Custom liners. Why you want them.

July 21, 2018

A true custom liner is one that is bought separate from the shell and customised to your foot and requirements. Most ski boots come with an off-the-shelf liner. Sometimes they look fluffy and plush and feel nice, but the foam within them is mostly un-mouldable, doesn't have memory, and will pack out reasonably fast causing discomfort and fit issues. 

Above is a cross-section of an off the shelf liner. Note the multiple layers of different foams - none of which are memory foam. They feel soft and cushy initially, but then perish and pack out fast. Off the-shelf-liners last about 5 years (due to foam breaking down from time) or 200 ski days (when they pack out). 

 

There are a few types of custom liners. Foam injected, heat mouldable Intuition foam, and cork liners. 

 

FOAM INJECTED LINERS

For ultimate fit and performance, a foam injected liner is the way to go. Your boot fitter will select the most appropriate structural shell for you, taking into account any modifications your foot type may need, and then foam you whilst standing in the liner and shell. The foam goes into the liner and fills in all the gaps and contours to your foot. A truly custom fit for your foot. This gives you the best performance because every movement you make will translate better to the ski for control and edging.

 

Benefits:

  • ultimate control and performance

  • true custom fit

  • best way to accommodate volume differences between lower leg and foot

  • great for people with very bony feet or with orthopaedic hardware (previously broken bones that have been pinned)

  • will last double the lifespan of an off-the-shelf liner that normally comes with the boot, so it is worth the investment

  • Last 400-500 ski days 

Things to look out for:

  • need to be foamed by an experienced boot tech - these can go awry very quickly unless done with expertise. Incorrectly foamed liners have given foam injection a bad name

  • can't be moved from boot to boot

  • can be too precise for people wanting to walk a lot (eg. ski patrollers and ski tourers)

 

INTUITION HEAT MOULDABLE LINERS

This liner is made up completely of fancy foam called Intuition foam - which is completely heat mouldable to your foot.

 

Benefits:

  • easy to remould

  • can move from boot to boot (but does your boot shell need updating too? Is the plastic breaking down?)

  • they're warmer because they trap more air in the foam

  • not as restrictive in the foot moulding so good for touring boots when you'll be doing some walking

  • mould and retain shape from memory foam

  • Last 300-400 ski days

 

Things to look out for:

  • these liners mould around your foot and the memory foam holds that shape - however the moulding process compresses foam and starts the wearing out process so they won't last as long as foam injected (but still much longer than off the shelf liners)

  • don't have a lot of foam to fill large gaps in the boots (like narrow ankles), so they can still require after market padding

 

 

CORK LINERS

Also known as SvenFit or ZipFit. It is a "self-moulding cork-composite material that continuously adjusts between the feet and the shell." The cork material is around the lower ankle and goes through to the midfoot. The forefoot and toes are neoprene, which can be a little chilly in really cold climates.

 

Benefits:

  • firm hold - not foam so don't pack out like other liners

  • re-mouldable in different boots

  • doesn't ever completely set, so the liner always maintains some degree of malleability - great for touring or if you're standing around in your boots a lot (like a ski patroller or ski instructor)

  • easy to mould and fit

Things to look out for:

  • because they're a fixed volume, often still need after market padding to get the volume correct

  • because they're malleable, they will move a bit and not give the performance of a foam injected liner

  • can be tricky to put on - most people put the liner on their foot first, then slide into the shell. Okay once you get used to it, but it will wear out the seams of the liner much fast and it will fall apart sooner than the advertised lifetime of the liner (about 400-500 ski days)

So, there you go. All custom liners last wayyyyyyy longer than off the shelf liners, which pack out and wear out faster. All custom liners will give you a superior fit to off-the-shelf liners. You need to think about what you want from your liner - performance verse comfort - there is almost always a compromise leaning towards one or the other. Come in and have a chat (or just shoot us an email) about what you want from your skiing, your boots, and what will work best for you.

 

 

 

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