Spread your toes, spread the soles of your feet

Discussion in 'Ski School' started by Steve, Aug 29, 2018.

  1. Steve

    Steve Ankler Skier

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    I've been doing Rodney Yee's Standing Poses routine for a few years. One of the instructions he gives is to spread your toes, spread the soles of your feet - on standing poses. I've been intrigued by the extra balance and stability that it brings and have been using it in hiking on rough trails. What it seems to do is to activate the calfs. Similar to the adage of activating your core. It feels very stable and controlled.

    I've never heard this mentioned in skiing, only to wiggle your toes - to alleviate arch cramping. There is a bit of a connection between those two movements.

    I'm very interested in trying this in ski boots. It also widens the foot and keeps it from tensing up.

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    I just don't have that type room in my shell...but I like the idea.
     
  3. Thread Starter
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    Steve

    Steve Ankler Skier

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    I hadn't thought of that, have to put my boots on soon. Even so the "functional tension" might still be effective.
     
  4. luliski

    luliski Out on the slopes Skier

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    I've also wondered about this. I have custom footbeds in my boots and supposedly they allow the forefoot to spread out, while causing the heel to be locked in. But I don't think I actually have enough room in the toe box for my toes to spread. I'm even more curious now that I've had foot surgery, I'm going to need new boots (and probably new foot beds). I'm hoping to get a little more toe space to make my bad foot as functional as possible.
     
  5. Skisailor

    Skisailor Laziest Skier on the Mountain Team Gathermeister

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    I like it Steve, but more as a part of just relaxing and standing on your feet. Certain kinds of muscular input in the feet and toes that are often advocated just seem like too much work to do on a consistent basis in ski turns, IMHO.

    As a recovery movement - yes.

    But just standing comfortably on your feet with toes a bit spread and without hanging on the equipment, so to speak, seems like a great starting point to me for a solid skiing stance.

    And makes sense that if toes are spread a bit, you would have more leverage over inversion and eversion of the ankle. "A bit" is the operative phrase because I also have just a teeny bit of room in the toe box of my boot to do this.
     
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  6. Pequenita

    Pequenita Getting off the lift Skier

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    I thought about feet a bunch while skiing last season because I found myself doing ridiculous things like crunching toes when in the fall line and flattening my feet when on the bottom of a turn before transitioning to the next. Not ideal. To be clear, it was subtle - it's not like I have a ton of space in my boots. And I was conscious I was doing this because I taught yoga for 5 years in a prior life and always started by discussing the feet as a platform, 3 points of the feet, spreading toes, etc.
     
  7. Thread Starter
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    Steve

    Steve Ankler Skier

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    Yes, I find the proprioception that Yoga can really help with a great training tool. I know what rotating my legs feels like.
     
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  8. Monster

    Monster Monstrous for some time now. . . Skier

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    Get those pieces of foam between the toes and use a toe cap when you bake them liners. . . ;)
     
  9. Wilhelmson

    Wilhelmson Getting off the lift Skier

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    I don't have any formal toe training, but when I go for long hikes to pass the time I think about how my feet, toes, and balance feel on each step of a rocky trail.
     
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  10. JESinstr

    JESinstr Lvl 3 1973 Skier

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    Don't know about the rest of you, but when I stand in my bare feet and spread my toes and soles, my toes tend to raise up. Hmmm, Ron Kipp's tension perhaps? Steve, this coincides with your holding the pencil analogy yes?

    As you said, it provides a more stable stance by letting the foot spread out which by the way, is also what happens when one compresses the arch. Don't know about it keeping the foot from tensing up because it is about tension just like the core.

    Like others, I don't believe this is an "all the time everywhere" thing but it is a great focus for discipline skiing and as I am advocating, a key ingredient in teaching beginners to learn a new way to fore and aft balance.
     
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  11. Fishbowl

    Fishbowl A Parallel Universe Skier

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    Having done martial arts barefoot for decades, I really appreciate the benefit our using my entire foot to create a stable platform to move from and balance on. I specifically look for boots with a more generous last, so I can spread my toes. Good topic.
     
  12. Thread Starter
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    Steve

    Steve Ankler Skier

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    So fishbowl have you trained yourself over the years to keep that spread without having to think about it or actively do it?

    Funny thing happened to me while I was walking in the woods. My wife behind me told me I was doing funny things with my hands. God damn if I wasn't flexing my fingers out along with my toes. Like a 5 year old doing the same thing with their legs and hands on skis!
     
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  13. Uncle-A

    Uncle-A In the words of Paul Simon "You can call me Al" Skier

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    My feet are so wide that I would find it hard to spread out the toes or the sole in a boot that is fit well. Now in a running shoe, yes that would feel good and maybe add some stability as you walk or run.
     
  14. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    I like it as a cue to uncramp the arch, especially in grabby snow.

    IOW, you don't actually have to get there, but the things you trigger in wanting to do it might help with stopping something else.
     
  15. Fishbowl

    Fishbowl A Parallel Universe Skier

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    I don’t remember specifically focussing on it, but after training in bare feet for a while you just start to realize that your feet are engaging with the ground in a new way. Part of the process is proprioception/awareness of what your feet are doing. Obviously we do a lot of static and dynamic balance drills that help retrain the feet do do what they were designed to do naturally. I do find that I ski much better in boots that allow me to spread my toes as opposed to boots that prevent them from moving.
     
  16. Thread Starter
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    Steve

    Steve Ankler Skier

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    Great info. It's in the 90's today, so don't want to try the boots on just yet!
     
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  17. Uncle-A

    Uncle-A In the words of Paul Simon "You can call me Al" Skier

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    Why not? I was out looking at new snow blowers at Lowes and it was hot as Hell. Ski shops have AC don't they?:)
     
  18. Thread Starter
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    Steve

    Steve Ankler Skier

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    My house is an oven.
     
  19. KingGrump

    KingGrump Most Interesting Man In The World Team Gathermeister

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    Turn on the fan and you'll have one of those newfangled convection oven that is all the rage. :D
     
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  20. Monster

    Monster Monstrous for some time now. . . Skier

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    I'm tellin' ya, it's time to fit those liners. . .
     

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