Saturday, October 31, 2009

Boot Surgery

A few months ago I ordered custom Jackson boots hoping that this would be the end to my boot fitting nightmares. My Reidels seem to be made for a kids foot. Even though they were wide in the front and tight in the heel they still had to put me in a longer boot to the right fit for my foot. The nose of the "correct" size boot dived too soon and hit the top of my toe even though the end of my toe was clear of the boot. The tongue also regularly slipped over and unlaced my boots for me which was particularly hazardous since it was my landing leg. I went down at least one time after skating over my laces and was constantly having to relace my boots after doing MIF. So I splurged and ordered my very first pair of custom ice skates. I was so looking forward to something that fit perfectly. Instead when I got my boots they seemed too big. The tongue wouldn't tuck in very well and got caught on the padding on the inside of the boot. The guy that fit me kept telling me that they were fine so I figured I would give them a chance and see if things changed as I broke them in. After two months you could see the edges of the tongue curling up where they were running into the boot padding. My heel regularly slips in these boots and the front of my foot can wiggle around a lot. Now mind you these boots are very stiff and you just can't pull them tight with the laces at least not until recently. Of course I blame all of these problems squarely on the guy who took my foot measurements and ordered the boots. The only thing about Jackson boots themselves that I don't like is the fact that there is no arch support in them what so ever. Horrible. I was used to my Reidels that had intimate contact with the arch of my foot. Before I laid out another $600+ on yet another pair of custom boots I decided to go to my chiropractor and get fitted for some custom orthotic inserts. He had me step on a scanner that took a very nice color coded picture of the bottom of each foot. He called the company and told them the inserts were for ice skates and they immediately recommended one of their styles. This sounded very encouraging. They knew what figure skaters were after. I needed to be able to feel the ice under my feet and be able to control the boot with the small muscles of my foot. They recommended one of their thin sole models that was skinnier than a their regular insert and had much less padding than the one my doctor recommended. All sounds good. $200 later I got to put them in my boots today. While I was fitting the inserts I decided to do a little surgery to the tongues. I took my kitchen scissors (heavy duty) and tapered the padding on the tongue so their would be a gentle transition between the tongue and boot. I also cut off the sections that were obviously catching on the boot padding. I also made a slit that pointed toward the ankle which would aid the tongue in flexing so I could cinch the laces tighter in the ankle area. I matched the toe pattern on my old inserts to the toe ridge in the new ones and trimmed the new ones to the outline of the old. I bent the new ones up a bit and in they went. I then stuffed my bare feet into my boots so I could feel the boots really well and laced them up, cinching them tightly. When I stood up I couldn't believe the difference! My custom boots now fit like a glove. I have very little heel movement and I can feel the sides of the skate with my feet. I also have a nice hard arch support under my foot. I can hardly wait to try them out tomorrow. I wouldn't be surprised if I will need my blades moving again. The arch supports will probably make me stand differently in the boots. I'll report back and let you know what happens, but right now I think the surgery was a great success.

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