Boots to save my mangled feet

Flying Feijoa

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Sep 22, 2019
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463
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New-Zealand
Hi! Sorry the description of my foot/boot problems turned out to be a miniature essay, so if you like you can just skip straight to the bolded questions...

Skating background:
  • Started skating: 5 years ago
  • Practice time: ~3-5 hours a week (currently 3 due to flare-up of foot problems)
  • Freeskate level: Skate Canada Star 3/4 (had all singles except axel by 2016, then progress stalled, partly due to change of coaches/country)
  • Ice dance level: Junior Silver (working on Rocker Foxtrot + Blues)
  • Physical characteristics: female, early 20s, 167 cm, 61 kg
  • Foot shape: broader at ball than heel, mildly Egyptian-tapered toes, medium-high instep, hypermobile (metatarsal splay, can pronate/supinate badly but a moderate arch forms when muscles engage)

Boot/blade history:
  • 2014-2017: Jackson Classique 6C + Ultima Mirage blades (came as a set)
  • 2017-18: Edea Chorus 255 (standard C width? not sure) + MK Professional 9.5"
  • 2018-19: Risport Royal Pro 250B + reused the same MK Pro blades

Now for the problems :biggrin:

My first boots were quite comfortable until about a year in, when I noticed a relatively painless bump (a few mm thick) forming on my right heel. Saw a podiatrist (country 1, where skating is almost nonexistent) who diagnosed Haglund's deformity. They gave me custom orthotics and a gel Achilles pad to wear in my skates, and the condition seemed to stabilise. I retired the Classiques after 2.5 years when I started learning the axel and my coach noticed there wasn't much ankle support left in the boot (or not enough to begin with anyway).

In the Edeas (which I picked because in country 2 they are the cheapest/most abundant/my friends seemed happy in them :scratch2:), it always felt internally like I was either overpronating or oversupinating even though externally my edges looked fine. Bad arch pain for the first 15 minutes of each session. Not sure if the heel was locked since the boot lining felt so padded, but I felt some pressure at the back on deep ankle flexion. The heel bump doubled in size and another started appearing on my left foot. The navicular bone over the arch of my left foot became enlarged. After half a year I checked the length and found about a 1.5 cm space from my big toe to the end. :( Skates aren't cheap so I kept the Edeas for a year. By that time I'd settled in country 3 where skating is well-developed, so I assumed whatever the fitters there recommended should solve everything...

Risport Royal Pros gave slightly better lateral foot stability, but over the last 9 months the right heel bump has doubled in size again and developed bursitis (size of a squash ball the day after skating and is hard to fit into my sneaker). Left heel bump grew to half that size, no bursitis, but navicular has gotten more prominent and aches. During jump takeoff/landing and deep dance edges, the heel bumps frequently hurt (sensation like pressure/impact rather than rubbing). Lately I also get sharp pains in the bunion/bunionette area at the same time. Maybe the foot is sliding forwards and hitting the tapered toebox?

I've had the boot punched out over the heel bumps a grand total of 4 times (each time on skate tech/healthcare people's advice, although I'm worried that a looser heel is counterproductive, and that repeatedly heating the whole boot has compromised the support). I now notice heel movement (seems <5 mm). The right boot is also now creasing/gapping low on the midfoot (enough to poke a finger through to touch the side of my foot), but if I tie it tighter it cuts into my instep and my toes go numb. The fitter just heat-moulded it again to reduce gapping (by tightly lacing when still warm), but today at practice heel slippage seems worse!

Heel padding variations and new orthotics haven't helped, so I had a skate fitting yesterday. Jackson Debut Fusions (6R) felt comfortable, but I'm hesitating because I have some questions that I hope somebody will be able to help answer:

1. Is the Debut stiff enough for a 61 kg adult to work on 1A/2S/2T/flying spins in? I know it's stiffer than it was previously credited for and the fitter said it's alright up to 2A, but I doubt small girls would have the same impact as a mesomorphic adult. He didn't ask my weight, but people often seem to underestimate it in the mid-50s (being polite probably :laugh:) I don't want to spend $450/break in new boots again in a year's time!

2. How much side-to-side motion does the Debut have? Fitter said the Jackson collar is now more U-shaped to allow greater mobility. I'm wary of that because the Edeas and Risport Royal Pro line share this feature and they both had heel slippage issues. I also got a high ankle sprain in the Royals that kept me off ice for 2 months - I wonder if it could have been prevented by a V-shaped collar (e.g. like in the Risport RF line) that reduces lateral ankle motion more. I also tried RF3 Pros yesterday and they felt similar to the Debuts (except a bit more pressure on the instep).

