Mt Hood OR, USA        info [AT] skiersynergy [DOT] com      +1 (800) 913-9209

What Makes A Good Footbed?


A good footbed is a balance between two goals:

    1. Helping to align and support the natural skeletal structures of the foot;
    2. Maintaining, as much as possible, the normal range of motion of the foot.

Acheiving alignment and support: a functional footbed can only be made after a close assessment of each individual’s anatomy and tailored to individual needs. At Skiersynergy, this involves over 40 measurements and diagnostic tests. Not everyone needs the same footbed. In fact, not everyone needs a custom footbed at all. If you don't need a footbed, you will not be sold one. If you could benefit from a custom footbed, one will be made that is specific to your individual anatomy and issues.

Maintaining normal range of motion: skiing often demands balancing on each foot while moving across uneven terrain at speeds that would give a car suspension a workout. Even more than in walking, skiing requires the use of the natural suspension built into our feet. We need the ability to articulate the arch structure of the foot for performance, balance, and shock absorption. This ability should not be blocked by too rigid of a footbed or a footbed that is poorly fit into the boot. Many commonly sold footbeds work by completely filling in, or "propping up" the arch. Unless there is indication of a medical need to do so, blocking the normal movements of the arch structure should be avoided. rigid arched footbeds decreases skiing performance and in some cases, could even be harmful in the long run. Many medical professionals put it succinctly:

"Most othrthopedic surgeons and sports medicine doctors beleive rigid orthotics should be avoided whenever possible. They increase energy consumption . . . [and] have been implicated in the etiology of several foot disorders, including sesamoiditis, neuromata, and stress fractures . . . ( Mark Reily, MD, Guidlines for Prescribing Foot Orthotics).

"A semi rigid footbed is better able to support a functional position of the foot while also allowing the necessary arch movement for performance and shock absorbtion (Hunter, Dolan, and Davis, Foot Orthotics in Therapy and Sport).

This leads to some simple advice:

  • If a shop makes a blanket recommendation that every skier should buy a footbed – usually a relatively expensive off the shelf model -- walk away! They are more interested in fulfilling their profit needs than your skiing needs.
  • If a shop offers you a footbed with a cork filled, plastic, or uncompressible arch, walk away!
  • If the shop does not individually shell fit the footbed to make sure that functional movement in the arch of the footbed is not blocked by the side of the boot, walk away!

Find someone who will make a footbed which works in synergy with the normal functions of the foot and the specific requirements of skiing.



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