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Help for a beginner.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Firstly like to say thanks, the snowheads forums have been a wealth of knowledge for a newbie Skier about to embark on his first taste of the pistes. I've found all of your experiences and input entertaining an helpful. Only fuelling my anticipation for my trip.
I would like a little help please if anyone can spare the time, I've had 8 hrs of one on one tuition at Chill Factor E. Also two 2hr practice sessions. I'm just waving goodbye to snowplough. My issue lies with the boots. I understand that buying your own is the way forward but as it's my first skiing holiday I've rented. The boots I've been subjected to have all left me unable to feel my feet after 10 mins. And when you are a newbie like me....... It's advisable to know what the bottom bit of my leg is doing. Will the ski boots I've hired for my trip( 1 week in Val Thorens, early March) be similar and how can I prevent this. Thanks for reading and if it's in the wrong place....... Sorry. Blush
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
My first ever time skiing I absolutely hated the boots and frankly didn't even want to go back out after lunch.

My instructor had a closer look and after watching me try to walk he took me back to the rental shop and after a lengthy conversation in German that I didn't fully understand I ended up with a much comfier pair that completely changed things!

Ski boots aren't the most comfortable things in the world, but the shop hopefully will be able to help you out and find something that is as comfortable as can be expected for rental boots (i.e. not perfect, but not insanely uncomfortable).
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks. I've read they aren't the most comfortable things But I physically can't feel my feet. I don't tighten them as tight as I can.... I'm a big strong boy.... I'd probably end up with an attempted amputation. Sad
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I've see hire boot for past 9 years (yes realise that I should have bought some a good while back!) but I never had a pair that I found that I have found too uncomfortable, but I guess I have pretty standard feet.
Some people mistakenly get them too small, you do need to be able to wiggle your toes a little.

One pair of socks, dont tuck and thermals into socks etc and make sure the boot tongue etc all lies correctly.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
are you getting them in the resort? if so, go back and get another pair. Snug yes, unable to feel feet, no. Now that you know what horrible feels like, you should be able to judge whether the next pair is equally constricting. Socks do matter, so one pair of good ski socks. thin is fine, but I have found little difference from thin vs slightly heavier, as long as they are ski socks.

are your feet cold, which maybe you cannot answer if you cannot feel them? I presume u have it buckled correctly, overlap on the outside of the shell/tongue?

Even if you rented them back home, if they are that uncomfortable, rent another pair, they can adjust the skis to the new pair of boots if needed. Painful feet will ruin the trip. I would say the main complaint about boot rentals are they are too big, vs overly constrictive.
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Yes. Buckled up properly. Feet are warm. Will the ski boots via my TO in resort be less hammered then the ones in chill factore. I'm going again in a few days so will attempt them slightly looser. Appreciate your help guys.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Don't be afraid to ask to try different pairs on! The shop staff may get a bit annoyed but it's definitely worth it. Last time I rented it took me three goes to find a pair I could comfortably get along with for the week.
You're looking for something approaching a firm handshake (if you shake your foot from side to side and it slops around it's too big) with some wiggle room for your toes.
Having your own boots is much easier though Happy
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Learn to do your boots up properly. This really really does make a difference.

Start with the top two buckles. Do them up snug, but not tight.

The bottom to buckles should (unless you're looking for really high level performance) be closable with the pressure of one finger. That really is tight enough, unless you're racing.

Once you've been out for a while, your feet have settled and the plastic has become more malleable, you can then tighten the top two buckles a bit more if the boots feel too loose. There should be no great need to further tighten the bottom two buckles.
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I was in the same boat.

I was learning at Hemel Ski Centre and after 20 mins my feet were on fire and very sore. This was bugging me big time as I fell in love with skiing.

After much research on the internet and watching YouTube I can share these tips with you:

Decent ski socks: Not only keeping your feet warm, but reducing pressure points on your feet.
Footbed: I have odd feet. Again after plently of research I went to my local ski shop and chatted with them. I left with supportive footbeds which have helped massively.
Ski boot buckles: When I first started, I was tightening my boots far too tight! There are plently of vids online but basically second from top of the boot is most important. That one first, then top buckle, and go between the two until you feel your heel at the back of boot and leg secure. Then the two buckles across the boot are should only only be tight enough to close with one finger. If they are too tight, you start compressing nerves and blood vessels in the foot.