3. Are Jackson boots supposed to touch the edge of your toes? Because the Debuts in 6R didn't, although my old Classique 6Cs did. Since the RF3 Pros I tried were 240 (Jackson size equivalent is 5.5), I wonder if I should try Debuts in 5.5 (unfortunately they didn't have it in stock). Or is the Debut/Elite last just naturally roomier in the toebox?

Apologies for the length of the post, and if you've managed to read to the end, thank you for your perseverance!
 

formersk8ter

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 3, 2009
Messages
304
Hi! Sorry the description of my foot/boot problems turned out to be a miniature essay, so if you like you can just skip straight to the bolded questions...

Skating background:
  • Started skating: 5 years ago
  • Practice time: ~3-5 hours a week (currently 3 due to flare-up of foot problems)
  • Freeskate level: Skate Canada Star 3/4 (had all singles except axel by 2016, then progress stalled, partly due to change of coaches/country)
  • Ice dance level: Junior Silver (working on Rocker Foxtrot + Blues)
  • Physical characteristics: female, early 20s, 167 cm, 61 kg
  • Foot shape: broader at ball than heel, mildly Egyptian-tapered toes, medium-high instep, hypermobile (metatarsal splay, can pronate/supinate badly but a moderate arch forms when muscles engage)

Boot/blade history:
  • 2014-2017: Jackson Classique 6C + Ultima Mirage blades (came as a set)
  • 2017-18: Edea Chorus 255 (standard C width? not sure) + MK Professional 9.5"
  • 2018-19: Risport Royal Pro 250B + reused the same MK Pro blades

Now for the problems :biggrin:

My first boots were quite comfortable until about a year in, when I noticed a relatively painless bump (a few mm thick) forming on my right heel. Saw a podiatrist (country 1, where skating is almost nonexistent) who diagnosed Haglund's deformity. They gave me custom orthotics and a gel Achilles pad to wear in my skates, and the condition seemed to stabilise. I retired the Classiques after 2.5 years when I started learning the axel and my coach noticed there wasn't much ankle support left in the boot (or not enough to begin with anyway).

In the Edeas (which I picked because in country 2 they are the cheapest/most abundant/my friends seemed happy in them :scratch2:), it always felt internally like I was either overpronating or oversupinating even though externally my edges looked fine. Bad arch pain for the first 15 minutes of each session. Not sure if the heel was locked since the boot lining felt so padded, but I felt some pressure at the back on deep ankle flexion. The heel bump doubled in size and another started appearing on my left foot. The navicular bone over the arch of my left foot became enlarged. After half a year I checked the length and found about a 1.5 cm space from my big toe to the end. :( Skates aren't cheap so I kept the Edeas for a year. By that time I'd settled in country 3 where skating is well-developed, so I assumed whatever the fitters there recommended should solve everything...

Risport Royal Pros gave slightly better lateral foot stability, but over the last 9 months the right heel bump has doubled in size again and developed bursitis (size of a squash ball the day after skating and is hard to fit into my sneaker). Left heel bump grew to half that size, no bursitis, but navicular has gotten more prominent and aches. During jump takeoff/landing and deep dance edges, the heel bumps frequently hurt (sensation like pressure/impact rather than rubbing). Lately I also get sharp pains in the bunion/bunionette area at the same time. Maybe the foot is sliding forwards and hitting the tapered toebox?

I've had the boot punched out over the heel bumps a grand total of 4 times (each time on skate tech/healthcare people's advice, although I'm worried that a looser heel is counterproductive, and that repeatedly heating the whole boot has compromised the support). I now notice heel movement (seems <5 mm). The right boot is also now creasing/gapping low on the midfoot (enough to poke a finger through to touch the side of my foot), but if I tie it tighter it cuts into my instep and my toes go numb. The fitter just heat-moulded it again to reduce gapping (by tightly lacing when still warm), but today at practice heel slippage seems worse!

Heel padding variations and new orthotics haven't helped, so I had a skate fitting yesterday. Jackson Debut Fusions (6R) felt comfortable, but I'm hesitating because I have some questions that I hope somebody will be able to help answer:

1. Is the Debut stiff enough for a 61 kg adult to work on 1A/2S/2T/flying spins in? I know it's stiffer than it was previously credited for and the fitter said it's alright up to 2A, but I doubt small girls would have the same impact as a mesomorphic adult. He didn't ask my weight, but people often seem to underestimate it in the mid-50s (being polite probably :laugh:) I don't want to spend $450/break in new boots again in a year's time!

2. How much side-to-side motion does the Debut have? Fitter said the Jackson collar is now more U-shaped to allow greater mobility. I'm wary of that because the Edeas and Risport Royal Pro line share this feature and they both had heel slippage issues. I also got a high ankle sprain in the Royals that kept me off ice for 2 months - I wonder if it could have been prevented by a V-shaped collar (e.g. like in the Risport RF line) that reduces lateral ankle motion more. I also tried RF3 Pros yesterday and they felt similar to the Debuts (except a bit more pressure on the instep).

