AT Boot Lacer — and Anti Blister List

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

The backcountry skiing anti blister list (see comments for details):

- Double socks (two thin ones, theory is you get some friction between the socks instead of on your skin).
- Or, double socks using one super thin under a medium weight.
- Use athletes foot cream on blister area once a day (helps callus buildup).
- Use laceup liners or add-on laces (see below).
- Duct tape over problem areas, BEFORE BLISTERS HAPPEN.
- Pre-tape with athletic tape, similar to taping for sprained ankle.
- To make tape stick, clean area with alcohol wipes, possibly heat tape or warm to body temperature.
- Compeed (Band-Aid) blister cushions (best used for prevention, but possibly helpful to protect blister.
- Sport Slick or Body Glide lubricant applied to problem areas on feet. Zinc Oxide said to be generic version of this stuff.
- Foot powder such as 2toms Blister Shield. Used for prevention.
- Spyroflex pads.
- Change boot brand.
- Layer duct tape over 2nd Skin and perhaps Moleskin.
- Hydropel & Leukotape.

************************************************************
Thanks for WildSnow commenter Christian for bringing this up. I’m definitely in the club: that special group skiing the backcountry who’s heels move up and down and up and down inside their non-lace boot liners. Blisters, worn out liners interiors — the price is heavy. Hence, I wasn’t surprised to see an item available overseas that adds a pullover lace system to any AT randonnee boot liner. But sadly, it seems this device is hard to get as it’s not imported to North America. Yet, wait, what’s that I saw on that basketball player’s foot? A laceup ankle brace? Hmmmm…

Rando boot lace device. Otherwise known as an ankle brace.

Sports Authority rando boot lace device. Otherwise known as an ankle brace.

Sports Authority to the rescue. McDavid Ultralite Laced Ankle brace. Buy a large size, cut the straps off, slip over the boot liner, tighten the laces and there. A bit pricy in my opinion for $32.99, but how much are the inside of your boot liners worth? And how much is intact skin worth? I’ll definitely give this a go. To finish the mod, I’ll remove the velcro on both sides and perhaps cut it shorter at the top. Question is what the small amount of added thickness will do to my boot fit. Testing at home, the brace added a pleasant firmness to the ankle fit of my boots, and the bracing action definitely adds beef. Field testing will commence. If you’ve got blister problems or tend to wear out the insides of your liners in the heel area, a solution like this is worth playing around with for backcountry skiing.

Laceup liners perhaps do the same thing. But this method of using add-on laces strongly cinches the boot down on your foot and feels quite nice.

Commenters, fire away!

Comments

86 Responses to “AT Boot Lacer — and Anti Blister List”

  1. Dostie December 1st, 2009 9:18 am

    Nice!!!

  2. Mike December 1st, 2009 9:22 am

    Plenty of these kind of things available in snowboard stores as heel lift is a common problem in snowboard boots. Worth checking out if you are having problems.

  3. Lou December 1st, 2009 9:30 am

    Didn’t know about the snowboard option. Thanks!

  4. Klemens December 1st, 2009 9:40 am

    A company called Sidas, maker of ‘Conformable’ insoles for skiing also makes one of those specifically for skiing. Eliminated all heel problems for me in my Garmont Megarides.

  5. Tyler December 1st, 2009 9:57 am

    Lou,

    Thanks for post. This topic will likely turn out to be a top 10 I think because blisters have got to be the number 1 ski touring problem. Blisters and cold feet – who wants to ski tour with those problems. Anyhow, fantastic topic.

    During last week’s discussion I too was surfing around for the type of brace that you bought above.

    Mike and Klemen’s comments are great to know about as well.

  6. Mike December 1st, 2009 9:57 am

    Not as big a problem as it used to be with snowboard boots as the designs have improved and many boots now have lace up liners or other solutions but used to be very common and most big stores will still have something I would think.

  7. Lou December 1st, 2009 10:06 am

    I changed the post title and started the almighty “anti blister list” at the bottom fo the post. Everyone, fire away with your methods of stopping blisters!

  8. Cory December 1st, 2009 10:36 am

    Hail the all-mighty duct tape! On long tours, a strip starting below one ankle bone and wrapping around the back of the heel to the other ankle bone does the trick. It reinforces the skin and acts as a slippery surface for that little bit of wiggle room.

    Be careful as this method is politically charged. As preventative medicine, the Republicans are against it and the Democrats will want to pay for it. Meanwhile, all the independents are in their gear sheds thinking for themselves. So it goes.:wink:

  9. Lou December 1st, 2009 10:41 am

    Isn’t duct tape a conservative family value? I seem to recall it being so when a certain child was 2 years old and needed restraining while around dangerous machinery and wax irons. :angel:

  10. Andrea December 1st, 2009 10:54 am

    Long tours: I wrap my ankle as if it were sprained starting with pre-wrap and then athletic tape.

