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Boots as you head into your 50s

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Are you planning to go to a bootfitter for little tweaks by any chance? I wouldn’t necessarily be too worried if you got a little tingly, with nothing having been done to them. In my case my foot was doing the same until he stretched the sides where my forefoot gets compressed. Much better now, but I don’t doubt that I could still need a little more space if things don’t pack in a more during break in. Then again I just do not have a foot shape that can ski a boot out of the box if I want an aggressive fit. Well, I have but not without excruciating pain.
I agree, I wouldn't worry about a little tingly feeling if overall they feel snug and comfy. That boot can be heat molded--liner and shell--which can make a big difference in overall fit and comfort.
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
think I would win a low-volume skinny foot/ankle/heel contest especially in relation to my height at 5'5"
Challenge accepted. :smile:

The first thing that came to mind when I read @Moonrocket 's original post was the amazing podcast "Hit Play, Not Pause" with Selene Yeager. If you are in your 40s or 50s and athletic (and if you're here, you're an athlete) this is a tremendous resource for guidance on how to maintain physical fitness and overall wellness as you progress to and through menopause. The main message is that with some attention to your training, diet, and general wellbeing, you don't have to slow down. It's really a refreshing counter to the powerful and very limiting social constructs about women in middle age.

The facebook group that accompanies the podcast is a phenomenally rich and positive place for information and support.

The original post made me wonder why you were becoming "more cautious", @Moonrocket ? Are you feeling a decline in your strength or ability, or maybe becoming more consequence-averse? How do you feel about this new caution? Obviously, there's nothing wrong with dialing back and many sensible reasons for doing so. But simply the number of years you've lived doesn't have to be one if you don't want it to.

I'm 52 and just became a firefighter. I had to change my gym routine (heavy lifting) and my diet (more protein. Like, really a lot of protein), but I think I'm stronger now than I've ever been.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
That's a great podcast and social media resource. I keep it simpler--just keep moving. But I loathe lifting weights. I do not have the patience for it as I get bored out of my mind. I could get back into it when I feel that gyms are a safe space from COVID, but until then, I'll push myself on my bike and do some core work at home.

I listened to a podcast yesterday about the book by Avrum Blooming MD and Carol Tavris PhD which documents the massive benefits of estrogen therapy for post-menopausal women and how the WHI (women's health initiative) study that villified HRT was very flawed and misleading. The book is called "Estrogen Matters". I've always thought that it seemed odd that something that offered so many health benefits and was part of our natural body systems would suddenly become harmful with the flip of a switch.

Anyway, at 52 I'm in the stiffest boots I've ever been in and am a stronger skier now than I ever have been. And yes, I'm on HRT and plan to be on it for the rest of my life.
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I think I would win a low-volume skinny foot/ankle/heel contest especially in relation to my height at 5'5". I miss the days of narrow shoes being an option. That being said, many of you know my boot sagas, but some of you don't. The only boots that really work for me are junior race boots, and even those I have to put after market liners in to snug them up (I have Zipfits in them now and don't think I'll go back to any other kind of liner ever again.) I'm currently in a Rossignol Hero ZJ (Z is their race series, J indicates junior.) They are a 92mm last (so about 86mm at a 22.5) a 110 flex and I have not felt the need to soften them. They have a really nice, smooth flex. I did need to have significant work done on them to lessen the boot ramp angle as the heel on a shorter boot, especially a race boot, can be significantly higher than the toe, which can really screw up your dynamic fore/aft balance. We put toe "shims" on the boot sole, but in the future, I've been advised to buy a pair of boots with a lower built in ramp angle in the boot board, or have that ground down instead of lifting the toe. My next boot will probably be a Fischer junior race boot because they do have a bit lower built-in ramp angle. I also have toe shims under one of my ski's bindings. A lot of bindings have a 5mm or greater difference in heel vs. toe height and it really screws me up.

My experience with so many boots over the past 7 years is that fore/after balance has a huge impact on how the flex feels. I think if you are balanced properly in that plane, you can ski a much stiffer boot than you might think.
Out of interest, how wide are your feet at the forefoot? From what you've said I know yours are narrower than mine, but since we're the same mondo size, I'm just interested to see how much narrower yours are, in relation to the width of the boot that you're in.

Asking as someone with narrow feet who is about to go into a junior race boot as their next boot (start of next season!) :ski2: Also that's great that you haven't needed to soften the 110s because my fitter is putting me in 110 also.