3. Are Jackson boots supposed to touch the edge of your toes? Because the Debuts in 6R didn't, although my old Classique 6Cs did. Since the RF3 Pros I tried were 240 (Jackson size equivalent is 5.5), I wonder if I should try Debuts in 5.5 (unfortunately they didn't have it in stock). Or is the Debut/Elite last just naturally roomier in the toebox?

Apologies for the length of the post, and if you've managed to read to the end, thank you for your perseverance!

I don't have the advice you're looking for, but just chiming in to say that I think you're doing great to persevere through all of this frustration with your boots and the damage to your feet. No doubt you'll get this all worked out, good luck!
 

Ic3Rabbit

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I don't have the advice you're looking for, but just chiming in to say that I think you're doing great to persevere through all of this frustration with your boots and the damage to your feet. No doubt you'll get this all worked out, good luck!

I'm going to be straight with you. My feet are beyond mangled from all of my years of competing and doing shows, etc.

You need to invest in a semi-custom or custom boot at this point. Your feet do not work with stock boots.

Look into Jackson, Risport, SPTeri, Harlick for custom or semi-custom.

Edea won't work for you due to higher arches. They probably made your issue worse.

You might also want to look into seeing a foot specialist (Podiatrist and/or Orthopaedist).


Good luck! :biggrin:
 

Flying Feijoa

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 22, 2019
Messages
463
Country
New-Zealand
I don't have the advice you're looking for, but just chiming in to say that I think you're doing great to persevere through all of this frustration with your boots and the damage to your feet. No doubt you'll get this all worked out, good luck!

Thank you for your encouragement :) I hope boot/foot problems weren't the reason you don't skate anymore!
 

SmallAminal

On the Ice
Joined
Jul 26, 2016
Messages
438
I agree with Ic3Rabbit that you should look into customs as they may work better for your feet. Sometimes you just can't get anything stock to work (I know, I have customs and I am not skating at your level...its just that NOTHING can fit my wacky feet).

I assume the fitter is familiar with all of your foot issues - maybe broach this topic with them and ask whether this might be a better solution for you. Since you are skating fairly consistently, you want to get something that fits really well and doesn't mangle your feet any more than they already are!

Another thought - how is your lacing technique and has the skate tech/fitter watched what you do? I have seen skaters at the pro-shop looking after skaters with Haglund's deformity and they have noted in some cases that the skater is "not taking the time" to lace properly. They encouraged them to loosen all of the laces all the way down when taking the skates off and then taking the time to tighten from the bottom up. Also if your laces are old, maybe they aren't keeping the skates tight?
 

Flying Feijoa

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Sep 22, 2019
Messages
463
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New-Zealand
I'm going to be straight with you. My feet are beyond mangled from all of my years of competing and doing shows, etc.

You need to invest in a semi-custom or custom boot at this point. Your feet do not work with stock boots.

Look into Jackson, Risport, SPTeri, Harlick for custom or semi-custom.

Edea won't work for you due to higher arches. They probably made your issue worse.

You might also want to look into seeing a foot specialist (Podiatrist and/or Orthopaedist).


Good luck! :biggrin:

Ic3Rabbit thanks for the info!

In fact I've seen a sports doctor, podiatrist and GP in the past 6 months, for my primary concern (the Haglund's).
I've pretty much done all they recommended (try different padding, punch out, ice, new orthotics) except the last recommendation by the podiatrist: custom boots. So your sentiment is shared :biggrin:

I live in Canada now, so based on location and my budget I was considering semi-custom Jacksons. It seems I can only get them through the nearest authorised dealer, who will only do semi-customs if the stock boots don't fit.

Thing is I can't really tell if I'm fitting those stock Jackson Debut 6Rs or not. Tehnically they feel fine, but I can say that for all my previous pairs when I tried them on in the shop without blades - the issues didn't appear until I skated in them for a while.

Also I'd still need to decide which model (Debut or something else) to base a semi-custom on.

Just wondering if you know how cutomisation deals with heel bumps/bursitis; how do they reconcile securing the heel with relieving direct pressure on the bump?
 

Shani

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Joined
Jan 11, 2014
Messages
225
You should talk to a couple of fitters and a good coach. I remember having this discussion with my daughters coach and the skate shop fitter who was highly experienced. We ended up with custom Harlick. Different boots work better for different types of foot, arch and bodyweight. Sometimes too the placement of the blade is incorrect on the boot and you need a very experienced shop and fitter. Good luck.
 

