Boot Fit Problem Solver | StopHeelLift.com

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© MBC Technical - winter sports

Please note the following when trying to solve a boot fitting issue:-
MBC Technicals' recommended solutions are in addition to having been fitted by a professional boot fitter and already having a suitable footbed. For Ski boots this would be a custom made 'Conform'able' or similar and for Snowboard boots this would be a 'Slimflex', 'Superfeet' or manufacturers own shaped footbed that offers some extra support than a basic flat innersole. However, these recommendations will always help but might not completely solve a foot issue unless your foot is stabilised first.
*** If you are buying new boots or want to know more about fitting boots CLICK HERE to read more ***
These are the common problems, look for your problem and scroll down to find solutions:
#1 All over extreme foot pain  #2 Tight all over  #3 Toes pushing on the end  #4 Black toe nail(s)  #5 Burning underneath forefoot  #6 I can’t bend my knees very far  #7 Toes feel crushed  #8 Pins and needles in toes  #9 Pins and needles in whole foot  #10 Pressure on top of foot  #11 Cramping underneath arch  #12 Pressure on ankle bone  #13 Pressure on calf  #14 Pressure on shins  #15 Too much toe room  #16 Forefoot moves around  #17 Entire foot moves around  #18 Heel lift  #19 Room around lower leg  #20 Cold / wet feet
A great way to pin point where you have a problem is to wear your boots standing for a good 5 minutes. When you remove your boots and socks you will have red marks where ever you have had pressure. Good boot technicians use this trick to accurately locate problem areas.
Common Problem Common Reason(s) Solution(s)

#01

All over extreme foot pain

This extreme foot pain causes you to need to stop and loosen your boots.

The common reason for this is boots (including bindings for snowboarding) have been done up too tight!

The biggest reason for doing boots and bindings up too tight is heel lift. If you feel like you don't get enough grip in the heel area of the boots you will naturally tighten your boots up alot to compensate. Over a certain point (different for everyone and every type of boot) you will only serve to crush your foot, cutting off blood supply and causing massive pain. If you have had this, you will know about it!

This is the main reason that SHL™ was invented. SHL™ puts back that heel hold and gives you the confidence to not over tighten your boots.

If you think your boots are too big then a Volume Reducer may also be required to snug up the whole foot in your boots.

#02

Tight all over

Not enough all round volume. Thinner socks and or thinner footbeds will help. You may need larger (volume) boots.

#03

I can feel my toes pushing on the end

Toes are pushing on the end of your boots. This can be the cause of black toe nails.

Thinner socks and or thinner footbeds will help. You probably need bigger boots.

NOTE: It is actually normal to feel your toes on the end. However they should pull away once stood with your knees bent. If they do not and you already have a good footbed and are wearing performance socks you probably need bigger boots.

#04

Black toe nail(s)

Toes are pushing on the end of your boots. Sometimes the nail will grow out and fall off.

Thinner socks and or thinner footbeds will help. You may need larger volume boots.

Some skiers who get this are leaning back too much (bad technique) and causing their feet to slide forward in the boots.

Check you are doing your boots up properly to start with. You want your foot to be nicely held back into the heel pocket.

#05

Burning underneath forefoot

1/ One is because you could have a short Achilles (especially women that wear high heeled shoes alot, you know who you are!), What happens here, is that as you bend your knees, your achilles and calf muscle reach their limit earlier and no longer stretch out causing you heel to lift off the ground which in turn puts pressure under your forefoot. You will know if this is you because as mentioned, you will feel your heels lifting too.

2/ Too much pressure on the top of the foot from the buckles of the ski boot or the ankle strap on snowboard bindings. Both of these can help to cause this.

1/ The first reason can be relieved with a Heel Raise. This really can make all the difference. Try it now: Stand flat on the floor and bend your knees as far as you can without lifting your heels off the floor. Now do it again with a small book under your heels and see how much further you can bend without your heels coming off the floor!