    Shorter days: Compeed and a single layer ski sock works for a couple of hours…any longer it starts to get hot down there….then it’s good to have duct tape to hold down the compeed.

    I am still on the fence with the double thin layer sock system….can’t say that it has helped prevent blisters in my world.

  11. El Jefe December 1st, 2009 10:54 am

    used the duct tape method many a time. in fact i have a nice picture of it after the first use of my boots. it doesn’t work for me on long tours, such as a hut trip. always slips off due to wear and sweat. this cuff looks interesting, but wouldn’t it add too much volume to your boots? i don’t know that i could fit that in there.

  12. Tyler December 1st, 2009 11:07 am

    I emailed the company that Lou posted a link to asking whether they will ship their Dynafit Lacing System to the US. There response is below. I also emailed Dynafit EE and USA, but have not had an response yet. Its been about 3 days. Past experience suggests a delay with Dynafit and email questions.
    ———————————————————————————————————
    Hi

    Sorry but we don’t ship to USA. Try to contact some of the dealers in Salt Lake City. Dealer locator: http://dynafit.com/uk/4/157/haendlersuche.html?send=1

    Maybe they can help you get the lacing system.

    Best regards

    Gaute

  13. Tyler December 1st, 2009 11:09 am

    Spoke too soon:
    ———————–
    Hi Tyler,

    That lacing system is not available in North America. I would recommend finding an international distributor who is will to ship to you where you are.

    Thanks,

    Sarah

  14. Tyler December 1st, 2009 11:12 am

    I emailed the company that Lou posted a link to asking whether they will ship their Dynafit Lacing System to the US. Their response is below.
    ———————————————————————————————————
    Hi

    Sorry but we don’t ship to USA. Try to contact some of the dealers in Salt Lake City. Dealer locator: http://dynafit.com/uk/4/157/haendlersuche.html?send=1

    Maybe they can help you get the lacing system.

    Best regards

    Gaute

  15. Tom Gos December 1st, 2009 11:14 am

    Lou, the ankle brace is a great idea. I would imagine it takes up some volume too, which for people like me with thin ankles would be really helpful. I have a lot of problems when hiking in the summer and have found that by slathering my feet with the greasy sort of “invisible” antiperspirant before putting my socks on I am able to stay blister free. This seems to help my feet to stay dry and also acts as a lube that prevents blisters.

  16. Brad C December 1st, 2009 11:21 am

    And probably helps your feet smell delightfully fresh.

  17. Greg December 1st, 2009 11:32 am

    I’ve never owned a pair of touring boots that don’t blister me; scarpa, lowa, garmont; both lace and no lace liners. I had tried everything. Thick socks, thin socks, two socks, nylons, duct tape, mole skin, etc. One day I decided I would try something that I have used for ultra-running; Sport Slick. It is this vaseline-like lubricant. I gob it on thick on those especially blister-prone areas. Problem solved. I don’t know if it reduces wear to the liner, but it certainly reduces wear to my feet.

  18. dean December 1st, 2009 12:06 pm

    My lace-up radium liners like to loosen. I need to really have the shell buckles off/loose. Therefore, snow likes to get into the liners or between the shell and liner. I’m working this. Obviously the pant should keep it out, but not always. so, I’m thinking of adding a little velcro strap tightener, likely hand sewing it onto the liner. this way, my cold fingers won’t always have to re – tie laces. (even double tied ones) We’ll see. Also, I like the foam that chuck the fitter added to the outside of the liner in the L shape to help keep my little heel down.

  19. Bill Bollinger December 1st, 2009 12:11 pm

    I have always kept a pair of thin silk or olefin socks as liners.
    A trick a guide taught me when I was in high school.
    They stick to your skin but slide around in the wool socks helping prevent blisters.
    I do not wear them all the time so my feet are toughened up some, but when I feel I am beginniing to get a hotspot, I put them on and they have always kept the blisters away.

  20. Christian December 1st, 2009 12:12 pm

    (not the Christian who helped start this post)

    but i’ve used a product called body glide for everything from ski touring to running and backpacking and it works great!!

    http://www.rei.com/product/745879

  21. KR December 1st, 2009 12:50 pm

    COMPEED is the only product you will ever need to slay a blister. Made by Johnson and Johnson and readily available everywhere except the US.

  22. Paul B December 1st, 2009 2:10 pm

    KR,

    Isn’t this the same thing as a Compeed?
    http://www.firstaidsuppliesdiscount.com/First-Aid-Supplies/Bandages/Johnson-johnson-Advanced-p6608888.html
    They sell it in all drug and grocery stores in my (Denver) area.

    I always use moleskin and give it extra stick by putting down a layer of Tincture of Benzoin.

