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Thread: Another blade length question

  1. #1
    Rinkside
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    Another blade length question

    I don't want to hijack another thread, but wanted to understand the reply that blades should be 1/4" shorter than the sole of the skate please. The majority of blades I've seen are mounted to the very edge of the toe and heel of boots, so pretty much the same length as the sole. Can I ask the pros / cons of blades being the same length vs. slightly shorter than the sole? Also if blades are 1/4" shorter should there be a gap at both the toe and heel, or should the blades be at the edge of one extremity?

  2. #2
    On the Ice WednesdayMarch's Avatar
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    I think it's absolutely fine to have the blades mounted toe to heel or toe to 1/4" in from the back of the heel provided they are freestyle blades. The one big no-no is if you're on a blade designed for ice dance or synchro, ie with a specially shortened heel, in which case you really don't want to lose any of the length of the blade! If you're skating on something with an extra long heel - such as MK Phantoms - but not landing triples, then you may well prefer them 1/4" shorter than the boot.

    I would always have blades mounted flush to the front of the boot, whatever the blade.

  3. #3
    Toujours respecter ce sport Ic3Rabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WednesdayMarch View Post
    I think it's absolutely fine to have the blades mounted toe to heel or toe to 1/4" in from the back of the heel provided they are freestyle blades. The one big no-no is if you're on a blade designed for ice dance or synchro, ie with a specially shortened heel, in which case you really don't want to lose any of the length of the blade! If you're skating on something with an extra long heel - such as MK Phantoms - but not landing triples, then you may well prefer them 1/4" shorter than the boot.

    I would always have blades mounted flush to the front of the boot, whatever the blade.

  4. #4
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Quote Originally Posted by christy View Post
    Also if blades are 1/4" shorter should there be a gap at both the toe and heel, or should the blades be at the edge of one extremity?
    A good place to start is with the front tip of the sole plate of the blade nominally flush with the front tip of the sole of the boot. But, just as you can adjust the position of the blade inside or outside to accommodate the needs of your boot-foot combo, you can also adjust the position of the blade front or back.

  5. #5
    Rinkside
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    Thanks for the info. So anything more than 1/4" is a definite no?

  6. #6
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Quote Originally Posted by christy View Post
    Thanks for the info. So anything more than 1/4" is a definite no?
    Not necessarily. As I mentioned in the other thread, some skate techs want the blade to be at least 1/4" shorter than the boot. If we round measurements to the nearest 1/8", then a 9-1/8" boot would take an 8-3/4" blade (difference of 3/8"). If we round measurements to the nearest 1/16", then a 9-3/16" boot would also take an 8-3/4" blade (difference of 7/16").

    The 1/4" difference guideline was developed long ago. I never was able to find a solid rationale behind it. Also, there is such a large variation in both boot and blade designs these days, I doubt that it's a hard rule that applies to every boot-blade combo. Add in the difference in individual skater's feet and other body parts, it's definitely a guideline, rather than a hard rule. Some design factors include placement of the sweet spot for spins and having enough length to allow shifting your weight properly during backward movements; personal preferences always come into play as well. As I mentioned before, you can vary the blade mount inside-and-outside and front-and-back; that gives you additional flexibility: a practical issue here is whether a mounting plate protrudes past the side of a portion of the boot; some techs and skaters don't care if it does (I personally don't like it to).

    Where this issue of a nominally too short or too long a blade often arises is with clearance blades; perhaps a discontinued model that you really like, or one that's on sale at a rock-bottom price. The guideline says you need an 8-3/4" blade. That's not available, but an 8-1/2" and a 9" are. Should you go for it? Unfortunately, as in much of skating, you won't know until you try it out (and likely won't be able to return it). If you are already an experienced skater, you will likely be able to tell if it works or not fairly quickly. But if you are still learning the moves, then you don't know whether it's the equipment or your technique that's at fault if you're having problems. That's what makes this such a challenging, frustrating, and expensive sport; albeit very satisfying when everything finally comes together.

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