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  1. #1
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    Hinged skates

    Hi everyone and sorry if this topic has been rehashed too many times. I heard that Emily Hughes uses hinged skates (am not sure if this was only rumour and/or I misread, though). Can anyone enlighten me about these skates? Do they resemble the clap skates used by speedskaters in any way? When I played hockey, I wanted to try clap skates, but my dad told me that what I'd gain in speed, I'd lose in terms of control. Do these hinged figure skates increase a skater's speed but not allow them as much control as traditional skates?

    Here are some other random skate questions that I was wondering about; please have patience as I don't skate myself but have been reading here and there about the lack of technological development over the past century when it comes to skates.

    1) Are there any "Nike Air" skates out there - with a cushion of air or gel in the sole that makes it easier on the skater when landing jumps?

    2) Can edge jumps be done on hockey skates? (And no, I'm not going to try this at home.)

  2. #2
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Hinged figure skating boots are different from the clap boots used by speed skaters. The point of the clap boot is that a hinge at the front of the blade allows the skater to raise his foot in stroking without the blade leaving the ice. This increases the speed quite a bit. They were used in the 1998 Olympics and in the time trials every skater set a new world record -- for about two minutes until the next one skated.

    The hinged figure skating boot has a hinge in the ankle of the boot. This is supposed to increase the flexibility and cushioning of the boot on jump landings. In principle, this should lead to fewer hip injuries.

    Detractors say that (as is the case for any attempt to create a more flexible boot) it might just replace hip injuries with ankle injuries. Skaters have been slow to try them because you do lose some control in jump take-off.

    The American skater who uses them exclusively is Alissa Czisny. I don't know about Emily Hughes.

    I hope someone will chime in on your questions 1 and 2. Interesting questions. It does seem like people should be working harder to create a boot that doesn't force top skaters into early retirement because of chronic hip pain.

    MM
    Last edited by Mathman; 08-01-2006 at 12:16 PM.

  3. #3
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    The Jackson Ultima ProFlex is the brand of hinged boot worn by Alissa Czisny last season that generated quite a bit of publicity during and after Skate America: http://www.proflexboot.info/web/prof...flexpage1.html

    Other U.S. Nationals skaters that wear these boots are the senior pair team of Amanda Evora/Mark Ladwig, men's competitor Rohene Ward (he can land the quad toe and triple axel in them), and junior Jonathan Cassar.

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    Hockey players can do edge jumps in hockey skates. I see hockey players doing loops and axels often in their hockey skates.

    In terms of the Nike air skates; I think it would be very difficult to mount a blade on a Nike-like sole. It needs to be a wooden sole. There have been one piece skates like Edea skates but many skaters prefer to have a specialist moutn and adjust their blades.

    In terms of shock absorption, I have seen Harlick offer shock absorbing insoles for its custom skates. Regular skaters like myself choose to buy rubber insoles and customize them for our skates. I don't jump but I find that they help a bit. Also many skaters do put orthotics in their skates (Tim Goebal relied on Klingbeils with orthotics after he had all that trouble with his skates) and skatemakers do design skates to allow room for an orthotic.

    In terms of a hinge skate, I have seen them in the shop. They look like comfortable skates and are really padded. I'm not an advanced skater and I think that sales people do not want to sell hinged skates to beginner skaters. I really don't see why as the skate is hinged therefore there won't be an issue with breaking in the boot. Usually beginner skaters are directed toward softer boots because they aren't skating hard enough to break in a more advanced pair of boots.
    Last edited by soogar; 08-01-2006 at 01:56 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman
    The American skater who uses them exclusively is Alissa Czisny. I don't know about Emily Hughes.

    MM
    Oops, my bad. Thanks for the correction, Mathman. I only remembered it was an American lady but neither Kimmie nor Sasha, and my mind went immediately to Emily.

    Soogar and Sylvia, thank you for your input. Now I am wondering whether the sole of a skate absolutely must be made of wood - is this because it needs to be a stiff material?

    Another question that popped into my head: when she was a kid, my mom had roller skates that she strapped to her ordinary shoes. Could this be done effectively with figure skating blades strapped to shoes (much like medieval skates, I think)? Or does the stiffness of the skate boot give necessary support and control?

