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Will alpine boarding solve foot arch problems?


Dex
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Hello people,

Going to keep it as short as I can. I haven't started alpine boarding yet and since equipment is very expensive I'm going to inquire as much as I can first.

In 1999-2000 I boarded with a freestyle board for the first time. I absolutely loved it and trained fast. Back then, in my country, a step-in binding was common and the boots were hard, but it was still a symmetric board. It is now basically history.

Now when I've rented equipment in the near past, it hasn't worked. I get an enormous pain in my foot arches and other places in the lower leg that I didn't get with the step-in system. I've tried custom fit soles and everything but came to the conclusion that I need a hard boot system to keep the foot in place and since I don't need to jump, ride backwards or such, I think alpine boarding is for me. I can take the board on an occasional off-piste but certainly nothing that warrants a broad board.

Am I on the right track with my thinking? It's difficult to imagine since I've never tried alpine boots or boards. Since there are also hard and soft boots in the alpine realm I need to find out what to try first. Any idea? The next step is then to find somewhere to rent first (and then buy) and in my country (Sweden) it is very very rare although snowboarding is huge. I haven't seen any place that rents this type of equipment.

Thanks for any newb insight you can give.

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I cannot comment much on the fitting since I never seem to have issues with that myself, but hardboots are definitely different in supporting and holding your foot, so it may be the solution for you.

For the riding you do hardboots are definitely suitable. There is an all mountain section on this forum for a reason, and hardboots also work in powder. I bought some softboots a few years ago but I have not decided yet if I like hardboots or softboots better in powder.

Problem is that it is a bit hard to properly try hardboots without spending. In most European countries hardboots were big in the 90's, and you regularly see them offered cheap in second hand online marketplaces.  But those normally have crappy worn out liners which will not improve the experience, so keep that in mind if going this route to give it a try. 

 

 

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I have also wondered what I will do to try out boots. I have found a website blue-tomato.com that has F2 boards and Deeluxe boots that seem to have a good return policy. The whole offering is pretty much here and I think there are things for beginners (even though I may not be one exactly) or at least cheaper to start with. https://www.blue-tomato.com/sv-SE/products/categories/Snowboard+shop-00000000--Alpin+snowboardutrustning-00000004/

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My beloved Burton Driver Si's boots evaporated this season so I am trying plates and hardboots again. (Thanks to Ken and AJ). I am using Dynafit TLT6 boots and F2 Carve RS bindings on a Gnu Mullair 164W. +21* +3R stance. I narrowed my stance a bit.

They have made my feet and ankles much happier. My feet are pretty compromised and my ankles are waiting for bone chips to be removed. For day to day groomed runs I am very happy with the suppoer HBs provide.

Yesterday, i rode SBs in powder though and that was hard to beat.

You can use HBs on freeride boards and can ride pretty close to SB stances. Check out the forums here and try splitboard.com for other HB mods and recommendations.

How about the new Burton Step-ons. I rode the old SIs because i hated having my foot ratcheted down to the board thru my instep.

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Since I don't own a board or boots right now, I might as well buy/rent an alpine board when it is time, but it is good to hear that you can fit the bindings on a freestyle board as well. Besides, who doesn't want to be the guy with the arrow looking board among the rest?

What is also good to hear is that the hard boots generally help people with foot/ankle problems. I thought as much but I hadn't heard it from anywhere.

I have seen the Burton Step-Ons but I must say the system looks "strappy" without the straps, but I can believe that the shoe sits firmly in there. I do think the boot itself looks to soft for me. I need most of the lock-on in the heel.

I do remember my stance in the 2000s. It was near perpendicular to the riding direction with the back foot so it might get tricky to get used to the new thing but I am open for it.

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In soft boots, I was always in pain, including arches, no matter what I've tried.

With hard boots, even if something bothers me, I can always work to make it good. However, it's never the arch, more often my bony ankles that require extra padding around them. 

And yes, there are various stiffness of h/boots and bindings available and they can be ridden on any board, any stance. You need to dial it in, though. 

Edited by BlueB
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same here. I had a ton of pain in driver x boots. not only arches but whole feet on fire.

Going hardboots solved all of it for me.

here is a tutorial how to measure your feet :

 

 

it should give you the baseline for the size of the footbed.

instead of going via bluetomato I would much rather look at there shops :

wsm24.pl

truesport.cz

if you need help with that polish site I can help - i got a very decent discount there for both Boots and bindings.

