During walking, there is a motion that occurs when the foot is in the mid stance and fully flattened. This motion is called pronation, and it serves the purpose of reducing pressure on both the foot and the leg to reduce shock and provide natural comfortable motion. This is the position your foot also assumes while inside a ski boot.
This brings us to the argument that everyone that enjoys skiing and ever experienced pain or strain of any kind could benefit from ski orthotics or footbeds. Much of the pain actually happens because while inside the ski boot, the foot is meant to be fixed into position, in order to cope with up to 3 times the pressure it usually resists. And while ski boots can be very expensive and sophisticated in their design, this is a problem that occurs in even the most high end of skiing equipment.
When companies design their skiing boots, they create them for a wide variety of foot shapes and sizes, and this is a correct approach, because if they were to personalize the design in any way, their boots would be painful to wear for most people, while only being perfect for a small number of them.
In order to make this “one size fits all” approach work, most boots are heavily cushioned on the inside to feel comfortable to the wearer upon purchase. But no matter how well padded they are, eventually the padding warps under the pressure and we’re left with a lot of unwanted room for the foot, which leads to strain and injury.
So what should you look for in a good ski orthotics or footbed?
Well, because the process of creating them is almost always the same, you should make sure the shop has a good technician who knows what he’s doing. Footbeds and orthotics use a semi-weight bearing system of creation, where the material is heated and the foot impression is taken by standing upright on a special pillow. This ensures that they will work to your exact foot shape and size, and give you support while reducing the extra room in your skiing boot that is making you prone to injury.
It is worth noting that ski orthotics, once made, can be transferred to most other boots with no problem at all, however, because they are made of a rigid material meant for the pronation position and not designed to provide flexibility, you will not be able to transfer them to your regular footwear.