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Protection from cold is one of the most important functions considered in designing and manufacturing ski boots. Thermography is used for evaluating cold protection capacity of various kinds of inner shoes and boot shells. We performed thermal analysis of three boot categories using two thermography methods, and the results were compared. We observed that (1) thermography is a valid method for boot cooling studies; (2) both an inner shoe and boot shell aid in thermal insulation; (3) progressive cooling and forced warming of the boot give the same results in identifying heat exchange areas; (4) blood flow, muscle activity during skiing, and boot fit must be considered in designing ski boots; and (5) because of the importance of this boot function, a standardized method of analysis should be adapted by all manufacturers. We concluded that the structure must be analyzed with thermography testing. It is not necessary to use an artificial limb inside the boot to obtain satisfactory data.
infrared thermography, ski boot fitness, skiing safety
Assistant professor, Orthopaedic Clinic of the University of Pavia, Policlinico S. Matteo, I.R.C.C.S., Pavia,