SKI BOOT AGONY
5th January 2017 | Katie Bamber
What do you do when you simply can’t find a pair of boots that fit? Ski boots – the ultimate pain. PlanetSKI reporter Katie Bamber sought help from Profeet in West London.
If you ask skiers what they would put in Room 101 I’m confident that most would mention ski boots.
Those who have suffered can sympathise – when bad, ski boots are agony.
They squeeze, they cause cramping and once they start to irritate there’s no going back; the pain is aggravated, it sets in and the boots win.
Skiing is nearly impossible.
Enjoyment certainly is.
You see I have flat feet.
For years I have been wearing the wrong sized boots too: 2cm too big.
I learned this from Profeet’s Assistant Manager, Fraser, and this seems to have been one of the causes of my boot problems.
I finally left my old boots in resort last Spring and vowed to go to the best and start afresh in the season on 16/17.
In December I was lucky enough to visit six resorts writing for PlanetSKI with my rental boots were supplied by Intersport.
They have an amazing range of top new season skis and the best fitting rental boots I could find.
Boots don’t really come under the one-size-fits-all category, but Intersport tried its hardest to help me out.
In Tignes the floor was littered with dozens of brand new rental boots as I cast each asside asking for smaller, wider, stiffer…
In Verbier I went to the Philippe Roux Intersport shop four times to try to find a boot I could ski in that didn’t hurt.
They brought out their best pair of stiff boots for me.
So accommodating was Julien at the store that he heated my boots before I arrived for them in the morning, cut to shape two pairs of new innersoles, added (and then removed) a heel lift.
All with endless energy and determination trying to get the problem sorted for me.
I couldn’t have asked for more.
They were certainly the best boots I’ve rented and the best service without a doubt.
But they were agony at times and needed constant adjustment.
The only resolution was to get custom-fitted boots for my flat feet.
And the place I chose to go: Profeet in Fulham.
The assistant manager at Profeet, Frazer, helped choose and fit my boots.
I told him the usual problems I have along with the aches and pains, as well as how I like them to fit.
A good fitting ski boot not only helps with comfort but will also massively improve technique and for me, confidence.
There were about four stages to the fitting.
I first had to stand on a pressure matt to see where I held my weight in a variety of positions.
Next I tried on four pairs of boots; less than I usually do in a rental shop.
After I had chosen the best boot as a starting point, the mould of my feet was taken on sand bags that slowly solidified.
In the half hour gap while the shaping of the inner sole was going on I asked the staff about the usual problems people face.
A main one for women is a lack of calf flexibility from sports such as road running or from wearing heels.
Frazer explained that he spends most fittings hearing about and fixing the same problem.
“The main thing is people wear the wrong sized boots, a lot of the time too big so the foot is not held securely or the lower leg moves in the boot and gets repeatedly knocked by the boot.”
“Rental boots have to fit so many different shaped feet so don’t give the best support,” he added.
“A lot of problems can be sorted just by wearing the right sock. Most wear socks too thick, or double up leaving no room for the toes and foot to flex and move.”
Aches and pains from skiing – such as bashed shins, sore skin, pinched calfs – it seems can be helped with simple solutions.
My issue is flat feet and cranked up boots, as tight as they’ll go, soon cut off the blood to my feet.
I tested out, with my just-shaped liners, heel lifts and decided to have them without.
After three hours of careful fitting, I was happy with the boot.
Customers can go back as many times as needed within two years of buying the boots in order to get them right, as of course you can’t show how they’ll fare without a proper ski.
The careful attention I was paid in order to get the right boot and care that went into the fitting really puts Profeet up there, despite the number of times they must have heard to usual tale of special feet and worst experiences of boot pain.
It fits many celebrities with their boots, including the Royal Family.
The former deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, was there when I had my appointment.
As non professionals it’s the nearest to tailor-made boots we’ll get.
So the real test is what they were like where it mattered.
Out on the snow.
I took my new boots to Crans-Montana in Switzerland to try them out last week.
Result: The best boots I’ve worn, without a doubt.
Comfortable, supportive and a noticable increase in my performance and technique.
I will be heading back to tweak a few things but it was the best skiing I’ve done.
And the most comfortable.
Thanks to Frazer and Profeet.
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