Assessing quality of fitters | Golden Skate

Assessing quality of fitters

Lisabet

Spectator
Joined
Jun 2, 2024
Hello, I’m new here and really appreciate all of the questions and answers available on this site!

I am going for my first skate fitting in a few weeks and am wondering whether anyone has advice on how to know whether a fitter is good and/or whether a fitting appointment went well. I’ve never done this before and the place I’m going and the fitter have come recommended, by skaters in the area, but I’ve also heard from a few people who disagree that the place is good and don’t explain why or make better suggestions, lol. They have sharpened my skates multiple times, always well, so I have some reason to trust them.

So, I’ll go there to see how it goes, but I don’t have experience to compare this place/fitter to. What should I expect to have them do? Measure feet, of course, but what types of measurements should a thorough fitter typically make? Are there specific questions I should be sure to ask them or that they should ask me (in addition to height, weight, current skill level and future skating goals)? Do professional skate shops typically have a large enough stock on hand to try multiple brands/models, or do they usually order some for you to try based on foot measurements etc.? If the latter, is there a cost commitment/expectation in addition to the fee for the appointment?

In case it is relevant, I’m an adult skater ( >50 years) who has been taking private lessons for a year. Have all edges, crossovers, starting spins recently, not sure how well my feet will tolerate jumps. I've been in older Riedells (320?) that used to fit reasonably well. But my feet seem to need a taller toe box these days and the boots are not as supportive as before, thus looking for new ones. I just want to keep learning skills my feet/body will tolerate and enjoy the process.

Sorry for the long post. Thanks in advance for any advice about fitting appointments!
 

Diana Delafield

Frequent flyer
Medalist
Joined
Oct 22, 2022
Country
Canada
Hello, I’m new here and really appreciate all of the questions and answers available on this site!

I am going for my first skate fitting in a few weeks and am wondering whether anyone has advice on how to know whether a fitter is good and/or whether a fitting appointment went well. I’ve never done this before and the place I’m going and the fitter have come recommended, by skaters in the area, but I’ve also heard from a few people who disagree that the place is good and don’t explain why or make better suggestions, lol. They have sharpened my skates multiple times, always well, so I have some reason to trust them.

So, I’ll go there to see how it goes, but I don’t have experience to compare this place/fitter to. What should I expect to have them do? Measure feet, of course, but what types of measurements should a thorough fitter typically make? Are there specific questions I should be sure to ask them or that they should ask me (in addition to height, weight, current skill level and future skating goals)? Do professional skate shops typically have a large enough stock on hand to try multiple brands/models, or do they usually order some for you to try based on foot measurements etc.? If the latter, is there a cost commitment/expectation in addition to the fee for the appointment?

In case it is relevant, I’m an adult skater ( >50 years) who has been taking private lessons for a year. Have all edges, crossovers, starting spins recently, not sure how well my feet will tolerate jumps. I've been in older Riedells (320?) that used to fit reasonably well. But my feet seem to need a taller toe box these days and the boots are not as supportive as before, thus looking for new ones. I just want to keep learning skills my feet/body will tolerate and enjoy the process.

Sorry for the long post. Thanks in advance for any advice about fitting appointments!
For one thing, make sure the fitter automatically (without you needing to remind him or her) measures the circumference of your foot at several points -- ball, arch/instep, ankle -- and not just your foot length. The fitter asking your shoe size would be another red flag. Sizing skate boots is not the same as street shoes.

The amount of stock on hand will vary depending on the size of the shop and, usually, its location whether in a large city used by many competitive skaters, or a small suburban shop near the only local rink. If they do have to order in, be prepared for a long wait (several months) as supply problems seem to be with us permanently now, after being blamed on the pandemic for a few years. Try not to let the fitter talk you into something not as suitable just because they have it on hand. Of course, if you have fairly deep pockets, you could buy something they had that felt "good enough" if not perfect and order the perfect ones, in which case you'll probably have to post a non-refundable deposit. That's how my large skate shop in Vancouver does it. Then you can later move in to your perfect new skates when they arrive, and save the interim second-best boots as backups. But that's an expensive option, only if you're terrifically keen to keep going without a wait, and also only if your old Riedells are so broken down they've become hazardous.

Good luck!
 

WednesdayMarch

Nicer When Fed
Medalist
Joined
Mar 24, 2019
Country
United-Kingdom
Yes, asking your shoe size is a definite red flag!

Take along your current set up for reference.

A good fitter will measure your feet in all directions, look at how you stand on the insoles of your current boots, watch you walk, possibly put you on a light box which shows up all the pressure points on the soles of your feet as you stand on it...

Your part in the process is to be absolutely honest and up front about everything you think and feel. However good a fitter is at their job, they cannot feel what you do and you have to communicate everything to them in order to get the best chance of a good fit. "Okay, I suppose" doesn't cut the mustard. Ask questions about how things should feel if you're not sure. It's a two-way process.
 

Minz

It's not over till it's over
Medalist
Joined
Nov 13, 2020
Country
United-States
Also, they will probably ask you questions about your general skating level and such.

Just because let's say, Sasha Trusova and I have the exact same size feet, does not mean that we are going to have the exact same boots. (Sasha is the example here because she's known for doing quads, which are going to be much, much harder on boots than singles or doubles.)
 
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Lisabet

Spectator
Joined
Jun 2, 2024
For one thing, make sure the fitter automatically (without you needing to remind him or her) measures the circumference of your foot at several points -- ball, arch/instep, ankle -- and not just your foot length. The fitter asking your shoe size would be another red flag. Sizing skate boots is not the same as street shoes.