  23. Josh M. December 1st, 2009 2:37 pm

    This is so up my alley – I get terrible blisters. Great idea, I may try it myself.

    As for foot powder I’ve had good luck with 2toms Blister Shield. I’m on my 3rd large container since early last year.

    http://www.2toms.com/products.html

  24. Greg Louie December 1st, 2009 3:21 pm

    The Band Aid branded pads seem to be the same as the Compeed I get in France – though the Compeeds come in a handy little plastic box. They work great for treating a blister that’s starting to form, or even a full-blown one, as long as your skin is dry when applied. They stick like skin for around 5-7 days, by which time your tour is over and/or new skin has grown underneath.

    Still not the same as not getting a blister in the first place.

  25. PC December 1st, 2009 3:38 pm

    Zinc Oxide (it’s the main ingredient in Body Glide I believe)

    Smeared on blister prone areas prior to putting on socks works wonders for preventing blister skiing and hiking. It’s cheap. It’s easier to clean up than sport slick, and other petroleum based products. It’s also better for wound care if blisters do develop.

    You can get a tube at your Pharmacy for a few bucks, although the little “deodorant stick” style body glide containers do pack really well.

    It’s also used as chamois butter for cycling, and for diaper rash in babies. So, it can do wanders for wear and tear from friction any where really, and can be used as sunblock/lipbalm in a pinch. However, I wouldn’t recommend applying it to other areas of concern directly from the tube if you might want to go the lipbalm route…gross.

    Think of it as duct tape in a tube.

  26. Andrea December 1st, 2009 4:34 pm

    COMPEED

    I am pretty sure that Johnson & Johnson the Band-Aid company bought Compeed
    It’s the same product with a different name. Paul’s link above has a picture of the Band-Aid product.

  27. KR December 1st, 2009 4:55 pm

    hmmm, I have used the band-aid product and haven’t had the same luck with that product as with Compeed. Perhaps it is all in my mind?

    In any case, you are right in that it isn’t the same as NOT getting a blister.

  28. Lee December 1st, 2009 4:55 pm

    What I don’t understand is why most the lace up inners of ski touring boots only have the lacing starting at the bottom of the shin and not across the top of the foot?
    Lacing here would solve the heel lift problem – just like in a shoe! Is it that complicated? I don’t know anyone who doesn’t put the liner on their foot before inserting both into the shell so what’s the reason for no lacing across the foot?

  29. Mason December 1st, 2009 4:59 pm

    Dean, when tying your knot on the liners, instead of one “loop” on the first part of the knot, try two turns or “loops”. This worked for me when I had the same problem, “double knots” never worked.

  30. Lou December 1st, 2009 5:46 pm

    It should be mentioned that the Black Diamond boots lace rather well. To be fair. :angel:

  31. gtrantow December 1st, 2009 7:57 pm

    Lou:
    How about a tour of our medical supply closet? We have several low cost ankle lacing systems, podiatric supplies, Compeed type products and solutions. We can pick out several products for you to demo over this season and develop an improved blister kit. I will get one of your doctors to write this off as research(grin).
    George, Aspen Orthopaedic Associates

  32. Dave B. December 1st, 2009 7:59 pm

    Psyched to think there’s hope for a blister free winter this year. I’m definitely going to try going the lube route, more drastic options to follow, if necessary.

  33. Mark December 1st, 2009 8:18 pm

    Spyroflex pads, regular and post-blister medicated, work best for me. Lou, have you considered Swiss cheesing those braces with a hole punch to reduce bulk/weight?

  34. Lou December 1st, 2009 8:25 pm

    Very funny Mark :angel:

  35. Blair Mitten December 1st, 2009 9:21 pm

    I had to trade in some Radiums for the Scarpa Spirit 4 to get more room in the toe.
    A bonus is the insteop buckle that holds the heel nice and tight.

  36. Fernando Pereira December 1st, 2009 11:31 pm

    On some of the proposed remedies:

    1) Duct tape: no thanks. The worst blister and shin bang wounds I’ve ever got touring were skin cuts from duct tape that became loose from sweat and folded inside the sock. When I got back to civilization, the wounds were scary. That’s when I discovered Compeed, at a pharmacy in Vernon BC. Magic.
    2) Spiroflex: that was my best choice before Compeed, got it from the guys who used to run Tioga Pass Resort. Very good if it stays on the skin, but it’s very easy for an edge to lift inside a sock.
    3) Compeed: the best. Sticks, lasts through showers, heals reliably. I liked the original version better than the many Band-Aid+Compeed variants available currently in the US, I’ll have to see if I can get a supply of the original when I visit Canada in a couple of weeks.

