Sunday, April 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

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

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 — and the right fit — 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 — 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.

Special to The Enterprise

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Tom Adams seeks Davis school board seat

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

     
    Hub of activity: DHS newspaper keeps evolving

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    A springtime ritual

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Holy fire ceremony draws thousands in Jerusalem

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Tour renovated YCCC facility Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Tour Davis Waldorf School on Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    The fifth annual Tour de Cluck is soon to be hatched

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Ortiz lawn signs available

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sign up soon for spring cooking classes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Robb Davis team to rally on Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Steadfast in their support

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4, 8 Comments | Gallery

     
    Yolo Hospice offers free grief workshops

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Sign up for Camp Kesem caterpillar crawl

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Quilters gear up for annual show

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A4

    League hosts a series of candidate forums

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    KDVS launches fund drive on Monday

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

    Calling all Scrabble fans

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Hub webpage is seeing traffic increasing

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

    Hotel/conference center info meeting set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

     
    Lescroart welcomes all to book-launch party

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16 | Gallery

    DEVO set to serve up 14th annual Winkler Dinner

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

     
    Learn Chinese crafts at I-House

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A16

    Preschool open house set at Davis Waldorf

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

     
    Birch Lane celebrates its 50th anniversary

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

    .

    Forum

    Take ownership of your health

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Keep your baby safe

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    Not thrilled with lack of symmetry

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Reliving the agony and ecstasy of spring

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

     
    Road diet? No, city diet!

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 5 Comments

    We’re reveling in our equality

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

     
    Vote no; it’s fiscally responsible

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 3 Comments

    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

     
    Core values on campus

    By Our View | From Page: A12, 3 Comments

     
    Don’t want to sit in Fix 50 traffic? Consider alternatives

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

     
    Bill is an affront to UC Davis ag biotech and local farmers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

    .

    Sports

    Devils burn up the track

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    UCD softball shut out by Santa Barbara

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie men shoot 9-under, lead own tourney

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Stars shine in Woody Wilson Classic

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    UCD roundup: Aggie baseball swept away by Highlanders

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    A’s score 3 in ninth, rally past Astros 4-3

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Yolo Federal Credit Union gets WISH funds

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    PG&E pays taxes, fees to county, cities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

    Will Davis get an Old Soul?

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9

     
    Pediatricians, nurse practitioner hired at Woodland Healthcare

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Asian stocks mostly higher after mixed U.S. earnings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

     
    Davis Roots will showcase its graduating startups

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14

    University Honda wins another President’s Award

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

     
    Dutch Bros. raises $19,000 for girl with leukemia

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, April 20, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8