Custom Replacement Ski Boot Liners

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The Problem is in the Liner not the Boot

Head RS 80 Ski Boots with factory liners removed. Mike Doyle, Photo at Surefoot, Killington, VT

I figured I had a problem with my ski boot liners when I brought my boots to Surefoot, in Killington, Vermont. The boots felt loose and even with my foot beds and the micro adjustments on my buckles, I couldn’t get the boots to feel like they did the last two seasons. My three year old Head RS 80 ski boots have been canted individually to correct each foot. I really did not want to give them up unless I absolutely had to.

Ray Rice, the Surefoot Regional Manager, had worked on my boots in the past. Having done the canting, fitted my foot beds, and taken down some of the upper cuff during the past 2 years, he now offered to take a look at the new problem. Pulling out the liners he quickly determined my factory liners, after two years of a lot of skiing hours, were pretty well packed out in certain areas.

Ray explained that this isn’t really a fault of the manufacturer. The factory liner is the best effort to fit as many feet as possible as comfortably as possible. This usually means layers of liner materials are built up in the hollow areas based on the average foot. Unfortunately, this construction has a definite skiing life span – some more than others – but all will eventually pack out.

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Factory Liners Compress

Factory Boot Liners. Mike Doyle, Photo at Surefoot, Killington, VT

The problem arises when skiing pressures push the material around the foot – which actually molds the layering material to the individual foot. It does feel good until the material starts to compress.

Ray showed me a cutaway of an average off-the- shelf boot liner and you could see that the manufacturer wasn’t skimping on any material. However, at the same time you could see how the individual layers were compressed from the constant up and down pressure on both the front and the heel.

Fixing the Program

When I first saw a bootfitter yank the boot liner out of a pair of $600 ski boots it was a bit unnerving. I didn’t even know they came out. In fact, a lot of ordinary skiers are unaware that not only do the factory liners pull right out, but you can replace any boot liners with injectable liners that are custom fit to the individual skiers’ feet.

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21st Century Custom Ski Boot Liners

Prepping the Feet. Mike Doyle, Photo at Surefoot, Killington, VT

Injectable liners have been around for many years. However, the original custom injection boots had liners that only fit that boot. In other words, if you wanted custom injected boots you had to buy that boot – you couldn’t use your old boot. The material was a basic silicone that was forced in until it filled the boot and overflowed out a vent. When it was done it took almost superhuman efforts to get in and out of the boot.

Ray put my concerns aside as he prepped each foot with Styrofoam patches, toe booties, and with a plastic bag for easy entry he fitted each boot and adjusted buckles. He explained that the liners Surefoot uses are sized to the owners boot. The environmentally safe chemical is regulated to only inject a set amount. The chemical is specially formulated and is still pliable after it is injected, unlike the injectables of old that turned rock hard.

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Fits Like a Glove

Injecting the Foam. Mike Doyle, Photo at Surefoot, Killington, VT

While I stood on an elevated table with arms for support, Ray checked my stance, made some minor adjustments, and injected first the tongues and then the areas surrounding the foot. All this was done through tubes that projected out the front. The process felt a bit tight as the material was put in, but quickly things felt normal again.

Every person’s feet are as unique as footprints, and the material forms around the bumps and hollows. When it sets up it is like a glove. You can actually feel inside the liners where one foot might have a bump where the other foot doesn’t.

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Ski Boots are Better Than New

As Good as New (or Better). Mike Doyle, Photo at Surefoot, Killington, VT

Once the material had set, I had no trouble taking the boots off or putting them on. In fact, the finished liners stay pliable and can still be pulled out of the boot, they are that flexible. However, you can certainly feel that there is no way you are going to pull your heel out of the heel pocket while skiing.

The individually injected tongue is guaranteed to provide the pressure to keep the heel down, without you even thinking about it. When done my old boots definitely felt as good as new – if not better.