To make the alpine World Cup team even faster, pole and glove manufacturer LEKI and Sidas, the specialist in boot fitting, have started a cooperation. The result is a new shin guard for slalom that is individually adapted to the athlete.
Even in the past, shin guards were sometimes customized to fit the athlete. This was a very time-consuming procedure that required a total of more than 16 hours of work. With the new process, the fitting time has now been reduced to less than an hour and can also be easily implemented in specialist alpine stores in the future. But how does it work?
Thermo-formable inserts made of Podiamic, specially developed by Sidas for this purpose, are inserted into the shin guard. Athletes can choose between two different degrees of hardness with more or less springiness. Thanks to the perfect fit, the shin guards provide even more precision, comfort and power transmission to the athlete. From winter 24/25, the process will also be offered in alpine specialty stores. This will give upcoming skiracers the chance to improve their slalom technique even more with perfectly fitted shin guards.
LEKI CEO Matthias Hatt is convinced of meaningful cooperation that complement each other: „Individualization of products is elementary for the future, especially in racing. Sidas‘ years of expertise enable us to set new standards.“
LEKI racing boss Hans Peter Kummer works with the athletes all year and has already tested the new shin guard with some of them. Alexis Pinturault, Atle Lie McGrath, Manuel Feller, Michael Matt, Johannes Strolz, Loic Meillard, Ramon Zenhäusern, Linus Strasser, Tommaso Sala, Alex Vinatzer, Adrian Pertl and Kristoffer Jakobsson are already skiing with the new Shin Guard this World Cup season.
On the second weekend of December 2022 the first men´s slalom of the season took place in Val d‘Isere, where Loic Meillard and Manuel Feller skied straight on the podium with the new shin guard. Second-placed Manuel Feller reported after the race: „I have already skied with the new shin guards in training and now in the first slalom of the season in Val d‘Isere. The shin guards now fit even better on the lower leg and shin, hold very well and follow every movement perfectly. Even when I‘m skiing at a stupid angle to the slalom gate the guard doesn‘t twist and the gate fall exactly the way I want.“
Teammate Johannes Strolz is also convinced by the new shin guards: „The new shin guards were a perfect fit right from the start. The fitting was uncomplicated and quick. The shin guards now fit even better, are more comfortable and, above all, the tilt angle of the slalom gate is perfect. In this way I can concentrate on the essentials without being distracted. That‘s how it has to be work for us athletes.“
foto: GEPA, LEKI