I’m happy to say that I haven’t had a ski boot related blister for years and the last one I did get came from trying to mold my own liners. Some things are better left to the pros.
Here’s the not-so secrets to my blister free success…
1) Go with boots that fit your feet. I’ve been skiing in Scarpa’s for years and am not sure if they fit my feet or at this point my feet have conformed to the boots, but whatever the case, Scarpa’s are a known and consistent entity for me. When I was into Alpine racing I wore a size 7 Lange, but for touring have gone up two full sizes to a size 9.
2) Use a thick, high quality sock like a Bridgedale, Smartwool or one of the new BC.com merino wool versions. They are pricey ($25ish a pair), but they last forever, or seven years – which ever comes first.
3) Find an insole that fits your foot. Some of the new boots come with substantial insoles (like the BD line), but I’ve found that SuperFeet fit my foot and are comfy. I have been rolling them over for about five years and take them out of my old boots, then use them again for my new ones.
4) Use a good boot fitter who knows how to fit backcountry/touring boots, as a BC fit is different than an Alpine fit. I’ve been going to Dennis Maw at Black Diamond in Salt Lake City who is a Liner Magician.
Dennis Maw at Black Diamond Retail and his box full of toe caps. These are made by Intuition and I credit them with saving my toes from freezing.
The key to warmth is to be able to wiggle your toes and have good circulation. For touring boots, I like a lot of extra toe room so if it does get really cold I can put in some of those Warmer Grabber toe warmers. I never wear overboots. In this photo I have neoprene toe liners, the Intution caps with extra toe padding and a pair of SuperFeet ski insoles.
Next up, the entire package is held together with some sexy, thin, black socks. These are not the socks I use for skiing - I usually use just a single pair of high-quality, thick wools socks.
Dennis heats the boots up to a bare minimum (four minutes in the oven?) which still gives a nice custom fit, but doesn't smush-out the liner too much. After heating them up, he inserts the toasty lines into a plastic shopping bag and inserts the whole gooey package into the shells.
After making sure the heel is deeply seated, the boots are buckled up moderately tight and locked into ski mode. After a few deep flexes, you then sit back and wait for about five minutes. Voila - a perfect fit.
For a more skiing performance fit, I just use the toe caps with no neoprene liners. The liners felt pretty good right out of the box, so Dennis just barely heated them up for the fitting. The sexy black sock, shopping bag and flexing are all the same as the touring boot.
Stokage! Good to go for another year. This would be an interesting way to tour - a Maestrale on one foot and a Mobe on the other - I'd climb in circles one way and then ski reverse circles on the way back down. :)
Help support StraightChuter.com and ooze into a form-fitting pair of Scarpa Maestrale Boots from Backcountry.com. Click on the photo below…
Category: 02 Gear, Gear Reviews