference have a lot to do with it but so do biomechanics. Things like the amount someones ankle can naturally flex and the amount of leverage they can put on a boot all come into play.
8. What are the benefits of getting footbeds and what is the process of custom molding them?
Custom foot beds reduce lateral movement in your boot and help engage all of the muscles and bones in your feet to ensure the most possible transfer of energy into your ski . They also help correct pronation, arch collapsing and other common issues many people have in their feet.
9. What style of footbeds do you recommend and why?
We recommend Sidas custom footbeds for most anatomies. We can more effectively manipulate the foot into a subtalar neutral position in an unweighted state and build that foot bed custom to that person’s anatomy. We prefer this opposed to comparing that person’s foot to x-amount of generic molds. A custom foot beds is the foundation of the fit. With a stabilized foot, a skier connects faster and more efficiently with the equipment.