The amount of stock on hand will vary depending on the size of the shop and, usually, its location whether in a large city used by many competitive skaters, or a small suburban shop near the only local rink. If they do have to order in, be prepared for a long wait (several months) as supply problems seem to be with us permanently now, after being blamed on the pandemic for a few years. Try not to let the fitter talk you into something not as suitable just because they have it on hand. Of course, if you have fairly deep pockets, you could buy something they had that felt "good enough" if not perfect and order the perfect ones, in which case you'll probably have to post a non-refundable deposit. That's how my large skate shop in Vancouver does it. Then you can later move in to your perfect new skates when they arrive, and save the interim second-best boots as backups. But that's an expensive option, only if you're terrifically keen to keep going without a wait, and also only if your old Riedells are so broken down they've become hazardous.

Good luck!
Thanks, Diana! I appreciate the info, especially about not being talked into something just because it’s in stock. I’m not in a huge rush, as the Riedels are still safe and adequate to get by on for a bit, which is why I’m starting now.
 

Lisabet

Spectator
Joined
Jun 2, 2024
Yes, asking your shoe size is a definite red flag!

Take along your current set up for reference.

A good fitter will measure your feet in all directions, look at how you stand on the insoles of your current boots, watch you walk, possibly put you on a light box which shows up all the pressure points on the soles of your feet as you stand on it...

Your part in the process is to be absolutely honest and up front about everything you think and feel. However good a fitter is at their job, they cannot feel what you do and you have to communicate everything to them in order to get the best chance of a good fit. "Okay, I suppose" doesn't cut the mustard. Ask questions about how things should feel if you're not sure. It's a two-way process.
Thanks for your response! I hadn’t thought about the fact that they can’t tell what it feels like (I mean, duh, in retrospect, but I hadn’t thought of that, so I really appreciate your input).
 

Lisabet

Spectator
Joined
Jun 2, 2024
Also, they will probably ask you questions about your general skating level and such.

Just because let's say, Sasha Trusova and I have the exact same size feet, does not mean that we are going to have the exact same boots. (Sasha is the example here because she's known for doing quads, which are going to be much, much harder on boots than singles or doubles.
Thanks, Minz. If I can ask a few follow-up questions: from what I have been reading, it seems that there are two intertwined, though not identical factors related to suggested boot stiffness ratings, which are skill level (so, how hard one is on the boot with jumps etc.) and a skater’s weight (which I assume affects wear and tear on the boot just from supporting the weight). As a result, for two skaters of equal skill but different weights, the heavier skater might need a higher stiffness boot than the lighter one, and for two skaters of the same weight but different skill level, the one at the higher skill level might need a stiffer boot than the one at a lower level. I’m sure it’s hard to generalize, but are those principles correct? Also, does height play a role? I ask these questions because as a skater with lower-skill level, but shall we say, non-adolescent weight or height (140 lbs, 5’4, in my case), I’m finding it challenging to balance the weight-skill factors to think about an appropriate boot stiffness for me. For example, Jackson seems to take both the weight and skill level into account in their publicly-available information, but their weight categories max out at 115 pounds. Am I thinking about this in the proper way?
 

Minz

It's not over till it's over
Medalist
Joined
Nov 13, 2020
Country
United-States
Thanks, Minz. If I can ask a few follow-up questions: from what I have been reading, it seems that there are two intertwined, though not identical factors related to suggested boot stiffness ratings, which are skill level (so, how hard one is on the boot with jumps etc.) and a skater’s weight (which I assume affects wear and tear on the boot just from supporting the weight). As a result, for two skaters of equal skill but different weights, the heavier skater might need a higher stiffness boot than the lighter one, and for two skaters of the same weight but different skill level, the one at the higher skill level might need a stiffer boot than the one at a lower level. I’m sure it’s hard to generalize, but are those principles correct? Also, does height play a role? I ask these questions because as a skater with lower-skill level, but shall we say, non-adolescent weight or height (140 lbs, 5’4, in my case), I’m finding it challenging to balance the weight-skill factors to think about an appropriate boot stiffness for me. For example, Jackson seems to take both the weight and skill level into account in their publicly-available information, but their weight categories max out at 115 pounds. Am I thinking about this in the proper way?
No problem! That's what we're here for :)

And yes, you do have the correct general idea; however, keep in mind that it's definitely not an exact science and is really all dependent on the person. A good fitter should be able to help you with some of this, as well as some of us here on the forum.
 

Lisabet

Spectator
Joined
Jun 2, 2024
Hello again, I’m struggling to find fitters with significant stock in the Pittsburgh area, but I’d like to able to try on a range of brands and sizes, as my feet are not particularly standard (really wide in toes, bunions, narrow heel; Egyptian shape — I assume Risports and Jackson are good places to start?). Anyone have suggestions for good fitters in Cleveland, D.C., or other nearby cities? Chicago(land) is also workable, as I get out there fairly frequently. I figure I may need to do some semi- or full-custom boots, but if so, I want to be sure to discuss possibilities and have my feet measured by a really reputable fitter. Thanks!
 

Ic3Rabbit

Former Elite, now Pro. ⛸️
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Olympics
Hello again, I’m struggling to find fitters with significant stock in the Pittsburgh area, but I’d like to able to try on a range of brands and sizes, as my feet are not particularly standard (really wide in toes, bunions, narrow heel; Egyptian shape — I assume Risports and Jackson are good places to start?). Anyone have suggestions for good fitters in Cleveland, D.C., or other nearby cities? Chicago(land) is also workable, as I get out there fairly frequently. I figure I may need to do some semi- or full-custom boots, but if so, I want to be sure to discuss possibilities and have my feet measured by a really reputable fitter. Thanks!
Inbox me. I know of fitters you could try in several of those places.
 
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