Thursday, July 31, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

The comfort zone: The right boot fit makes all the difference

By
From page B1 | January 09, 2013 |

Eric Fuellenbach at Ken's-Bike-Ski-Board fits Davis Perez with ski boots. Most people err on the side of too-big boots, which leads to foot cramping and black and blue toenails. Tanya Perez/Enterprise photo

By Davis Perez

Blackened toenails and foot cramps are often part of a skier’s experience on the slopes. But they don’t have to be.

In fact, Eric Fuellenbach of Ken’s Bike-Ski-Board, knows the right boot β€” and the right fit β€” is key.

“It really has to do with you enjoying yourself on the hill,” he says. “If your feet hurt, you’re in pain, you’re not going to enjoy yourself.”

And he should know. Fuellenbach started skiing at the age of 2, and began racing at 12. He raced on the DHS ski team for four years and went on to race at Sierra College in Sacramento. His parents managed Ken’s, and when Fuellenbach finished college he joined them there, where he’s been for 10 years. He currently is an employee at Ken’s specializing in boot purchases and fitting.

Fuellenbach wants skiers of all levels to know that proper boot fitting is one of the most important steps you can take to enjoy yourself on the mountain.

To find a boot that fits right, you need to talk to an expert boot-fitter. Boot-fitters, like Fuellenbach, learn about the structure of the foot and what causes certain types of pain; he’s taken classes on the metatarsal bones, pronation … anything that causes foot pain.

The obvious starting place for buying a new boot is having your feet measured and finding a boot that’s the right size.

Once found, the fitter should take out the liner and have you put your foot inside the shell. Touch your toes to the end of the boot and put two fingers between your heel and the shell, which should be about 1 inch. Fuellenbach uses wooden dowels to slide in behind your heel.

If your fingers touch both the heel and the shell without being crushed, then the shell is the right length. “The liner of the boot is basically a large, padded sock,” Fuellenbach explained. This means when you try the boot on with the liner inside it can be a little tight. Also, try on the boot with ski socks.

If you have an old hand-me-down boot or are buying a boot used, you can follow a similar process to check if it’s the right size. Boot shells can be stretched to make certain parts bigger.

“You want the boot to be a little tight when you try it on because that’s the smallest it’s ever going to be,” Fuellenbach said. “After you’ve worn it, the liner will compress and there will be more room” between the shell and the liner.

If you have used a boot a few times and it’s painful, bring it in to a shop like Ken’s and the staff may be able to make adjustments, heating or stretching the shell as long as the boot isn’t altogether the wrong size.

The majority of foot problems, however, are caused by a boot being too big. This means the foot can move around too much inside the boot, which leads to muscle cramps and broken toenails. These cramps feel a lot like there is pressure on the foot, but the problem can’t be solved by adjusting the shell. It is very important to get the right fit, because if you get a boot that’s too big there’s not much that can be done.

Another thing to consider when buying a boot, Fuellenbach explained, is what type of skiing you’ll be doing. Racing boots are different from recreational boots, and beginner boots are different from expert boots. The fit of the boot relates to comfort and not performance, so even if you want to ski aggressively you don’t have to be in pain.

What does determine the specialty of a boot is flex, or how much force it takes to bend it. A boot for a more aggressive or heavier skier will have a higher flex than that for a recreational or lighter skier. It’s important to remember that the flex rating printed on a boot only compares to other boots made by the same company β€” there’s not an industry standard.

As for storage, boots should be stored away from hot and dry environments, and should always be stored buckled. It’s OK to store them in the cold, because that’s where they’re made to be, but they will be a little smaller when you put them on.

On a final note, Fuellenbach wants people to know that he’s there to help skiers enjoy their time on the mountain. Shopping on the Internet for boots is probably not the best way to go because you don’t have experts assisting you who’ve been trained in boot-fitting.

“(Owner) Ken Bradford is very passionate about skiing, as are his employees. We will make it right,” Fuellenbach said.

Note: Ken’s has a perfect-fit guarantee … they will make your boot right if it doesn’t feel comfortable after you’ve skied in it. They also have a junior trade-in program: First season is guaranteed to fit; after using boots for a whole season, buyers get half the value of the boot as a trade-in toward new boots; and after using the boot for two seasons, buyers get one-third of the value of the boot as a trade-in.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

.

News

Local therapists bring ‘Daring Greatly’ movement to Davis

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Youths learn wilderness survival skills

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Fertility clinics scan for the strongest embryo

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
 
As farmland subsides, aquifer worries mount

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Bee beard photo wins award

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Pogledich named Yolo County counsel

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Tuleyome launches Kickstarter campaign to publish a children’s nature book

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Davis teen on California team for national horticulture competition

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Truth and authenticity on radio program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Senior sing-along held monthly

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

.

Forum

Thanks for your kindnesses

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Questions, questions, questions

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Speak out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
Ross Douthat: Democrat, Republican patterns are changing

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
Civilians are innocent victims

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

River Cats snap three-game losing streak

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Davis’ golden girls

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

Aggie Silva mixed school and strikes; wins Reno tourney

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Lucky No. 7: Giants snap losing streak

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Davis Rugby teams wrap up summer season

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

 
DHS tryout schedule updated; physical packets due

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

49ers WR Brandon Lloyd enjoying return to NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Hammel struggles in A’s loss to Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Features

Happy 103rd birthday!

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A2

 
Fay Evans: 100 years young

By Spencer Ault | From Page: A3 | Gallery

.

Arts

British organist to play in Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Native American dancers to perform in Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Winters stages ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Landscape exhibition returns to Davis

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Hear live music at Monticello

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
New KDRT show features touring musicians

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Hot City heats up Winters gazebo

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Enjoy some Mischief at First Saturday event

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, July 31, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6