What is Neutral?


One thing you often see in the ski boot realm, is that your foot should be secured in a "neutral" position. The problem is noone then tells you what that means. So I'm going to!

 

SUBTALAR NEUTRAL

This is a positioning of the feet so that the talus bones are located in a central position. The talus bone is located right in the middle of your ankle joint. It sits on top of the Calcaneus also known as the heel bone, and right under the Tibia which is your shin bone. This neutral position then aligns all the bones in the foot. It also will correct the balance and stance of the lower leg, all the way up to the hips. 

This neutral foot position will allow you to have better performance as you’ll be able to transfer the force more effectively and your overall skiing will be less demanding. On top of this you’ll be having improved balance and stability.
Without a high quality footbed you simply can’t be secured in this neutral foot position. Lack of support for the feet and especially for the arch will result in the talus bone and navicular bone collapsing inwards and keeping the feet out of balance. With a supportive footbed and a good ski boot every skiing session will be at its optimum.

You don’t even need a ski boot to test this out. All you need is good footbeds. Put them on the floor, stand on them firmly and put your hands from the elbows forward. Have your friend try to push you down and you’ll see it’s easier to maintain balance. Now do the same thing without the footbeds barefoot on the floor. You’ll collapse in seconds.

So neutral is the ultimate goal for your feet. Dont overlook the most critical thing to try and achieve.

Peace!

Comments

Bill McEachern on March 06 2016 at 02:12AM

i had a guy make me foot beds when I was about 26. I am now 57. I am still using the same foot beds. They were from super feet – cork in a nylon binder composition, purchased in about 1985. I have bought new boots and bought new foot beds over the years but I always end up pulling out the new foot beds and putting my old ones back in. When I bought the old ones the guy who did it corrected for my pronation by essentially putting wedges under the balls of my feet to the extent the boot would allow. The shaping of the heated beds was done by placing my foot on the more or less molten bed and then rotating my knee outward and adding my weight till it stiffened up. Now, on the replacements I have attempted to purchase over the years I would ask the fitters to do the same thing and they typically refuse and tell me they will put the foot in neutral position. So I give them the benefit of the doubt and let them do it. When I get on my skis I have no edge power compared to the original ones. I have thousands of hours of big mountain skiing on these things and no adverse affects. I have been told by others that the same effect can be done by a slight heel lift. I don’t buy it as it does not address (i.e. Increase) the stiffness of the fore foot as happens when it is pre loaded with the wedges approach. I have gone to podiatrists and they saw no issue with this approach however going through iterative tuning is really impractical especially now that I just don’t ski as much anymore living in eastern Canada. Further, with the wedge approach my foot actually gets shorter with a commensurate increase in in step volume so just buying a pair of boots and dropping in the old foot beds has issues. Also the wear has pretty much stopped the fabric off the tops so I have to apply lubricants (soap) to lower the friction bête my sock so I can actually get them on. I need to get a system level replacement – boots, bed & fit. Any thoughts you would care to share?

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