A Few Boot Questions


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

J.W. emailed me with a couple of questions this morning that I figured would make a fun blog:

J.W. — I just tried on the new Spirit 4 with the new Intuition/Scarpa liner. The inside of this liner has a very rough texture. Have you or your wife (anyone who has skied in them) found that this lining is somewhat abrasive on your foot?

Lou — We did wonder about that, but it has not been a problem. Using socks your feet like is key with any boot. Also, any rubbing points in the liner will smooth a bit over time.

J.W. — Now that you have a convection oven, do you think it is actually superior to using a plain old kitchen oven for boot molding? Some of the companies are recommending just using the blower type heater for their liners. Seems like this is ok if the liner is pre-molded to the shell (as the Krypton liners and the new Scarpa liners are), but if you are using them as an aftermarket liner, does this work adequately? FYI, the Krypton ID Gold liner is pretty sweet, you should check it out.

Lou — Indeed, Scarpa recommends that their new liners be molded by heating the interior so as not to loose the lasted shape. That makes sense to me, since one of the toughest parts of liner molding is getting the squishy hot liner to align correctly in the boot shell and come out with no wrinkles.

As for our convection oven, it is indeed superior and was worth the money since we mold a lot of liners, but we’ll be switching to the interior heating when necessary. And yes, if you’re fitting aftermarket liners to a boot then you’d indeed need to oven mold them since they wouldn’t be lasted for that exact boot.

We molded Lisa’s Scarpa liners in the convection oven, and it seemed to adversely affect some of the foam up around the top of the cuff, so perhaps they truly are not compatible with being baked in an oven.

Whatever the case, our convection oven won’t get thrown away anytime soon as it makes decent chocolate chip cookies, even if they do taste slightly funny.

J.W. — Lastly, in the past you have mentioned shimming the fore foot of a shell (such as the Spirit) to take up extra volume and to flatten out the “boot board”. Do you just use a thin dense bootfitting foam or Bontex and then taper it for a smooth transition into the arch area? I’ve been skiing in Megarides for a few years, and they’ve been good, but some of the features of the Spirit 4 are nice (taller stiffer cuff, amazing walk mode), but they are just too roomy in the forefoot.

Yep, for me the Scarpa foot board feels like I’m standing on the tip of a baseball bat, so I do flatten it out by building some shim under the fore foot. This also takes up some volume and just like you my Scarpas fit better if I do that. So as not to pick on Scarpa, I’ve had the same problem with other AT boots as well, to varying degrees. I use Bontex insoles, taper them, fasten to the boot with doubled duct tape, etc. Have noticed the Bontex deteriorate over time if left in moist boots, but have not found a better substitute. We tried plastic, but it was too slippery and difficult to fasten with tape or glue. I don’t like using foam for this sort of shimming, since the foot support in AT boots is often gushy enough as it is.

There you go, a few Thursday boot tips from the WildSnow modshop!

Comments

34 Responses to “A Few Boot Questions”

  1. Jim Jones September 6th, 2007 9:37 am

    How bout injected liners? I’ve had them since I was twelve along with custom insoles. They last a long time, give superior performance but are not cheap.

  2. Justin September 6th, 2007 11:19 am

    I’m honored to be blog of the day starter :) I read your tips for helping liners “puff up” as much as possbile, and avoid them shrinking as they are cooling (I’ve had the same problem). Do you think kitchen oven vs. convection vs. blower has any effect on this?

    Jim – injected liners are very heavy compared to Intuition style liners, not ideal for touring in my opinion.

  3. Geof September 6th, 2007 2:38 pm

    Lou,

    A scarpa question… I’ve got the 07 Denali TT’s with the previous version of the heat moldable liners. I don’t think they are made by EVO. Either way, I’ve had difficulty getting the heel locked down well. Any tips besides the usual shims etc? The liners are VERY comfortable, but I can’t seem to get the heel nailed. I’ve molded them twice now. Any help would be Muy Beuno…

  4. Tony September 6th, 2007 6:09 pm

    The Garmont Gfit 3 does a great job of keeping your heel down with its partial laces. First time since going to thermo liners that I didn’t have to worry about my heel slipping.

