La Sportiva Boot Fitter L’amore

Post by blogger | February 27, 2018      

Translate. Sportiva love. Specifically. Their ski touring boots (though the climbing boots are not too shabby either). Lisa is testing a pair of Sportiva Sparkles (review yesterday). My role is to do a length and width punch at toe so she can use the correct size shell for her heel and mid-foot. If every boot out there had an easily removable tongue like this, my work in this earthly shell would be complete and I’d smile as I shifted to the next plane of existence. As it is, I’m still tasked with grinding rivets out of other brands and models. But all La Sportiva requires is a screw driver. A few photos to explain.

La Sportive tongue attachment.

La Sportive tongue attachment is easily removed, also includes a feature for aligning the tongue with your leg shape. I’ve never felt a need for that, but can see it being useful for boot fitting someone with a pronounced tibial curve (how _is_ your tibial curve, by the way?).

Tongue removed.

Tongue removed. When replacing, use blue-reversible thread locker.

Easily fits in the boot press for a toe box punch, as well as tongue not being vulnerable to heat damage.

Easily fits in the boot press for a toe box punch, as well as absent tongue not being vulnerable to heat damage. All I’d add to make my intimate relationship with these shoes complete would be removable cuff rivets, but that would mean I’d already shed my own shell and gone to boot fitter heaven. Oh, and yes Virginia, a cuff cant rivet would be nice. Instead, we align cuff angle by adding spacer material to the side of the liner cuff.



29 Responses to “La Sportiva Boot Fitter L’amore”

  1. See February 27th, 2018 8:22 pm

    I still think the lack of cant rivets in so many boots is ridiculous. Sure, a good bootfitter can work wonders, but cant rivets enables anyone who knows what they’re doing to fine tune boot lower to cuff angle on the mountain in a few minutes. (And, if the shell is the body…)

  2. XXX_er February 27th, 2018 8:58 pm

    Just changing the cuff angle with the eccentric ain’t really the same as changing the foot bed which I did with a 40$ off the shelf sole footbed

    my dalbello alpines boots have the eccentric on both hinges but they are set for neutral

  3. See February 28th, 2018 9:20 am

    XXXer, agreed. I use Soles also. They work well for supporting my feet, dealing with pronation and improving boot lower fit. However, in my experience, I still need to adjust cuff angle. Maybe I’m not doing it right. Any fitting tips you wish to share re. making non-adjustable cuffs work by molding the insoles?

  4. XXX_er February 28th, 2018 10:10 am

    Not a boot fitter, every foot it different but IME when my foot is supported it is aligned

    I got flat feet. I don’t mold the red soles, I just trim & use them right out of the package, I had used cuff eccentrics to make up for the flat feet, I found using an aggressive foot bed seem to fill up all that space under the arch and line my knee/lower leg up properly so I can set an inside edge

    I cant (pun intended) ski without soles

  5. See February 28th, 2018 10:34 am

    Anyone care to chime in on whether supporting the foot properly puts the rest of the system into alignment? All I know is that when I get my feet set up to my liking, I usually still need to mess with the cuffs.

  6. Lou Dawson 2 February 28th, 2018 10:42 am

    See and all, as I think you know I’m a Masterfit certified boot fitter and have been doing it for years. Sometimes, yes, just a good footbed or even the stock insole are enough, but other times due to the shape of the tibia and how the hips and knees line up, it’s best to align the cuff with the tibia. It’s very personal, but like night and day sometimes, especially if a skier tends to knock knee or A-frame. Again, very personal, that’s why boot fitters stay in business (smile). As to boots without cuff cant, sometimes yes it can be done by simply shimming one side of the liner cuff, but best is indeed an alignment rivet. I know this to be true because when they showed me the alpine race boots at Atomic, the plug boots they build, the pivots are left undrilled until they install them for the individual racer’s alignment. And I know it works best for myself as well, though I use the shim method usually due to time constraints. Lou

  7. Lou Dawson 2 February 28th, 2018 2:02 pm

    If anyone is interested in various ways to add cuff alignment to ski touring boots. Use our site search for keywords “cuff cant”

    And see this post for the way I do it without a cant rivet.

    Be advised the problem with these methods, on ski touring boots, is that changing cuff geometry might cause the lean lock to malfunction. Thus, back to adding spacer-shim to one side of the liner cuff.

  8. atfred February 28th, 2018 5:52 pm

    My right knee tends to push inwards when I flex and I was always fiddling with the liner tongue to get it comfortable (same problem with hiking boots).

    I’ve now tried putting a shim under the foot bed (Sole) and don’t seem to fiddle with the liner tongue so much anymore.

