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Touring boot fit

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 ChrisH89 10 Jan 2021

This is probably something that I need to go see a proper boot fitter for or possibly a podiatrist but since that's not really possible right now I thought I'd see what the collective wisdom here has to say! 

I have a pair of touring boots (Scarpa Maestrale RS) that I've used a few times, but whenever I ski downhill in them I get the worst pain I've ever felt in my feet - to the point of having to stop every 30 seconds, and it really prevents me from skiing properly at all because I'm so distracted by it (I ended up snowploughing yesterday simply because parallels were too painful!). It completely ruins touring for me. The pain is either under my forefoot or in my arches or both - hard to tell exactly because it ends up just feeling like the base of my foot is on fire.

The boots feel like they fit when I initially put them on (perhaps a little on the tight side), the problem only manifests when I start using them for a while. The first time I used them was all lift served downhill skiing at a resort, and I remember having an enjoyable time with only a little discomfort that I put down at the time to breaking in a new pair of boots in. Skinning in them is ok for a couple of hours, after which that starts to become quite painful too. I don't get this at all in my downhill boots so it must be something about the fit of these ones.

I have tried getting the liners heat molded at a ski shop, and a couple of different Superfeet insoles. I've also tried adjusting the tightness of all the various buckles - I even ended up skinning with everything completely undone and the shell open the other day in an attempt to stop my feet hurting. Nothing seems to have worked though and I'm now considering whether I should just accept I need to sell the boots and try another pair.

Before I do that though does anyone have any suggestions or similar experiences? Orthotic insoles, heel raisers/volume reducers, a new liner in the same shell? I have only used the boots maybe 6-8 times total so I thought perhaps the liners were still compressing and adapting to my feet but it's got to the point where I don't want to go touring at all because I know how painful it'll be...

 daWalt 10 Jan 2021
In reply to ChrisH89:

I think your boots are too small.

 AdrianC 10 Jan 2021
In reply to ChrisH89:

I also think they're probably too small.  Try a thinner inner?

P.S.  Do you not always undo the buckles for skinning?

 mysterion 10 Jan 2021
In reply to ChrisH89:

That sounds like what happens when I overtighten the bottom buckle - compressed arches, a boot volume thing? Maybe try with all insoles removed, even the ones they came with.

Post edited at 19:35
 HammondR 10 Jan 2021
In reply to ChrisH89:

the boot hurting while skinning with everything open; that does sound as if they may may be too small. That has never happened with me or the considerable number of folk I have toured with. It could be the size of the boot or it could be the shape.

couple of suggestions;

1) are you sure you have the correct size of boot? Try a shell test. Remove the liner and step into the empty shell with your toes just touching the end. Stand up, don't sit. There should be a gap between your heel and the back of the boot shell. This gap should be between 1.5 and 2 fingers wide (stick your fingers in or if that is awkward get someone else to stick theirs in!). If it is only a 1 finger gap the boot may be too small or might need some enthusiastic stretching by a knowledgeable shop. If there is more than a  2 finger gap... you guessed it, probably too big.

2) The footbed. You sound like a prime candidate for custom made footbeds. A few people find no benefit from them. For most however the difference is night and day. They prevent your foot changing shape and help the feeling of your foot and boot being as one. The opposite of sloshing around in a boot. I have turned up to ski having forgotten to put the footbeds in and packed in straight away. Once accustomed to them it is horrible without.

Scarpa use very good Intuition liners in their boots so that would be my last port of call. They should last at least a season (70/80 days).

Reply with your shell test outcome and lets investigate further. This could run and run!

 alex 10 Jan 2021
In reply to ChrisH89:

That’s sounds familiar. Google Morton’s Neuroma. I had a pair of Scarpa Maestrale and they have fairly narrow toe box. Spent a lot of time getting them stretched but also spent a lot of time taking boots off whilst skiing. They never worked out. If your symptoms match Norton’s neuroma  (lots of threads on here about it) then I’d just sell those and buy some boots with a wider fit, as it’s all about avoiding compression in the front foot. Hope this helps. 

In reply to ChrisH89:

Either they are way too small for you or your feet are not a good fit with Maestrale or both!

Take out the inner boot and step into the shell, stand up, slide your feet forwards so that the toes just contact the front inside of the boot. How much distance is there between the rear of your heel and the rear inside of the boot? It should be, according to a Scarpa bootfitting video that I watched yesterday,  between 1/2 and 3/4 inch, or 12 to 19mm. 
 

If it is less than that, then these boots are defo too small for you.

If the measurement is within that range, then your feet are a terrible match for Maestrale RS (height of arch, depth of instep, width at toes, foot shape, any hammer toes, any knobbly bits).

