Racing Ski Boots
Fit is the most important part of your boot selection. More often than not we see athletes getting into boots because their hero skis on them. Remember those heroes have technicians that follow them around the world dialing in the fit. In all likelihood you do not have a personal technician, so for the sake of your feet get the one that fits. Boot fitters have opinions about what works for you, but you are the only one with your foot in the boot. You know how it actually feels. You should be looking for a solid heel and ankle pockets. Feel for hard spots (pressure that is coming from the shell). Your toes should be touching the front of the boot when standing upright and pull away when you flex into the boot. If you are in the middle of a growth spurt give yourself a little room. Growth spurts for feet will start at 11 for girls and 12 for boys. The feet will generally start six months before the rest of the body.
There is a tendency for all racers to be in overly stiff boots. Boot flex is not like adding horsepower to a race car—more is not better. An athlete should be able to crush the boot at normal room temperature (flex hard enough that the side begin to bulge out). If they can't drive the boot like this at room temperature, there is little chance that they will be able to do it on the slopes at 20 degrees. No athlete under 100 pounds should be in a 90 flex boot.
Canting is considered to be the dark arts to a lot of coaches. Sometimes it can be seen as a magic pill to fix anything and everything wrong with your skiing. The natural tendency here when dealing with canting your ski boots should be caution. Too often the boot whispers, and whispers too much. This is what so and so is doing on the World Cup. Quite honestly, that is rarely the case. Consider the following before you start the process of grinding your ski boots and canting. Then and only then should you start with canting.
● We suggest that you should ski in the new boots for a week, allowing the boot liners to settle in and let you muscle and tendons get back into skiing mode.
● Start with a footbed that centers the ankle position and cups the heel. The fore body of the foot bed must allow for flexibility and proprioception and not be too stiff in the arch (Your feeling of balance).
● Canting is not recommended unless the athlete is competent and consistent enough with their ski tuning. Throughout a season athletes and some well meaning parents can tune and over tune the skis so much that the base bevel can vary up to one whole degree on the same pair of skis.
● The other main factor that affects the canting process that must be considered is that athletes are experiencing major growth spurts during 10 and 18. Most of the size is added between 11 and 13 for girls and 12 to 14 for boys. The rest of the body, tendons, muscles, and brains take a lot longer. All of these affect what an athlete's need for canting.
● Canting is only a micro adjustment and it is permanent. It’s like someone putting a race engine in a car but have never fixed the tires.
Pull the liners and let them dry out. The foam in your boots is like a sponge. The liners will hold water if you do get them out of the shell so they can breathe.