2/ The second reason can be relieved by simply not tightening your ski boots (or snowboard bindings) up too much. You may well have heel lift which is what is making you over-tighten, this is where SHL™ can make all the difference! SHL™ will hold your heels down and mean you don't feel the need to over-tighten.

#06

I can't flex (bend my knees) very far

1/ You may have short Achilles tendons. You should be able to bend you knees just over your toes with your feet flat on the ground (when not wearing any boots). If you can't then you have short Achilles tendons/calfs. This is mostly seen with ladies who wear high heeled shoes all the time.

2/ Your boots could just be too stiff!

1/ The first reason can be relieved with a Heel Raise. This really can make all the difference. Try it now: Stand flat on the floor and bend your knees as far as you can without lifting your heels off the floor. Now do it again with a small book under your heels and see how much further you can bend without your heels coming off the floor!

Ways to help stretch out you achilles/calf muscles: Stand on the edge of a step and let your heels drop down thus stretching out your calf muscles and adjoining body work.
When you are cycling, stand up on the peddles with you bottom off the saddle and a good stretch can be achieved by dropping your heels down.

2/ You probably should buy softer boots. BUT, you could try a Heel Raise first. This will make you lean more forward and should enable you to flex forward more especially if you have a touch or reason 1 also.

#07

Tight across forefoot /
toes being crushed against each other

Boots are too narrow in the forefoot section.

Try these things in order. If the problem isn't solved move on to the next.

1/ Thinner socks.

2/ Liner stretch - this can be done yourself using a broom handle. Put the liner over the broom handle and pull the liner down whilst moving it side to side to push out and flatten the foam on each side of the forefoot. You will be surprised how much extra room around the forefoot can be created using this method.

3/ Shell stretch - this will really need to be done by a technician in a store. Ski boots need to be heated and specialist equipment used. Do not try this one at home!

4/ Different / wider boots! All brands fit differently. Get the right ones for your foot shape! Don't just go on colour!

#08

Pins and needles in toes

TIP: It is the lack of blood that causes pins and needles.

1/ Pressure on your instep (top of foot).

2/ Pressure around your calf muscle.

3/ Pressure directly on and around your toes.

1/ This one can be relieved by simply not tightening your ski boots / snowboard boots and / or snowboard bindings up too much. You may well have heel lift also which is the reason that you overtighten, this is where SHL™ can make all the difference! SHL™ will hold your heels down and mean you don't feel the need to overtighten. The resultant pressure on the top of your foot (instep) stops blood flow to your toes and pins and needles occur.

2/ Can be relieved with a Heel Raise. Lifting the heel and hence the lower leg will make the top of the boot feel lower and therefore reduce any pressure on the calf muscle where blood flow can then be reduced to the foot.

3/ See solution to #06.

#09

Pins and needles in whole foot

1/ Lack of blood circulation in foot caused by pressure around calf

2/ Lack of blood circulation in foot caused by pressure on the instep / top of your foot.

3/ Excessive pressure on the inner side of your foot from over pronation.

1/ A Heel Raise will lift your calf away from the boot giving more room around the calf area. Just a small raise really can make all the difference.

2/ The second reason can be relieved by simply not tightening your ski boots (or snowboard bindings) up too much. You may well have heel lift which is what is making you over-tighten, this is where SHL™ can make all the difference! SHL™ will hold your heels down and mean you don't feel the need to over-tighten.

3/ You REALLY need to check your footbed.
SKI BOOTS: it MUST be a custom made one. It may be that the one you have has collapsed or wasn't made very well in the first place. If you are a heavier person (90kg+) and certainly if you are an aggressive skier you should go for the most expensive footbed with a 'cristair' heel stabiliser (Ask in your ski shop about this). SHL™ can help here too. Due to their offset fitting they can help keep the rear foot / ankle area stabilised.
SNOWBOARD BOOTS: you need to check that you have a footbed of any worth. Generally the ones you get the boots from new are not very good, unless you have spent £200+ then they should be OK. SHL™ can help here too. Due to their offset fitting they can help keep the rear foot / ankle area stabilised.

#10

Pressure on top of foot / instep

Boots not roomy enough in this area.

