Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Super-fitting Your Boot (Updated Dec 2015)

I just got a pair of full custom Harlicks boots, based on the X-Line model. Like every other figure skater I wanted my boots to be a perfect fit out of the box. I know some people have this experience, but I never have. I believe Harlicks did the absolute professional best possible, and 99% of the boot fit is wonderful, but for me there's always some little niggling thing, just a little out of reach of perfection. After 4 pairs of boots I've acquired a lot of little techniques to reach that status of perfection. I'm here to give you tricks I've learned. There are things you can do on your own, and things maybe best left to your fitter. If it's in red, leave it to your fitter unless you really know what you're doing. in which case why are you reading this post?

So let me say, when it comes to my boots, I'm a drama  queen. I'm not proud of this. If my feet hurt I'm a pissy little whiner. Crushed vetebrae-drove myself to the emergency room. Got cold cocked-drove myself to the emergency room (when I woke up). Broken ankle-walked on it for three days before seeing the doc. Knee pain-waited 3 months for treatment. Boot too tight --I pitch a fit!

Anyway, here is every trick I know for making my boots fit.
Handy tip finder

1. The heel is too wide/large-- Gel Tubes (but there's also a tying trick if the gel tube is too thick).  I also found that heat molding to make the heel smaller never worked for me, but some people do. Also, a different lace tying technique.

2.  Pain over your arch---try tying in a different way. I had this problem on my dance boots and while I was breaking them in I skipped the pair of lace holes over the painful area.

3.  The boot is just slightly too wide--the double insole trick (although I now have triple insoles in one boot')

4. The forefoot is too narrow--heat molding the boots (there are people who will do this on their own, I don't think it's that hard, so more power to them) Or you can build your own boot stretcher out of a C-Clamp.

5. The forefoot is too narrow and heat molding isn't enough--(this is last ditch) bring out the knife!
6.  The heel is too harrow--heat molding (although I never found this to work for me, but it's worth a try)

7.  Your toes are pinched by the top of the toebox--cut out the insole under the toes that are pinched and see if that gives you enough room.

8.  The boot is too narrow or too short-- (I mark this solution as a temporary only, desperation, may not work trick) take out the insole and skate on bare the inner sole (cheaper boots will have tacks in there, you could always cover those with bandaids or gel tabs)

9. You have trouble lacing your boots--I've found lace hooks to be annoying. I took some old sports gloves, cut off the tips of the forefingers to give me dexterity sorting the laces, and use the 3rd and 4th fingers as my 'tugglers'.

10.  The shaft of the boot is too large OR you want support for a weak or injured ankle. There's the magic circle.

11. Breaking boots in. Some people leave the top hook unlaced, but I  use Katstrapz over the unlaced top two hooks to give some support. Also, do back crossovers.

This then, is every boot fitting trick I know, except one, I had a pair of boots I almost took a dremel tool too, but figured out a better solution. But tip 7 worked out and I'm good to go. Although, to tell you the truth, I would not have hesitated one instant to drill a hole in a boot and slap skate tape over it. If it fits, I don't care how I get it to fit!

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