If you have the opportunity before you go away, some stretching and strength work on your legs and feet will certainly enhance your ski experience. For example - if you don't normally run and then go out running every day for a week, you will certainly feel the impact on your legs and feet. It is the same with skiing, so any preparation work you can do will certainly help, making it a more comfortable and enjoyable time.
In Ski Boot Fitting shops we often see people come in complaining of painful feet, but the solution can be very simple. Ski boots need to be snug on the foot to give control when skiing, otherwise your legs and body will work much harder to steer the skis. Therefore the fit needs to be very precise. If you wear the wrong sock or buckle the boot incorrectly, you can cut off circulation, creating a very painful experience. Here are 5 simple Top Tips that you can follow to help keep your feet happy and try to prevent you having any further problems.
1 Wear Thin Socks
When you have a snug fitting ski boot, always wear an ultra light/light ski sock in the boot. If the boot is feeling tight, you will be amazed how much difference a few mm will make when you wear a thinner sock. This is often a very simple solution to gaining extra space in the boot. Never wear two pairs of socks in a boot, as this creates pressure points and eliminates the air space in the boot, which is needed to keep your feet warm.
3 Dry Your Boots Out At Night
At the end of a day's skiing, it is important to dry your liners out overnight. Drying the liners prevents you putting on a wet boot the following day, inevitably causing cold feet.......and stinky boots! Over time, the liner will also deteriorate much quicker. If you have a custom insole in the boots, do not use the large rack dryers often seen in hotels as these tend to get very hot and will often damage and deform your insoles. You can purchase lightweight, inexpensive boot dryers for this purpose which won't cause any damage to your insoles or liners. Or you can remove the liner to air overnight, but this can be difficult for many people to put back in. It is also important not put the liners or shells near to a fireplace or any source of intense heat, where the shape of the plastic can change or cause damage to the liners.
5 Check The Hardware
Ideally before you go on a ski trip, check the screws and buckles on your boot to make sure they are secure. Over time these will often wear loose so it's a much easier problem to solve if you have the parts. They often need a simple allen key or a Phillips screwdriver and just need to be tightened until they are secure. If the big cuff alignment screws (near the ankles) feel loose, it is worth taking the boot to a Boot Fitting shop to be checked. A minor adjustment here can affect the angle of the cuff of the boot, around the lower leg. It is also worth keeping a check on the soles of the boot which will wear over time with use. If the sole wears too much, the boot will move in the binding. Many boots have replaceable soles, which is a simple fix. Just don't wait too long before buying a replacement set as the manufacturers will only produce spare parts for a limited number of years.
2 Buckle The Boot Correctly
The top two buckles around the leg should be buckled firmly giving you a snug fit around the leg. When you flex (bend) forwards in the boot, your leg and boot should be moving together as one. if you have excess space around the lower leg, you will likely end up with shin bang (bruised shins) and you will find it very hard to control the skis. The lower two buckles across the top of the foot should have very little tension on them when the boot fits you snugly. Too much tension on these buckles will compress the top of the foot causing numbness and a cold foot. When the boot is buckled correctly, skiing becomes much more efficient, meaning less work to control the skis.
4 Purchase An Insole
All ski boots tend to come with a very flat, basic insole which can accommodate most feet. Ideally this should be replaced with a more supportive insole which will help stabilise the foot in the boot, increasing control when skiing and preventing pressure points occurring. An insole will also help to even out pressure under the foot, reducing hot spots. A custom insole is the premium option as it will be built specifically for you. However, if the cost is not viable, there are many trim-to-fit insoles on the market which will certainly improve the fit. When searching for a trim-to-fit insole, it is very important to find one that matches the shape and flexibility of your foot.