In the end, I also went and bought my own boots before my first ever trip. A big investment so soon, but I knew I would ski every year and they'd get plenty of use. Having fitted, moulded boots with my footbeds mean that I could wear my boots all day and forget they were on!

Finally, this guys YouTube channel helped me so much and explained so much about pretty much everything I have mentioned above! Go to the bootorials.

Patriot Footbeds
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vjmehra wrote:
Ski boots aren't the most comfortable things in the world


I've slightly odd shaped feet (always have probs with new shoes) and my current Salomon boots were bought in Avoriaz about 15 yrs ago. No special insoles but they have the inners that get warmed first to allow a bit of moulding. I don't even undo them for lunch they're so comfy - so I wouldn't agree they have to be uncomfortable at all if properly fitted.

Of course different makes suit different shaped feet - that's where trying a few on comes in Smile
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Ahh...... I think I've been doing it wrong. I tighten from bottom. I crank the bottom one about half way. Then top 2....again half way which takes some considerable effort. As I said.... I'm not a small guy. I then get the bottom one all the way. So what I can deduce.... And feeling rather stupid. Is I've been using my ski boot like a tourniquet?? How can you hang your head in shame on a forum?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@GorillySticks, Don't worry. I was doing that for a long time before learning the proper way.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@GorillySticks, There are people on here with hundreds or thousands of hours skiing who still indulge in 'boot faff'. It gets worse when you get decent boots because you adjust them a micrometre at a time.

Hire boots are a bit of pot luck, but you just want them tight enough so they don't flap around when you shake your foot. Loosen everything up until your feet stay comfortable then tighten up a click at a time until the boots don't move but you can still feel your feet.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
i dont know if going bottom up vs top down is going to cause the type of pain and complete numbness the OP cited. yes, doing it as fridge suggested is the right way, and gets the boot to sit on the feet better, but the differnce should not be that great. try it top down, with the tightening as needed (it doesnt need to be super tight at the start of the day, many tighten a little more as the day progreses) and if that does not do the trick, definitely get another pair. Ski days are a treat, dont ruin them with ill fitted boots.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Thanks guys. Really do appreciate it. I'm sure it's not the last time I look stupid, it's part of being a newbie 😂
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
zammo wrote:
Learn to do your boots up properly. This really really does make a difference.

Start with the top two buckles. Do them up snug, but not tight.

The bottom to buckles should (unless you're looking for really high level performance) be closable with the pressure of one finger. That really is tight enough, unless you're racing.

Once you've been out for a while, your feet have settled and the plastic has become more malleable, you can then tighten the top two buckles a bit more if the boots feel too loose. There should be no great need to further tighten the bottom two buckles.
This, it seems to be a common mistake to do the foot buckles up too tight, espically the first buckle on the top of the foot, ( the one just over the top of your foot near the ankle,) this part of the foot is important not to be too tight as it can restrict blood flow and nerves, and cause the feet to feel numb and painful. Try the leg buckles snug and the foot buckles a little looser. Hope you get a comfy pair for your holiday.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
You say your trip is early March? Well what are you waiting for? Go buy boots!!!

Decent pair of boots will cost you £250-350 in a high street place, most places do free fitting, footbeds come in at about £100, you should be able to keep it inside £500 even with a really nice pair. Fact is, unless for some reason you decide you don't like skiing after all, you'll use them again so you may as well buy them now.

Seriously, I used to go with the "I'll rent for my first time then buy after" but if you've been having lessons, you know that you enjoy it so you're not experimenting anymore.

I'm not being silly and I appreciate I don't know where you're at financially, but I'd say ski boots are a completely worthy investment and really the second thing (after clothes) that every skier should own. If you can get a properly fitted boot, heat moulded shell, custom orthotic... I am convinced that you will have a more enjoyable holiday as a result of it.

Get the shop staff to show you how to fine-adjust the buckles whilst you're there. This'll help you get them done up properly, too.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Boots, I could write a book on my experiences with them.... In short - no they should not be painful...

If your renting for your first trip, it is ok....You tend to find that rentals have been worn in and thus a little slack, so if you hire the same size boot, you will have a little more room in the hire boots.

As you progress it is better to own your own boots, BUT make sure they FIT first .....

