The thermo-molding of the snowboard liner I casually touched upon in the review of Deeluxe Deemon Snowboard Boots 2018. Now there is a need to tell a little more about why all this is needed, how I did it and what I used for this purpose! Note — al the instructions below are suitable for molding the most of snowboard, ski or mountaineering boot.
I would like to note that all of what is said below is not a guide to action! This is solely my personal experience that you can use at your own risk! If in doubt, it is better to entrust this work to professionals!
Then I will speak on the example of thermo-molding the liners of my snowboard and splitboard boots, but it also applies to ski boots, climbing boots, and there is little else to any bots that have heat-moldable liners. The most important thing is to pay attention before buying what kind of liner your desired boot has. And another small remark — I will not touch on all other possible bells and whistles of liners. Only about thermo-molding!
Types of liners
To summarize this issue, we will highlight three types of liners:
- The simplest — they are not moldable by anything and in no way! Except that by the usual physical wear and tear they will take the shape of your leg, stretch in one direction or another. Such liners are the cheapest and easiest solution and are suitable for those who snowboard not so often and not at all demanding for efficiency. Usually, they are used in entry-level boots, the so-called «entry-level», someone even in them will be comfortable enough, and someone is not, but the mission to «give a try» these liners will perform.
- The second kind of liners, these are those that thermo-mold from the heat of our foot while in use (sometimes it’s possible to thermo-mold in the oven — a kind of hybrids). It is difficult to say here that this is the «middle level» or something like that, the fact is that such liners are used in top-end models of boots. In any case, such liners are the best option, as inside this «segment» you can find inexpensive boots, but get increased comfort and efficiency.
- The third kind is liners, which should be thermo-molded in a special oven. In my opinion — this is the best option for those who have already tested the first two kinds, but have not found «the one». Such liners, with the proper preparation, can give the most «comfortable comfort» and the best performance and almost immediately after thermo-molding! They will be discussed further.
In detail, I should say that a special material is responsible is for the thermo-molding of the liners, which may consist of some parts of the boots. The volume of the material and the temperature of the molding give us opportunities to create the boot of our dreams. It should be remembered that you should buy boots of your size not larger or smaller, do not think that thermo-molding will be able to give you an increase in space for a whole size. It can give something approximate, but then you may regret it.
What opportunities do we have?
Here are three options I’ve encountered:
- If we are in a big city, where there are serious shops for sports fans, such stores usually have the equipment, accessories, and the service itself to thermo-mold boot liners. So you can just go there, pay some money and get the best result by experienced people. There’s nothing more to say.
- If we have a place nearby where there is equipment, for example — a stove for thermoforming, but no accessories (all sorts of spacers, extenders, etc.). We have to prepare ourselves and then use the equipment. That’s my story.
- The third option is when we have nothing special around except improvised things. Here are a complete improvisation and faith in our own straight hands and accuracy. A couple of words on this subject I will also say.
And now about the second option in detail.When there is an oven, but there is nothing else.
The very first step is to check whether your liner is thermo-moldable and ready to be molded. If it’s not, we’ll just ruin our gear. If it is, you need to clarify the temperature range and heating time, for example, mine is 95 C and 8 minutes. If you overdo it, you can also ruin your liner!
If everything is checked and refined, let’s move on!
It also needs preparation — you need to buy duct tape, find a thin foam or packing foam and get scissors or a paper-knife. Now we are ready to apply our skills in action!
Now I will explain why the spacers are needed. It’s all about two things:
- When we warm up the inside in the stove, the liner material expands, so the space in the boots becomes less than usual;
- our legs are similar, but still have some important differences — protruding different bones, different length of fingers or joint shape. You should already know about such spots from the experience of wearing other shoes. You shout pay a lot of attention to these spots.
Got it?! If we stick our foot without spacers, the expanded inside can not only limit the space where it is useful to us, it can squeeze the foot or fingers in critical places. If we don’t provide for it, we can create our own «torturing device». To avoid all of it, we need:
- We should provide more space for our fingers. They should have enough room to move, should not be bent or compressed. Say «no!» to numbness and fast freezing.
- Protect other critical spots of the ankle.