  37. Mark December 1st, 2009 11:36 pm

    It wasn’t meant to be a joke! I know, it is hard to discern tone in writing sometimes. Anyway, the ankle brace looks like a good approximation of the Dynafit lace add-on without the challenge of learning to order in Norwegian.

  38. Colin in CA December 2nd, 2009 1:01 am

    I used to get nasty blisters on both sides of both heels in my T1s. When I switched to BD Pushes… no issues. These are what I think are the reasons: narrower shell in the heel, deep heel pocket molded into the liner, and the Boa lacing. Unfortunately, the Boa liner didn’t do the best job of keeping my toes warm, so I may switch to Intuitions on my Factors and be back in the same boat with blister issues again.

  39. ScottP December 2nd, 2009 3:54 am

    I put in another vote for 2toms blistershield powder. It can be difficult to apply, you really need to make sure to get a lot of it on the specific affected area, but if it’s there the stuff works great. It was the only thing we found that worked to prevent my girlfriend from getting blisters, after several years of trying everything we could find.

  40. Lou December 2nd, 2009 7:27 am

    Mark, the idea of cutting the ankle brace shorter did occur to me, as it’s unnecessarily high. That would reduce the weight quite a bit, as would stripping everything off it as well as perhaps removing the thin interior fabric/padding layer.

  41. tyler cruickshank December 2nd, 2009 7:28 am

    Lou, Speaking of BD liners …. 32 days marks your “efficient series” revelation. I still havent seen a pair of these out here in SLC (probably cus there isnt much skiing to be had). Perhaps for those of us interested in a lighter boot relative to the Factor/Method this new boot will be the ticket complete with laced liner, narrower heel pocket, and liner heel pocket?

    I’m very interested to see what they have going …

  42. Lou December 2nd, 2009 7:59 am

    Hi Tyler, BD definitely has something up their sleeve. It’ll be interesting!

  43. Tom December 2nd, 2009 8:50 am

    For anyone having trouble getting the Band-aid blister pads to stick well:
    Pack a couple of little alcohol wipe packets and preclean the area before you stick ‘em. Made a huge difference for me.

  44. brendan madigan December 2nd, 2009 9:55 am

    I apologize for not reading all 43 comments, but I know for a fact that Garmont will specifically replace worn (interior areas) liners for a couple of seasons. It is always worth calling the companies, saying you x number of days on these liners, etc. and that they’ve worn out. I have personally had two replaced, as I have heel lift issues. Having said that, I won’t be putting an ankle brace in my ski boot! Come on people, tape those heels and keep on climbing!

  45. Lou December 2nd, 2009 10:25 am

    Good point Brendan. I’d add that warranties are great unless you’re in the middle of a big trip.

  46. hafilax December 2nd, 2009 12:13 pm

    This is the standard amongst my group for treating blisters once they have formed especially on multi day trips:

    Clean and dry the area. Cut a piece of 2nd skin to the size of the blister. Cover that with a slightly larger piece of moleskin and cover that with duct tape. It basically makes an artificial blister. The 2nd skin keeps it cool, lubricated and prevents infection. The moleskin sticks to the skin really well and holds it in place. The duct tape slides really easily and helps prevent the whole thing from peeling off.

    Did a 3 day trip last spring with one person getting a bad blister on the first day. The above kept him pain free (from the blister at least) for the rest of the trip.

  47. David December 2nd, 2009 12:37 pm

    Puh, lots if tips… Cant see anything about shaving your shins here. Not to good looking but great for preventing blisters on the shins.

  48. Wyatt December 2nd, 2009 7:21 pm

    The guys over at BPL (like Andrew Skurka) swear by Hydropel and Leukotape. Super quality stuff, and the price reflects it, but I believe its the most tried and true blister prevention/alleviation method among the thru-hiking crows.

  49. Lou December 2nd, 2009 8:15 pm

    Leukotape is amazing. I always keep it around. Mostly for taping my knee, but it comes in handy for a bunch of stuff. Sticks to skin like crazy so you have to be careful what you use it for. For large areas, you’re supposed to use another type of tape as a base, forgot what that stuff is called, made by BSN medical products.

  50. Stewart December 3rd, 2009 10:40 pm

    If your heels are moving enough to give you blisters, then your ski boots don’t fit. Requiring lacing systems and multiple socks indicates too much space. On extended trips the key to foot love is prevention. Just massage your feet with Shea Butter (the substantive ingredient in Body Glide) every morning, and (provided your boots actually fit) you won’t get blisters. Tape bunches up and actually initiates blisters unless regularly monitored and replaced. If you’re unfortunate enough to develop blisters on a trip, the best of a bunch of bad options is to apply Friars Balsam, which will dry out the blisters and provides a durably adhesive surface for taping. Leukoplast zinc-oxide tape is the most durable and adhesive tape available.

