The mountains, the fresh snow, the radiant sun and the immaculate blue sky; all the ingredients for a wonderful day of skiing come together perfectly. With one exception: the comfort of your feet. Winters comes and go, as does the same issue. Always those little annoyances, that numbness, or even unbearable pain which convert your ski sessions into torture. Sometimes the discomfort of your feet in your ski boots steals away much of the pleasure that the sport should bring you.
Laurent Tacussel, in charge of International Training at Sidas and with over 20 years experience in bootfitting, has developed more than just expertise in this field: he has converted the relationship between your foot and your ski boot into a real art.
Here are his 12 expert tips to be sure your ski boots never hurt again. Because, as he reminds us: "To get off on the right foot in skiing, you'd better be right in your boots!" ».
There are no bad ski boots on the market, just good feet confined in unsuitable ski boots with inadequate equipment. Because the comfort of your foot does not only rely on your choice of ski boot! It lies in the composition of a winning combination: the boot sure, but also the ski sock, the ski insole and the liner.
Despite great equipment, the first day with your new ski boots will inevitably put your foot to the test with the unnatural confinement that it faces. In order to reduce the stress of this first day of skiing, put your ski boots on several times at home beforehand and walk in them to make them flex.
Preparing your feet to adapt to a situation to which they are not accustomed implies a little routine and anticipation before each session, but this will be your saviour. Massaging the arch of the foot by rolling a tennis ball under it, checking your toe nails are cut suitably and applying a moisturising or anti-friction cream are all small gestures that will limit the risk of numbness, blisters or overheating.
Nothing is worse for the comfort of your feet than starting the day by putting on cold boots. To avoid this, do not leave them outside for the night, in the cellar or in the boot of the car.
You probably have the memory of skiers struggling to put on their ski boots, sitting in the boot of their car in the car park adjacent to snow. There is however a fairly simple technique to follow so as not to inflict pain on your foot as soon as it comes into contact with the boot. Help your instep into the boot by passing your thumbs between the boot and the bottom of the shell, just under the catches.
Proper ski boot adjustment means feeling held in place without being squeezed. You are the only one who can judge this feeling. You must therefore pay attention to the pressure exerted on your feet when the boot is closed. A little tip: listen to the sound of your catches when they click against the shell. It should not sound too dull.
As the day progresses, the materials that form the liner naturally tend to settle under the weight of the exertion. So you may need to readjust your ski boot by tightening its catches after a few hours of skiing to maintain comfort and precision.
There are few skiers who do not take a break from their long day in the mountains. Whether for a coffee, lunch or on the chairlift, relieving your feet of the pressure of the catches for a few minutes will be a lifesaver later on.
The comfort of your feet is also a question of anticipation. Believe us, tomorrow, you will be grateful for having taken an extra few minutes of care today, before the hot chocolate, despite being exhausted by the exertions of today's skiing.
Just as when you put it on at the start of the day, you have to be careful in how you take off your ski boots at the end of the afternoon. Again, put your thumbs between the shell and the liner at the instep. This will help prevent, in particular, that the interior parts of the boot, in particular the sole and the tongue of your liner, do not change position for the next day.
Rather than casually throwing your ski boots into the boot of the car as soon as you take them off, set the boot correctly and close the catches. Once you get back home, remove the liners from their shell and then dry them, either with a shoe dryer or by positioning them near a heat source, but without being in direct contact with the heat source. The risk in not doing so is the impact on the properties and the shape of the foams that make up your liners.
If at the end of the day the feeling of discomfort, small aches or even pain persists, do not be fatalistic. No need to give up. There are solutions. Firstly perhaps try our GEL shin protections, which can be integrated into socks, or not.
At the end of the season, before tucking up the ski boots that served you so faithfully throughout the winter, let them dry two or three days in the open air, having previously disassembled all the components, from the liner to the shell via the sole. Then, after that, store them in a dry room, protected from light and in a bag intended for ski boots.
Perhaps we don't quite have Cupid's arrow to create an eternal bond between your feet and your ski boots, but with these tips they can at least now be friends.