    Lou, do you know if the new Dynafit MultiForm (MF) liner has any themomoldable foam in it? It only has partial laces, like the Garmont, but I am getting conflicting info about the thermo foam. If it doesn’t have the themo, how do you adjust the fit around the lower part of your foot without the laces?

  5. Lou September 6th, 2007 7:08 pm

    Justin, check’s in the mail (grin).

    Geof, the only thing I’ve ever had success with in that situation is gluing layers of foam on both sides of liner, all the way up from the bottom to the cuff, then tapering till they feel right. I do it after molding. It’s quite a bit of work. Lots of AT boots don’t have very good heel pockets, ditto for the liners. Tough for the makers, as one person’s snug heel pocket is another’s blister machine.

    If your heel moves up and down don’t overlook adding a bit more over the instep to hold your foot down. Some people focus on the heel pocket when they actually need to work the whole boot from the arch on back to the heel.

  6. Geof September 7th, 2007 12:36 pm

    Lou,

    That is a great idea. I didn’t think of the possibility that my upper foot could be the problem. And, the more I think about it it actually, nmake more sense the way I am forced to crank down the center buckle… I’ll give it a shot!!! Come on SNOW!!!

  7. Danny B. September 10th, 2007 1:56 pm

    I have a boot question of my own. I have never owned an AT boot, and do all my skinning in either tele gear or alpine boots & fritschis (side country).

    That said I’m looking to get a pair of AT boots that are dynafit compatible & as stiff as possible, as I am skiing big boards. It seems that leaves me with either a Scarpa Spirit 4, or a Dynafit Zzero (carbon or pebax?). Light is nice, but weight isn’t my primary concern, stiffness is. Any thoughts on which is beefier, or other options? Thanks, love the site, keep up the good work!

  8. Lou September 10th, 2007 3:16 pm

    We’ve used the Spirit line extensively and can vouch for them, but they’re not as stiff as an alpine boot. The perhaps Zzero is a bit stiffer in the cuff but the rest of the boot is similar in flex to something like a Spirit. I’d say get them to your house, try on and flex the boot, then send back if they seem too soft.

  9. Dave Carver September 12th, 2007 8:30 am

    Hi Lou,

    I noticed a mention of “Bontex” insoles. Went to their website but they have a bewildering array of products and no pictures – can you believe that?

    Which of their products do you like?

    Dave

  10. Lou September 19th, 2007 10:26 am

    Dave, I have no idea what the exact name of the darn things is… they’re kind of a hard cardboard, the idea is they don’t have any softeness or give, so they build up the ski boot without adding play.

  11. David Aldous September 29th, 2007 9:36 am

    Do you think it would work to add a little bit of rubber to the front half of the liner instead of building up inside the shell? The new intuition liners already have a bit of a sole added. This would just be adding to the sole and give you better durability if you use the liner by itself at times.

  12. Marian October 9th, 2007 1:52 am

    Hi, I need a little advice, I want to try Intutions for my Garmonts G-Ride, I prefer descents and fatter skis (K2 Mt.bakers) and stiffer boots. Can I use Intution Power Wraps for touring, or, are they too stiff ? Or, better, to try Intuition Alpine Customs? Thaks very much for tips & advices.

  13. Sean Owens November 9th, 2007 2:22 pm

    Lou, Thank you for your advice and prompt reply. I understand your reason for privacy on your health; I just wanted to let you know why I was contacting you with my question. To be more specific, I remember having difficulty getting my foot in a ski boot with and a good ankle much less one that’s stuck at a 90. Excuse my ignorance, but have boot designs changed or are there specific brands I need to look at? Do you think I’ll need a custom boot made? Thank you for your help and comment. It feels like I’m the only one with this problem. Not to be “pun-ny”, but I just want try and shoehorn myself back into aspects of my former active life. Thanks

  14. Lou November 9th, 2007 7:55 pm

    Sean, it is indeed harder to get the fused foot in to a ski boot, especially when you’re crammed in a tent! Forgot to mention that (grin).