2 ways to ensure a great fit, is to either :-

A) go to a very reputable boot shop in the uk, prior to skiing (such as Solutions 4 feet in Bicester...).Especially if you feet hurt after 10 mins of wearing them, regardless of tightness or boot type. It is hard to stand in a shop & replicate skiing stances & how it feels for you unless you see point B....below

b) For this trip, whilst hiring, try different makes & types of boot for a day - if they don't feel comfy....take pics of the one's that do feel great, noting make & model so you can buy similar later... I am amazed that despite using same size boot how varied they are, as each manufacturer uses different width lasts (moulds) to make their boots - I need a very wide boot, which makes many manufacturers boots not suitable, as they are too thin, even tho, same size in length..

My wife struggled for years, then after popping into one shop, hey presto, a fully adjustable Head Edge ladies boot, and it is like wearing a pair of heavy slippers, she has never looked back...

My boots still ache after 10 mins, but if I can use a chair & dangle my feet soon after, it helps relieve it - and by 10:30'ish get into a café & relax my foot for 10 mins whilst having a coffee, they are perfect for the rest of the day...Regardless of how tight / loose the boots are.

I was told, you can ski a bad set of skis but not a bad pair of boots...
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Also, before doing your boots up kick back your heel into the snow to settle your heel into the cup. Or do up the second to top buckle a little and flex when in the skis to get your foot oriented into the skiing position with your toes pulled back from the end. This can make a difference to tightening your boots up in a standing (not skiing) position.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
If you have a few foot shape issues then a lot of the new Salomon boots have heat mouldable shells which can stretch approx 8mm to accomodate foot shapes. Funny enough, I'm selling an almost new pair (bought wrong flex) wink
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Hire boots are definitely variable. My first week (never ever skied before) I got a reasonably new pair of hire boots that were not too bad at all.

Second week I got a pair that were politely described as "coming to the end of their useful life." Horrendous.

I bought my own ahead of my 3rd week. If you've skied enough in the fridge to know that you like it, then they are definitely worth the investment!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Thornyhill wrote:
@GorillySticks, There are people on here with hundreds or thousands of hours skiing who still indulge in 'boot faff'.


Definitely guilty of this, on a good day I adjust once after the first run or two. On a bad day I adjust 6 or 7 times and give up...although I think that I've realised the problem actually lies with my feet. In whiteout and tricky conditions (particularly cold and icy) I think that I'm clenching my toes on steeper runs, which is cramping them. I possibly need custom footbeds too but think I'm going to wait before I spend out on them as it's not a regular problem.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I would suggest anyone relatively new to skiing like I am still to watch the bootorials on this guys channel. Gave me so much information.

Patriot Footbeds
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GorillySticks wrote:
Thanks. I've read they aren't the most comfortable things But I physically can't feel my feet. I don't tighten them as tight as I can.... I'm a big strong boy.... I'd probably end up with an attempted amputation. Sad


I'd disagree with the ssertion that ski boots aren't comfortable. My boots are fine all day long, every day.

But there are enough threads and people on here who struggle to get comfy boots and clearly ruin their skiing holiday.


As you're having problems - and skiing holidays are expensive - then I think it would make sense to buy a decent pair. There are lots of threads on here about decent specialist shops. I can't help on that as I just pop down to Decathlon and fit them myself and they always seem fine.
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The only sure and best way to have comfy feet is to go to a good boot fitter and buy a pair and have moulded footbeds. I have wide feet and for years have been skiing in boots to large just so i could get a comfy fit on the width. two years ago i went to a good local boot fitter, filarinskis, and bought a pair of Atomics in the correct size with custom footbeds..............OMG, it's like wearing a pair of your favourite slippers. usually i can't wait to get the feckers off but not anymore. I'm happy to ski all day. i'm still crap of course but i ain't in pain anymore!!!

GO BUY A PAIR!
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@emwmarine, I don't necessarily struggle with them, and will regularly ski all day (also not one of those who undoes them at lunch etc.), but you can't say that they're comfortable. One of the best feelings of skiing a long day is trudging back to the car/digs, absolutely knacked, and taking your boots off Very Happy
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
SnoodyMcFlude wrote:
@emwmarine, I don't necessarily struggle with them, and will regularly ski all day (also not one of those who undoes them at lunch etc.), but you can't say that they're comfortable. One of the best feelings of skiing a long day is trudging back to the car/digs, absolutely knacked, and taking your boots off Very Happy


You're getting there but not quite. Toofy Grin the best feeling is sinking that 50 cl of 1664.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@emwmarine, Very Happy that's not skiing specific though, that's a daily thing.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
you're both wrong.

the only 'best' feeling is turning in knee deep powder on the first run of the day, on a completely clean mountain under a clear blue sky

sadly we mere mortals skiing in european ski resorts only know this because we saw it in a video Sad
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I used to think that ski boots had to be at least a bit painful, but as soon as I bought my own (in resort, from a highly recommended fitter) I realised that this wasn't true. It never even occurs to me to undo my boots during the day, clunky as they are, because they are comfortable.

