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Custom Footbeds - Worth doing?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I know a lot of snowHeads have custom footbeds fitted to their boots. But I'm fairly lucky, in that I've never really had big issues with boot fit and my current boots are really comfortable. I keep them fastened all day without problem, unless my toes are cold at lunch.

So is there any real point in getting the custom footbeds put in? Will a punter like me be able to tell the difference? What changes did you notice when you put yours in?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
No, for most people it's a plain indulgence, they should really relish having normal feet and stop looking for stuff to spend money on.

I can't walk more than few hundred metres without foot beds let alone ski whereas Mrs Ise doesn't need them at all.

I'd not worry about being a punter or not, in point of fact buying kit like foot beds or new skis each year is a punter activity anyway, it's a substitute activity for skiing.
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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?
If you have "normal" feet, then there probably isn't any need for custom footbeds IMHO. As long as your boots are comfortable it doesn't really matter. I've got custom footbeds, and all they do is make my boots fit me better, which makes them more comfortable.
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As with anything in life, if it works, don't fix it. A friend of mine dumped his old-ish comfy boots, bought new Salomons, got talked into buying footbeds at the same time by the boot-fitter ("they're essential"), and has never had the same degree of comfort since, despite numerous attempts at altering the fit.

Even when the time comes to buy new boots, becoz your old ones are falling apart, don't get talked into footbeds: you can always go back and get them fitted at a later date if you need them.

On a related note, why can't boot manufacturers incorporate a mouldable footbed into the heat-fit liner in the first place??
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I have a small problem with my right foot (lost a toe) and have had footbeds in my boots for 3 years. I've got to say it does make a difference to comfort for me. I feel I have more of a feel for the boot with them in than not.
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the ice perv, different sorts of materials - heat moulded liners are just foam that doesn't take much to heat, but footbeds need to support your whole body, so need to be stronger.
I would add that Technica do have a screw on the side of some of their boots which allows you to adjust the height of the arch support, which is where most people get the benefit from footbeds.
(my liners are not heat mouldale, but do have heel shims, which are adjustable, and mean that my heel is pretty well fixed in the boot)
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
the ice perv wrote:
As with anything in life, if it works, don't fix it. A friend of mine dumped his old-ish comfy boots, bought new Salomons, got talked into buying footbeds at the same time by the boot-fitter ("they're essential"), and has never had the same degree of comfort since, despite numerous attempts at altering the fit.


I'm rather dubious of most "boot fitters" personally, all you've got is some bloke who thinks he's a bit of an expert on feet and boots but in reality is actually a shop assistant.

the ice perv wrote:
On a related note, why can't boot manufacturers incorporate a mouldable footbed into the heat-fit liner in the first place??


Some do I think.
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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 went to a specialist fitters and mine were properly moulded to my feet, not fitted by the likes of snow and rock who from what I've heard from people I know try and sell them as an extra without fully explaining the purpose of them and if the customer actually needs them.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
marc gledhill, You need them - properly fitted and moulded. For me the difference they made is comparable going from hire to my own boots. If, for whatever reason, I can't take my own boots away with me, I'll still take the insoles, and use them in the boots I hire.
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
Wise words ise, wise words.......at last someone who doesn't buy all the bull of the ski industry. I've had both sets of skis simce 1986 and still see no real need to change. Yes, all these people spending money on kit in the desperate belief it'll transform their skiing is a bit far fetched and is, in fact, a vicarious act.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Brooksie wrote:
I went to a specialist fitters and mine were properly moulded to my feet, not fitted by the likes of snow and rock who from what I've heard from people I know try and sell them as an extra without fully explaining the purpose of them and if the customer actually needs them.


What do you call a specialist though? As far as I can see unless they hold real qualifications as a podologist or similar then they're shop assistants regardless of what they call themselves or how sniffy they are about snow and rock.
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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.
Sorry, ise, You and I fundamentally disagree on this kind of stuff I think.

I may have problem feet, certainly they're quite smelly. Found my first set of custom footbeds a godsend (1992) and have had, err, 4 pairs since, two of which have been recycled into skates, etc.

Indispensable.

Although the boot tech doing them needs a reasonable understanding of what he/she's doing...

Personal favourite system of the moment is Superfeet vacuum Cork
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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
I think there are some lucky souls (pun intended Very Happy ) who have 'normal' feet and get little utility from the additional expense on footbeds, particularly if they're fitted in a fairly unsophisticated manner (slush and rubble perhaps?).