In Sweden you might also try to reach out to Mats Drougge - Stranda snowboards owner - he might know where to score some hardboot gear.

regards

 

 

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This is excellent people. Thanks for the ideas. I might be looking to get the boots and the bindings online and then simply shop a board locally and fit them on that one like proposed.

A few things before I start thinking myself:

Are all carve boards too thin in the middle to even do a straight back foot?

What width would be necessary on a directional board for such a stance? I'm not saying I definitely need to stand like that in the end. I do on freestyle boards.

One way that would help immensely is by guiding me through one selection of boards and point to a good carve board either among the F2s on the site I found or on the ones recommended by slapos or as an open specification for a semi-intermediate boarder almost 6 feet / 175 lbs / (age high) wanting to fit hard boots on them discussing like I do above (measurements, stiffness etc.). Then I can compare with what I look around for. I need a kick-start and start learning the landscape! They said there was little hard boot gear to choose from. They were liars!

Thanks again and I'm feel like I'm ready to nerd like a newb after just a few most posts here.

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We can't answer width questions without knowing your boot size.

I'm certain there is someone out there ripping in hard boots at a zero degree stance angle on their rear binding.  

But this is WAY outside of the norm.

This is a great place to start.

http://beckmannag.com/hardboot-snowboarding/hardboot-binding-configuration

 

Edited by lonbordin
How is it they haven't shown up in this thread yet?!
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5 hours ago, Dex said:

What width would be necessary on a directional board for such a stance? I'm not saying I definitely need to stand like that in the end. I do on freestyle boards.

I ride all the binding angles from "duck footed" negative in the back, positive in front, to skwal both feet all the way forward. On my teaching board I currently have +3° in the back. The board is a Dynasyar 3800 163 old school pow board, about 25.5 wide and my boots are 26.5. I do have overhang on the rear boot, but nothing that would prevent me from carving. I do not go balls out at that board/stance, though. 

If the hard carving is the main objective, I'd suggest going for forward stance on both feet. The heel side becomes infinitely better. It starts to really shine over 40° up front, which is beyond soft boot domain (for most riders). You'll find most of h/booters over 45°. 

The best compromise between carving and freeride, even occasional freestyle, for me, was at 45/30, or 25. But when I want to drag my armpits, I go over 50... 

You'll probably eventually own at least 2 boards, carving and freeride/all-mountain... 

 

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9 hours ago, Dex said:

They said there was little hard boot gear to choose from. They were liars!

 

there is a ton of gear to choose from - it all depends on the budget you wanna spend.

Probably for start a slalom board or short GS board would be great.

Something that doesnt require a lot of speed to carve.

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11 hours ago, Dex said:

Are all carve boards too thin in the middle to even do a straight back foot?

What width would be necessary on a directional board for such a stance? I'm not saying I definitely need to stand like that in the end. I do on freestyle boards.

 

This is actually a separate question from the hardboot or not question. You can ride any board with hardboots. Hardboots are similar length as softboots, so the angles you can ride are similar.

On a narrow carve board it does not make sense to ride a 0° angle on the back foot. If you want to ride 0°, it is not the right board for you. Only buy a narrow board if you want to make better, deeper, more satisfying, great looking, mind blowing carved turns. If you find out that you belong to this mentally deranged fringe of the snowboarding population, you will want to ride with a forward stance, and zero overhang. 

 

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I know it's a separate question than the boots. I know that I will go for hard boots period and that they will be universally functional.

I got side-tracked because I needed the right thinking for a first investment. The reason why I got a little confused is that the directional boards for groomed riding I looked at had between 18 and 26 cm waist and that's quite a difference. I'll concentrate on the boot purchase first and then for a first board, I will get something wide but that I can still carve with. Stance comes later. I'm quite sure I will become just as mentally deranged as the rest of you and the way forward there is just a few screwdriver turns away.

I also believe that the riding I'm used to has been pushing my feet to straighten out. I remember that and I know why. It's back to the original question. In the soft boot's support, I couldn't get enough force on the turns without standing straight. Absolutely terrible technique. I think this is going to quite different. Thanks again.

1 hour ago, slapos said:

there is a ton of gear to choose from - it all depends on the budget you wanna spend.

Probably for start a slalom board or short GS board would be great.

Something that doesnt require a lot of speed to carve.

I don't think I will be spending more than 1000 euros for the package as a beginner. If it will catch on, and I will spend more on the hobby sooner than later.