  51. Mark W December 4th, 2009 12:10 am

    Body Glide has an expiration date, so watch out! I’ve smelled rancid Body Glide, and lemme tell you, it ain’t a summer rose garden.

  52. Lee December 4th, 2009 5:20 am

    Yes Stewart blisters are a result of boots not fitting – but there are only so many manufacturers to choose from and increasingly boot manufacturers are using boot lasts with wider heels in my experience. Thermo form boots aren’t always the answer either, but better lacing systems or add-ons maybe.

    Forget custom-built skis, it’s custom built boots liners that’s the niche waiting to be filled.

  53. Louis Rosenfeld December 4th, 2009 6:10 am

    Everyone, I’m new here, some of my customers brought this site to my attention. I think if you look closely at the Zipfit website the product they call Pullover is exactly what you are describing here when talking about the anklet. However it has the added advantage of using a moldable cork filler to really snug up fits and it continually molds to your foot to maintain fit. As cork doesn’t lose its resilience the product never packs out. We sell many and mostly to backcountry skiers.

    Lou

  54. Lou December 4th, 2009 8:05 am

    Stewart, I agree with you to some extent but not totally. With a tongue style boot shell and non-lace liner, if I loosen everything for touring comfort, my heel moves up and down in the liner as there is nothing holding my ankle down inside the liner and 8 or so pounds of ski and boot dragging in the down direction. No matter how much fitting and molding I do, this happens. It’s just physics. If I tighten the boot buckles over the instep there is indeed less rubbing, but then I don’t have the touring flex comfort. This is true in overlap boots as well, though slightly less of a problem because the overlap can be buckled over the instep while the upper cuff is unbuckled and independent of the instep buckle as there is no cuff tongue . One of the advantages of overlaps.

    So again, if one does have a problem with blisters, holding that liner snugly on the foot with some laces can make a big difference and is most certainly at least worth a try. BUT only after the boot is properly fitted.

    I’d add another thing here. Blisters are cause by rubbing and PRESSURE. You can lightly rub your skin all day long and you won’t get a blister. Thus, spots that blister are often places where the boot liner is shaped in souch a way as to create a pressure point. This can be subtle, it’s not like the liner is necessarily painfully stabbing your foot, but it’s nonetheless what’s happening.

    Thus, blisters can sometimes be mitigated by a person knowing where their problem areas are, and building up a thin layer of tape over that area before molding their liners. Three layers of duct tape can do the trick.

    Also, feet without calluses in the rubbing/pressure areas are very prone to blister. I’m a big advocate of getting feet used to boots by a gradual progression in time. That’s easy if you live in a mountain town and can get out any time you want for a walk. It’s tough if you’re a city dweller and looking at boots for that dream vacation at a Canadian hut.

    In latter case, at least go for hikes in the boots!

    And here is a little something for those not squeamish:

    Ray Jardine says in his book that foot fungus (yes, we can say that here on Wildsnow.com!) actually serves a useful purpose in that it exists to some extent on everyone’s feet, and eats away dead skin to keep the thickness of callus under control. He claims that by using athlete’s foot cream on problem areas, you can build up better callus and thus prevent blisters. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now and it seems to help. (I just added to my usual foot care routine).

    For me, I only get blisters during long flat slogs. If I’m looking at a trip like that, I do pre-tape and try to experiment with but buckle patterns. But it’s been a problem for me for years. The resulting blisters heal slow and can be a real bummer during an active season.

    And finally, let me just emphasize that popped raw blisters are a serious wound that exposes a lot of infection prone area. People get bad infections from blisters. I recall a few kids back in my outdoor ed days who even had to be hospitalized because of staff infections. So if you do get a raw blister, don’t gut it out! Use the incredible knowledge in this thread to protect the area.

    But mainly, let’s get to the point where the word BLISTER becomes unknown in all languages of the world.

  55. Lou December 4th, 2009 8:51 am

    Louis or anyone, can someone give us a link to that Zipfit product you mention? I can’t find it on their website. It’s either a crumby website, or it doesn’t exist there…

    Here is the website:

    http://www.zipfit.com/

  56. gonzoskijohnny December 4th, 2009 1:56 pm

    nice beta all.
    I hike for turns A LOT, but since i switched to free pivoting AT from tele cable bindings, and modern heat molded inner boots from plastic reinforced leather single boots, i have had only 1 blister in 6 years. :biggrin:
    Yes there is some up-down heel movement, liner fabric wears out back there in about 1 season (60 days), and socks wear thin there, but anything more than the wear issues indicates the heel of the boot (either moleded liner or shell) does not accomodate your foot very well. it would be great if someone would use an effective lacing system (like the salomon kevlar cable laces on the nordo boots) in their liner boots.
    I used to do liner sock- outer sock, but would get pressure points/ pre-blisters from wrinkles, so I went with a single sock and all is well. The only blister happend on a long, hard hot day on italian glaciers, where the socks got soaked, and i was too lazy to change them, or to un-crease the folds that were begining to form.
    as above, compeed saved my feet for the next 10 days of touring.
    hopefullly the bot co guys will see htsiand bring around some laced and better wearing boot liners :shocked: .
    where do you get warranty garmont liner replacements when yours wear out in year1?

