HOW LINERS CAN MAKE A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE
Standard *liners, Custom liners, Memory Foam & Foam liners. Cork liners, Liquid Fluid, or Thermo Molding Liners…You name it! Everything is possible and available nowadays. What to decide? Hopefully, after reading this blog you’ll have more insights being able to have a proper conversation with your boot fitter, once you have decided to start fitting your boots!
*Liner? The liner is the interface between your foot and your boot, just as your boot is the interface between you and your ski. It determines how well you are going to be able to ski. If the liner is not shaped to your foot, you will probably tighten the boot to compensate. You are likely to clamp on some areas more than others, which will cut off circulation – you’ll get cold, your feet will go numb, which could mean lots of boot pain.
LET’S START AT THE BEGINNING!
Every Ski or Snowboard boot comes with a liner, but this quality is debatable. The purpose of the liner is to fix the foot in the outer shell, to provide protection, and to give warmth to your feet … at least that’s what you expect. The standard (included) liners are fitted to the outer shell in terms of shape and volume. Every liner feels different, they often differ in thickness, hardness, volume, and materials used. In itself, you can ski with the standard liner as long as you use a well-tailored insole so that your feet are stabilized in your boots as much as possible.
Luckily, nowadays you’ll find many better-fitted liners when buying more high-end boots. Basic or less expensive boots unfortunately do not always provide the comfort, interaction, and direct connection.
After a couple of winter sports seasons or weeks of skiing, every standard liner will become much wider and offer less and less stabilization, protection, and warmth. The foam, from which the liner is built, becomes thinner and softer – therefore losing all strength. It is wise to have your boot fitter inspect the liners after a period of time, advising you what to do when you wish to start adjusting.
If the outer shoe is still in order, you can purchase a custom-made liner and thus continue skiing with your outer shells and stand a lot more stable in your shoes. There is a chance that you will make progress with skiing because you simply stand better in your boots and have a much better transmission.
As mentioned before, a boot must enclose your feet well, which actually means as small and as compact as possible. Too small or “fitted” is certainly not necessary for all recreational skiers, but a bigger size “because it is so comfortable” is quite a mindfuck!
So, the power, the transmission towards your skis’, the directness, and the speed are all about a well-fitting boot and liner/ That is why boot fitting can be very essential for your quality of winter sports!
The purchase of a good adjustable or adapted liner is usually a more expensive investment, but it is absolutely worth it. You will get so much more pleasure in return.
ADJUSTING THE STANDARD LINER
This is certainly a possibility. For example, by providing the liner with foam pads – in all kinds of shapes. These can be put on the liner or even processed in the liner. Your boots will certainly feel more compact and comfortable for a while. But some adjustments are not always that smart to do. A fairly thick heel fixation could end up “pushing” your feet further to the front of your boot and then your toes may just hit the front. Your Boot Fitter is the perfect consultant providing you the right advice and help you upgrade your current boots and liner.
MEMORY FOAM LINER
Nowadays many Ski and Snowboard boots come with a memory foam liner which can be adjusted by using ovens, stacks, or a hot air dryer. But, is this always necessary? ….No! Adjusting the liner strongly depends on how thick the liner is. A thicker liner can be adjusted perfectly, while whit a thinner liner (often touring shoes) this is not always necessary. If your boots fit properly, the liner will also adjust while skiing or boarding, due to your body heat which will cause the liner to form accordingly.
In case of deviation in your feet, it is certainly a good idea to have your Boot Fitter adjust the liner.
Your feet are covered with foam pads on your problem areas, after which you step into your heated liner. After about 15 minutes the liner has taken over the shape of your foot enabling you to try on & try out the new adjusted boots. Be aware of the fact that the type of this adjusted liner will partially return to the original shape. But as soon as you put on your boots the liner will quickly “recognize” your foot again and will start to adapt & reshape again.
THERMO MOLDING LINER
Now, this is where it starts to get really interesting!
A heat-modified liner that is a very good step in the right direction providing a long-term & sustainable solution. With this type of liner, you can resolve or fix almost every problem zone of your feet and/or boot.
Multiple brands offer boots with Thermo Molding liner. Your Boot Fitter can for sure, advise you which brands are most suitable for you!
Your feet will be covered with foam pads and in addition “toe-caps” will go over your toes. After putting on a very thin sock you will step into a heated liner and then into your Ski/Snowboard boots.
