Comfort related issues with ski boots

Discomfort in Ski Boots can occur due to multiple different factors.

We have put together some information to help you better understand where these issues come from and just some of the options that are available to hopefully remedy them.

Although in some cases it may be more beneficial to change your ski boots for a better shape, size, or flex in order to alleviate the discomfort.

Toe Pressure

You should be aware that your toes are close to the end if not touching the boot when stood up straight, however you should feel comfortable when in a forward flexed skiing position.

● Fit a footbed that supports the arch which will reduce elongation of the foot caused by pronation.

● Try using a snug fitting thinner ski sock or a ski sock with less toe padding, you will be surprised how much space can be achieved from this simple change.

● Make sure you're embracing a correct skiing posture, for example shins pressing into the tongue of the boots.

● Perform a heat mould with toe caps, boot stretches or grind plastic from the toebox to create more space.

● Add a heel lift to ramp the foot changing its position.

Forefoot Discomfort

If the boot is too narrow around the forefoot this can restrict the blood flow and cause uncomfortable pressures which are generally felt around the outside of the foot. Unfortunately when it comes to width related issues there isn't a lot we can suggest to do at home
● Add a supportive footbed to reduce width spread caused by pronation.
● Perform a heat mould on the shell or liner.
● In some cases a liner modification may improve the fit.

Instep Pressure (Top of the foot)

Excessive amounts of instep pressure will trap circulation and is one of the main causes of numb toes.
● Make sure you're not over tightening the lower two buckles, they should snap shut and not require anymore than pinky finger pressure to close.
● Performing liner modifications to remove material around the instep.
● Attempt to lower the foot in the boot for example by removing shins
● A snug fitting technical ski sock.

Ankle and Heel Issues

More often than not people will suffer with too much movement rather than discomfort orientated issues in this area. Here we will cover discomfort related issues however if you're experiencing movement then that will fall under the reducing movement section below.
● Use only 1 pair of well fitted technical skiing socks and remove any unnecessary material such as thermals or ankle bracelets from within the boot.
● A supportive insole will do wonders in this area by stabilizing your heel and ankle which will align them in a more neutral position.
● Shell and liner modifications or heat moulding.
● Correctly aligning the cuff of the ski boot can help off load pressure on ankle bones.
● A Heel lift can be used to change the foots position.

Lower Leg Discomfort

Arguably one of the more uncomfortable issues to experience. This can come down to general volume around the leg, but also possibly down to poor ankle flex. It is more common to experience these issues when weather is bad, while freestyle skiing and when skiing bumpy or challenging terrain as this is when people are most likely to fall into a bad skiing posture.
There are a number of things you can try to improve or eradicate these issues.
We will break it down into two sections; shin pain (often referred to as shin bang) and then calf issues.
Please be aware that if bruised you will have to allow your shins to recover before really being able to tell if the discomfort is gone.

Shin pain
● Start by using the powerstrap to bring the liner closer to the leg which will reduce excess space.
● Replace the power strap with a Booster strap giving your boot a more progressive flex and allow you to bring the liner closer to your leg.
● Apply a shin gel pad for extra padding or change to a slightly more padded sock.
● Liner modifications or heat moulding can also help solve this issue.
● Add a heel lift to aid forward lean.
● Take a look at your skiing posture making sure it is correct.

Calf discomfort
● Stretch your calf muscles and achilles to improve flex.
● Add a heel lift to raise the calf higher out of the boot.
● Move the top buckles over to reduce excessive pressure.
● Cuff alignment if experiencing pressures or straining along the side of the calf.
● Shell modifications by stretching the cuff of the ski boot.
● Swapping out to a lower profile liner.

Restricted Circulation, Numbness and Cramping

Circulatory problems and numbness can be caused by multiple factors some of which are listed above, but it can also be down to the general biomechanics of your foot.
● Add a supportive footbed to put the foot in a neutral position which will aid with circulation.
● Make sure you're not over tightening your ski boot as this reduces circulation.
● Try to stretch out your calf muscles and Achilles regularly but especially before skiing.
● If your boot has a spoiler try removing it, this may be negatively affecting your blood flow.
● Add a heel lift to change pressure distribution throughout the foot.

Reducing Movement

These issues can occur due to the foam in the liner compressing over time from skiing in the boot.

The general rule when boot fitting is that space can be easy to make, but harder to take away. The majority of these modifications should be seen as a temporary fix, this is because they involve adding more foam which will compress over time and can cause circulation issues.
● Fitting a supportive footbed will provide grip to the sole of the foot preventing it from sliding, it will also reduce unwanted movement by putting the foot into a neutral position.
● Liner modifications can help by adding foam around the heel and ankle to reduce movement and aid in gripping the foot.
● Adding a shim or volume reducer to lift the foot closer to the roof of the boot.
● Wear a ski sock with thicker padding to take up some extra space.

Cold Feet/Toes

As in most cases the main cause of cold feet is down to circulation, however sometimes people just want that extra bit of warmth. If you haven't done so already we do suggest you refer to our reduced circulation and numbness section as this has some useful information.
● A technical well fitting Ski Sock using a good quality breathable material as moisture management is important in keeping your foot dry and warm.
● Disposable Foot Warmers are a cheap solution although they can negatively affect the fit of the boot.
● It is possible to get a heated insole added to your supportive footbed or if you prefer a heated sock they're available too!

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