Jeff Gray, Superfeet Guru and Master boot fitter, at work.
I answer more questions about boot fitting than anything else here on Cold Thistle. Happy to do it. But my feet are not your feet, so some times it is not the best answer for you specifically. It is just my experience and a guess as to what might help you. I have a much bigger post to write up eventually on all of this. Hopefully that will answer many more questions and fill in the details.
But let me cut to the chase here. Don't wait on me. If you need an insole (and most do) search out a Superfeet dealer.
If you ski....search out a dealer that has the knowledge and experience to do the Kork Custom foot beds.
No BS here...30 years ago Jeff fit me for a pair of custom Korks @ the Vegas ski/snow show and literally changed my life in the outdoors forever. I'll eventually write more, but Korks might be the additional help you need as well to up your own skiing. It really is worth the effort to search out a boot fitter that does Custom Superfeet Korks. They were without a doubt the best technology available for years. I have heard the arguements from both sides and seen the results as well from most everything available since then and IMO... done right, the hand made Korks are still the best technology available today in a ski boot.
Hi Dane. Thanks for the post about feet and orthotics. This hits home for me: I have really ugly feet. Perhaps not as ugly as some of the frost-bitten specimens you have seen, but I have huge bunions, collapsed arches, Morton's neuromas on both feet, surgery on left foot two years ago, and so on. As you can imagine, I have been around the block with orthotics. Over the years, I have probably bought at least ten pairs or more of custom orthotics, each for about 300-500$ What has my experience taught me? First, some work and some don't. It's nearly impossible to predict what will feel good, and what will do nothing for your feet. Second, it's important to find a real craftsman--not just somebody who glues layers together. I have been lucky to find a true craftsman here in Switzerland--and I don't use that word lightly. Third,trust yourself. You probably know what works for you as well as or better than the experts, including doctors. This is confirmed by an article from the NY Times, entitled, "Close Look at Orthotics Raises a Welter of Doubts." Basically, doctors can not really predict why and how orthotics work. I don't want to say that orthotics are not a good idea. Indeed, for me at least, they literally make it possible for me to run, cycle, ski, and climb, to say nothing of just walking around without pain. But the ultimate measure or weather or not they work is simply how they make your feet feel, and that seems to be something that doctors have no real idea how to engineer. I would be highly suspicious of any practitioner who had the attitude, "I know what's wrong with your feet and how to fix them." Instead, I would look for somebody willing to listen to your ideas (you probably know what works best) and work with you to find a solution.
As a follow up--how do you recommend incorporating custom insoles into the foam liner fitting process? When I had my foam liners fitted, the fitter was unwilling to place my custom insole into the hot liner for molding, fearing that the custom insole might de-laminate. We used a stock insole to take up space in the foam liner during fitting, but I could not help but feel that without the custom insole, the liner fit would never be perfect...ideas or solutions? Thanks!
Hi Bruno. Good input. But I do think there is a way to tell if a custom orthotic will help in a ski boot. More to come on that soon. But for fitting, I tape the orthotic to my feet along with the required toe cap and then put a thin sock over it all prior to molding/fitting the inner. Works perfect. I have to mold the liner with the insole to get the fit/room required. I don't put the insole in the oven, likely would destroy it. But have to say custom ski boot orthotics @ $250 a pair seem like a steal compared to the worthless POS custom orthotics I got from a licenced medical doctor @ $600 a pair.
Forgot..I must have something in my ski boots. My climbing boots I have done without but now (last 5 years or so) realise I need something more there as well. Just haven't taken the time to figure out exactly what yet or dialed it in.
A custom foot bed in a ski boot does improve your skiing. You can get on your edges so much faster. The way I think about it is, if you have an arch you have to almost make a double move to effectively get on that edge. When using a stiff footbed as you press on either side of your foot your instantly putting pressure on the part of the boot that will transmit energy to the edge. I am no boot fitter, this is just information I have recieved over the years from using various services from professional fitters. I got my skis and boots stolen, had to teach a lesson on rental gear, didnt care about crappy boots or skis, missed my footbed. Superfeet is awesome, use them in mountaineering/ ice climbing boots, in a ski boot I prefer to pay the extra to get that exact custom fit, so wherever I put pressure on the bed I get power transmission.
Bill good story. Superfeet's first product back in 1978/79 was a fully custom foot bed made of modable cork. Called the Superfeet "Kork" custom. Still available and because of the way it is done (un-weighted) still one of the best if not the best available IMO. I have not used the more typical cut to trim Superfeet but likely will yet this Spring.
I had to size up a ski boot for a high altitude adventure and couldnt really fork over the cash to get a custom foot bed. Got the Super Feet Thermal one and I didnt notice too much of a difference on my edges, maybe because I was breathing so hard though. Definitely warmer though, than the cork deal.
Good stuff here on a two part series fitting Alpine boots....
Which is similar but not the same as fitting Alpine touring boots suitable for serious dh skiing and climbing.
Dane, the Kork's I got about 8 years ago were the best thing I've used since - even with comparing custom orthotics. Still the most comfortable. However, I still need to find someone local who does em. You know someone in the Seattle area who still does the Kork's?
Remember Korks are ski boot specific. Might work in a dbl boot but not going to be good/best for your feet. Ski Mart 2220 S 37th St, Tacoma, WA 98409
(253) 473-1134 still does them.
thanks this - and ur excellent article on immersion foot which I found when wondering (worriedly) why tops of my feet were numb after recent not too cold climb in new baturas (still numb 1 month later)...I'm just going to go double from now on in even moderate weather and have been meaning to thank you for taking the time to write that particular piece.
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