  15. Charles November 30th, 2007 12:45 am

    I was wondering if you know anything about the Tecnica Agent AT boot? It appears to be a redressed Lowa X-alp Pro, which won an award at the ISPO? Thanks.

  16. Rob January 8th, 2008 7:05 am

    Scarpa spirit 4 way stiffer than the new Dynafits, even the red ones. The Dynafit is super light though, but really squishy forward lean.

  17. Sherry January 11th, 2008 3:49 pm

    Lou, I have a small foot therefore can’t find a double plastic mountaineering boot that fits so am trying to see if I can use my telemark boots as mountaineering boots. My concern is the liners are too tight and feel like they care cutting the circulation off my feet. Can they be re-warmed and re-molded to make them more comfortable?
    Thanks

  18. Lou January 11th, 2008 5:08 pm

    Hi Sherry, you can re-mold most thermo liners several times. Lou

  19. Dominic January 15th, 2008 8:00 am

    On a general boot fitting point. Have you seen the footbeds that bicycle manufacturer Specialized are making? Called Body Geometry footbeds. There are 3 different ones for different arch heights, they even come with shims that go under the forefoot to correct the angle of the bones there. They seem to be ideal for skiing too. The one thing I like about them is that they can be used to correct a foot problem as opposed to just supporting a problem, (which is all that a footbed custom moulded around a problem foot can ever do!). Plus they seem reasonable cheap!

  20. Marie February 18th, 2008 10:49 pm

    Help with THermoliner fitting?:
    Got a pr of MegaRides that fit SO tight that my feet went numb, but I heard the Heat fitting would do wonders and the shell size was correct. SO, Got them heat molded with thin sock and toe cap, and now i am swimming in them, like they went from 2 sizes too small, to 2 sizes too big…..I am so bummed i didnt just live thru the pain a few times.
    I know they can be heat molded again, but do i go barefoot, or bag the toecap? Or one place recommended youjust heat the liner again and it will fill itself in. (without re-fitting?) that sounded weird.
    Any help appreciated.

  21. Lou February 19th, 2008 11:09 am

    Marie, you’ve sometimes got to mold them without socks, and make sure you do it correctly in many other ways. Did you get help from a pro or try to do it yourself? Are your shells the correct size?

  22. Ray February 21st, 2008 2:57 pm

    Hi Lou
    I recently bought a pair of Garmont megalites. I had to get the left boot blown out near the front to accommodate a wide front foot as a result of a foot injury. Do you think I should heat the liner an remold them or will they stretch. I’ve got a sore spot on my small toe as this fitting problem is ongoing.

  23. Lou February 21st, 2008 2:59 pm

    Ray, I’m surprised the boot fitter didn’t punch out the liner as well. It’s easy to do. Go back with your liners and just get a spot punch done in that spot.

  24. Ray February 21st, 2008 4:05 pm

    Lou
    Thanks for the quick reply, he did punch the liner with the boot but I still have a tight spot. I guess I will go in and have it punched some more

  25. Lou February 21st, 2008 5:25 pm

    Ray, I’d just punch it more rather than doing the whole liner. Should be easy. All this stuff takes a few tries sometimes, as you don’t want to go too far the first time you try it.

  26. Bruce March 7th, 2008 11:53 am

    I wandered into a shoe store in Nelson, BC last year looking for a more substantial insole than the Bontex 244 I had. They cut some great insoles for me out of 1/4 inch rubberized cork. They have been in use for a year now, and look like new.

    What about the Technica Agent AT that Charles inquired about back in November. I’d love to pull some on if they fit anything like my IconXT-17 which are very low volume, but a long toe box. The toe box is where a lot of us have problems. We buy boots that are small enough to actually give some performance, but then the toe box jams the big piggy. Technicas are they only boots I have owned that I did not have to punch a full size for the big pig.

