What Size Shoe Does The Average 1 Year Old Wear The Ice Skating Boot and Blade – Where Do I Start?

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The Ice Skating Boot and Blade – Where Do I Start?

It can be difficult for a beginner skater to stay balanced in a skate shoe with a very thin blade. The boots may feel more like some sort of torture device than polished equipment. Skate shoes and blades are the main and most important equipment used in skating. The old saying that “you are only good as a tool” is very true. It’s much better to skate within the capabilities of your gear than to try to outrun your skates!

It doesn’t take long to realize that investing in a good boot and blade is vital. Rental equipment is often not the best for learning and certainly doesn’t support your feet properly. It’s common for beginners to get discouraged simply because rental skate shoes don’t fit properly. Skaters leave the ice thinking they can’t learn the sport, when in reality it might just be faulty equipment.

When I first started skating, I didn’t fully understand this concept. Buying my first pair of shoes was quite a learning experience. After looking at all the options in the skate shop and trying several, I decided to use a used pair of bladed Harlicks. They were in good condition, cheaper than a brand new pair and fit my foot really well. What a difference compared to rental skates!

I learned a few other things that day: I had no idea that boots and blades were actually separate devices. Although a few manufacturers combine them, most do not. Another thing – there are so many options! – Even though it was a bit overwhelming, the employees of the skate shop were very helpful and knowledgeable. Most skaters use maybe 10 shoe manufacturers such as Riedell, Jackson, Risport, GAM, Klingbeil and Edea.

I recommend some resources to help you research some brands:

• kinziescloset where they have good info on skates

• usfigureskating where they have a skate comparison chart

The important thing to remember when choosing boots is to focus on a few key areas of the boot – the toe box, the heel and the ankle. The toe box is the area where all the toes fit. The toes should be able to move up and down. The toes should not feel hard or feel like they are pushing against the end of the boot. Your heel should sit firmly in the back of the boot and not slide around. And there’s the ankle, which should feel secure but can flex in the boot if needed. Overall, the shoe should feel comfortable. If you feel it squeezing in any way, try again.

The two most common brands that beginner skaters start with are Riedell and Jackson. The Riedell brand offers a neat feature where once the boots are fitted to the skater, they are actually removed and placed in what looks like a microwave oven. This heats the lining so that it can mold to the foot. I always thought this was such a great concept! Jackson can do this now as well, but both are great starting boots. And both have a set of boots with blades.

When choosing a shoe that feels good on your foot, there are four basic things to consider when it comes to the proper thickness or strength of a shoe: 1) height and weight, 2) how often you skate, 3) your skating level, and 4) the width of your foot. Your height and weight — as an adult skater, depending on your weight and height, you may use more leverage in your shoes and need something a little stronger. Also, since adults don’t outgrow their skates, you should choose a power level that lasts a little longer than average skates. So remember to ask about the appropriate power of your skates based on these factors.

How often do you skate – if as a beginner you only skate in lessons and once a week, the boots will last longer and the strength of the shoe does not have to be taken into account as much. If you skate more often, they will wear out faster and you may need a shoe with a little more strength. When I returned to skating as an adult, I skated 3-4 times a week! As you can imagine this quickly broke my skates and I needed a new skate within a year. So moving up one strength level can help here.

Your skate level – if you’re just learning, it’s unlikely that you’re already jumping and spinning, which puts a lot of extra pressure on your boots. As you progress and perform more challenging movements, the stronger your boots need to be to support the activity. For example, towards the end of my competitive years, I would buy boots with double binding, which is double the leather to support my jumps and spins. Although I only did double jumps and double combos, there are skaters who do triple jumps that need an even stronger boot.

The width of your foot – this is a factor just like when trying on regular everyday shoes. Each pair fits the foot differently. For example, I started with a used Harlick skate, which fits my foot width perfectly. Then, when I bought my first new skates, I was told to buy SP Terris, which usually fit wider feet. Those boots almost destroyed my feet. The SP Terris aren’t bad boots, they were just bad for my feet. I went straight back to Harlicks and my feet were much happier! (On a side note, consider asking about used skates at a skate shop. Even if they don’t necessarily show them to you as an option, they all have them!)

As you progress in your skating, you can (and probably should) switch to a custom boot. The great thing about custom boots is that the skate shop actually tracks your foot, measures your foot, and sends the personal information to the shoe manufacturer. You can order different types of linings, padding and channel reinforcements that make the boots more comfortable. When they come back, they fit you almost perfectly – like a glove. The reason I would almost say is that sometimes the boots need a little adjusting, but most of the time they fit well on the first try. Custom boots reduce break-in time and feel amazing! Although the cost of a custom boot is higher, if you spend a lot of hours in your boots, the price is worth it!

For all you creative souls out there, another bonus of buying custom boots is that you can order them in all different colors and patterns! I took full advantage of this option. During my skating career I had brown boots, aqua blue, purple and blue marble, gold, silver and now I have a beautiful bronze pair with a rose pattern printed on the leather. I had so much fun choosing the colors!

Now let’s talk about another important piece of skating equipment – blades. There are fewer blade makers than there are boots. Some of the major blade manufacturers include Wilson, Paramount, MK, Ultima and Eclipse.

Skate blades are often made of carbon steel and coated with high-quality chrome. Lightweight aluminum and stainless steel blades are also becoming more common. Blades are approximately 3/16 inch thick and may vary in taper. They come in either a 7 or 8 foot radius. Radius refers to the curvature of the blade. The 8 foot blade radius is less curved or flatter and gives you more speed. The smaller radius of 7 meters makes you more agile and enables faster reaction and turns. A beginner skater often starts with a 7-foot radius and then moves to an 8-foot radius. Although personally I always preferred the 7 foot radius and never made the switch. Every skater has their own preferences.

The beam also affects the swing. The rocker is the part of the blade that is just behind the toe. The blade is rotated there and it also helps with climbs in connection with jumps. I liked the more visible rocker myself, so that was another reason I preferred the 7 foot radius blade.

Last but not least, there is the dreaded toe pick. They are the teeth of the blade. Anyone who has seen the movie “The Cutting Edge” remembers how Toe Kicks can cause terrible falls! As a beginner skater, you might be a little hesitant at first about the hard toe box, but whatever the size of the toe direction, you just get used to it. The toe grippers are intended for the ascents and descents of jumps and are used in many different ways in spins and flying spins. I skated the first 20 years of my career with mild toe picks, but then I discovered MK’s “Phantom” blade. If you’ve ever seen a toe caught in that blade, it’s scary at first. However, once I got used to it, I have to say that the blade made a huge difference in my skating career. My jumps really started to fly and the rocker is also wonderful in these blades, so the spins also improved. It’s a great blade!

For beginners, the Cornation Ace blade is a good MK blade. It can get you through the intermediate level. There are similar non-MK, cheaper blades that are also good. But when you can afford it, check out some of the finer blades – you’ll be glad you did! The Pattern 99’s are a favorite of old skaters who have been around for a while, and there are many newer blades out there that are absolutely lovely! Also, don’t forget the Phantom blades as intermediate and advanced blades.

I could tell you more about boots and blades, but I’ve kept it simple on purpose. Basically it boils down to choosing shoes that are comfortable on your feet, quality blades that are above your current level and all in a price range that you can afford.

Happy skating!

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