Thursday, April 9, 2015

In Figure Skating: It's Important To Keep A Stiff Upper.....

.....  what?  You were expecting "LIP" ...   Naw ...   That was a sentence.  A statement.  A proclamation!

In figure skating it's important to keep a stiff UPPER - as in the upper part of your boot.  Mine was breaking down after only 3 years.  This is completely normal for all good skating boots.

Elite skaters - skaters who consistently land triple jumps go through 1-2 pair of boots per year.

High level skaters - skaters who consistently land all their doubles and work on triples go        through 1 pair every 1 1/2 - 2 years.

Adult Bronze Skaters like me  -  skaters doing single jumps and hoping to someday land an Axel we should get 3-5 years from our boots.

 But all this depends on a few factors.
  1. How often we skate
  2. How hard we practice
  3. How we care for our boots and how we lace (yes it makes a difference)
  4. How much we weigh.  This factor is probably my worst enemy.  I weigh about 138 lbs (today) but should be about 128 - I know my knees would sure appreciate it if I weighed 120-125.  I am 5'4".  Funny how getting older - I don't really care about saying that out loud!

Not that I haven't seen many-a-skater out there (you coaches especially) with worn out boots.
Seriously ... Check out my own coaches boots just prior to me taking her on as a coach.

Actually, that is how I met her.  When I was getting fitted for my new custom boots Phil from Harlick's asked me where I skated and I told him Spokane.  He asked me who my coach was and I told him I didn't have one yet and he recommended Berkley Villard to me.  Then he told me about her boots.

So here is what MY SKATES looked like:

After the retrofit

  I was so excited to get my skates back today.  As I drove home up my hill I passed a Fedex truck who was coming down the hill.  I thought I would find a box on my doorstep, but when I got there about a minute later and pulled into my driveway I could see there was a note stuck to my door !!!!  Accch!

3 point (nearly skreeching) turn out of my driveway and back down the hill in the hopes of catching up with the Fedex driver.  Lucky for me he had another stop on the way down the hill in my sub division and I was able to catch him.    Whew!

Couldn't wait to try them out.  Headed to the rink at another club for their 5:45 free style session.

First impression:

They felt more snug around my feet and after lacing up I felt more "locked into the boot".

Nice Kankles
Second impression:

New pressure points (no blood this time)

  They felt like I was wearing someone else's skates.  The nicest thing about customs is they are really made for you and you only.  Now they feel a little tight and pinched in places I never felt the pinch before.  My arches ached too. Should have thought this on out thoroughly before I had it done.

However, my jumps felt stronger than they have in the past few months and I felt sort of "energized" wearing them .. even with my feet a little sore and my arches aching.  I know I will need to give it some time and my feet will probably settle into them.


  1. Wow, I never could've imagined skates could look like your coache's skates. How was she able to skate in them?

    I know very little about skates. I have 5 year Jacksons and something doesn't seem right. These are my very first figure skates so I'm not sure what to think. I think the skates are breaking down on the inside. There's a bump inside one of them and after a little time the spot where it rubs agains my foot is very painful. The inside is turning yellow and brownish... Do you have any experience with how one would know it's time to get new skates?
    Mine are not as broken as your right skate as you showed in the video.

    I hope your pain goes away soon. I use bunga pads. They might help you too until your skates are broken in a little.

    1. I don't know anything about Jacksons, but any skate should provide you with support all around your foot and ankle while stroking and bending without pinching and without collapsing. The problem with skates is once they are usually "comfortable" that's when they start needing replacement, but there are so many factors that you need to consider before you go get a new pair. Hopefully you have a skating coach. I would consult with them before making a decision. Even if you don't have a skating coach, go to your rink and talk to one, they will likely be happy to help you.

  2. Ow, looks painful, hope you can do something about those pressure points. The boots definitely looked broken down, you needed to do something. I like your nice stretched free leg on your loop landing.

  3. Thanks Mary. How are you doing? Are you headed to SLC?

  4. Glad you where able to get your skates retrofitted! Can you get the boot slightly punched out for big toe joint on the side of your foot? Had to get that done for my right skate...and it made a world a difference :)

    I had the arch issue in my new stiff boot skates too, but now I don't...which after reading your post makes me ;) My Riedell Bronze Stars also have the lacing bar on the tongue of the boots. I like that feature, but I'm going to check with my coach next week to make sure I'm lacing them correctly and not too tight as per that boot breakdown list...

    1. They were custom for my bunions, ankles, arch and instep, etc.. but then my feet keep changing. About 8 months after I got them I brought them back to have them punched out for my bunions that got bigger over the summer from wearing flip-flops. I am going to try "breaking them in again" and if that does't work I will take them down for a consult !!! Ha .. that's like going into the car dealership for an oil change .. and they "please wait in the showroom" and you walk out with a new car! PS .. always lace down and around the hooks.. instead of up.. but you probably already know that.

    2. i never knew you should lace down and around. Thanks for sharing that. Do you know why that's important?

  5. I am going to answer your question in a post.

  6. I would love to know how to lace, too. I have new Riedell Bronze Stars on order and am dreading the break-in process. I have Riedell Bronze Stars now but they're the 2006 model and much less stiff. I've never had a lace bar before. Glad you got your boots reinforced! Hope you can get them back to just where you want them. And I'm glad you're skating regularly again!




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