Winter sports/03/14/2017

Boot Fitting for the Perfectly Fitting Boot – How it Works

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Thanks to boot fitting, the age of painfully tight and dangerously loose ski boots is fortunately over. watched over the shoulder of a boot fitter from Tecnica. He explains how it works and how other brands like Head, Atomica, K2, Fischer and Nordica handle it. 

Uncomfortable ski boots? Boot fitting promises a remedy.
Uncomfortable ski boots? Boot fitting promises a remedy.

When boot expert Ralf hooks up the ball cutter, you think you’re at the dentist for a second. But the unpleasant sounding device doesn’t touch any human tooth roots, rather the plastic shell of a ski boot.

“Look here”, says Ralf, “two millimeters orange. Under that it turns white – and then I’m already on the support material”. So I’ve filed too deep.

When adjusting a ski boot, it’s all about the small details. And those who may not have believed that before will be set straight after just few revolutions of the ball cutter: Even one millimeter can make a noticeable difference.

Toothpaste for the Perfect Shoe

Boot expert Ralf uses wonderfully simple tricks to tighten the new Tecnica Mach 1 boots to the test person’s unequal feet. For example, he uses toothpaste when there are ankle problems.

The test person puts the shoes on barefoot and has marked the problem areas with toothpaste – now expert Ralf knows exactly where in the shell he needs to go with his cutting tool. “Works with lipstick too”, he says and grins.

Toothpaste (bottom) can also be used for bootfitting.
Toothpaste (bottom) can also be used for bootfitting.
Image credit:
Hansmann PR

It can be as simple as this: Heat up the shoes using a heating sleeve for eight minutes to 80 degrees until they are soft and malleable like rubber. Slip into the boot for three or four minutes and stay standing until the inner shoe molds to the foot and leave it to cool. Done!

And if it still pinches then Ralf will come with his ball cutter, carpet knife or another tool to find a solution.

For example if it is pressing against your instep, he will unscrew the hard wedge on the bottom of the inner shoe and grind a well measured millimeter away until it no longer pinches. Handmade boot fitting, completely without digital frills.

For the deformation of the shoe the materials are heated up to the necessary temperature.
For the deformation of the shoe the materials are heated up to the necessary temperature.
Image credit:
Hansmann PR

An overview of ski boots with boot fitting technology:

Tecnica: Custom Adaptive Shape (C.A.S.)

The system contains a shell, inner shoe, and boot board. Everything is of course formed anatomically and is fully adjustable. Everything together ensures a perfect ‘out of the box’ fit without negatively influencing the performance. Boot fitters can adjust all three elements quickly and easily when necessary.

The anatomically formed inner shoes show the following unusual features for example: asymmetrically positioned ankle pouches, a groove for the Achilles heel, anatomically formed heels, navicular bone molding, asymmetrically positioned midfoot molding as well as an asymmetric toe box with more room to move.

Applicable for the following models: all Mach1 models.

Atomic: Memoryfit

First of all the inner shoe is taken out. The shell comes to 117 degrees in the “Atomic Memory Fit” oven for five minutes. When the shell is soft enough it is taken out of the oven and the inner shoe is inserted.

You now put on the shoe and stand on the so-called Memory Fit Cooling Mat for two minutes so that the shoe can take the shape of the foot exactly. The shells are closed loosely. To harden the shoe, it is wrapped with the Memory fit cooling Pack for around five minutes before it finally cools down.

Applicable for the following models: Redster FIS, Redster Pro, Hawx, Hawx Magna, the Backland models and the majority of the rest of the range. 

K2: Integrated Tech Fittings

The Integrated Tech Fittings are not only fixed on the outer shell, but are also completely integrated in the shell. This guarantees greater stability, support and improved torsional strength. The outer soles also suitable for DIN-compatible alpine and touring bindings.

Applicable for the following models: Pinnacle.

Head: FormFit and Perfect fit

Thanks to thermal forming, the ski boot can be one hundred percent adapted to the foot of the skier which in turn ensures the highest level of comfort, more balance and maximum control.

And this is how it works: Slip into the heated shoe, close the shell and then leave to cool. The effective, simple and quick method can be repeated indefinitely.

Applicable for the following models: Advant Edge 105, Vector Evo, Thrasher, Hammer.

Salomon: Custom Heat Technology

Quest Access Custom Heat offers an innovative inner shoe with integrated heating technology which promises even heat for up to 18 hours. Extensive fit features have been added to the new shell and shaft designs to ensure comfort when putting on and taking off the boot.

Applicable for the following models: X-Pro Custom Heat, Quest Access Custom Heat.

Dalbello: My Fit

The fit of the Dalbello boot is getting an upgrade thanks to the “My Fit” system. Both the inner shoe and the pre-formed shell that is integrated in every “My Fit” boot, can now quickly and easily be adjusted in various steps by using heat.

Applicable for the following models: in more than 60 percent of the collection.

Fischer: Vacuum Full Fit and Vacuum Comfort Fit

In Vacuum Full Fit, the shell is heated to 80 degrees in an oven. After that: Put the pre-heated boot on, apply of the Cooling Pad and Compression Pad, set up the standing position on the Vacuum Full Fit station. Adjust the whole boot to the anatomy of the foot by air pressure. Cool down by using the Cooling Pad.

In the Vacuum Comfort Fit, the shell is heated with the heating blanket technology which has been tried and tested in motor sport. After that: Apply the Cooling Pad, molding process of the shell. Adjust the heel area to the anatomy of the foot by air pressure.

Applicable for the following models: RC Pro 110, Hybrid W 10 +, Hybrid 12 +

Nordica: TriFit and Infrared Technology

Shell adjustment here is carried out by infrared technology. The advantage: There’s no material fatigue to the ski boot. The adjustments will only be made exactly where they are needed. A thermo-ductile Custom Cork Fit inner shoe is added.

Applicable for the following models: all Speedmachine models.

What else helps: Insoles and Grip Walk

Insoles: The basic fit of every ski boot can be improved through customized insoles. The foot’s arch is especially important for proper functioning of the foot as it is responsible for the optimal distribution of bodyweight and acts as a shock absorber.

Insoles support this natural process and therefore increase its efficiency. If the foot correctly positioned upright, you minimize uncomfortable pressure sores, relieve the feet and benefit from a more direct and therefore better power transfer.

Grip Walk: At ISPO 2016 GripWalk was presented with the ISPO GOLD AWARD. While the system was primarily available in ski rental shops in its first season, it is now available to buy from specialist traders too. The new profiled rubber soles ensure good grip.

At the same time the rounded Rocker Shape of the sole allows for relaxed and ergonomic walking. Special GripWalk bindings complete the system. The power transfer and safety release are consistently good and guaranteed.

Ski boot partners: Dalbello, K2, Nordica, Tecnica, Head, Fischer, Roxa

Ski partners: Völkl, K2, Nordica, Blizzard, Head, Fischer, Movement

Binding partners: Marker, Tyrolia

Author: Thomas Becker