That’s why we need foam and duct tape. First, make spacers between your fingers:
- Take the duct tape and reel on your fingers where they can come into contact with the others. You don’t have to reel a lot, a couple of turns. Why use tape, not foam? It is denser than foam, not so compressed — the area of fingers is very critical!
Then we make a spacer for the front of the foot:
- Cut a strip of foam wide as your foot, long as the one-third of the foot. Wrap the front part, where the fingers are, so that the middle of this strip was on the fingers, and secure it with duct tape.
- Cut the edge depending on your foot shape.
- Cut another strip of foam. Narrow, 2-3 centimeters, but so long that you can wrap the foot from one side to another. Make some king of the bumper. Secure it with duct tape.
Complete the spacers for critical spots:
- Try to remember, where you usually felt discomfort, there were any signs of pressure on the skin after skiing or walking.
- Cut out pieces of foam in the shape of these critical spots and place them on these spots and secure with duct tape.
Some say that you can use either another sock on top of the usual sock, or put a cropped «toe of a sock» on top of the usual riding sock. Personally, I think this method is unreliable. If you do the thermo-molding of the liner, then do it thoughtfully!
Take the spacers on
We do not pay attention to the resulting volume, the foam will shrink under the pressure of the liner and temperature. Put your riding socks on. Be sure to check if everything is in place.
If we form snowboard or ski boots, then we should look for a small plank 2-3 centimeters thick and half a meter wide. Put the plank on the floor.
Warm up the liner in a special oven
Warm up the liner in the oven according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Let the oven warm up to the desired temperature
- Remove the insoles from the liners, so as not to deform them (they maybe not ready for such stress)
- Put the liner in the oven
- Wait for the needed time
Recommended temperature and time to mold the liner
If you dig a little information about the materials used to create thermo-moldable liners, we can conclude that the recommended temperature for molding is about 95 degrees Celsius, and the time to warm up 8-10 minutes. But in any case, it is worth trying to find out the recommendations of the manufacturer.
Warming up the liners at home
You can warm up the liners at home, there are two ways: to mold in the cooking oven — a dangerous and unreliable way, and to warm up with socks, rice, and microwave — great for molding some spots of the liners after molding with the oven.
Molding with socks, rice, and microwave
Use it also at your own risk, but overall it is much safer than using your cooking oven.
Here’s what it is:
- Take socks, preferably clean. Why socks? Because they’re elastic, easy to stretch.
- Put the grains of ordinary rice in socks (not that for quick cooking or, especially not already cooked). Leave free one-third of the sock, it is necessary for the next stage and for the rice to be able to move freely inside.
- Tie a knot at the end of the sock.
- Prepare enough socks — in advance try to put socks with rice in the liner.It is worth a little knocking the liners to settle the sock better.
- Remove the socks from the liner and put them to a microwave oven for 7 minutes at 850 Watts.
- Put on heat resistant gloves, remove the heated socks from the microwave and quickly put them in the liners.
- We wait for 10 minutes.
- Take out the socks from liners.
- Let’s move on to the point — Thermo-molding on the foot
Если вы обнаружили данный способ в сети, и там предлагают использовать обрезанные кусочки носков вместо проставок на пальцах и всё — такой себе способ, нужно делать нормальные проставки и не только на пальцах.
If you still decide to do it at home in the oven, I highly recommend using a spacious oven and wooden bars, which can be put inside, so that it does not touch the heated walls. And it is necessary to be careful — the oven does not keep the temperature so clearly, so you should control it very carefully! Use it at your own risk!
Thermo-molding on the foot
Spacers are secured, socks are on top, plank lies on the floor…
Now you need to do everything quick enough:
- Remove the liners from the oven, insert insoles and insert the liners into the boots
- Put your boots on.
- Tightly tie the laces! But not too much, so as not to deform the liner.
- Stand with toes on the plank, the heels leave on the floor.
- Spend about 20-30 minutes in this pose. Note that these minutes may seem very long, it’s possible that you will fill a little pain and it will be hot, but we need to hold on! In any case, do not walk, do not jump, do not even roll from the sock to the heel and back — we can deform the liner, and it will take the wrong shape! The very essence is to wait for the liners to take the shape of our foot and cool down.
- Take off your boots, rejoice in freedom =)).
- It is recommended to leave boots for a few hours so that the liners finally cools down.