Meeting-January 4th At The Belfryboot Fitting With Clive Grainger

by Norma Green

Clive's visits to our meetings are always interesting and informative and the above talk on boot fitting was no exception.

Clive began by telling us that boot fitting was in fact simple (how many of us immediately thought the opposite?). He said the clever part happens in the workshop where there are 101 ways to adjust a boot to fit the most awkward foot, e.g. heating and "blowing out" the shell. Question: Did we know which was the best pair of boots in the shop? The answer being: The pair that fits your feet the best! And of the course the best way to find a well fitting boot is to go to a good fitter and put your trust in him or her. Allow at least an hour and if you are not sure just keep going back until you find a pair you feel happy with and that suit your feet.

With the aid of two sticks, one thicker than the other, Clive showed us how he carries out a shell check. Mike Brett was the volunteer for this one, with the assistance of some very snazzy black and white Rossignol boots. By pushing the sticks behind the heel, Clive can tell if the fit is tight, for racing and extreme' (narrow stick), or a comfortable recreational fit (thicker stick). Besides looking for comfort, we were told, you must also be aware that you need boots to suit your level of skiing ability, I.e. boots to grow into, not out of (i.e. grow in ability, not size!).

Clive brought along some footbeds which he assures us are essential - the ones that come with the boots are too basic to be of any use. He gave us some technical, or is it medical, information on ankle pronation and how these footbeds correct this. Highly technical and expensive boot fitting is not necessary for the ordinary skier. Even for those with high insteps and/or awkward feet the Sidas insoles will be fine. For most people Superfeet footbeds are an excellent buy, as although they don't look it, they are in fact technically constructed to just beyond the instep area, thereby placing your foot and ankle immediately into the correct position.

Most of us decided it was time to purchase a new pair of boots after all this information, particularly when Clive said you should not ski in the same boots for 10 years! Drat! That's like throwing away an old friend!

Thank you to Clive for once again coming along and giving us such good advice.