SKATE SELECTION & CARE
SKATE SELECTION & CARE
The purchase of a boot and blade is a major decision which can represent a substantial financial investment. Whether a skater is a beginner or at freestyle level, a proper fitting boot and blade insures your investment in ice time and coaching fees.
A skater’s size, weight, and skating level are very important. These aspects will determine what boot and blade to purchase and how long they will last. While seated, the boot should be snug in the heel, arch, and ball areas for best support. Toes should be able to wiggle freely but not slide to any great degree. After the boot is laced and the skater stands, the boot should feel slightly tighter. There should be little to no movement when the skater tries to lift her or his heel. The toes should just be touching the front of the boot. Toes should feel slight pressure but not severe bending or pain. Toes should also not be cramped or curled under.
It is important to have a correctly fitted boot for optimal skater performance. The boot must be snugly fit so that it responds exactly to the skater’s movement. Additional room in the skate can cause the foot to slide and thus may impede the skater’s progress.
As a parent, it can be difficult to afford boot after boot to accommodate a child’s growing foot in a short period of time. In many instances, a larger boot will be purchased to handle a growth spurt in an effort to reduce the cost. This is acceptable when the skater is in a basic level (pre-alpha – delta) or beginning freestyle. In this case we recommend a ½ to 1 size bigger than they are measured by a professional with the possible addition of a growth insole.
Note: Since every skate manufacturer is different, you cannot go by a person’s shoe size to determine the proper fitting skate.
Improperly Fitted Boots and Early Skate Breakdown:
However, we recommend that you not buy a larger sized boot than necessary. The longer the boot, the larger the ankle dimensions. The skater will have to work harder to tighten the laces so that the boot will fit snugly. When laces are tightened over a boot that is too large for the skater, it causes the boot to break down faster losing the ankle support vital to skating.
Improperly Fitted Boots and Foot Ailments:
Another negative effect from wearing a boot that is too large is the potential to develop foot problems. Wearing a large boot can lead to the development of blisters from the boot rubbing on the foot. Tendonitis, bone spurs and bunions are just a few of the other ailments that an improper fitting skate may create. The skater’s progress may be impeded as well because a larger boot will place the skater on the wrong balance point. Often, what was meant to save money may end up costing more in the long run with lessons, medical bills, and time lost.
If you have any questions regarding the proper fitting of figure skates, please contact one of our boot and blade experts.
Breaking In Your New Skates:
Breaking in new skates can be uncomfortable, but should not be painful. The materials used in skates are stiff and need to soften to your specific foot shape. Proper fit is essential to performance and longevity of the skate and figure skating.
If your skates are heat moldable and you require additional assistance in obtaining the proper fit, your Jackson Ultima Skate Technician can assist. Your skates will be heated at a carefully controlled temperature and molded to your feet without breaking the skate down.
Do not walk on boots that do not have a blade mounted.
For the first few sessions, the skates should not be laced too tight and the top hook should be left unlaced. Some skaters find a hair elastic looped over the top hooks provides support without restricting knee bend while the foot settles properly into the boot. It may be necessary to retie your boots as the boot conforms to your foot and ankle area and as the laces stretch.
Gel socks, sponges or moleskin can be used to prevent blisters caused by the breaking in process. Begin slowly and go easy on your new boots. Limit jumps and spins, gradually increasing the amount of time on the ice using your new boots.
Blades are generally mounted on your new boots or outfit so that minor adjustments can be made before permanently securing. With general stroking exercises, you should feel if your blades need to be adjusted. Once the final proper blade placement is obtained, permanent screws need to be added by your Skate Technician. Some screw holes will be left unused on the sole plate for future positioning adjustments or alternatives if original holes become enlarged through wear. Until final blade placement is completed, skates should not be used for jumps.
Lacing Your Skates:
Loosen your laces and place your foot into the boot. The bottom half of the holes in your boot should be tightened to take up the slack. Pull the laces snugly for the remaining holes and across the instep, ensuring that the boot wraps around your foot and across the tongue sufficiently. Hold the tightness in place by knotting the lace before moving to the hooks. Wrap the laces over and then under each hook, keeping the ankle tighter and then some room at the top to allow sufficient room to bend your knees. When you skate you should feel your shin leaning firmly into the laces across the tongue. You should have a secure feeling if tightened correctly and your boot should begin to show some lacebite (slight grooves in the leather) where the laces lay on the boot and across the tongue. Finish with a secure bow and double knot.
Replace laces when they start to wear or to lose threads, or when the plastic ends (aglet) come off.
Always keep spare pairs of laces in your skate bag.
Taking Care of Your Boots:
Always wipe moisture from the interior and exterior of your boots after every use and let your boots dry between skating sessions.
Never place the boots near a heating vent. This will dry the materials in the skate, causing it to become brittle and crack.
Loosening the laces and pulling the tongue open allows greater air circulation and better drying.
Removing footbed or sock liners, especially for those that skate barefoot, help the boots to dry faster.
Do not store boots in the trunk of a car, the extreme temperatures will cause premature breakdown in the boots.
Always remove skates from skate bags once they have been transported. This allows the material to dry and helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew, causing the material to deteriorate.
Skates can be cleaned with a soft cloth, mild detergent and water. Both Microfiber and leather skates have a PU coating for easy care. Leather polish is not required.