Thread: Skate ideas
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10-25-2010, 10:39 AM
  #6
Jarick
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: St Paul, MN
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Here's something I wrote about skates:

Quote:
Skates

Beginners - $150+
e.g. Bauer X30, CCM U+ 07, Reebok 6k, Easton S9
Intermediates - $300+
e.g. Bauer X40, Bauer One70, Reebok 7k, Easton S12

Whatever your budget is, try and put the most money into your skates, and spend the most time trying them on. Skates can come as cheap as $50 on up to over $600. The more you spend, the more durable, lightweight, stiffer, and higher quality the skate. At about the $150 range, skates will have some type of composite outsole (rather than rubber), good quality holders and steel (so they won't chip and rust), and adequate stiffness. Closer to the $300 range, you will get almost all the features of a top end skate for half the price without noticing the difference. I do not recommend cheap skates under $150 as they are flimsy, not meant for heavy usage, and will likely fall apart or break down too easily.

Every brand has a different fit, most brands have different models that have different fits, and most models have different widths. The first thing to keep in mind is skates are usually 1-2 sizes smaller than shoe size. A good shop will measure you and look at your foot and pick out a few for you to try on. The heel/ankle pocket is the key to the skate. A foot that is locked into place allows you to skate better, no question. If it wobbles around, you're going to get blisters and pain and you will always feel some degree of unsteadiness on the ice.

Here are three simple tests you can do to when trying on a skate:

1. Pencil test - put your foot in the skate, kick your heels back into the skate, and pull the tongues forward. Try laying a pencil across the top of the skate behind the tongue and trace up and down. Ideally, you want your foot to just touch the tongue around the 3rd/4th eyelets. If there's a big gap, the skates might be too deep, and if your foot sticks out, the skates might be too shallow.

2. Heel lift - lace up the skates nice and snug, then stand up. Put one foot forward and shift your weight front to back. If you feel your heel lifting up, the skate might be too long or wide in the heel. Slide your foot forward and see if you can fit a finger behind your heel...if so the skates are too long.

3. Forefoot - with the skates laced up snug, leave them on for several minutes and/or walk around the store (assuming they have carpet and will let you). If you feel too much pinching, cramping, or pain in the front of the feet, you may need to have them stretched or go to a wider boot.

These are very rough guidelines...nothing beats a good shop with knowledgeable sales staff and a wide selection. But if your skate locks your heel/ankle into place and you can skate without pain, you will set yourself up for a much easier path to improving your ability to skate.

Buying a used skate is a great way to save money...be sure to check it thoroughly to make sure the boot isn't falling apart, the stitching isn't falling out, the holder is still secured tight, and the steel has some life left.
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I will say I checked out the X30's in person and I was not impressed by the outsole. I could flex it with my thumbs. And if I can flex the outsole with maybe 20 pounds of pressure (if that), imagine what skating on it twice a week would do after a few months.

Those skates I listed for beginners are okay but if you're willing to put in the extra money, that next tier of skates is fantastic.

The new CCM series is very good, the new Bauers are very good, and I just shelled out $500 on a pair of Grafs so obviously I like what they're doing. All three are different...CCM has a wider and deeper fit with foam that should expand and conform to the foot; Bauer has a narrower fit that is supposed to be closer to a foot shape but a material that really adjusts to the foot when baking; Graf has a number of different fits and a more traditional construction. Fit is absolutely #1 so go to a really good shop and get fitted.

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