  9. See February 28th, 2018 7:17 pm

    To be clear, I totally agree that footbeds are very important. I’ve done my share (and then some) of molding, shimming, grinding, etc., and I know getting them right is critical. They are the foundation under your feet. The thing that I’m moaning about is how boot makers seem to be dumbing down their products— no more cant pivots, no adjustable forward lean. I suspect this is the result of too many complaints about parts getting loose and falling apart. But using thread locker and having to pay attention to the condition of your equipment is a small price to pay for being able to dial in your boots quickly and easily on the mountain with simple tools, in my opinion.

  10. Ted D February 28th, 2018 8:25 pm

    Cuff alignment adjustability and walk mode hardware often don’t play nice together.
    If you move the cuff too far then the walk mode upper and lower parts are no longer lined up properly. I’m sure this could be worked around, but the boot makers are taking the easy way out.

  11. Ted D February 28th, 2018 8:27 pm

    Whoops missed that Lou said the same thing above.

  12. Marc March 1st, 2018 1:03 am

    I am using a 2 degree canting plate (from Tognar ) under my Fritschi Tectons.
    I mounted the Tectons with Binding Freedom inserts so i can swap left/right ski and play with different cant angles.
    Works very well.

  13. VT skier March 2nd, 2018 9:14 pm

    I just ordered one of these canting plates from Tognar, as my new Scarpa F-1s don’t have a cuff cant..
    . I can remember, when ski shops had a device you could stand on, in your ski boots, with two “platforms” that would pivot and show how much canting you needed under your bindings for a flat ski. I think CB sports(?) made this device, then the ski shop had a series of the correct cants for sale.

  14. Crazy Horse March 3rd, 2018 1:23 pm

    TOGNAR—a great source for all things having to do with ski repair and tuning::

  15. Crazy Horse March 3rd, 2018 1:35 pm

    And while the computer is warmed up, I’ve been using Hertel All Temp wax as a daily basic from the same source for years. Nothing compares for the combination of good glide at any temp, good durability and reasonable price.

  16. Kevin S March 3rd, 2018 1:57 pm

    XXX_er- I too use the SOLES (in my lift served boots) but I heat them up, mold them to my foot in a neutral position and then glue dense foam to the rear 2/3rds of the footbed and then grind them flat. Prior to cutting my hair and getting a corp job in 1990 I worked in ski shops in the mtns that focused on boot fitting and ski tuning so that was the foundation for how I build footbeds. My big challenge remains finding a pliable footbed that works in my Scarpas for BC skiing and it really hit me as we skinned and skied up on Vail Pass Thursday in wildly variable conditions. The SOLES are too rigid and they aren’t warm enough for cold days in the BC so any ideas from posters or Lou is appreciated!

  17. XXX_er March 3rd, 2018 6:14 pm

    I use soles in alpine or AT boots and they work for me down to -25C so YMMV as the saying goes

    you should probably just give up skiing eh

  18. See March 3rd, 2018 9:00 pm

    I don’t understand how pliability/rigidity of the insole matters in an AT boot, but I’ve found the insoles with a thick layer of soft foam over the moldable part to be more comfortable (and maybe warmer) for some applications. It looks like Sole are now using cork. Guess I’ll have to give those a try.

  19. See March 3rd, 2018 9:08 pm

    I you have room in your boots, maybe try cutting some soft foam to fit on top of the insoles?

  20. Lou 2 March 4th, 2018 8:07 am

    See, some of the need for pliability is because the human foot changes in shape from hour to hour, day to day. Also, while skiing, your foot needs to be able to move around a bit. And, since the boot does place your foot in a fairly static position, the liner interior and footbed need a certain amount of give so that constant pressure on the same parts of your foot doesn’t become too extreme. There is debate on just how firm the ski boot liner foam should be, for example, but no one argues it should be cast around your foot like concrete. Lou

  21. See March 4th, 2018 9:38 am

    I can see how a pliable insole can flex a bit given that it sits on top of the liner, but it seems to me that most liners are pretty thin underfoot and the boot lower shell isn’t going to flex at all (unless your using tele boots or old skimo boots with bellows) so I think padding on top of the insole (between the foot and the stiff part of the insole) is the way to go. I definitely like some give for the reasons you mention, Lou. That’s why I like the Soles with thicker padding, and use a neoprene layer over the insoles in my super stiff carbon bike shoes.

  22. See March 4th, 2018 10:15 am

    And Kevin, maybe lose the glued on dense foam? Thermo liners fill in voids around insole.

