Please keep in mind that when you try to do it yourself, you accept all responsibility for things that go wrong. This information is in no way an admission of responsibility on our behalf.
HEAT MOLDABLE LINER COOKING – PLEASE PLAY SAFE!
1. Check with the ‘head of the kitchen’ to determine if it’s OK to use the oven! If it is… continue to step 2. If it isn’t… go to your neighbor’s and start again at step 1!
2. Place one of the oven racks on the lowest possible position (so that it’s out of the way), and the other rack in the middle position (this is where you’ll be cooking).
3. Ensure the actual oven temperature is what is set on the control dial! Ovens can vary by more than 20 deg. C (~35 deg. F). We use a pyrometer, but you may not have access to one of those, so a fairly good quality meat thermometer will work to check the oven temperature.
4. Find a short piece of 2×4 (or something similar) to use later as a toe riser. You’ll need this to stand on while the liner cools.
5. Ensure you can easily insert the liner into the shell. Be careful to note any sharp edges that might be hang-up areas. The liners are especially vulnerable to rips and tears when hot from the oven. Depending on the boot you’re fitting, you may require assistance to help you quickly insert the liner, so now would be a good time to locate that person!
6. Adjust the ‘lean mechanism’ of the boot shell to your riding preferences.
7. If your boots are fitted with INTEC™ heels, with the cables running up the inside of the shell, you’ll need to prepare the cable exit in the sole of the shell and properly route the cable, holding it in place with tape.
8. Find a thick pair of sport socks (that you no longer will be using) and cut the toe cap off of each. This toe cap should only be long enough to just cover your toes, and not extend up the foot. You will also need your ‘riding’ sock later, so dig that out of your equipment bag and keep it handy.
Here’s an idea for a toe cap, brought to my attention by another ‘do it yourselfer’. He says “Go to Mountain Equipment Co-Op and buy a pair of paddling sox. These neoprene booties are not very expensive and make excellent toe caps. Save them for the next time you remold your liners.” Thanks to Chris Couse for this idea!
9. Find some foam or rubber padding. Probably the best we’ve found is the neoprene that wet-suits or paddling sox are made of (because it’s so dense), but you can also use the foam that cushions & pillows are made of. Although this foam isn’t as dense as the neoprene, you simply use a thicker piece.
10. Find some celluloid tape such as Scotch brand or something similar. Just make sure it’s thin, and not thick like duct tape.
11. We recommend trying to fit only one liner at a time, but that decision is up to you. So prepare one foot by first placing small pieces of foam or neoprene between your toes. This will give your toes some wiggle room later, and they’ll be thanking you!
12. If you have some ‘hot spots’ on your feet, such as a bunion or unusual bump or maybe a particularly sensitive spot, then we suggest you protect those places by putting a small pad over the area on your foot. Use a small piece of foam to make a circle with it’s edges ‘feathered’, then tape it into place. This may feel a bit uncomfortable during molding, but when everything’s done, and the pad is removed from your foot, there will be a perfectly formed cavity for your ‘hot spot’ to fit into.
13. Place the ‘toe cap’ (that you cut from the sport sock or paddling sock) over your toes, and tape this into place as well. If you like lots of toe room, make sure you pad this toe cap. Ensure the toe cap doesn’t extend up your foot too far past the toes.
14. If you are going to be using footbeds, you need to ensure there are no sharp edges that will damage the hot liner. Place the footbed against your foot, and tape it into place with some celluloid tape.
15. Cover all this with your riding sock. If you normally don’t wear socks while riding, use a woman’s nylon knee-high to hold all the parts & pieces in place.
Cooking the Liner
16. In step 3 (of shop prep), you determined how well your oven works. Now’s the time to put that knowledge to use. Set the control dial to give you 125 deg. C (~260 deg. F) as the stable temperature. There will probably be a bit of +/- variation to the temperature, but you want somewhere around 120-135 deg. C (~250-275 deg. F). Allow the oven to preheat, and stabilize for at least 10 minutes.
17. When the temperature has stabilized, quickly place the proper liner on the middle rack (laying on it’s side), and close the oven door as quickly as possible. Now, TURN OFF THE OVEN! This will prevent any radiant heat burns to the liner, by preventing the element from coming on again to maintain the temperature. This is especially important if you have a ‘grilling’ element above the liner!!
18. Observe the liner while it cooks. You will see it begin to swell quite noticeably. Normally this begins after 4-6 minutes. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes after you see the liner swell. Usually 8-10 minutes is enough, although we’ve left them as long as 15 minutes without a problem. You’ll know the liner is ready when it feels somewhat like a bag of firm gelatin.
19. Quickly remove the liner from the oven, and put the liner into the shell. Now put your foot (with all the attached parts & pieces) into the boot. Remember, the liner can be easily torn when hot! Be certain that none of your foot prep work becomes undone while trying to get into the liner / shell or you’ll defeat the entire purpose of fitting!
An alternate method was recently brought to my attention, by another ‘do it yourselfer’. He says “with foot in liner, slip ‘man’ty-hose or knee-highs over the liner, and then put it all into the shell. The nylons will act as an almost sure-fire safeguard against the liner getting bunched up anywhere plus they make it incredibly easy to slide the liner with foot in it, into the boot shell.” Thanks to Mike Tovino for this pointer!
20. You’re probably thinking, “Hey, 130 deg. C, that’s pretty hot, and I’m going to burn myself!” Well, it seems that the liner doesn’t actually get up to that temperature in the short cooking time. Most of that heat energy is absorbed by the liner. So, if you’re nervous (as we were the first time!), cautiously test the liner temperature, with your wrist, before putting your foot in! If it feels like it’ll burn your wrist, it’ll feel like it’s going to burn your foot! Play safe!!!
21. You’ll notice the INTUITION Liner comes preformed to the boot shell shape. The ‘other’ manufacturer puts a message on the tongue flap, showing you which flap goes inside the other, against your leg. Be certain to observe this notice! You can’t go wrong with the INTUITION liner.
Cooling the Liner
22. So, you have the hot liner, in the shell, with your foot in it. Pull gently up on the top of the liner (to help ensure the liner isn’t folded over in the shell), and then buckle up. You should adjust the buckles almost as tight as you would to ride, but don’t cut off the circulation. By leaving the buckles a bit loose while cooling, you’ll get a tighter fit when you adjust the buckles to your normal riding positions.
23. When you’re buckled in, bang the heel of the boot solidly on the floor (or 2×4) to force your heel into the back of the boot. This will help to ensure proper fit around the heel (preventing heel lift while riding), and give your toes a bit more ‘toe-box’ or wiggle room (to allow some movement for warmth).
24. Put the other boot on while doing this to give you an ‘even keel’. Now, put the toes of your boots up on the 2×4, with your heel on the floor, and stand there for at least 15 minutes while the boot cools. You need to be stable and not move your foot around too much while the liner cools and takes the shape of your foot. Try to avoid locking the knee as it tends to lessen the volume above and around the achilles tendon, creating heel lift as opposed to a nice deep pocket.
25. That’s it… you’re done with one foot. Now do the other.
– Dave Morgan