That's really interesting about the boot ramp angle, I'll have to remember to ask my fitter about that!
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Out of interest, how wide are your feet at the forefoot? From what you've said I know yours are narrower than mine, but since we're the same mondo size, I'm just interested to see how much narrower yours are, in relation to the width of the boot that you're in.

Asking as someone with narrow feet who is about to go into a junior race boot as their next boot (start of next season!) :ski2: Also that's great that you haven't needed to soften the 110s because my fitter is putting me in 110 also.

That's really interesting about the boot ramp angle, I'll have to remember to ask my fitter about that!
My feet measure 82ish mm across the ball of the foot. I also have a low instep. I wish I had gone the junior race boot route much earlier!
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
My feet measure 82ish mm across the ball of the foot. I also have a low instep. I wish I had gone the junior race boot route much earlier!
During my first fitting appointment with my fitter (three seasons ago now!!) he basically measured up my feet and commented that I'd probably end up in junior race boots eventually. It's a bit hard to source the true narrow ones in small sizes on-demand in NZ though, they generally need to be ordered from overseas with a very long lead time, so we did our best with what was available in the country.

That's cool to hear, from my own measurements the balls of my feet are around 84-85mm wide, so if you can fit into a 92mm boot with no work needed (and in fact with aftermarket liner still necessary), I imagine I'll be able to fit into whatever my bootfitter orders for me with minimal bootwork. :smile: All I know is that my 98mm boots are way too wide, I've only made them work for so long through the magic of zipfits!
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
During my first fitting appointment with my fitter (three seasons ago now!!) he basically measured up my feet and commented that I'd probably end up in junior race boots eventually. It's a bit hard to source the true narrow ones in small sizes on-demand in NZ though, they generally need to be ordered from overseas with a very long lead time, so we did our best with what was available in the country.

That's cool to hear, from my own measurements the balls of my feet are around 84-85mm wide, so if you can fit into a 92mm boot with no work needed (and in fact with aftermarket liner still necessary), I imagine I'll be able to fit into whatever my bootfitter orders for me with minimal bootwork. :smile: All I know is that my 98mm boots are way too wide, I've only made them work for so long through the magic of zipfits!
Which boot did you end up ordering? I had some Head Junior Race boots a few seasons ago that were still waaaayyy to big. Are the new boots the same size as your Zipfits? If so, that's a good thing. I have Zipftits in mine after using Intuitions for a season, which quickly packed out. The stock liners in junior race boots are very thin hence why the aftermarket liners.
 

tinymoose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I know you are a small person, and that may be the determining factor.

But still, I'm wondering what you do in the shop to flex the boot as you check its flexibility. Junior racers can flex their boots, and they are small and light. They probably can flex them in the shop without using speed as an aid.

How do you move your legs, feet, hips, shoulders, and all that when you're checking out the boot's flex?

My largest issues, as discovered by my bootfitter with my last pair of of boots are: 1) my feet are proportionally large for my height (long toes); and 2) my shins are proportionally short compared to the rest of the leg. So it's like my lower leg just gets encased in plastic as the cuff ends up fairly high on my shins. Our plan for dealing with it in my current boots was to downsize me to get the cuff a bit lower, which seemed to work out pretty well.

I've been told I can flex my current Chakras (older model, 85 flex), and I suppose I can. They still feel pretty stiff to me, but I'll trust the experts. They're certainly better than any of my previous boots, including my Fischer junior race boots with Zipfit liners where I was basically just locked into a forward position, but I couldn't really flex them. I'm actually going to head up in a couple weeks to start the process of trying to find new boots, and I'm both excited and nervous b/c I'm such a difficult case. Not only do I have the flex issue, I have very low volume feet (stock liners have never work for me). Not sure what boots he'll look at for me. I'm assuming junior race boots will be on the table as well.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
My largest issues, as discovered by my bootfitter with my last pair of of boots are: 1) my feet are proportionally large for my height (long toes); and 2) my shins are proportionally short compared to the rest of the leg. So it's like my lower leg just gets encased in plastic as the cuff ends up fairly high on my shins. Our plan for dealing with it in my current boots was to downsize me to get the cuff a bit lower, which seemed to work out pretty well.