Be careful not to over tighten your boots. It is all too easily done with modern fastenings. You may be doing this BECAUSE you are getting heel lift. Get some SHL™ in your boots and stop that heel lift.

A boot technician can thin down the footbeds and you could also wear thinner socks. An experienced boot technician may even grind down the foot plate in the bottom of your shells but this is only recommended as a last resort (for ski boots only obviously)

#11

Cramping / discomfort underneath arch

1/ Over collapsing of the arch because boots are being overtightened.

2/ If it is a sharp shooting pain near the heel you may have a Plantar Fascia tendon injury.

3/ You have flat feet.

1/ Just do your boots up tight enough.

SKI BOOTS: You really should not do the front two buckles up too tight. All they really do is clamp down on the foot and cause pain.

SNOWBOARD BOOTS: Do not over-tighten that binding ankle strap. SHL™ could help here if in fact you are getting heel lift and over tightening to compensate.

2/ Plantar Fasciitis requires that you rest the injured area.

3/ If your feet a really flat and you have little arch shape you may really need to see a podiatrist. Preferably one who specialises in fitting ski boots.

#12

Pressure on inner ankle bone

Over collapsing of the arch where the arch reduces and the whole foot rolls inwards, otherwise know as over pronation. Although pronation is perfectly natural it can cause havoc in stiff boots.

SKI BOOTS: A custom footbed is a must and maybe a local area stretch. See your local boot technician about the latter. SHL™ will also help.

SNOWBOARD BOOTS: A good footbed is a must, such as a 'Superfeet' or a custom made 'Conform'able'. Be careful not to over-tighten the liner and then the outer. Lacing systems are so good now that this is all to easily done. Do not over-tighten that binding ankle strap too as this can aggravate you inner ankle bone too. SHL™ could also help here if you are in fact getting some heel lift which is causing you to over-tighten the boots.

#13

Calf pressure / bruising

Boots not roomy enough in this area.

A Heel Raise will raise your foot, leg and calf and make the boot feel lower giving more room around the calf area.

#14

Pressure on shins / bruising

Refered to as 'Shin Bang'. You boots maybe too stiff.

A Heel Raise will change the positioning of your foot and shin within the boot. This may ease the pain. If you actually have bruising you will need to wait until you have recovered. You may well benefit from softer boots.

#15

Too much toe room

You can wiggle your toes alot.

This isn't really a problem. Being able to wiggle your toes is important to aid blood flow to your whole foot. If you would rather a more snug fit then simply try thicker socks.

#16

Forefoot moves around

Your boots are too wide fitting.

A Volume Reducer will 'snug up' the fit around the whole foot.

#17

Entire foot moves around

You boots are probably too big.

Buy smaller ones! Get fitted by a reputable boot fitter. Look out for BSBA rated stores.

If you want to try something you could put in a Volume Reducer, which will make them a size smaller, then add SHL™ and put on some nice thick performance socks. If you are still getting movement add a Heel Raise on top of the Volume Reducer (stick it on top). If all this is still not enough then you really should buy smaller boots.

#18

Heel lift

Not enough padding around your heel because the liners have packed down.

SHL™ will give back that snug feeling again. If this is not enough try a Heel Raise in there too, to further reduce the volume around your heel area.

Click here to find out more about what heel lift is.

#19

Room around lower leg

You have slim lower legs.

SKI BOOTS: If you are at the limit of your buckles, a ski technician can move your buckles in by re-drilling new holes. Thicker socks can also help.

SNOWBOARD BOOTS: This is quite rare with snowboarding boots, the only real answer is to wear thicker socks.

#20

Cold / wet feet

1/ Your boots are not drying properly overnight.

2/ You get sweaty feet.

1/ Sneak them into your room where it will be warmer and dryer than a damp boot room. Don't tell the hotel that we told you to do it!

2/ Buy some Merino Wool Socks. Merino Wool is THE ultimate material for making socks out of. They wick moisture better than anything else. Merino Wool also has amazing anti-bacterial properties and so will smell MUCH less than synthetic materials like polyester.