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Thread: Question about boot flex (buying new boots soon)

  1. #1
    Moderator Snow Sport InstructorSkier Village Coach LiquidFeet's Avatar
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    Question about boot flex (buying new boots soon)

    I need new boots for several reasons. I have a few questions before I go plunk down the $$. I know that fit comes first. I think I can evaluate the fit of a boot much better now than when I bought these current boots, so my question is not about fit. It's about flex.

    Since I bought my current boots, I have learned to flex them. I not only flex these boots, I crush them. I crush them on 10 degree days as well as on warm days, so it's not just when the boot plastic warms up. I think I would be wise to buy stiffer boots; seems like instead of the boot doing the flexing I could use some of that energy of mine to flex the skis. I also think a stiffer boot would give me more stability at speed.

    Problem is, I tried on all kinds of boots today, and even the race boots in 110 flex (Rossi, Atomic) flexed in the store just like my current boots, which are 90 (Sollies, four years old). I compared the flex by putting a new boot on one foot and an old boot on the other and walking around in the store, stopping and flexing, repeatedly. Yep, felt the same. It's going to be difficult to find a stiffer boot; I'm trying on 23.5 boots (smallish) and the shops don't have 130 flex in that size. 130 flex sounds like a lot for a 63 YO woman in small boots, right?

    So here's my question... do I really need a stiffer boot? Let me describe what "crush" feels like to me, and someone out there tell me if I'm doing just fine with the type of flex I've currently got .... or if I'm right and I need stiffer boots. Maybe everyone who flexes their boots feels what I'm feeling and I'm overreacting. I've been known to overreact .
    .
    When I am carving fast in long radius or medium radius turns over lumpy snow, I feel the boot cuff wobbling fore-aft with the snow surface. I have to provide the stability with my own ankles; the boot flexes way forward and my anatomy allows my ankle to flex way forward with it so I have to control that wobble myself; no help from the boot.

    Also, when I decide to press into that boot cuff to carve a medium or long radius turn, it just gives in easy and quick. It folds. I don't think my flexing forward at the ankle translates into bending the ski much, since I'm bending the boot cuff so easily. This makes sense to me, but I want confirmation from those of you who are familiar with this sort of thing. Don't I need to feel substantial resistance from the boot as I flex it, if I want my efforts to translate to the ski?

    My current daily skis are Kastle FX84s. Before, I had Rossi (Avenger Carbon) 82s. Neither of these skis is known as a really stiff ski. The Kastles are stiffer in flex than the Rossis, which I wanted when I chose them. I felt this problem with the Rossis, not just the Kastles, so the boot issue is not showing up because I have a different ski now.
    Last edited by LiquidFeet; March 22nd, 2014 at 01:27 PM.

  2. #2
    I have my own seat in the pub Bushido Princess's Avatar
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    How tall are you, how much do you weigh and what is your skier type? Are you aggressive or gentle? What kind of terrain do you ski? Can you post a video of yourself skiing? I imagine that might be helpful in answering this question.
    Last edited by Bushido Princess; March 23rd, 2014 at 06:27 AM.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
    Since I bought my current boots, I have learned to flex them. I not only flex these boots, I crush them. I crush them on 10 degree days as well as on warm days, so it's not just when the boot plastic warms up. I think I would be wise to buy stiffer boots; seems like instead of the boot doing the flexing I could use some of that energy of mine to flex the skis.
    It doesn't work that way. You don't lose a significant amount of energy when you flex a boot with your body weight - (and energy is actually the correct term here because you're applying force through a displacement distance, well done). There is a reaction force from the ground that is helping you flex the boot, and that reaction force has to pass through the ski. As it's doing so, it is flexing the ski. The only way to flex a ski boot without flexing the ski is to do it with your tibialis anterior (front of shin) muscles. I should hope you are not able to simply dorsiflex a 90-flex ski boot- that would indeed be crushing it. How much can you flex your current boots if you hold the boot sole is off the ground?

    Going back to the DIRT acronym, a stiffer boot would not give you a larger I (intensity) of ski flex. It would change the R and the T (the rate at which your input is passed to the ski, and the timing in which your input is passed to the ski).

    In other words, the soft-ish boot is masking ski feedback to your inputs. What a stiffer boot would do is keep your ankles more open at the point at which you are feeling direct feedback from the ski.


    I also think a stiffer boot would give me more stability at speed.
    That's easy to see. What might not be quite as obvious is that a stiffer boot would be a liability in bumps unless the fore/aft balance is *extremely* well sorted for your body. The other drawback is that on coral reef extra stiffness can jackhammer up your limb. (All the way up into the hip if you have twitchy skis that get deflected easily)

    So, it's all a trade off really.

    Also, when I decide to press into that boot cuff to carve a medium or long radius turn, it just gives in easy and quick. It folds.
    And you would prefer for it to stay upright. This makes sense, and it can be controlled through relative plastic stiffness and through geometric factors like the profile of where the front edge of the cuff meets the roof of the clog.



    My current daily skis are Kastle FX84s. Before, I had Rossi (Avenger Carbon) 82s. Neither of these skis is known as a really stiff ski. The Kastles are stiffer in flex than the Rossis, which I wanted when I chose them. I felt this problem with the Rossis, not just the Kastles, so the boot issue is not showing up because I have a different ski now.
    Right I got that.

    Tbh, I am only 50% convinced that a considerably stiffer boot is going to behave like what you want, and a 110 boot might do the trick nicely if the default fore/aft position and the default ankle geometry is well sorted. Remember how a bit of extra toe lift can make a boot feel stiffer? That's the sort of thing I'm talking about.

    As a side note, don't forget you can drop in relatively stiffening liners like Intuition Power Wraps or Zipfit Garas into any given boot.
    Last edited by comprex; March 23rd, 2014 at 11:32 AM.

  4. #4
    My horse knows his own way home Little Tiger's Avatar
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    Might be a bit of an ask but if you have any ability to manage it I'd try to get to Breckenridge/Denver and see Jeff Bergeron.

    IIRC he works on the boots of many Villagers. I have pretty tricky feet/legs and Jeff is a wizard.

    The MAIN issue is getting a boot that sets up your body alignment as close as possible to what will work to allow you to ski. This means selecting a boot that requires the minimum adjustment to get to that state, and then the one that requires the least adjustment to fit your foot as well.


    Jeff does not sell boots - he charges for his service. You can get the boots where you want once he gives you a couple of choices.


    If you cannot get there perhaps you can work with him by email, or he may know a good person near you.

  5. #5
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