It is very important to identify the placement of the ball of the foot in the boot. If the ball of the foot is too far forward in the boot, pinching and/or toe room may be sacrificed resulting in discomfort, injury, or poor balance. If the ball of the foot is too far back toward the arch of the boot, usually the boot is too long resulting in discomfort, premature boot breakdown and excessive foot slippage.
There are basically two ways to help determine proper placement of the ball of the foot in the boot. A very simple way is to remove the footbed from the boot and by carefully placing the skater’s foot (using proper heel placement) on the footbed, you can visualize reasonable ball placement. This procedure will also give you a general observation as to the entire foot placement within the boot and it can aid you in verifying your boot length.
In adult skaters, you may accomplish this task by feel and verbal description of the boot (after being prepared properly for fit) and the boot is laced firmly on the skater’s foot. On most “normal” and “average” feet, if the ball of the foot is in the proper boot placement, toe room will be adequate and a snug fit in width will result. In some extreme cases, individuals with extra long toes and/or very short arches, custom built boots may be required.