  23. Andy Carey March 4th, 2018 9:30 pm

    FWIW, I used SOLE foot beds in my hiking shoes and TLT5 & 6 and a custom footbed in my Mercury boots. But due to rehab after an injury both my foot shapes changed. I found green superfeet liners to work better for me than the SOLES in my TLT6. I had a new custom footbed built for my Mercuries when I had my Mercuries punched (the old pair had finally worn out). The boot fitter made a footbed that flexed for the forefoot. I liked that so much I switched to Superfeet carbon hiking footbeds for my Scarpa F-1 and hiking boots. Given my age and history of injuries the kinetics of my leg motion are really important. Extension of the trailing leg reward followed by the leg swinging/springing forward to land on the heel, followed by pressure ending on the outside of the midfoot, ending with full pressure on the ball of the foot & rotating over the big toe results in much less aggravation to the inner knee muscles complex. The ski boots, of course don’t flex, but when hiking in the boots there is just enough room in the liner and flex in the footbed to allow the proper use of motion in the hip to toe complex. For skiing down the footbeds provide good heel pockets and arch support, allowing for a good full foot stance. YMMV

  24. See March 5th, 2018 8:18 am

    I just dug out my custom ski boot orthotics from 30+ years ago, and they are really stiff. No way would I put them in my boots today, but they were much appreciated back when I got them. I’d say times have changed when it comes to ski orthotic design. (If I recall correctly, those original blue and white insoles of mine were made in Vail, maybe by Kevin S?)

  25. Lou Dawson 2 March 5th, 2018 8:22 am

    See, yeah, the hard orthotics were based on a significant amount of snake oil. They did help in some situations, but were often just expensive duplicates of what could be achieved by simply using the stock boot parts. The softer orthotics (but not too soft), done well, can be a huge improvement, I recommend them to anyone, if for no other reason than to “nest” your foot and prevent fore-aft sliding, but they’re important for neuroma prevention as well, if you do a lot of vertical-mileage. Lou

  26. XXX_er March 5th, 2018 9:04 am

    I have 3 sets of custom molded from hard foam by a podiatrist and they all worked at 300$ a pop on my extended HC, but I also have 4 or 5 SOLES of different thicknesses and they all work, just as well as the custom molded but at only 40$ a pop so I don’t bother with the custom anymore

    As for hard vs soft I still got a set of clear orange plastic orthotics from 1982, my dad had a set made of SS that he wore in his work boots, neither one hurt to walk on all day

    They all work or worked, there is no magic there is only what works for your foot …YMMV as they say

    my podiatrist told me the guys who molded/ground those clear orange back in the day got cancer

  27. Kevin S March 5th, 2018 9:38 am

    XXX_er Yes, YMMV and in my case with multiple frostbite events a footbed offering more insulation qualities is critical. Plus hard plastic insoles if molded to exact arch shape limits articulation that I find important for uphill and downhill as well. So hard plastic doesn’t do the job. The best AT footbeds I’ve ever owned were made by DFP back in the 80s but they switched to cork. So for now, DFP cork is the best option.

    BTW, I won’t “give up skiing” and will navigate the Haute Route next Spring but I appreciate the sentiment. In the interim, skinning Colorado’s interesting and thin snowpack will have to do…

  28. Kristian March 5th, 2018 10:56 am

    My experience may be different. Most of my time in touring boots is spent going uphill, so there is plenty of warm blood going through loosely fastened boots. And on the down I prefer the performance of single layer thin hiking liner socks. The socks require only minimal boot shell buckle tightening for performance and hence there is still good blood flow. And I size to have some toe wiggle.

  29. XXX_er March 5th, 2018 11:07 am

    well we are all just geeking out on the internet eh

    and so my point would be ” that doesn’t work ” is different than ” that doesn’t work for me for a specific reason “

Anti-Spam Quiz:

While you can subscribe to comment notification by checking the box above, you must leave a brief comment to do so, which records your email and requires you to use our anti-spam challange. If you don't like leaving substantive comments that's fine, just leave a simple comment that says something like "thanks, subscribed" with a made-up name. Check the comment subscription checkbox BEFORE you submit. NOTE: BY SUBSCRIBING TO COMMENTS YOU GIVE US PERMISSION TO STORE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS INDEFINITLY. YOU MAY REQUEST REMOVAL AND WE WILL REMOVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS WITHIN 72 HOURS. To request removal of personal information, please contact us using the comment link in our site menu.
If you need an emoticon for a comment just copy/paste off the following list, or use text code you might be familiar with.

:D    :-)    :(    :lol:    :x    :P    :oops:    :cry:    :evil:    :twisted:    :roll:    :wink:    :!:    :?:    :idea:    :arrow:   
Due to comment spam we moderate most comments. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly after approval. Comments with one or more links in the text may be held in moderation, for spam prevention. If you'd like to publish a photo in a comment, contact us. Guidelines: Be civil, no personal attacks, avoid vulgarity and profanity.

  Your Comments

  Recent Posts

Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube


  • Blogroll & Links

  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version