In skating, skates are the most important piece of equipment. Purchasing appropriate skates to suit the level of skater and your budget is of utmost importance whether you stay on as a Figure Skater or move over to hockey, ringette or speed skating.
Beginner Skaters in CanSkate
Beginners can start with hockey skates or figure skates; either are appropriate at the CanSkate level. Recreational skates sold in department stores and sporting goods stores should provide adequate support for the beginner. Skaters in Jr Prep will need to purchase figure skates. Don’t break your budget. Figure skates sold in department stores and sporting goods stores should provide adequate support for the Jr Prep program.
Buying Figure Skates?
Here are Some Tips If you’re buying new or used skates, there are many things you can do to help ensure that your skater gets the best possible result.
Talk to your skater’s coach. They are professionals, and will have valuable insight about the boots and blades that will be most appropriate for your skater.
Think about your budget; it will be helpful to the skate fitter to know what sort of price range you are working in.
Picking the Right Figure Skate Shop
Go to an experienced figure skate fitter—one who will sell you equipment that is appropriate for your skater’s strength, technical level, and ability. For a young skater, a stiff, top-of-the-price-range boot is usually the wrong choice. There are few things as damaging to a skater’s progress as trying to skate in a boot that’s too stiff for them to bend their ankles properly. (Try jumping off a chair onto the ground without bending your ankles; that is what it’s like trying to skate in a boot that’s too stiff for the skater.)
At the other extreme, for a stronger skater, not having enough support can affect progress as well. Finding the appropriate boot and blade combination is one of the most important aspects of getting a new pair of skates, and is worth spending time with an experienced skate fitter.
When You Visit the Figure Skate Shop
Allow enough time. The process of properly fitting a skate takes about an hour to three hours depending on the level of skating and boot you need and this should not be rushed. Having a boot that is properly fitted will reduce the skater’s chances of injury and increase the possibility of good performance.
Some figure skates are heat mouldable, and a good fitter will always mould the boots for you, because if a boot is designed to be heat-moulded, it will always give a better fit after moulding than if it is not heat-moulded.
Professional fitters have a variety of other tools to help custom fit every boot. Bring your old skates. A used pair of skates tells a story. They tell the fitter about the strength of the skater, whether the skates have been tied properly during use, and many other things that help the fitter determine what boot the skater should be moving into. Bring the socks/tights that you usually skate in; this is important in getting an accurate fit.
Where you can buy New Figure Skates
Buying Used Figure Skates
Some skaters opt for used skates but you need to be cautious that the blade is not so worn that cannot be sharpened anymore.
Used boots may need punching out in the ankle area for a comfortable fit. Properly done, punching is a precise adjustment that takes some time. Over-punching (making too much room in the boot) can cancel out all the advantages you got from having a carefully fitted boot.
Breaking in the New & Used Figure Skates
Most skate brands use a technology that allows the boot to flex and bend in the ankle area while still being tied tight for support. However, even though the heat moulding process fits the boot to the foot, the skater will still have to physically break in the crease area. Walking around in the skates at home, or doing squats while the skates are properly tied, will help break in the crease area.
Keeping on Top of Changes
As a skater’s feet grow or change shape, adjustment to the boot may be necessary. Never suffer through a problem! Skate technology has come a long way, and an experienced fitter can make your boots perfect.