  6. #6
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    I think that the soles are made of layers of leather. I know that Riedell has an option where they put a layer of cork in the heel and midsole to absorb some shock. Beginner skates often have black plastic soles. I don't think air or gel soles would be good- movement could affect the angle of the bottom of the sole (where the blade is attached) relative to the top (where my foot is). It's important to have correctly aligned blades.

    Old-fashioned skates were made strapped to regular shoes. However, modern leather boots are *very* stiff, much more so than street shoes. As your feet sweat in them, the leather softens and reshapes in the form of your foot- that perfect fit is extremely important.

    I tried on the hinged skates when I got new skates earlier this summer and I don't think I would like them- they can fit perfectly but you can still move your ankle completely. I like the resistance I feel in traditional leather skates.
    Last edited by IcyBallerina; 08-02-2006 at 03:59 PM.

  7. #7
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    Hinged skates

    The hinged proflex boots are a step in the right direction in the future of skating equipment, but there are a few issues that arise when switching to this new technology.

    I find it takes an elite skater at least a month to adjust to the different balance point in the boot. They must adjust to landing jumps with a much deeper ankle bend, and a slightly different feel to the run of the blade. The boots are also much heavier than say, a Riedell 1500 with cork soles.

    On the plus side- sit spins are much deeper and freeleg extension is better. The take-off to lutz jumps is more controlled, as the boot holds the skater's ankle firmly on the edge more than a traditional skate boot. So there is more stability in the edges but greater flexibility in jump landings and deep knee spinning positions. It does take a bit of time to centre the spins though.

    On the negative side -- prepare to be black and blue from the knee to your ankle on your freeleg in the air. There is this lovely plastic knob on the back spine of the boots that loves to cosy up to your shin when in the aerial backspin postion. Let's just say that double axels hurt like heck if you don't have a wrap and pull in tightly!

    On the positive side -- back and knee injuries seem to have abated in skaters with proflex that I am familiar with, as the ankle is now absorbing so much more of the shock from triples.

    The newest generation of the proflex is not as bulky as in the past, and there are now 4 wires to hold the upper part of the boot together instead of two. Much snugger fit - but I've seen a tendancy to develop tendonitis at the point that the bottom plastic button (where the wires cross over the tongue) But then I've also seen that happen in Harlicks where the tongue crosses over the boot.

    Overall - I wouldn't recommend this boot to a beginner or intermediate skater just yet. But I hear there are plans to introduce a lighter, simpler version for that market. I hope that is true because if a skater learns how to use this technology at an earlier stage, they may avoid some injuries

    However, if you are a higher level skater and have the time to adjust to the new boot - go for it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by redhotcoach
    Overall - I wouldn't recommend this boot to a beginner or intermediate skater just yet. But I hear there are plans to introduce a lighter, simpler version for that market. I hope that is true because if a skater learns how to use this technology at an earlier stage, they may avoid some injuries

    However, if you are a higher level skater and have the time to adjust to the new boot - go for it.
    I spoke with a Jackson rep at Adult Nationals, and according to him, there is no reason a beginner/intermediate skater cannot wear the ProFlex. Because the design allows for more ankle bend without having to break in the skate, there isn't the concern of "too much boot" that you see with younger skaters trying to skate in high-level boots. Also, by starting earlier, its less difficult to try to adapt to the differences between regular boots and the hinged ones.

  9. #9
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    how about the Graf "hinged" boot (F4000)

    we're upgrading boots for our very small/light 14 year old girl-suggestion for the f4000 was made because she tends to get sore knees from impact landing...they don't look much different from her edmonton specials-and told they're good for protecting against injury...but reading about them makes me wonder if they'll do worse instead of better...anyone out there have these boots?

  10. #10
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Those should be much better for knee impact. I don't have them, but they have a hinge effect on them (not the same as the Jacksons, though) which should make it easier on the knees.

  11. #11
    Rinkside
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    I know a couple young skaters using them, and they had very little trouble adjusting and there is no break in period. One of them did double axel in the first 5 minutes on them. Also the amount of knee bend with the skaters has greatly improved.

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