family-ski-trip-packingI love getting new skis, I’m like a kid in a candy store when I get to demo shiny sharp new boards. But I hate having to buy new ski boots. Achieving a perfect ski boot fit is so key, yet so taxing on my soles. Fellow skiers, you know the pinches and winces associated in breaking in new ski boots, or more likely – new ski boots breaking you in – from your toes to your shins. So when my four-season-old ski boots were feeling cavernous, the lining packed out, the insoles lacking any cushion or bounce, just a bad odor, I dreaded shopping for new ski boots.

vail-heather-simbaNot having time, or an extra $500 kicking around, I opted instead to spend just 15% of that on new custom foot beds with admittedly low expectations. Wow – what a difference. My 160-ski-day-old boots were revitalized. By simply sliding in new Tread Lab foot beds, my feet and my skiing were reinvigorated – not to mention fresher smelling.

I could carve better, and my feet were warmer – even on a -4F degree ski day at Sugarbush, Vermont. I boots-ski2016didn’t even have to schlep to the ski shop since Tread Labs, based in Stoneham, Mass., ships two pair of insoles within your exact shoe size and width, offering varying arch support. You pick the best fit and send the other pair back in the prepaid, labeled package. If neither pair of insoles work, return them both for a full refund.

There are plenty of custom foot beds and orthotics on the market. Tread Labs, made in the U.S., have a 1purgatory4unique deep heel cup and indestructible arch support – with a lifetime guarantee. I’ll get back to you on that after 40 days of skiing.

Apparently you can also move your Tread Labs to other footwear, your sneakers in summer and hiking boots in fall for example. At $75 a pair, Tread Labs are worth trying to enhance your ski boot comfort and therefore your skiing performance, because happy feet are key to a happy skier.

By Heather Burke, photos by Greg Burke

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Heather Burke, 2016 Copyright & Photography property of Family Ski Trips