Out of interest, why did you choose Maestrale RS? It's a great boot.... but only if it fits!

 crayefish 10 Jan 2021
In reply to ChrisH89:

Sounds like they're beyond adjustment.  As others have said, either too small or just too low volume for your feet.

I have high volume and wide feet.  All my hiking and mountaineering boots are Scarpa and fit great so assumed the Maestrales would fit me too.  They didn't at all!  Quite surprised.  Tried every boot in every shop in London... eventually got some in Austria (Fischer Ranger Free 130) which still had to have liners moulded, a couple of punch sessions and custom insoles.  Some feet just aren't easy ;)

 ChrisH89 10 Jan 2021
In reply to ChrisH89:

Thanks all. I did think they may be too small. I just did a shell test however and I can definitely fit two finger widths between my heel and the back of the boot. What I noticed was that I could feel the shell on the inside of my forefoot with when my toes were touching the end, and it was only my biggest and smallest toes that touched the shell unless I pushed them forwards and kind of squashed them into the toebox (in which case I had a bit more than 2 finger widths at the back). 

I was wondering about custom footbeds, I'll take a look into that. I think I may have slightly flat feet although not really sure how to self diagnose that! It's never been a problem in any other kind of footwear though.

 ChrisH89 10 Jan 2021
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

Shell seems to fit fine as far as the finger test is concerned, but I suspect the shape of the forefoot might be the problem as others have commented on... I chose them for the same reason as crayefish said, because I have used a multitude of Scarpa boots which all fit perfectly so I thought these would too and they felt fine when I first tried them on!

In reply to ChrisH89:

I'd cut my losses, sell them, and go to a decent bootfitter with a variety of makes. Ignore the colour/look/prices, choose what fits.

You could do a lot worse than call somewhere like BackcountryUK and talk it through with them.

If you need something with volume/height, you could try something from the Scott Cosmos range.

 Turfty 10 Jan 2021
In reply to ChrisH89:

I have these same boots and have been struggling with them, though they are improving.  They are the right size, so not a size issue, but I was getting a lot of pain on the outside edge of my feet about 2/3rds the way along to my toes.  Bought start of last season from a reputable shop and fitted by them.  Really struggled with them on a week away last New Year - went back to the shop and they refitted them again.  Still struggled with them, but they slowly improved , helped by very careful balanced tightening of buckles.  Before lockdown last year I was out for a day touring and they seemed to suddenly click - I think because, as I was managing the buckles better my feet where much more relaxed and so I was much more relaxed.   Was out for six or seven hours in them yesterday and they were pretty good.

Ultimately I think the issue is actually the shape of the shell rather than my feet (though of course it could be my feet).  Tried different insoles (including custom made I already had, but not tailored to these boots) and currently skiing them with superfeet.  In reality I probably should have given up on them but have been too stubborn to do so.

 ChrisH89 10 Jan 2021
In reply to ChrisH89:

Interesting point about Morton's Neuroma, though I'm not sure it exactly fits my symptons - the pain is more generalised than suggested and I seem to have no issues with rock shoes even when I wear really tight and aggressive rock shoes. I've only ever experienced anything like it with this specific pair of ski boots.

I am thinking I'm probably best off selling them and getting a new pair (although I obviously can't do that right now as shops are all closed!) but thought I'd see whether there was anything else I should look into first...

Post edited at 20:21
 crayefish 10 Jan 2021
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

> I'd cut my losses, sell them, and go to a decent bootfitter with a variety of makes. Ignore the colour/look/prices, choose what fits.

This! 

Though if possible, I found its better to get them somewhere where you'll be skiing for at least a few days so you can return for further modifications the same day (and test again the next day) if there are pressure points.

 CacCarnBeag 10 Jan 2021
In reply to ChrisH89:

I also had this problem with the Maestrale RS. They gave me unbearably painful cramps both skinning up and skiing down. I tried everything including a liner fit, custom footbed etc. Nothing made any difference.

I get very bad cramps in a lot of footwear including fell shoes, rock shoes, and cycling shoes. For me the solution is always cutting my losses and getting a different shoe.

I got rid of my Maestrales and now tour in Scott Cosmos boots which are great and have not given me any issues.

 ChrisH89 10 Jan 2021
In reply to ChrisH89:

Thanks all, sounds like there probably isn't much point spending time and effort trying to make these fit and the solution is to sell on and get new boots. Having tried one on with my downhill boot on the other foot it's pretty obvious there's a lot of tightness around the forefoot and it's noticeably less comfortable. Not sure why I hadn't tried this already or noticed (denial probably!). 

In reply to ChrisH89:

What size are they? Are they the white/blue/black ones?

You'll easily sell them.

If 29/28.5, please could you PM me?

There is also British Backcountry sale group on facebook.

 ChrisH89 10 Jan 2021
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

White/orange/blue/black ones. 26.5 I'm afraid. I'll check that group out, cheers.


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