Grinding Ski Boots

Grinding your ski boots will require some skills with power tools, but it can be a fantastic option to create extra space and relieve pressure points. It is usually done to higher performance or race boots, where a closeness of fit is important.

A ski boot grind can not be done without a direct focus on exactly what you are doing. It is a procedure that must be done with care and precision.

When we are grinding ski boots, we are removing plastic from the inside of the boot shell with a dremel. You will not be able to create a ton of space by grinding by you can get a couple of mm which can make all the difference.

What you will usually target when grinding will be pressure points created by bony protrusions of the foot. Pain can occur when a bony part of the foot is rubbing against the plastic shell of your boot.

These contact points will be better known as:

  • Bunion
  • Tailors bunion (6th toe)
  • Navicular bone
  • Medial malleolus (ankle)
  • Styloid process (rear 5th metatarsal)
  • Haglund's Deformity (Heel)
  • Saddle bone deformity (Top of foot)

By grinding a "pocket" for these spots to sit into, it will reduce the amount of contact and reduce the irritation.

For the best result, you have to ensure that the grind is completed with a smooth polished finish. Any ridges that may remain will still be felt on the foot, even through the liner.

How To Grind your ski boots:

You will need:

1. Dremel or rotary tool
2. Grinding head/ high speed cutter (for initial grinding)
3. Flap wheel (for finish polishing)
4. Lipstick or colored chalk for marking.

Start by identifying and marking on the liner the spot you will be grinding. Then you need to transfer this mark from your liner in to the internal plastic of your boot. Lipstick is the best application for this as it will leave a mark for you to work with. You may need help to open your boot up to get the liner in and out without smudging this mark.

With the grinding/cutting head, begin to work away at the plastic. By working in a circular direction it will remove the plastic evenly and allow you to gradually create a pocket or crater style impression. The dremel speed should be operating at around 7-9 speed for best control.

Take extreme care to judge how much plastic you are grinding out. A ski boot shell is only a few mm thick so you risk grinding right through if you are not careful. If available a set of calipers will be a handy measuring tool. A small keyring torch can also be handy to use as a gauge. Compare the transfer of light to the full thickness elsewhere. Most importantly Take Your Time!

Once you have reached your desired depth of grind, it is then best to smooth out the grind to eliminate any high points or ridges. A flap wheel will clean the grind and finish the process.

Then clean up. Use a damp rag to wipe out any shavings and dust.

Return your liners back into your boots and test your handy work!

Good Luck!