I've been told I can flex my current Chakras (older model, 85 flex), and I suppose I can. They still feel pretty stiff to me, but I'll trust the experts. They're certainly better than any of my previous boots, including my Fischer junior race boots with Zipfit liners where I was basically just locked into a forward position, but I couldn't really flex them. I'm actually going to head up in a couple weeks to start the process of trying to find new boots, and I'm both excited and nervous b/c I'm such a difficult case. Not only do I have the flex issue, I have very low volume feet (stock liners have never work for me). Not sure what boots he'll look at for me. I'm assuming junior race boots will be on the table as well.

Curious, because you've had so much work done with a good fitter. Have you guys gone the route of cutting different notches etc. into shells to soften previously? As shown in the video? I had some grinding of a shell done years ago to soften a pair of boots, but they didn't get as fancy as this guy did in the video linked above. I'm curious if this is done very often by fitters or only in extreme cases.
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Which boot did you end up ordering? I had some Head Junior Race boots a few seasons ago that were still waaaayyy to big. Are the new boots the same size as your Zipfits? If so, that's a good thing. I have Zipftits in mine after using Intuitions for a season, which quickly packed out. The stock liners in junior race boots are very thin hence why the aftermarket liners.
So I've chatted a lot about it with my fitter and it's been between the Atomic Redster CS 110 (96mm last but with a much narrower heel area) or STI 110 (93mm last). My fitter is leaning towards the STI 110 because my feet are overall pretty dang low volume and he'd rather err on the side of too small than too big. Luckily I'm not changing mondo size, I'll be going from a 22.5 boot to a 22.5 boot so my zipfits should still fit if I need them in the future!
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
I'm jealous of you ladies who are overall low volume in every dimension. Being super low volume in every dimension EXCEPT the width of my forefoot is such a pain.. literally! lol It's hard to get a feel for any boot while trying them on before I decide on a boot and have more space made. And I cannot even put into words how painful it can be to ski with a boot that is too tight in that area. Sometimes the bones of my feet would hurt, and sometimes it would feel like the whole ball of my feet were on fire. I'm amazed that I kept skiing in my early years with the amount of damage I was doing to my feet at the time. I would have to wear soft shoes like Uggs during the week to work when I was on my feet all day, because anything that compressed was so painful after skiing on weekends. At the time I just thought that's how a ski boot was going to be to get a good fit because that fitter said he couldn't get anymore room for me (instead of stretching he about ground through the sides of my boots eating away plastic, which was never going to get me enough room in a 98mm boot!!) and that they "should fit". Eventually I came to my senses, but not before growing extra sixth toe friends on my feet and going through a lot of pain.
 

tinymoose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Curious, because you've had so much work done with a good fitter. Have you guys gone the route of cutting different notches etc. into shells to soften previously? As shown in the video? I had some grinding of a shell done years ago to soften a pair of boots, but they didn't get as fancy as this guy did in the video linked above. I'm curious if this is done very often by fitters or only in extreme cases.
My current Chakras haven't been cut at all because the flex was deemed to be fine for me. All the grinding and punching was just to cram my solidly 23.5 foot into a 22.5. lol

I did have some of my older boots cut at a bit to try to help with the flex. At least my old Atomics? But tbh, both Dieter and Torin declared those boots pure garbage, and one of the most poorly designed boots either had ever seen. But they didn't fit well anyhow, so not a huge loss tbh. Those were the boots I had briefly before the neon yellow Fischer jr. race boots I had at Big Sky (if you remember those).
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
My current Chakras haven't been cut at all because the flex was deemed to be fine for me. All the grinding and punching was just to cram my solidly 23.5 foot into a 22.5. lol

I did have some of my older boots cut at a bit to try to help with the flex. At least my old Atomics? But tbh, both Dieter and Torin declared those boots pure garbage, and one of the most poorly designed boots either had ever seen. But they didn't fit well anyhow, so not a huge loss tbh. Those were the boots I had briefly before the neon yellow Fischer jr. race boots I had at Big Sky (if you remember those).

Do you think it would be worthwhile to cut your current boots up some if you are getting new boots anyway? You said they were "deemed" to be an okay flex for you, but it doesn't sound like you necessarily agree with that. Seems like it could be a fun experiment with no consequence if it goes awry.

