Yvonne, below is Nate’s response to my question about heel lift in the Scarpa 6000s. I am a total noob but I know that the guy leading my RMI climb up Denali wears Scarpa 6000s with neoprene overboots for the summit. I have had no issues with mine once I got the heel lift issue figured out. Fit is perfect although that’s obviously very individual.
From Nate –
It’s great that you are already trying this out and figuring out your boot. You are miles ahead of some other climbers! Dave will be psyched.
A good fit for a high altitude / cold weather boot for Denali can feel like it has too much movement in the heel. There’s not much in those boots that you want “snug” if you want to have adequate warmth. If it’s just minor heel movement with step ups and step downs, you first have to evaluate your body and your technique. After that you can look for issues with the boot. Since I don’t know your full mountaineering/athletic history, I’ll explain some background points:
1. If your rear foot heel is slipping: Your boot has a full shank, so it’s important that your technique is modified – you need to step up using the whole foot, similar to squat or deadlift. This is not a natural movement pattern – our rear foot wants to flex and push off the toes to assist the new stance foot. Even guides and pro athletes spend 98% of their lives in footwear with flexible soles, and need to modify technique when they put on full shank boots.
2. If your stance foot (raised foot) heel is slipping: A majority of recreational athletes have restrictions in ankle mobility. This can often lead to excessive heel “lift” (not to mention it can be a huge contributor to over-pronation – these often go hand in hand). Even with good technique, restrictions in ankle dorsiflexion can make it feel like there is a problem with the boot. This applies to a lot of alpine skiers out there as well.
Try loosening your boots and doing a few minutes of step-ups with them extra loose. This can help show whether you are stepping off a flat foot or rocking onto your toes.
Keep in mind, snugging up the heel too much can lead to too much friction which can lead to blisters. Some climbers prefer the more slippery feeling liners, because they feel it’s less likely to cause blisters. You might even check how the sock interacts with the liner.
It’s important to look at the whole picture to figure out what is causing the heel “slipping”. If you think it’s the boot, make sure that you are seeing a specialist that really understands the nuances with fit for a boot like this. Boot fitting is really hard to do without seeing someones foot and the way that they walk. I wouldn’t put a lot of faith in a typical big-box retail salesperson.