Edited by Dex
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my proposal to you then 

for bindings :

F2 race ti - easiest available in EU, ton of spare parts.

https://wsm24.pl/twarde/f2-bdg-race-titanium-white.html - i can get you a price around 160 euro

without knowing the size of your boot its difficult to determine the size of the binding. UPZ has smaller footprint then Deeluxe boots. For the bindings get an extra set of lifts :

https://wsm24.pl/czesci-i-akcesoria/f2-kostka-podwyzszajaca-wiazanie-twarde-black.html - 12,5 euro.

for boots start with UPZ RC8 or RC10 - maybe somebody has some boots from past seasons.

For board look for something used.

for 1k euro I am sure you can get a very decent set. 

Boots and bindings need to be new imho.

Board can be used and as long as it has edge its.

Regards

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9 minutes ago, Dex said:

I also think brand new boots is necessary. I will hunt.

I am not sure about that, for the following reason: The boots make or brake the alpine deal. Your boots need to fit, and fit well. Otherwise you will suffer, no matter how much money and training you invest. Hardboots are expensive, and if the boots you buy turn out to be the wrong shape, you may have burnt a few hundred Euros.

I would therefore recommend, as a first step, to determine which hardboot shape is best for you. There are only three to choose from (unless you want to spring for Mountainslope right away): Deeluxe symmetrical, Deeluxe asymmetrical and UPZ. If you find a pair of, for example, UPZs for half their new price and like them, you can still unload them on someone else for more or less what you paid and get new UPZs. Or you keep them and just replace the liners.

If not, rinse and repeat with Deeluxe.

Also, don't forget the all-important shell test. Too large boots are a very common source of beginners' problems. When you first get the boots, take out the liners. Step into the shells so that your toes touch the front inside. You should be able to fit 1-2 fingers (lengthwise!!) behind your heel. If there is more room, get the next smaller shell size.

Edited by Aracan
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17 minutes ago, Dex said:

Size is EUR 41-42 / 26.5 Mondo

One concern: Is that size range using your street shoe size and a table to figure out Mondopoint? If so, throw that away and actually measure both feet with a tape measure. That's your Mondo size. It frequently doesn't match your shoe size. 

Have fun out there, and glad to have you with us! 

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3 minutes ago, Corey said:

One concern: Is that size range using your street shoe size and a table to figure out Mondopoint? If so, throw that away and actually measure both feet with a tape measure. That's your Mondo size. It frequently doesn't match your shoe size. 

Have fun out there, and glad to have you with us! 

I think it is what I have on the soft boots and alpine ski boots (which has been the alpine sport for me for any years because of the foot problem) and they have been based on street shoe size to start with, but I will do proper homework on new measurements first. I have the video from slapos above.

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What ski boots do you have? Some models work well for snowboard. I've spent a decade on Dalbello CarveX, riding locked or carve modes for hard snow and walk mode for freeriding. They are the same shell as Head CarveX/Blax snowboard h/boots. The latest revival of those are Panterra. However they seem to have slightly longer footprint. Almost all of the ski AT boots work well on snowboard too. 

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12 hours ago, hknz said:

Simple answer is yes, with a custom footbed.

^ this was key for me.  Ever since getting footbeds and moulded liners I can ride all day in comfort - no pain no issues.  My foot doesn't get crushed by a strap and poor arch support.

On a side note: Will alpine boarding solve foot arch problems?  It may/may not for you, but it can certainly solve a lot of OTHER (life) problems!...and it can add a huge new dimension to your world of snowboarding.

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I'd suggest a read over BeckmannAG's guides to boot fitting and foot support and set up in general. Here is a place to start (and look under headings alpine skiing, hard and soft boot snowboarding). 

You may find that simply elevating the ball of the foot (just the big toe side) goes a long way to resolving your problem. Or not. The variety of things that can cause difficulty is astounding. The right footbed would likely help a lot, but unfortunately there don't seem to be many who can produce them.

Can you ski one-footed well, carving left and right turns?

 

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Thanks people. I have molded footbeds custom fitted to my foot. They helped out with 20% of the problem with soft boots but the agony was too great to endure in the long run. I raised the heel on the toe turn every time to compensate for the lack of force since the heel is fairly loose in those bindings and all the tiny muscles in the foot protested. With these footbeds and hard boots I will be fine I'm sure. I used to be 20 years ago anyway.

If I ever find any hard boots to try on. It will be difficult also finding used ones. This will have to be an ongoing process for a while with a bit of luck required. If I were central European it would have been different or if traveling is made easier soon. That is clear. Too bad Swedes have to be half-piping and jumping backwards like a bunch of monkeys in winter outfits. There's a lot of them I assure you just not exactly slalom types. Both new and used market is dead but what's the fun if there's no challenge?

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