Most Boot Fitters will now put you (your foot) on a sloping platform for a couple of minutes in order to set back your heel the right way into Ski/Snowboard boots.
It takes another 15 minutes before you can take the boots & liner off again. All foam pads will be removed and when putting the boots back on, the difference will probably be huge. It is highly recommended and a wise decision to start using your newly adjusted boots at least a day later so that the liner can cool down properly and keep its shape.
BEWARE, Do not place the liner near extremely heated sources or extremely heated pipes, which otherwise allows the liners to dry out, and losing the adjusted shape of the liners.
As this process can be done more than once, don’t do this too often. We advise being careful doing this too often – no more than 3 times we would suggest.
“The good old foam liner”
The foamed liner has been available already for many years. There are several Ski/Snowboard boot brands that offer a foamed liners. Your Boot Fitter will share the right and preferred brand which is most suitable for you.
With a foam liner, the foam is injected into the tubes of the liner. This foam will distribute itself into the liner and thus creates the perfect fit. The injecting procedure takes about 20 minutes, then the process and waiting to harden and cool down the liner begins.
While the foam is injected and standing on a sloping platform (heels down) your foot is covered with foam pads on the knuckles of your ankles and your toes are covered. You will get a plastic bag around your foot and that’s how you step into the boot. After a final check, the foaming process will begin.
The foam is mixed with a chemical substance and will be injected into the tubes. During this process, you will be asked to make several rotating movements with your lower leg so that the foam is well distributed in the liner. As soon as your Boot Fitter indicates that the process is complete, stay in a slightly frosted position where you can exert some pressure by pulling on the brackets. After about 30 minutes the whole process is finished, and you can get out of your liner again. When all pads are removed you can try on your newly adjusted boots, having a perfect fit.
And maybe for the first time ever, you will be amazed by how well and tightly fitted your boots are!
The Foam liners are only suitable for boots in which you have foamed them and no other boots. This means these liners are not exchangeable for other boots. It is best to let the liner cool down completely and start using them at least the next day. As it will certainly take some getting used to, especially during the first days of skiing with your new liners. No worries give them some days and you will be amazed how well they fit you!
This is a very comfortable, high-end performance liner made of cork granulate, which ensures that you have a perfectly fitting liner at all times. How easy can it be? A liner with several pockets on the inside and outside of the liner filled with cork. There are different models which you can choose, depending on the volume of your boot or foot. A cork granulate liner is always adjustable. You only have to add or remove some cork.
How does this work? Simple, your outer shell will be heated, after which you will step into this shell and the liner. Start walking around for about 20 minutes and you’re done! You can start using the liner right away which helps the cork form even better around your foot.
While with all other liners it is better not to heat them before you go skiing/boarding, it is recommended with Zipfit to slightly heat them before hitting the slopes. This will help the cork to adapt perfectly.
A cork liner adjusts itself every time while skiing/boarding, whether you are hitting a blue slope or a steep slope, this liner gives you the perfect support, directness, and power under all conditions and in any circumstance.
This is what we would call: “A GEM AMONG THE LINERS”. A huge advantage of the Zipfit is the 500+ days usage. This is very normal for this type of liner. The possibility to use/switch this type of liner into a different boot is also a big plus!
ESPECIALLY FOR SNOWBOARDERS – THIS IS A PERFECT & SUPERB LINER!
LIQUID FLUID by HEAD
“The new kid in town – by HEAD”
Just like the Zipfit cork liner, there are pockets on the sides here, but now these pockets can be filled with a liquid fluid. However, if you choose to fill your liner, you will have to go to a HEAD dealer or a Boot Fitter who is in possession of a so-called “Liquid Fluid case”. This liquid fluid” is a type of wax-based on paraffin that is sprayed into the pockets to get a better fixation of your foot in the liner. The wax can also be refilled or removed.
Your Boot Fitter can tell you how many percentages of’ liquid fluid’ you will need, but it probably won’t be more than 50%.
WATCH THIS VIDEO | Head Ski Boot Liquid Fit Process
Will this be the future of adjusting and shaping your boots and/or liner? In any way, this type of liner for sure provides a quick and good fit.
When you are considering buying a specialized and adjustable liner we recommend consulting a (certified) Boot Fitter or a specialized ski shop and get all the information, guidance, and service you are looking for!
In any way: “All the best for now & good luck fitting your boots”.
Jack van Nunen – DAS BOOTFIT ZIMMER