  57. Josh M. December 5th, 2009 9:54 am

    I stopped by my local Dick’s sporting goods last evening and attempted to slip one of those same size large ankle braces over my boots. Strangely, even with the laces removed, I wasn’t able to get it on there! These are intuitions molded for size 27 Zzeros. It was sort of a relief at almost $80/pair. Perhaps I need an XL?

    The other day (only the second on these boots and the second on my feet this season) I was tightening up the instep buckle in order to eliminate heal lift. I managed to avoid any blisters (on a shortish day, ~5 hours) but the tightened buckle actually bruised my foot at the instep. Ouch! I think that some kind of liner-tightening system could really help me out.

    To the suggestions of: “If you get heel movement your boots aren’t fit properly.” I’ll echo Lou’s comments about the skiing vs. skinning. Also, I have super narrow, low volume feet that blister easily and am in the boot with (as far as I can tell) the narrowest, best shaped heal pocket and the thickest, most conforming liner. I’ve even had my footbeds worked on by a touring specialist which helped reduce heel a lot but not 100%

    My next experiment will be using athletic tape over the liner to tighten up the ankle before I put on the shells.

  58. tyler cruickshank December 5th, 2009 12:06 pm

    Lou,

    If you gave the McDavid’s a whirl this weekend I’d love to hear how it went. By mistake, I came home with a pair of McDavid Lightweight (instead of ultra light weight) braces. Mine have too much padding so I’ll need to return them and order the others.

    Thanks!

  59. David P December 6th, 2009 7:07 pm

    2 comments from a fellow heel blister sufferer:
    -The best thing I know of for getting tape to stick is a product called Mastisol. It’s what we use in the OR for dressings or tape that HAS to stay on. We get it in these little individually packaged ampoules that you squeeze and then rub on the site, but I know that they used to also sell it in a little pump spray bottle. Second best is tincture of benzoin.
    - I was looking for a new set of liners for my alpine boots on the Intuition web site and noticed that they are selling a new AT liner with laces. It looks pretty cool (or actually pretty warm).

  60. Tyler December 8th, 2009 10:01 am

    I just wanted to give this thread a quick bump …

    Did you get to try the ankle braces Lou?

    The Intuition liner that David mentioned wasnt available from Intuition’s website a few weeks ago. Good to see it there now. That liner does look nice.

    So if laces work, for me it might be a choice between $70 for ankle braces or $180 for new Pro Tour liners. Has anyone tried those liners?

  61. Lou December 8th, 2009 10:24 am

    Tyler, I’ve been doing some skinning but have not tried the brace in real life. Might even try it today.

  62. Lou December 9th, 2009 9:10 am

    Tried the lacer yesterday. Works amazingly well. The feeling of a snug liner on my foot was incredibly pleasant, not to mention much less blister producing. The volume of the unit was a problem as I haven’t stripped it down yet. Once I remove the velcro and padding it should be fine. Definitely doesn’t need to be as tall. I can probably just cut it shorter.

  63. Tyler December 9th, 2009 12:06 pm

    Thanks for the info Lou. So, probably a good idea to spend the $70 first before the $180 for a new liner pair.

  64. Josh M. December 11th, 2009 7:47 pm

    Tangetially related:

    Today, mostly as an experiment, I tried wrapping athletic tape around my liners to tighten them onto my foot before putting on the shells. As expected, the tape was a hassle to apply and even harder to remove. But, the improvement was incredible! Not only did I have no blisters in ~5 hours of skinning, the skin wasn’t even it’s usual red, irritated self. Also, I was able to skin with the all of the buckles completely loosened most of the time which improved blood flow and comfort dramatically, (especially in the chilly 10 degree weather.) I could really feel the liner moving with my foot and an almost complete lack of friction.

    So I think what can be taken from this is:

    A) In a pinch, you can tape your liners to avoid blisters
    B) I really need to get some sort of lace tightening device or lace-up liner.

    I’m looking forward to a review of the Pro Tour liner.

    cheers everybody

  65. tyler cruickshank December 13th, 2009 10:18 pm

    OK, I tested the ankle brace today. I used the Mcdavid Ultralite just like Lou did. I stripped it of all its velcro and straps. I used it on one foot only. The result was good. I didnt get a blister or even rubbing on either foot, but the brace provided a much more secure liner-foot fit. I had no foot movement inside the liner with the brace, but had plenty of slippage of the foot without the brace. I liked it enough to crack open the second brace package and take the knife to it.