I definitely remember the bright yellow ones! I hate when you go to a fitter and get told something like that, that they are garbage. Like, why were they even put out there then!?!? Would be nice to have recourse against the manufacturer, like a warranty, when the professionals think they're atrocious. lol
 

elemmac

Angel Diva
At the time I just thought that's how a ski boot was going to be to get a good fit because that fitter said he couldn't get anymore room for me (instead of stretching he about ground through the sides of my boots eating away plastic, which was never going to get me enough room in a 98mm boot!!) and that they "should fit".
Plastics and materials of ski boots have changed so much in the last 10 years. It’s really pretty nuts how far manufactures have come in the last decade in regards to the plastics they're using. All custom work really had to be punching, grinding, and trying to stretch pin pointed spots with a heat gun. Now with full heat-moldable shells, ski boot fitting has definitely changed for the better. Each year boots seem to be more and more customizable right out of the box.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
Plastics and materials of ski boots have changed so much in the last 10 years. It’s really pretty nuts how far manufactures have come in the last decade in regards to the plastics they're using. All custom work really had to be punching, grinding, and trying to stretch pin pointed spots with a heat gun. Now with full heat-moldable shells, ski boot fitting has definitely changed for the better. Each year boots seem to be more and more customizable right out of the box.
Thank goodness!!

Though Torin has always, and still currently, used some type of ball press to stretch out the forefoot area for me? I think it's easier with the current material, and it stays better versus having such a "memory" to go back. Like we had to do my Langes multiple times because they would shrink back over time.. It is truly so much more customizable now, and boy is that good news people like me!
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
I'm jealous of you ladies who are overall low volume in every dimension. Being super low volume in every dimension EXCEPT the width of my forefoot is such a pain.. literally! lol It's hard to get a feel for any boot while trying them on before I decide on a boot and have more space made. And I cannot even put into words how painful it can be to ski with a boot that is too tight in that area. Sometimes the bones of my feet would hurt, and sometimes it would feel like the whole ball of my feet were on fire. I'm amazed that I kept skiing in my early years with the amount of damage I was doing to my feet at the time. I would have to wear soft shoes like Uggs during the week to work when I was on my feet all day, because anything that compressed was so painful after skiing on weekends. At the time I just thought that's how a ski boot was going to be to get a good fit because that fitter said he couldn't get anymore room for me (instead of stretching he about ground through the sides of my boots eating away plastic, which was never going to get me enough room in a 98mm boot!!) and that they "should fit". Eventually I came to my senses, but not before growing extra sixth toe friends on my feet and going through a lot of pain.
I'm right there with you with the pizza shaped feet. I'm an 11 wide in women's shoes but have proportionally quite narrow and bony heels (and oddly enough aesthetically I like my foot shape. My feet just aren't fond of most shoes because they're very rarely shaped right...) And I've had several bootfitters over the years tell me they couldn't punch out the forefoot in my boots any further without destroying the boot. And like you, they always make me try on boots that fit in the heel and just smash my feet in there and I have to decide to buy them before they can punch them out, so I have no clue how they will really feel. It's not fun deciding to bust out the credit card for something they are "pretty sure" will feel better once they start customizing them. It does seem to work in the long run, but it's.... just un-fun to do the fittings that way.

I was just looking at what typical last widths are and what I found says:
"Wide lasted boots are best suited to skiers with wider and higher volume feet, and typically have a forefoot width of between 102 mm and 106 mm." My right foot is 112mm wide, the left is 109. They don't fit nicely in much, that's for sure. And I know years of ski boots squishing my forefoot together has not done anything good for my feet - I think as I got older and more knowledgeable about bootfitting I was better able to find someone to make it work, but the earlier years involved a lot more pain.

And my Black Diamond Stiletto telemark boots fit me the best... of course they don't make those anymore, so I'm screwed.

Who has these mythical "normal" feet?
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
I'm right there with you with the pizza shaped feet. I'm an 11 wide in women's shoes but have proportionally quite narrow and bony heels (and oddly enough aesthetically I like my foot shape. My feet just aren't fond of most shoes because they're very rarely shaped right...) And I've had several bootfitters over the years tell me they couldn't punch out the forefoot in my boots any further without destroying the boot. And like you, they always make me try on boots that fit in the heel and just smash my feet in there and I have to decide to buy them before they can punch them out, so I have no clue how they will really feel. It's not fun deciding to bust out the credit card for something they are "pretty sure" will feel better once they start customizing them. It does seem to work in the long run, but it's.... just un-fun to do the fittings that way.

I was just looking at what typical last widths are and what I found says:
"Wide lasted boots are best suited to skiers with wider and higher volume feet, and typically have a forefoot width of between 102 mm and 106 mm." My right foot is 112mm wide, the left is 109. They don't fit nicely in much, that's for sure. And I know years of ski boots squishing my forefoot together has not done anything good for my feet - I think as I got older and more knowledgeable about bootfitting I was better able to find someone to make it work, but the earlier years involved a lot more pain.

