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Bootfitting: 10 Common Problems and Solutions

Getting the right boot fit is a common problem for skiers. Get some help and get it right.

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Boots are the most important component of your setup. Think of it this way: If you’re wearing the right boots, even crappy skis will turn for you.…

Boots are the most important component of your setup. Think of it this way: If you’re wearing the right boots, even crappy skis will turn for you. But if your boots make you feel like a geisha doing a walkathon, you’ll be in the base-lodge bar by 10 a.m.

Unfortunately, boots can be one of the most confusing pieces of gear for skiers to understand. Relax. It’s not rocket science. Fit is personal. Different boots fit different feet. All you have to do is find a knowledgeable salesperson at a good boot shop. They’ll get you in the right boot and be able to make the necessary tweaks to your boots to get your feet in their comfort zone. “Without properly fitting boots, you can’t ski with good technique. They should fit like a firm handshake. Your toes should touch the front while you’re sitting, but then pull back a bit when you stand up. When a boot is too big, the foot shifts and you’ll get toe and shin bang. Go to a specialty ski shop, because they often invest in special training for their bootfitters,” says Galena Gleason of Telluride Bootdoctors.

In the next 10 slides we look at some common bootfitting issues and their solutions.

Shin Bang
File photo.

Problem: Shin bang, a painful bruise along the shin caused by uneven pressure.
Solution: A heel lift can help even the pressure along the shin. Skinny-legged folks benefit from moving the power strap so it tightens around the liner, rather than the shell. Often a lesson in proper boot buckling is all it takes.

Problem: Stock footbeds cause feet to ache.Solution: As important to a good fit as boot choice, custom-built footbeds align and support your feet in…

Problem: Stock footbeds cause feet to ache.
Solution: As important to a good fit as boot choice, custom-built footbeds align and support your feet in optimal positions within your boots. Get some, and your skiing will improve.

Problem: After your liner packed out, you discovered your shell was too big.Solution: Buy a smaller boot. It might feel a bit short at first, but the…

Problem: After your liner packed out, you discovered your shell was too big.
Solution: Buy a smaller boot. It might feel a bit short at first, but the liner will stretch, and then the fit will be perfect. Have a bootfitter help you pick the right size.

Problem: Tailor’s bunion or sixth toe, a bump that sometimes forms to the outside of and just behind your little toe.Solution: Stabilize your foot…

Problem: Tailor’s bunion or sixth toe, a bump that sometimes forms to the outside of and just behind your little toe.
Solution: Stabilize your foot with a custom footbed, then punch or grind out the shell to make a little room.

Problem: Narrow boots can squeeze the styloid process, that bony bump along the outside of the middle foot. Solution: Consider a wider boot, or grind…

Problem: Narrow boots can squeeze the styloid process, that bony bump along the outside of the middle foot.
Solution: Consider a wider boot, or grind or stretch the shell to make room.

Problem: Pump bump, also called a heel spur, which forms because of uneven pressure within the heel pocket.Solution: Grind an anatomical pocket in…

Problem: Pump bump, also called a heel spur, which forms because of uneven pressure within the heel pocket.
Solution: Grind an anatomical pocket in the shell for the spur to sit in and add padding to hold the heel down.

Problem: Inside ankle rub caused by feed pronating (collapsing inwards) and ankles pressing against the shell.Solution: Custom footbeds to support…

Problem: Inside ankle rub caused by feed pronating (collapsing inwards) and ankles pressing against the shell.
Solution: Custom footbeds to support the feet. If the problem persists, consider grinding or stretching the shell.

Problem: Outside ankle pressure due to misalignment of the shell’s ankle pocket.Solution: Cut or pad the liner to relieve pressure. If necessary,…

Problem: Outside ankle pressure due to misalignment of the shell’s ankle pocket.
Solution: Cut or pad the liner to relieve pressure. If necessary, grind the inner shell to relocate the ankle pocket.

Problem: Large or “low” calves.Solution: Remove the boot spoiler if there is one. Move the buckle catches to expand the upper cuff.

Problem: Large or “low” calves.
Solution: Remove the boot spoiler if there is one. Move the buckle catches to expand the upper cuff.

Problem: Black toenails.Solution: Lift the heel a bit with some foam padding. This will pull your toes back from the front of your boot. Or a…

Problem: Black toenails.
Solution: Lift the heel a bit with some foam padding. This will pull your toes back from the front of your boot. Or a professional bootfitter can help by making a custom footbed and pounding out trouble spots.