    Brace testing today came at a cost. I lost a skin while skinning DOWN the mountain due to the massive amounts of snow that have fallen here in the last 48 hours making up and down skiing nearly impossible.

  66. Lou December 13th, 2009 10:37 pm

    Tyler, good to hear that the brace worked, sorry about the skin. So you didn’t know the moment you lost it, and it’s actually buried up on the hill somewhere?

  67. Tyler December 14th, 2009 10:25 am

    Yeah, can you believe it? We had huge amounts of snow and every step of the way up you’d sink to your hip (note that I have “only” 120mm skis), then, you’d have to wrestle your ski back to the surface. When we had had enough and said lets go down we found that we couldnt move. Skis would again sink. So, we ended up putting our skins back on and skinned down the hill. For whatever reason I dont know when I lost it. I was using this technique where I’d kind of drop the tail of the ski down and into the snow in order to keep the tip up. I suspect thats why I didnt notice it. I should also add that I havent waxed these old skis in years so its not like they were slippery sticks. In any case we were nearly down when I figured I had lost it. We looked a little but determined it was hopeless and it was late. Old skins anyhow.

  68. Shane Ingram December 17th, 2009 7:23 am

    Lou and Tyler, what size boots do you have and what size ankle brace did you use ? I’m assuming a large size brace will outside a size 26.0 liner.

  69. Lou December 17th, 2009 7:59 am

    I’m a 28 and I used an XL, a large would probably be good for a 26.0, because of the laces it’s got a lot of adjustment range. BTW, when you test this start with a short tour, not something extreme. Also, in my case it is necessary to really strip the things down and remove as much padding and velcro as possible.

  70. Tyler December 17th, 2009 9:04 am

    And I’m a 27 shell. The XL worked best. Originally I had bought a L and it fit, but the XL is better. You have to figure the brace is designed for a foot so a liner constitutes a very beefy foot!

    Also, I mistakenly bought the cheaper “Lightweight” model, but it had too much padding sewn in. The “Ultralight” has less padding but more straps. Like Lou said, I cut every last thing off including a part of the heel pocket stretch stuff and the tongue. I couldnt even buckle the boot before I cut everything off. Tomorrow I will try out both liners braced.

  71. Jeff December 17th, 2009 6:39 pm

    The fit in my boots is rather tight so I don’t think Lou’s basketball ankle brace experiment will work for me. But has anybody had any luck finding an aftermarket lacing system like the dynafit system sold here in the US? If so, would you mind including a link? I looked up the zipfit site and the Sidas site but could not find lace up systems. Alternatively, anybody find a distributor who will send the dynafit laces to the US? The Intution lace up liners look great but $180 is out of my budget range. Thanks.

  72. Lee December 18th, 2009 2:01 am

    Jeff I live in France and recently bought some of the Dynafit lacers. They’re definitely thin and weigh just 1 1/2oz each. They aren’t perfect but with a few modifications they seem to work. Hoping to give them a proper field test in the next few days then I can finish a review for Lou’s blog. If after reading the review you think they’re for you and you can’t find anything similar in the US, then I could always order some and mail them on – might take a few weeks and I’ll need to check postage, but at least they’re lightweight so hopefully it won’t be prohibitively expensive.

  73. Arne December 18th, 2009 6:11 am

    The best blister prevention I have tried is Tensoplast (http://wound.smith-nephew.com/nz/node.asp?NodeId=2853). It is elastic so it forms according to your heel, and the glue sticks really well, even when soaking wet from sweat. If you treat it a little carefully when taking socks on and off it will last for 5 days or more. It is more durable than Compeed in my experience, although Compeed does a much better job if a blister has already started to form.

    One drawback of Tensoplast is the rough surface, it is not low friction. Still, it has served me better than any other alternative I have tried.

  74. Lou December 18th, 2009 8:14 am

    Jeff, once you strip the ankle brace it’s just thin nylon.

  75. tyler cruickshank December 18th, 2009 2:34 pm

    Jeff,

    A few weeks ago I asked Salwea if they knew how a person could get a hold of the lacers. They didnt know and responded with this:
    “I have no way of knowing who or where you can find that product. Your best bet is to use the internet and search the item.”
    This wasnt the helpful response that I was hoping for. I guess there must be no connection between the US and EU distributors.

  76. Matt January 15th, 2010 5:14 pm

    Lou,
    my wife tried at pair of the Zipfit pullovers to try and solve some heel lift – didn’t work for her. She actually bought them from Louis Rosenfeld’s shop and paid about $100 – your solution is basically the same thing at a fraction of the price. I can send you a picture if you want to see what they look like.