And my Black Diamond Stiletto telemark boots fit me the best... of course they don't make those anymore, so I'm screwed.

Who has these mythical "normal" feet?

Ahh yep you totally get it~!

I would also very much like to know why our foot shape isn't represented. Is it really that rare? I never thought so, but maybe?? I've also always had the hardest time with heels due to my forefoot width. It's such a production when I need to try on those types of shoes, I can go through whole store and never find something that fits right in my size and I like. Sometimes I can size up to accommodate, but often by the time the forefoot fits the length is so long it's flopping off my foot. And I'm a size 8, a size 11 must be even more restrictive for options. It stinks when all of the cute shoes and even flip flops at times are made straight up and down and I just cannot fit in them or in sandals/flip flops my forefoot area ends up off the shoe hitting the floor. :doh: I feel very unlucky to have this foot shape along with my lower body dimensions that have always made it insanely difficult to find jeans that fit well.. I think this is part of why I'm not very much into fashion, I absolutely hate shopping for many items because it's time consuming and frustrating.
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
Ahh yep you totally get it~!

I would also very much like to know why our foot shape isn't represented. Is it really that rare? I never thought so, but maybe?? I've also always had the hardest time with heels due to my forefoot width. It's such a production when I need to try on those types of shoes, I can go through whole store and never find something that fits right in my size and I like. Sometimes I can size up to accommodate, but often by the time the forefoot fits the length is so long it's flopping off my foot. And I'm a size 8, a size 11 must be even more restrictive for options. It stinks when all of the cute shoes and even flip flops at times are made straight up and down and I just cannot fit in them or in sandals/flip flops my forefoot area ends up off the shoe hitting the floor. :doh: I feel very unlucky to have this foot shape along with my lower body dimensions that have always made it insanely difficult to find jeans that fit well.. I think this is part of why I'm not very much into fashion, I absolutely hate shopping for many items because it's time consuming and frustrating.
Yeah - I agree. Hah, or when my forefoot hangs over the edges of flipflops... that's not gonna work. I know my feet are big, but I just don't think the shape is that unusual. On the bright side, in recent years I'm seeing more size 11+ shoes, which is nice.

Merrell does make wide sizes in a very small percentage of their shoe models and I did get some new hiking shoes recently that fit. Once I found out they do make them, it only took me about 5 hours of googling to find a place with an 11W in stock. Hahaha. Lots of stores don't carry 11's or wide widths at all. And occasionally I can find some nice heels that are the right shape for my foot - it just takes a LOT of looking.
 

sorcamc

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I'm jealous of you ladies who are overall low volume in every dimension. Being super low volume in every dimension EXCEPT the width of my forefoot is such a pain.. literally! lol It's hard to get a feel for any boot while trying them on before I decide on a boot and have more space made. And I cannot even put into words how painful it can be to ski with a boot that is too tight in that area. Sometimes the bones of my feet would hurt, and sometimes it would feel like the whole ball of my feet were on fire. I'm amazed that I kept skiing in my early years with the amount of damage I was doing to my feet at the time. I would have to wear soft shoes like Uggs during the week to work when I was on my feet all day, because anything that compressed was so painful after skiing on weekends. At the time I just thought that's how a ski boot was going to be to get a good fit because that fitter said he couldn't get anymore room for me (instead of stretching he about ground through the sides of my boots eating away plastic, which was never going to get me enough room in a 98mm boot!!) and that they "should fit". Eventually I came to my senses, but not before growing extra sixth toe friends on my feet and going through a lot of pain.
I can imagine that must be a really annoying challenge!
 

tinymoose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I thought I'd post an update. Replaced my old Chakras today with a pair of Atomic Redster STI 70 LC boots. By far the lowest cuff and softest flexing boot I've ever owned, which I'm thrilled about. The cuff is low enough and the boots soft enough we didn't even have to mash my foot into a 22/22.5 to get better leverage on the cuffs. I'm a little nervous how long I'll be able to get away with the stock liner since my feet, and especially my heels, are so low volume, but at a 92mm last the fit is overall very narrow and snug. Only area of slight concern is the heel, which we're gonna pad out a bit for now. Worst case scenario is I'll have to pick up a moldable liner sooner rather than later.

ETA: Also, apparently my Chakras, which I thought were an 85 flex, were actually a 95. Oop. lol
 

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