You don't have to suffer from sore feet in your ski boots! No, it's not normal to suffer from sore feet, blisters, blackened toenails or hot feet when you run! Solutions are available. And the most effective of these is called 'bootfitting'. Its aim is simple:to make your feet more comfortable, helping you perform better so you can forget about your feet and enjoy your sporting activities to the full, whether you're skiing, running, cycling or hiking.
How do you define bootfitting/shoefitting, a technique involving both innovation in materials and manual expertise? What are the benefits? Where is it done? What part do we play at Sidas Academy?
You can find all our answers in this article about bootfitting, or the art of saying goodbye to sore feet by offering a unique and personalised comfort solution.
Bootfitting/shoefitting is a personalised and sports-oriented comfort and performance solution for your feet.
Based on material innovation and highly-developed manual expertise, bootfitting/shoefitting starts from a simple observation: every foot is unique. In other words, all feet are different. Yet the products on offer - whether they are shoes, socks or insoles, and whether we're talking about skiing, running, hiking or cycling - are generic models designed for as many people as possible but genuinely adapted for no one.
So, the role of the bootfitter is to step in and personalise them - using a range of techniques from analysis to the creation of customised insoles and including shoe modification - a total comfort solution that lets you say goodbye to sore feet!
"Bringing you more comfort and better performance, so you can forget about your feet and enjoy your sporting activities to the full."
We recommend bootfitting/shoefitting whenever your feet hurt in your sports shoes, regardless of your activity.
There are two types of solutions:
- Bootfitting, which involves working on rigid shoes. So it's a term specific to ski boots, which are notoriously uncomfortable.
- Shoefitting, which refers to the customisation of softer materials and therefore applies to running, cycling or hiking shoes.
For bootfitting/shoefitting, naturally, you need to go to a bootfitter/shoefitter, the expert found in specialist sports shops whose job it is to keep feet comfortable. Their expertise is such that, at times, you'll feel as if you're dealing with magicians with a gift for making the pain of sore feet disappear!
"No, having sore feet in your ski boots is not inevitable!" »
Bootfitting/shoefitting is a fairly general term encompassing all the individual adjustments made to provide the foot with greater comfort.
No matter what the sport, whether skiing or running, it all starts with analysis. The bootfitter will ask you questions, look closely at your foot and get you on a machine that will detect all the subtleties.
The purpose of this analysis is to:
- measure the length and width of your foot, the height of your arch and instep and the size of your calf.
- identify any rubbing, redness, black nails, bone growths or sweating problems causing pain.
This analysis often determines the choice of shoe. And that choice is crucial. Choosing the shoe according to your foot may seem trivial, but that is already shoefitting.
The choice of socks is also fundamental. This will obviously depend on both the sport and the unique features of your foot observed during the analysis phase.
Ski, running and cycling socks: we have developed a unique range, acclaimed by all our athletes, with this guiding principle: combining technicality, comfort and performance. Thinness is also one of our watchwords because we really must put an end to the idea that a thick sock is a warm sock! Absolutely not: it's all about breathability.
Explore our range of technical socks for running or skiing just here.
Once the foot has been analysed and the right sock selected, one of the most effective comfort solutions is to use an insole.
The insole is the interface between your body and the shoe, hence its vital role.
It is designed to provide the foot with:
- stability by making sure it is well-supported in the shoe, particularly in the heel area.
- Support that limits fatigue-related sagging.
- And better pressure distribution through uniform support. No more specific localised points where you feel real muscular tension!
There are two types of insoles:
- Our 3Feet insoles which take the first step towards personalisation with three different arch heights to best match the shape of your foot.
- Our Custom insoles, designed to be worked on by our bootfitters, creating a fully customised model that perfectly matches the specific features of your foot.
Then bootfitting, particularly for skiing, will allow you to work directly on the boot. You know, that famous ski boot that hurts all winter long!
There are two ways of personalising the product:
1) The ski boot liner. There are two ways of customising this:
- Thermoforming involves heating the liner in a specialised oven, then once it is malleable, making it take the shape of the foot where the painful areas will have been covered by small patches, thus freeing up a little space.
- The less-common injected shoe, which is found more from a performance perspective for top-level skiers. Foam is injected directly into a mould around the foot. This is to eliminate any gaps that might exist between the foot and the shoe, maximising precision, responsiveness and energy transmission.
2) The ski boot liner. Made of rigid plastic, it can be slightly reshaped to release pressure points.
In shoefitting - i.e. on running, cycling or hiking shoes - the scope for working directly on the shoe is much more limited. A few adjustments are possible, however, to the width of these, and especially the lacing!
To extend this personalisation approach, we have developed a whole range of products that take the pursuit of comfort and performance even further. This ranges from heated solutions including heating insoles and heating socks, through to foot protection accessories, which look like details but can actually make a significant difference.
Benjamin Couton, head of the Sidas Academy, gives us an exhaustive and detailed explanation of the benefits of bootfitting/shoefitting:
-"Overall, bootfitting/shoefitting aims to create a better symbiosis between the foot and the sports shoe."
-"The key word is really comfort. So, sports lovers no longer have to worry about their feet. They can forget about them and just enjoy themselves to the full."
- "The other major aspect of bootfitting/shoefitting has to do with performance. It's a means of achieving marginal gains in precision, responsiveness and dynamism. Whether it's running, trail running, skiing or cycling
The Sidas Academy is the fruit of nearly 50 years of expertise in foot comfort. It was created so we could share our expertise.
We share our know-how through our three primary missions:
1) Inform and recommend.
We keep everyone involved in the field informed about the latest developments in sport, footwear, associated medical conditions and new technologies. We also recommend shops for their expertise by referring customers looking for comfort solutions to the bootfitters we have trained.
2) Train and certify
We educate and pass on our expertise to sports professionals and in-store technical advisors. We want the benefits of our expertise to trickle down to enthusiasts in the choice and customisation of their equipment.
1) Animate and share.
We bring together different worlds (athletes, enthusiasts, shops, engineers), creating opportunities for them to meet.