What exactly is canting?
Canting is the most popular term, where cuff alignment is the more technical term when describing this feature in ski boots. Canting makes a correction to the angles of your foot and the lower shaft of your leg. Most ski boots geared towards the intermediate skier and up have some sort of adjustment right on the hinge point of the boot. If you look at your ski boot this big silver bolt typically offers you some sort of adjustment…. But what does that adjustment do? By turning that dial or loosening the screw and angling the cuff to match the angles of your leg your ski boots allow your knees to track evenly and your skis to sit flat on the snow.
Although the title refers to Tecnica boots, this is simply a guideline for all ski boots with a cuff alignment adjustment. Each model may have their own adjustment system. Some use dials that are tuned with an Allen wrench, some require the cuff screw to be loosened then fine tuned, and other boots have an alignment adjustment on both the inside and outside of the cuff.
Making these adjustments is difficult to do yourself, so you will need someone knowledgeable who knows exactly what they are looking for and how to make the proper adjustments. A skilled bootfitter should be the only one making these adjustments to your ski boots.
On the vast majority of ski boots they all have the same type of adjustment for the cuff alignment, typically located right on the bolt that connects the upper cuff to the lower shell. As a generalization men are inherently bow-legged and women are knocked kneed. Either one of these poses a bio-mechanical disadvantage while skiing. In severe cases this can cause you to catch the inside or the outside edge of your skis. In most cases it causes you to ride either on the inside or outside edge of the ski making it a little harder to roll into a turn on one ski or the other.
How can I fix my canting?
Since Canting is a personalized adjustment, playing with the cuff alignment adjustments is something that should only be done by a knowledgeable bootfitter, otherwise you run the risk of miss-aligning the cuff of your boot and making skiing more difficult for yourself.
For many skiers who are just slightly out of alignment, an aftermarket footbed will help make the correction easy for you. Aftermarket footbeds offer quite a bit of correction by aligning your foot, ankle and leg into a neutral position to help compensate if you are bow-legged or knock-kneed. Aftermarket footbeds not only improve the cuff alignment but they improve the reaction time, balance and the overall performance of your skis. This aftermarket footbed starts the foundation of having your boot customized to you.
What will a bootfitter do?
Great bootfitters come with great attitudes, will and will gladly take a look at any ski boot that comes into their shop. The first thing a bootfitter will do is ask you what symptoms you are noticing about your skiing. For example, if you feel like your skis are not running flat, or it takes a little more effort to turn one way or the other, you should have your alignment looked at. This is one of the more complicated and advanced aspects when it comes to the “dark arts” of bootfitting, so make sure that you are seeing a qualified fitter.
The next thing they will do is talk to you about a footbed. If you do not have an aftermarket footbed, they will tell you that this is mandatory for the improvement of the fit and alignment of your boots. Please take their advice. Footbeds can be sold as pre-shaped with a generic arch, or custom made from a mold of your foot.
After the footbed is added to your boot the bootfitter will use an alignment device, such as blocks that will have long strips of plastic that run all the way up to your knees, laser measuring devices, or a plumb bob that will run down from the center of the patella down to your toes. At this point the bootfitter can make the adjustments for you to be properly aligned to your stance.
For more information on all of the features available on ski boots, please check out our full Ski Boot Buying Guide.