This week’s blog project: Set up a pair of hardcore Scarpa mountain boots for summer alpinism using Sole do it yourself custom footbeds.
|First step, fit a pair of Scarpa Summit GTX mountain boots. We sized these using the NOLS method of having about one finger width of space behind the heel with bare foot toes touching the end of the boot.|
|First step with the Sole footbed is to choose a cushioning thickness. While some boots need more cushion, those with too much give can feel like you’re walking on a bowl of wet pasta — not a good feeling with a 75 lb. pack like the one Louie will be carrying on his NOLS course this spring. The Summits already have quite a bit of give so we avoided the pasta effect by using the “slim” version footbed. Next, we picked a length that best located the arch for Louie’s foot as well as matching the existing footbed size as close as possible. As shown in the photo above, last step in sizing was to cut the bed to perfectly fit the Scarpa last.|
|Baking the beds is easy. We used our convection oven but you can do it in a regular oven by following complete directions that come in the product packaging. We liked the “Opti-therm” feature, a sticker that changes color when the footbed has reached the correct molding temperature.
You can mold Sole footbeds up to five times. Excellent, as my first try at inserting the hot beds in a boot resulted in a crumpled wad not unlike I’d tried to stuff a fresh baked cookie into a wallet. Things went better during my second try after a re-bake.
|Once the beds are in both boots, it’s important to stand in a neutral stance so the beds mold to give you proper support. In Louie’s case he needs a bit more support on the inside, so he held his position with a small amount of weight bias to the outside, thus molding the beds with slightly more height on the inside.
While it appears we’ll still have to skive a bit of material from under Louie’s footbed arch as compensation for Scarpa’s trademark high arch last, in general we’re happy with the way our Sole footbeds turned out. Give ’em a try.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.