A hard shell ski boot - that is soft (not plastic) on the outside foot part?
November 13, 2010 10:15 AM   Subscribe

Does it exist yet? - A ski boot for super wide feet that uses snowboard boot type material on the outside part of the foot, but is hard plastic otherwise? (I have a wide foot and only snowboard boots are comfortable for me)

I have a very wide foot (13 EEEEEE). Ski boots, no matter how wide they claim to be, and how much I have ever got them "bumped", are never wide enough (they always still hurt my widest outside part of my foot, especially when I need to go down steep slopes and tighten my boots. At that point, my one outside part of the foot begins to hurt a lot - I think I have a minor case of tailors bunion that comes if I have a tight fitting boot).

So years ago, I turned to snowboarding! Its been great, and the boots are soo comfortable (well I had to get them bumped some - but they do not hurt at all!), and boarding is awesome.

Well its been many years, and I was thinking this year maybe this year I'll see if technology has gotten to the point where there exists an actual ski boot that would be good for me.

I am looking for a boot that uses the same type of material as a snowboard boot where the outside part of the foot is, and somehow combines that into what is otherwise a hard plastic shell, in some form or another. Many years ago I heard that a company developed such a thing, but then went bankrupt.

Any one know if such a thing exists yet? what are they called? (if I look up hybrid ski snowboard boot, I only get boot that are all plastic but fit onto a snowboard, if I look up soft ski boot, I get boots that use soft plastic). If it does not exist yet, is there any other uberuber wide boot that is designed for my case? I am an advanced boarder and skiier.

thanks mf!
posted by figTree to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total)
 
I'm a skiboarder. I've seen people successfully put risers + snowboard bindings on a skiboard. The boots take a beating and you lose some edge control but it works.

I imagine you could try the same thing on skis but anything over 125cm will probably be too hard to control like that.

Good time to try skiboarding though! It's an absolute blast. I can do all 3 (ski, snowboard, skiboard) and skiboarding is the most fun to me. You get a lot of the benefits of the two others combined into one.
posted by zephyr_words at 10:36 AM on November 13, 2010


A google search gave me these.
http://www.apexsportsgroup.com/

I remember that there were some hybrid soft skiboots years ago, but never saw any in real life.
Have you look at a custom pair of boots? Daleboots is custom made in the usa, a friend had a pair years ago and they were quite soft.
posted by jade east at 2:25 PM on November 13, 2010


When you say you've had your ski boots "bumped," who's doing the bumping? What exactly are they doing? And what kind of budget are you working with?

Every ski shop says they are experts at boot fitting. Few do a reasonable job. Even fewer do a good job for those with difficult feet.

Although my feet are not as wide as yours, they are extremely wide and with no (none, zero, zilch) arch. They look like fat duck feet. For years I suffered from severe toe crowding and sole pain, and I thought I would never be able to ski more than two runs without a break. Finding a boot-fitting specialist staffed with certified pedorthists made all the difference for me. I now leave my boots on for up to 11 hours per day, every day, with no crowding or sole problems (I teach skiing day and night, generally taking no days off in-season except for Christmas -- something that would have been unthinkable without fitted boots.)

A good boot fitter, after measuring and looking at your feet and stance, will tell you which boots might work (at the time I bought mine, there were only two boots in the whole store they had any chance of making work for me.) A good first fitting session should take at least an hour, probably more like two hours or more, including measurements, an interview about your skiing, and trying on different candidates, and you should expect to return to the shop at least twice more, once to pick up your worked boots and get a first pre-skiing adjustment and again at least once more after skiing on them a few days to discuss lingering issues.

In extreme cases, a bespoke boot (like the Daleboots jade east mentions) may be your only real option, and a good boot fitter will tell you if that is the case. Look at the Dale site and you will see how customized "custom fitting" is. Whether or not they are soft inside* should not be an issue if the boot fits properly.

*Note -- generally when skiers talk about "soft" boots they are talking about the flex of the boot, which is a parameter you should be able to specify when selecting/ordering the boot. Your fitter will help you make a decision based on what kind of skiing you do. You should generally stay away from boots that are too "soft" in the sense that non-skiers use it -- that is, "like slippers" -- because though they are cushy in the store they will pack out after a few days on snow, allowing foot movement within the boot and aggravating fit issues. A properly-fitted boot will give your feet a gentle hug, so they aren't banging around and slamming against the shell.

Also note that Dale provides free fit adjustment over the life of the boot. Any good boot fitter will do the same with any product -- off the shelf or bespoke -- that they sell. This is important, because to have a boot fit properly will require several sessions -- they will ask you to ski in the boots after the first fitting, then come back and describe any problems you have. Repeat until the problems are taken care of. I have taken my boots (not Dale) back to the fitter 5 years after I purchased them, after a season of heavy backpacking seriously changed the shape of my foot and calves, resulting in a change in boot fit. They reworked the boots at no charge. Again, any good fitter will do the same.

Now, as for cost -- if there is no option for you other than a custom-built boot, your costs can be pretty high. However, if the fitter can find an off-the-shelf boot for you that can be worked, typically you will pay around list price for the boot but all the work (e.g., expanding the shell, cutting/stuffing the liner, moving buckles, grinding the sole, reshaping the cuff, etc. etc.) will be included in the purchase price. This is excluding the cost of any additional boot parts they might need (this is very rare) and custom insoles (which you probably do need, and should cost about $150.)

I also would hesitate before adopting whole-heartedly any brand recommendations you get on the internet. It is not just how wide your foot is, but where it is wide and its (three-dimensional) form that will determine which boots can be made to work with your foot.

If you are located on the East Coast, or ski in Vermont or the Catskills, I know of several shops that come with the highest recommendations from myself or fellow instructors with difficult feet. If not, you should ask instructors and racers for recommendations. Typically the best bootfitters are located in ski towns or nearby, primarily because the fitting process involves several visits, and also because that's where the people who most-urgently need properly-fitting boots -- racers and folks who work on skis -- live and spend most of their time in the winter.

Good luck with this. PM me if you need recs. I may even be able to get some for you in the Rockies, though this may take a while.
posted by Opposite George at 7:34 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also check out this thread on epicski.com's Barking Bear forums. Actually, this would be a great question to take over to epicski; the site is populated with serious skiers who really know what they're talking about.
posted by Opposite George at 7:59 PM on November 13, 2010


I've got these Rossignol Soft's - http://www.outdoorreview.com/cat/ski-equipment/mens/rossignol/PRD_111601_4209crx.aspx (html not working for me??). I love them. Not AS soft as snowboard boots, but still WAY more comfortable than a fully rigid boot.

They are not designed for racing, so they are not QUITE as responsive as a race boot, but if you are just in it for cruising around, they are awesome. Also so much more comfy for walking around at lunch.

Not sure if they still make that range. As always with ski boots, getting them properly fitted, and doing the "blow hot air with your feet in them then letting it cool" method helps too.
posted by trialex at 2:38 AM on November 14, 2010


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