  77. Lou January 15th, 2010 7:12 pm

    Matt, sorry to hear they didn’t work. Quite a few people have contacted me and said they’ve implemented some sort of lacing solution and that it’s worked great. But each boot fitting problem is different…

  78. edMac May 9th, 2010 9:14 am

    This is a GREAT discussion. For so many years my narrow healed low volume feet have been blistered in both tele and AT boots. Thanks for all the info. I am set to leave on a back to back trans Sierra this week, I think I will just bring some rolls of athletic tape and tape my Scarpa F3 liners tight (until I get set up with some lace system). Yes, I can see it now, 5 lbs of tape on the tour :-o

    On my tele boots I have noticed that the Garmont lace up liners work great for helping prevent blisters — it just makes sense from the physics of it all.

    I have great fitting boots, with custom foot beds, professionally fit at the Boot Doctors. The “physics” of loosening up your boot buckles while hiking and skinning, will allow move independent movement of your foot at the liner, and this will result in blisters — no matter how well your boots fit in the shop.

    For what it is worth, I also find that it is important to stop early on in the day (after the first 1/2 mile even) if you feel a hot spot and deal with it before it comes a blister. Group dynamics, testosterone, and summit fever often however make it not easy for group members to speak up, take 10 minutes to pull the boots off and fix the situation. Ask others in your group if they need to do any boot/blister adjustments early in the trip – welcome it. Smarter to deal with it earlier, versus having to then really have someone dragging behind because they can not move hours later due to extreme blister issues.

    Thanks again for all the info. Perhaps write up all the findings here in magazine article(s) to get the good words out. Every trip I go on someone has a blister issue. Super important!

  79. Functional Training Equipment May 31st, 2010 5:21 am

    Yeah, there are some amazing product out there. It’s kindof an art.

  80. tony September 15th, 2010 5:08 pm

    any news on the avaialbility of the Dynafit Lacing System in the USA this season?

  81. Lou September 15th, 2010 8:20 pm

    Tony, I’ll ask…

  82. Frame June 14th, 2012 9:28 am

    I’ve been getting some work done on the liners of my Titan’s as I’m getting heel lift leading to blisters.
    A shoe repair company has added a further set of lace eyelets lower down from those that come as stock on the liner. I haven’t tested this yet, but the extra eyelets are still on the lower calf (vertical part of liner), rather than across the ankle/pivot (under the middle buckle, of a 3 buckle boot).

    Additionally, I liked the look of the lace system photographed above and the Dynafit offering that was linked to on a Norwegian website. Via the UK Dynafit agent Anatom, here is a link to a French website selling the Dynafit pullover lacing system
    http://tinyurl.com/d4a5do9
    Depending on location and language abilities this may be of use.
    Additonally for UK folk (where i’m living), Anatom (co uk) are expecting stock in October ’12 and have put one aside for me (~£25).

    Here’s hoping I can avoid future heel blisters and the boot fitter work will take care of some on the side of the foot. I am using epitact shin protector gel pads on my shins… You could say I’m blister prone.

    Have had good results with compeeds protecting the blister once it’s formed.

  83. Lou June 14th, 2012 10:17 am

    Frame, consider a buckle relocation to get that mid-buckle cinching down a bit rearward and doing a better job of holding your foot down. But if you do it, be sure you don’t locate it in such as way as to have the lower cuff buckle hit it when the cuff is flexed. This buckle relocation is all it takes for me to make all my boots blister free. But the liner lacing also sometimes has a huge effect. Lou

  84. Frame June 14th, 2012 10:54 am

    Cheers Lou, I’m starting to get a taste for this mod’ing thing…

  85. frank joyce January 29th, 2013 12:16 pm

    Hello there,
    Slightly off topic but at least in same anatomical area. As a mainly nordic skier I have tried over the years to improve my downhill technique sufficiently to do selected AT ski day tours. My quite tight fitting Garmont boots had’nt been used for many years (I know how sad is that) and when I next used them suffered excrutiating pain/bruising of my protruding ankle bones and swelling of soft tissue. Although I was able to borrow other boots the damage had been done so skiing was agony. Anyway this year with more down hill training have decided to spend another week ski touring but this time borrow some boots (only worth me buying some new ones if I tour regularly).
    I have seen toeless elasticated socks which have enclosed gel pads which corresponds to ankle bone positions to provide cushioning. I was wondering if any of you had tried these and what you reckon on them and how durable they are in practice!! Would they last a weeks touring?
    Appreciate your thoughts.
    Regards, Frank.

  86. Lou Dawson January 29th, 2013 12:35 pm

    Frank! “Padding” isn’t how you make a ski boot fit. You need to have it shaped to your foot to eliminate pressure points. Talk to a boot fitter before you go another inch. Lou

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