How to- Custom Shell Heat Mold Ski Boots at Home
DIY Ski Boot Shell Molding
Ski boot technology has made leaps and bounds in recent years and one of the best developments has been the ability to mold the plastic shells of ski boots. It is a quick and easy way to manipulate the shape of a ski boot, to better match the shape of your foot. It works extremely well for eliminating pressure points, or widening the front of the boot at the forefoot.
Each year there is more ski boot models being produced with this capability, so there is plenty of options for you to find a boot that will work for you and then make them even better.
If you are not able to get this molding done at your local ski store, do not worry. If you are confident with some DIY, you can easily heat mold your own ski boots. This is a tutorial on how you can mold your ski boots at home to get a better and more comfortable fit.
What You'll Need:
- Ski boots with heat molding capability (see below)
- 2 pairs of socks
- Adhesive foam (for targeting pressure points)
- A bag of rice - 2kg / 4lbs
- Frozen vegetables, bags of ice, ice packs or other frozen goods from freezer.
- Laser Thermometer
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The boots you will be able to do this molding with will be labelled on the boots directly.
Here are the names of the boots molding systems to look for:
- Salomon- Custom Shell or Custom Shell HD
- Atomic- Memory Fit
- Head- Form Fit
- Dalbello- MyFit
- K2- Fitlogix
- Fischer- Vacuum Fit
For a close and precise fit, you will want to just do this process with a pair of thin ski socks. If you have stubborn areas of pain or really need to widen the boot, you can add some foam to your feet to help create extra space during the molding.
Step 1. Heat your oven.
Firstly remove all the shelves in the oven except the lowest shelf. Place some baking paper as protection and to avoid the ski boot from touching any metal.
Depending on which boot you have will determine the temperature that you need to set your oven. This will also determine how long you need to heat your boot shells. (see below for times required per boot)
As your oven is preheating up to the right temperature, you can start on getting the liners molding.
Step 2. Liners
Fill your second pair of socks up with rice. Be careful not to overfill and the socks and rice should have some looseness to be able to sit nicely down inside your liners. (do a test before heating) Once you have them filled up rice, tie a knot at the top, you can then heat the socks in the microwave for 5 mins.
This rice will slowly radiate heat through your liners and is the most prudent way to mold your liners as you can't 'overdo' it or get them too hot. In my opinion it is the best method. Place the socks down into your liners and let them warm up while you turn your attention to the boot shells.
Step 3. Boot shells in the oven
Place your boots in the oven now that it is preheated up to temperature and set your countdown timer to the allocated amount of time for your boots to become malleable.
*If your oven cant fit both boot shells at one time, you may need to just heat one boot at a time.
Step 4. Prepare your feet.
Now is the time if needed to add some foam to the trouble spots on your feet. This will help expand the liner and boot shell a bit further to ensure you get the relief that you need.
Step 5. Check the plastic temperature.
Now that your boots have been in the oven for the allotted time period. If you want to be sure of optimum results, you can use a laser thermometer to gauge the actual plastic temperature. If you are getting reading of around 80-90 degrees Celsius, then you should be ready to go.
Put on your Gloves!!
Step 6. Liners back in
Remove the rice socks, if you have footbeds, put them inside the liners now and then get them as quick as you can into the boots. Step your foot in, give your heel a kick to set it back in the right position and lightly do up the buckles.
Step 7. Stand in your boots.
Make sure the liner is in the right position, and even pressure throughout. You can maybe increase the buckle tension a little and then stand in a neutral position for the next 5 mins. Do not flex the boot or move around much during this time.
Step 8. Cool down.
Now you should look to reduce the temperature of the boot to aid in the 'setting' of the plastic. This is making sure you will keep the new shape and retain your molding result. Cover as much of the boot as possible with ice packs/frozen vegetables. Remain standing for another 5-10 mins until the boot has cooled right down.
And you will be done!
Now you have completely molded your boots, you should notice a great difference in their fit and for some people the new shape will be very visible. Give your feet a rest before trying them on again and then look forward to your next ski day!
Current ski boots with heat molding capability:
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