On the other hand, some of us have more 'unusual' feet and stand to benefit hugely from the attentions of a skilled bootfitter and a pair of custom footbeds. The two articles in the Aspen Times (Part 1 and Part 2) that were posted here recently illustrate the conversion of at least one sceptic.

Personally, I have narrow, bony, feet and it took a fair amount of time to find a pair of boots that fit properly (Rossies). A few seasons down the line the inners are beginning to compact a little and I'm thinking a trip to Profeet for a re-fitting and some custom footbeds might rejuvenate them and save me lashing out on a new pair.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
ise, Used a Chiropodist who has experience of skiing and he was top notch.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
marc gledhill, having your boots fully balanced (not just footbeds, but also fore/aft and lateral balance) will have an almost magical effect on your skiing. I watched an entire group of mid-level intermediates advance their skills literally overnight when they were balanced by an expert in boot alignment. The folks here who think that there is limited use for a footbed don't understand what they are missing. Can you ski without a custom footbed? Certainly. But, you can also ski on 7' straight skis. It's just not as effective. Or as much fun!

Given that balance is the most important skill in skiing, should you start out in a perfectly balanced stance so that you're not always compensating?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
kevin mcclean, I'd love to compare the arcs we can make on our respective equipment. I'd also love to compare the energy we each expend to do it. I know that I can arc cleaner and tighter carves at higher speeds on my new M:b5s or RX8s than anyone can on skis built in the 90s.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
It's called Pronation. If a ski shop sells footbeds than they probably know about it, and it is easy to spot. If you pronate (which is actually "normal", since the majority of people do) then a footbed definitely will improve your skiing. If you do not pronate, then a footbed is not as necessary, but can be used as a boot fitting tool. I actually am a boot fitter, and I have seen this help a lot of people.
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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?
ssh, what is involved in getting boots fully balanced? I hadn't heard much about boot balancing until the reports started coming in from the first few days of this years ESA.

I'm not sure I know of this service being offered by any bootfitters around my neck of the woods.
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marc gledhill, it involves getting the balance right for fore/aft as well as side to side, along with adjusting the cuff, flex, etc. It is best achieved by having the fitter ski with you, as standing in a shop (even on a gel stand) doesn't exactly mimic strapping 6ft planks to your feet and performing turns Smile
(also, standing in your boots is very different from standing in your bindings on your skis, as different bindings have different toe to heel angles.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Wear The Fox Hat, thanks for that, but I'm still in the dark. What is it that the balancing is trying to achieve and how is it actually done?
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marc, what it's trying to do is get you into a completely neutral position on the skis. This will mean that you will use the least amount of effort to acheive the same results, no matter which direction you are turning, or what speed you are going - your muscles (or skeleton) will not be working to correct the problems.

How it's done?
Well, there are the two parts to it:
1. static alignment: getting the cuffs set up so that when you are standing in your boot you are not pressuring the inside or outside edge. Also making sure that when you are standing in your boots that both knees are at the same level.
2. dyamic alignment: this covers fore/aft and side to side. By doing some simple exercises on the snow it is easy for a boot guru to spot problems (in fact, some non-gurus, like me, can spot the obvious ones as well). These exercises include skiing on one ski with it flat on its base, and performing two footed carving turns across the piste. (they are done on a gentle slope, as the problems are more obvious at low speeds). There are other exercises, but these are where it starts.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
marc gledhill, rather than reading what I have to say, why not read what an expert has to say...
http://www.snowind.com/
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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!
Fox, did you get that done at ESA? I'll bet there's not many places in Europe that offer that service. Think I'll give Google a try.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
marc gledhill, yes, Bud Heismann (who works at snowind) was at the ESA, and carried out the balancing free of charge. Any additional work (grinding, etc) he charged for, but at a very good price.
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
...should have added, that as far as I know, he WILL be at ESA 06. Expect an announcement soon.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I can only find one so far, Ski Mastery in Val D'Isere. I wonder if they call it something else in Europe?
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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.
See also this thread on "alignment".
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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
BTW, the combination of Bud's balancing, the coaching, and the companionship makes the ESA a tremendous value. The entire group with whom I skied for the week leaped forward at least a level in their skiing due to the combination of these things. Really!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Profeet in Chelsea make a fairly good stab at boot aligment using a combination of static alignment using a pressure sensor pad you stand on, and dynamic aligment useing a Skier's Edge exercise machine where you are videoed while you use it. I got a new pair of boots from Profeet this year and did not a difference from the combination of footbed and alignment compared to my old boots (which also had footbeds, done at S&R).
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