Boot fitting: what is it and why do it?
Pain in your feet every time you put your boots on? After a few hours you can’t wait to take them off? Boot fitting could solve these problems! Boot fitting is nothing more than the possibility to customize your ski boot according to your needs and feet. It is not a very common practice especially among amateurs, but for professionals it is a key step. So let’s see why Boot fitting.
Boots have always been a source of pain for skiers’ feet. Today a ski boot is made with a plastic hull, which makes the shoe less deformable, which especially at the beginning can lead to a sense of “discomfort” and annoy the feet. The perfect ski boot is one that wraps around the foot without leaving any gaps, so that it has a full grip on the shoe and improves contact with the ski and the snow below. Unfortunately, today, many sellers tend to please the customer by offering more comfortable footwear to relieve discomfort and pressure, however, it is important to find the ideal fit and ensure the feet a good fit. Very often the most attentive ones resort to boot fitting to improve the fit.
Read also ski equipment: beginner’s guide
Find out what it is and why it is useful to do Boot fitting:
While the level of customization helps to a certain extent with skis, for boots it is crucial. The feeling you get through the boot and comfort can affect your performance and skiing pleasure. In the macro category of boot fitting you can include all the techniques ranging from lengthening or shortening of the hull plastics to thermoforming, to adding custom insoles or volume changes. The possibilities of modifying the boot are many and depend on the will (or need) of the user and the skill of the technician. Sometimes this possibility is not taken into consideration by skiers because it is only seen as an additional expense. The possibility of taking a product and adapting it perfectly to the morphology of your foot could however be what will save you money in physiotherapy due to pain, or that will force you to change a boot after only a few outings thinking that the causes of your discomfort are only related to the model.
Our advice is to let you be guided in the purchase by your trusted retailer: if he is a competent person will try to evaluate the type of boot as well as understand which is the best choice for your feet. The second step will be to try the boots and bring back to your retailer the feeling, any discomfort or pain. At that point, together you will find a way to work on the boot and make it perfect for you. Companies are already moving in this direction to help skiers!
Read also how to choose your ski goggle.
Why Boot fitting:
The ski boot is without a doubt the “most personal” tool in the ski equipment scene, as we said it must guarantee maximum sensitivity without penalizing the comfort in skiing. That’s why all professional athletes resort to boot fitting to get the perfect shoe for their descents. Ski boots are produced with a mostly industrial or semi-industrial model, so they will have standard fits, which are not always perfectly adaptable to any type of foot. In fact, there are many casuistry: high neck, narrow sole, wider toe, ski socks more or less thick, and so on. It is therefore important to find a shoe with a comfortable and snug fit and if after a few days of skiing you realize you have some pain you can resort to boot fitting.
These modifications are made with machinery and technology directly in specialized laboratories, and carried out by experts in the field, such as Milano Ski Lab.
Boot fitting interventions
Boot Fitting is a real “art”. It is not a very common practice and few skimen are really good at it and have the proper machinery. The modifications to ski boots are made by hot (cambering) or with milling techniques to make any boot more comfortable and therefore more performing.
Without going into too much detail, the main boot fitting techniques consist of:
- Perfect angle: it is made through the alignment with milling of a sole from 0.25 to 2 degrees or with the insertion of shims.
- Hull machining: milling and lengthening of ski boot hulls, thermal widening of pressure points, to relieve discomfort or thermoperforation of hulls and shoes.
- Lateral canting alignment: study of the leg inclination with laser detection and alignment and insertion of a wedge with internal support
- Introduction of injection shoes mainly used by athletes
- Various applications such as elevations, reinforcements, hooks or others
We hope we have given you a general idea of why boot fitting and the benefits it brings. Surely it can be an expensive operation, but if you are a frequent skier it can certainly be worth the investment, since the level of the new ski depends on the boot. In general, always consult an experienced skier who will be able to advise you in detail on the best solution for your feet.