  27. Chris November 26th, 2008 11:31 am

    Hi Lou, wasn’t sure where this question should go…

    Just took my new Radiums up for a short tour today. Wow, what a boot. Great tour mode, as good or better than my old Sprit 3s, but in ski mode they are the stiffest boot I’ve felt since leaving alpine boots 12 years ago. I’m very impressed. They seem the best of both worlds! Still not a big fan of the G-Fit liner, so I’m going to keep using my Intuitions.

    The one thing I would like to change is the forward lean. I tend to like a lot of forward lean and be out over my skis. The Radiums feel a bit upright, and combined with the stiff flex, I didn’t feel like I could get as forward as I like. As you mentioned in your review, the forward lean mechanism is easiliy disassembled for modifications. Do you have any experience drilling new holes to change the forward lean? How close can I go to the old hole before I run the risk of the bit of metal separating them breaking? Also, the metal seems quite hard, do I need to use a special bit? Thanks!!

  28. Lou November 26th, 2008 11:54 am

    Before you mod the boot, do you have some room for a shim behind your calf, i.e, a thicker spoiler? Also, did you check your ramp angle and compare to former boot/binding combo?

    http://www.wildsnow.com/957/switch-hitting-gear-its-all-in-the-angle/

  29. Chris December 1st, 2008 12:52 pm

    Lou,
    Although I don’t have a sophisticated way of measuring it, the ramp angle for my new rig seems the same. I am using the same skis as I did with my old Spirit 3s. When I compare the forward lean I use on my Spirit 3s to that of the Radiums, it is clear from the position of the cuff that the lean is more aggressive on the Scarpas. I haven’t experimented with shimming, it seemed that drilling a new hole in the lean mechanism would be a cleaner (although more difficult) fix. Thanks!

  30. Lou December 1st, 2008 1:24 pm

    Chris, you say you want a “bit” more lean. Try a 1/8 inch shim under your heel, and a 1/8 inch shim on the spoiler. You might be surprised how much difference that will make. Problem with modding the lean lock is that if you drill a hole offset from the existing hole, it’ll cause a large change in lean rather than a “bit.” To get just a few degrees out of the lean lock you need to weld the existing hole.

    It’s really a pity that the Radium is not set up to change forward lean by simply re-locating either the upper or lower anchors for the lean lock, by drilling some new screw holes in the shell. This would be so simple to have as an option. I used to do this with the old Dynafit Aero and it worked great.

    Are you using the stock liner or an overlap Intuition liner? Overlap liners are notorious for placing a ton of thickness in front of your shin and less behind, thus causing the boot to feel like it has less lean.

  31. Keith December 1st, 2008 3:46 pm

    Chris-you can remove the forward-lean latch plate and drill another hole, I’d space them with about 5mm of material left between the holes. Sounds big, but this little strap takes a hit if you fall (or more likely, nearly fall) backwards.

  32. Lou December 1st, 2008 5:14 pm

    Keith, thanks for dropping by, always appreciate your input. I’ll have to play around and see how that mod goes so we can let people know.

  33. Chris December 3rd, 2008 9:50 am

    Lou and Keith,
    Thanks for the input. I would like a “fair bit” more lean (sorry I can’t put in degrees) but I am concerned that in order to leave enough material between the holes, I will end up with more forward lean than I want.

    I am using an overlap Intuition liner, while the new G-Fit liner is much higher quality than old Garmont offerings, it still is no match for my Intuition. I hadn’t thought about the effect of all that material in front of the shin.

    Sounds like I ought to give shimming a try first. Thanks a ton for the advice!

  34. Lou December 3rd, 2008 9:52 am

    Chris, yes, a few millimeters on that bar = quite a bit more lean. Try some shimming. Also consider what you’re used to vs what you really need.

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