Alpine Boot Fitting – Part 1

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Hi, this is Todd from Mountainside Ski Service in warm Vermont and I we are going to talk about the process of setting up a custom alpine boot fitting. Next video you’re going to see is an assessment of an athlete taking a look at their foot, doing the physical measurements, and assessing the type of dynamic things that we’re going to have to have a boot do to work well for this athlete. So stay tuned, I’ll show you how that’s done.

I want to just look at vascular flow, how the blood flushes out and how quickly it comes back. So let’s go ahead and put some pressure on there, and you’ll watch it flush back. Same thing on the toes. We’ll flush out the blood and watch it come back. That’s a pretty good response. You’re getting good flowback.

Next thing I want to do is look at the arch, just unladen. This one’s fairly flat. If I come around this side, this one’s a little taller. Overall impression of the foot, muscular structure on the outside, strong protuberance on the inside here. Got to accommodate that in a boot, because really the foot is only a straight line like that, but it has a strong bony piece sticking out.

So now I want to measure you. I’m going to start with your right foot, set you right in back. I’m just going to have you sit first. The reason is I want to see the mechanics of what your foot does when you go unladen — go ahead and stand up. You can go ahead and stand up — to laden.

We didn’t see a lot of crushing here, but we did watch your foot roll in. Go ahead and sit. Now I watch it return to its normal shape. Go ahead and stand again. I watch it roll right in. So one of the things that makes you a candidate for a foot bed is to stabilize that part of your foot when you’re laden. Go ahead and have a seat, let’s look at your other foot.

I watch this one not necessarily roll in, but I can feel that arch compressing underneath. I slid my fingers underneath just to see how much pressure you had under there. Go ahead and sit. Now I’m going to do that again. I’m going to put my fingers right underneath the arch, and you go ahead and stand up. You probably feel my fingers under there pretty strong.

So that spring that you have in here is actually collapsing. I’m going to look to stabilize that with a foot bed. So from a standpoint of length — go ahead and stand for me — you come up just shy of 23. But because of the structure of your foot, I suspect that even though you’re sub-23, you’re probably going to be a little greater than 23 in girth from the back point here nice and loose to the back point here. You come out to 24.

So this piece of anatomy for you is a little bigger than one-to-one. It’s not necessarily normal to be one-to-one, but that’s kind of a normal foot one-to-one. You’re a little bigger, a little thicker, a little stronger. A lot of muscle structure in here. So with that in mind, I’m going to look to accommodate both this part of your foot where you have a strong protuberance and down in here where you have a lot of muscle structure and the bottom of your foot and your leg come together.

All right, we’re going to look at flexibility and just how normally flexible you are. Lift your toes as high as you can. I’m getting a little bit of rise here, not a ton. Do this here. A little better there. And now I want you to cock your feet back as far as you can. Do you feel it really strong in the back here — really pulling in the back?

Woman: No, I feel it in the front

Todd: Okay, so the muscle structure, the ligaments, and everything that’s holding your foot together are pretty tight. With that in mind, the boot’s either going to work to help you or hurt you. If I get a boot that’s too soft, you’re going to overpower the cuff, and you’re going to really be stretching on this stuff. If I get one that’s too stiff, you’ll never flex it, so I want to be right in the middle.

All right, last thing I want to measure on you is your laden and unladen width. Go ahead and stand up for me. We watch that just bump out 3 millimeters to 90 millimeters overall. Go ahead and sit. We’re going to do the same thing, laden and unladen. Go ahead and stand for me. I just watched that one walk out 4 millimeters when you stood.

So as you stand, that foot is expanding. The spring is both flexing forward and your toes are expanding outward. This is what I need to accommodate in a ski boot, is that kind of flexation, because you’re going to put some energy on these feet, and they’re going to want to do what feet do. So go ahead and have a seat, and we’ll put some socks on you.

So what I’ve selected is a boot that is a little wider than most and not terribly stiff. This is a 90 flex 102 millimeters across. The reason I’m interested in having a little bit wider boot is I want to accommodate this part of your foot without crushing you. If we add too much pressure this way, it’s like somebody grabbing your hand and squeezing it.

So we’re going to go ahead and drop you in a Roxy. This is an Alltrack, a very very competent ski boot. Little wider than most, got a fairly short cuff. Distance from the heel to the top of the cuff has been reduced primarily to accommodate the fact that your calf muscle goes towards the floor further than a guy would at your size. A man exactly your size and weight and shape and everything else, his calf muscle is going to extend towards the floor a little differently than yours. Yours is going to be lower, so we’re going to accommodate that in the boot.

Okay, go ahead and have a seat. The first thing I want to do is I want to get you in the back of the boot, and to do that, I’m going to use this bottom cuff as a fulcrum and I’m going to just close the bottom cuff. Everything else is loose. I’m going to ask you to go ahead and stand up for me. Drive your knee in to it like you’re skiing. I’m using the front of the boot to drive your heel into the heel cup.

At this point, I like to start adding some forefoot pressure. I’ve got all your weight up on your foot, and if I go too much, you’ll know. I always test the buckles to see if they explode when I let it go. So I don’t want that much pressure. I simply want to close the boot around your foot and let the boot do the work holding you to the floor. Go ahead and unload this a little bit for me while I get this top cuff done. So I’ve got you all the way in the back of the boot, and I have a ton of pressure going, and what I’m after is holding your foot to the floor with just the shape and size of the boot. Go ahead and flex into that for me. Drive your knee right in. Is your heel staying right on the floor?

Woman: Yeah, yeah.

Todd: That’s what I’m after. How about this forefoot? Are you too tight up in here?

Woman: No. It is so comfortable.

Todd: Okay, so the accommodating factors for you is that strong muscle out here and the fact that you have a pretty strong bone on that first knuckle. And I want to accommodate that. If this boot was too tight, I could push the plastic out to accommodate you. But the idea is to not customize every single thing unless it’s necessary.

So that’s a basic boot fit. Start with the foot, start with the athlete themselves, and take a look at what you’ve get to work with. Now, as she’s driving here knee in, I’m watching the alignment from the center of her kneecap and kind of lining it up to the center of the boot. Some people will fold in, folks that are bowlegged will fold out. We can accommodate that by moving the cuff to match the angle of their shin. Her shin falls perfectly in line from hip, right down through the femur, down through the fib tib, right out the middle of her foot. So your stance is just dead on. All right. Let’s go to foot beds.

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