A CINDERELLA STORY: THE ‘MYTH’ OF THE PERFECT FIT


Everyone knows that the ‘Holy Grail’, the ultimate fit of a ski boot, is achieved when the shape of the ski boot perfectly matches the shape of the foot and the foot is completely immobilized. The reason given for immobilizing the foot is that this is how the foot functions best in skiing. We know this to be true because it is what everyone has been saying for decades. So it must be true. Or is it? If it were true, then those who promote the idea should be able to explain how immobilizing the foot with a perfect fit of the boot with foot makes the foot function better in skiing. But there’s one small detail – no one can. Immobilizing the joints of the foot (if it were even possible without fusing every joint) would render it dysfunctional. So how would making the foot dysfunctional make it function best for skiing? It wouldn’t. And no one can possibly explain, using sound principles of science and contemporary knowledge of functional anatomy how making the foot and leg dysfunctional would serve any useful purpose.

Here’s the reality. The human system is an amazingly complex, extremely sophisticated organism.  Despite appearances that suggest otherwise, the human lower limbs are one of the most complex anatomical structures known. The human foot and ankle complex is a strong, sophisticated mechanical structure consisting of 208 functional elements and 200,000 nerve endings with 28 bones, 33 joints (20 of which are actively articulated), and more than a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It is one of the most dynamic organisms in the human system. Yet the footwear industry continues to view foot in the paradigm of an inanimate, solid shape as reflected in static shoe lasts, which even today remain the de facto model of the human foot. The Perfect Fit is elusive because it doesn’t exist except in fairy tales. It’s nothing more than a Cinderella story.

Ski Boot Last