You’ve heard the old refrain, “boots are the most important part of your gear setup.” This is for good reason; a pair of uncomfortable boots can ruin a weekend, an expensive ski holiday, or a whole season. After buying a pair on sale that were too big and a rushed job you finally bit the bullet went to the reputable boot fitter and got yourself a pair of well fitting boots that are snug, relatively comfortable and can take your skiing to the next level. Now you’re thinking “Well now what?”
We’d love to pass on some tips to help you protect that expensive investment and get the absolute most out of your prized ski boots.
Custom footbeds are one of the best upgrades you can make to your boots! We all want our houses built on a solid foundation, and you should demand the same with your ski boots. Custom footbeds give you the solid platform that will get your foot in a powerful neutral position creating less foot fatigue throughout the day. At Start Haus we carry Sidas heat molded custom footbeds and have several different options to choose from: Custom Pro Mesh offering a great blend of comfort and performance, to our low volume Custom Race blank which takes up minimal boot real estate and gives great performance!
Liner Upgrades and or Replacements
Various aftermarket liner options
Many of our customers ask about a liner upgrade as they are trying on ski boots. Generally at the Start Haus we recommend sticking with the liner that comes with the boot, barring any extreme fit issues or pre-existing conditions. There are several good reasons for this: modern liners are by and large really, really good! In the decade I have been fitting ski boots liners have improved by absolute leaps and bounds. Thanks to advances in laser scanning, CADD software, and injection molding foams “stock” boot liners ski well and fit great.
However, if your boot liner is packed out or if you’re fit isn’t feeling quite right, going to an aftermarket liner can be a wise move. Intuition liners have proven quite popular and boast several upsides. First and foremost, they are light and warm (relative to other liners). Secondly, they offer a custom fit. If you have a boney prominence on the foot an Intuition liner can be an excellent solution! Intuition liners feature a heat-moldable Ultralon foam that conforms to the shape of the foot and the liner offering (generally speaking) a good snug fit without being over the top tight.
Zip Fit liners are both a fit and performance upgrade that will make the boot snugger fitting and much more responsive. In fact, if the fit is too tight, we often struggle to get the Zip Fit liner in the boot at all. One excellent feature of the Zip Fit liner is that it is the only boot liner I know of that one can add material to, so as it packs out over time a boot fitter can simply add more material to it in specific zones to dial in the fit. Due to its snug fit the Zip Fit is often the choice of the expert skier how has a low volume foot that feels as if they can never get a tight enough fit.
Foam liners are the third and final aftermarket liner available from the Start Haus. Foam liners create a tight and uncompromising fit for the skier who doesn’t want their foot going anywhere! Foam is injected into the liner with the athletes foot in the liner and shell and will create a snug and precise fit. The molding process itself is quite intense and the liners take quite a while to pack out. If you’re looking for the snuggest fit possible or are just a foam fanatic from way back the Nordica foam liners we carry are the best in the business!
Canting and Alignment
Jim Schaffner uses a plumb bob to check a client’s knee position over the feet. The procedure tells Schaffner whether a skier is knock-kneed or bow-legged.
Canting is the relation of the center of the knee to the center of the ski boot. Skiers can be misaligned or out of balance in several ways. As it relates to canting, a skier can be bow legged, knock kneed, or windswept (in on one boot and out on another). None of these are desirable and some are worse than others. Depending on how much correction is needed, canting can either be the best investment you can make in your skiing or just a pleasant upgrade. To properly cant an athlete we would plane the sole of the ski boot, then raise the height by attaching lifters to the soles, and then cut the toe and heel back to the specific height to be DIN compatible.