Arctic Challenge / Challenge Journal / Training / Equipment

Suited and booted: How Profeet made The Arctic V’s ski boots practically perfect

By Vicky Anscombe

There are skiing boots, and then there are skiing boots for champions. Which category do you think The Arctic V’s boots fall into?

A few months ago, Chemmy and Max visited Profeet, in west London, to ensure their skiing boots were the best they could be. The company specialise in creating custom-fitting sports footwear and insoles that actually mould to your feet, so your shoe fits perfectly. In essence, the insoles give people more ‘feedback’ from their feet; shoes are more comfortable, and feet and ankles are better supported for sport.

"Chemmy and Max have Atomic boots, so what we did first was a foot and ankle assessment to see how things were working," says Richard Felton, Profeet’s footwear manager. "We want to see if something’s not quite right, and we’ll try and iron any kinks out. In terms of the boots themselves, we look at the shape of the boot compared to the athlete’s foot, and the shape of their foot. The main thing that we do is create specialised insoles which support the foot within the boot."

A lot of athletes bring in their own boots, or specific shoes, and make sure that it’s customised for them. "That’s what you’ll find with footwear - it’s made for the mass market, and there’s no individuality. That’s where we come in," Richard says. "We can show individuals what’s happening with their footwear, and how their body’s interacting with it."

Here’s how Profeet create their customised insoles:

"The first thing is gaining a greater understanding of the athlete’s event. How they’re using their boot, and for how long. Then it’s a foot, ankle and general movement assessment, which we do in three phases. The first phase involves looking at the foot, and seeing how it’s working. The second is a gait analysis, which involves a full-body slow-motion footage capture, and then we use a scan mat to see the dynamic pressures going through the foot.

"We then push the athlete’s foot into a moulding bag; this is used to create the impressions we make. A moulding bag is a silicone-filled bag, and we suck all the air out, so it becomes solid. The athletes then stand on the bag, and we slightly manipulate how they’re standing and their posture in order to get an accurate impression. We then let the air back into the bag so the athletes ‘sink’ into it, creating the impression.

"Once we’ve done that, we heat up the materials that we use as insoles, and once they’re soft, we’ll place them into the mould we created. Within a few minutes, the impressions cool, and then we have the shape of the foot to work with. We then take the impressions into the workshop, and add different supports to it, trying to adapt it to the wearer as much as possible. This is the point where the adjustments we make will help - for example, if there is stiffness with the big toe, we’d adjust the insole accordingly."

Richard Felton

All the insoles are created on the day, and are fitted into the footwear by Profeet. They’ll make sure the insole fits snugly, it’s not too wide, and that it’s a good fit. The athletes are then free to leave with their enhanced footwear, and continue training as normal.

Follow Profeet on Twitter here.


Chemmy Alcott Max Willcox Profeet ski boots ski fitness The Arctic V The Arctic Circle Race

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