There are a bunch of videos about doing your boots up online but I like this one from the now-defunct Edge & Wax
http://youtube.com/v/6bjiy2pIcxE My experience is that what this guy calls a 'heel strike' is the single most important bit - correct buckling without getting your foot in the right place to start with doesn't really help with comfort/control. My boot fitter said that you should do it sitting down and there should be two strikes, and they should definitely be MUCH more than a tap!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@dp, that's why I wrote "one of the best feelings"
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

I would suggest anyone relatively new to skiing like I am still to watch the bootorials on this guys channel. Gave me so much information.

Patriot Footbeds


http://youtube.com/v/yeo_8CoGqUM
Explains perfectly what I've been doing.
Thanks Fridge03. My foot was numb because I applied too much pressure to the nerve. Going to make some changes on my next visit and enquire about some new boots. Thanks everyone
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I ski each week for 90 minutes in a dry slope, and in two years never had any problem with the boots themselves - the trick is to know how tight they should feel.

Hiring boots on holiday is the same process - they'll give you a pair to try based on your foot size, but only you can tell if they're a good fit. Last year, the ski hire guy wanted me to try the first pair he gave me with the skis - but I knew right away they were too tight and asked for a bigger pair. "They're supposed to be snug" he said, with a withering look. "Snug is one thing", I replied, "but these will cut off the circulation to my toes before I even get to the slope". The second pair fit perfectly. This year, the same thing happened. Spent 6-8 hours a day in them, happily, over the week.

I've never had a sore spot or blister from hired ski boots, so personally I don't think it's necessary to fork out £400-plus for your own boots to ski in comfort... I'd rather spend that on lessons or another ski holiday!
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@GorillySticks, No worries. I found all their videos very helpful. That was exactly what I was doing also.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I started skiing in 1980. I am on my fourth pair of ski boots. The first pair was quite soft and very comfortable. The second stiff and pretty uncomfortable but I put up with them for years. The third were injected around my feet, but weren't much better than the second. My present pair are wonderful. I was skiing in Zermatt, about 2005, with my daughter. She was not getting on with her hired boots. We went back to the shop. The fitter said he could see the problem. She needed a specific type of boot, but he didn't have it. He advised us to go across the road to another shop. They had it and we bought them. I said what about me? And the guy looked at my feet, and noticed a high instep but a narrow heel. He had the right boot for me.

Not everyone's feet are the same. If you rent in resort, you can at least keep trying different ones. When you find a pair that fits, buy them.

(My daughter and I both still ski in the boots we bought that day. We are both glad we bought them.)
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The problem for many is that they're so damned expensive to buy now. I've skied sporadically (quite legal) since 1976. I bought 2nd hand boots back then which were pretty grim. Bought next pair new in 1979 (Kastinger I think) which were never that good and hurt. Then Salomon in 1989 (in Aviemore) which were ok but not fantastic. I've had my current boots (Lange) since ,Easter1998 (sale in Andorra) and they fit like a glove but, having read a lot about boots on here, I realise they're probably slightly too big. But I'm staying with them because they're so comfortable, are current front entry style and seem to allow me to ski as well as I want to. So it may be worth hiring, then buying in the Easter sales. But you definitely want your own if you are to continue skiing.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Hi I was at ski training last week and put my boots on for the first time in a year - straight out of the cold in the loft - the next day I could not walk and had a sharp pain under the pad behind the little toe and along the side of my feet. Loosing sleep and after 4 days I went to my physio. He painfully manipulated and massaged my ankle and the area which made it 80% better. 2 Ibuprofen after dinner followed by massaging the area using a tennis ball (highly recommended) I have woke up to no pain or discomfort at all. Thinking back now I did tighten my bottom boot clips uber tight and I think that was the problem as I never did anything else from the norm. One thing that was apparent was that my foot had stayed in spasm - both little toes bent to the left - because of this, physio said it is the body's way of protecting the area. Bloody painful and a lesson learnt.
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