Flying Feijoa

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Sep 22, 2019
Messages
463
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New-Zealand
SmallAminal that's a good point about the laces. I haven't changed them since I got them a year ago, so although there's no visible fraying maybe they could have worn a bit thinner and don't grip as much...

My lacing method/preference is ideally: firm around instep, firmest at point of ankle flexion, looser around top. But the Royal Pros seem to just squash down vertically on my instep rather than pulling in sideways and wrapping my feet, so I can't tie them too tight or I get cramps. I also need to tie the above-ankle region twice as tight as I'd like it, because it will loosen by about 50% as soon as I bend.

There are multiple fitters in the shop that I go to (and high turnover of staff), so I keep having to reintroduce my problems to whoever is around on the day :/ Next time I go I'll try to grab hold of the same guy I saw in the weekend and ask him about lacing/customs. I wonder if it's possible to get detailed foot measurements taken first, send them to the boot manufacturer and let them determine whether customs are necessary? Although it doesn't seem to be in their commercial interest to give an objective answer :biggrin:
 

Sibelius

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Joined
Mar 28, 2017
Messages
295
Hi! Sorry the description of my foot/boot problems turned out to be a miniature essay, so if you like you can just skip straight to the bolded questions...


1. Is the Debut stiff enough for a 61 kg adult to work on 1A/2S/2T/flying spins in? I know it's stiffer than it was previously credited for and the fitter said it's alright up to 2A, but I doubt small girls would have the same impact as a mesomorphic adult. He didn't ask my weight, but people often seem to underestimate it in the mid-50s (being polite probably :laugh:) I don't want to spend $450/break in new boots again in a year's time!

2. How much side-to-side motion does the Debut have? Fitter said the Jackson collar is now more U-shaped to allow greater mobility. I'm wary of that because the Edeas and Risport Royal Pro line share this feature and they both had heel slippage issues. I also got a high ankle sprain in the Royals that kept me off ice for 2 months - I wonder if it could have been prevented by a V-shaped collar (e.g. like in the Risport RF line) that reduces lateral ankle motion more. I also tried RF3 Pros yesterday and they felt similar to the Debuts (except a bit more pressure on the instep).

3. Are Jackson boots supposed to touch the edge of your toes? Because the Debuts in 6R didn't, although my old Classique 6Cs did. Since the RF3 Pros I tried were 240 (Jackson size equivalent is 5.5), I wonder if I should try Debuts in 5.5 (unfortunately they didn't have it in stock). Or is the Debut/Elite last just naturally roomier in the toebox?

No, I doubt the Debut would be stiff enough for you. Jackson recommends the Premiere/Elite for skaters weighing more than 58kg. My skater is 40kg and while we were told she could go up to 2A in them she didn't feel she had enough support so she is now in the Premiere doing 1A, 2s, 2t, 2Lo and working on 2Lz.

Side to side motion should be minimal, this is not an Edea boot, my skater had her Debut's locked in pretty well. And yes, it is a "roomy" toe box.

I wouldn't get your heart set on a semi custom model from Jackson being a solution for you. What they call "Rapid Custom" is small changes like combination width adjustments, tongue swaps, sole choice (Fusion, LCL, LCF). You would be most likely a full custom boot (based on their Elite 5200 model) built around your foot (about $950 depending on bling). I assume you can get a custom fitting in Canada for the Jackson's.

If you want a boot to fit (or most likely to fit) you'll probably have to travel. First, if you're in Canada (and I know it's a big country) Riedell is located in Red Wing Minnesota, and they have by all accounts a fabulous full custom program. Whether they'd fit your particulars I have no idea. My skater is a Jackson girl and hated the stock Riedell fit from literally the second she laced them up.

A trip to the SF Bay area would allow you to visit Harlick, Avanta and George Spiteri, formerly of Sp-Teri, now running his own pro shop in the old factory. George fits Sp-Teri, Jackson and Riedell boots. The other option for Sp-Teri is the new manufacturing location in Nashville.

Warning, even customs aren't fool proof. We were picking up my skaters semi custom Jacksons (Premiere 2800's) on Saturday and chatted with a woman waiting to be fit who spent $900 on custom Harlicks, only to have them not fit and cause her extreme pain and bruising. She then spent another $400 for them to be fixed to no avail, hence a new fitting with George for Sp-Teri's.

Good luck to you and I hope you can find something that works for you.
 

Flying Feijoa

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No, I doubt the Debut would be stiff enough for you. Jackson recommends the Premiere/Elite for skaters weighing more than 58kg. My skater is 40kg and while we were told she could go up to 2A in them she didn't feel she had enough support so she is now in the Premiere doing 1A, 2s, 2t, 2Lo and working on 2Lz.

Side to side motion should be minimal, this is not an Edea boot, my skater had her Debut's locked in pretty well. And yes, it is a "roomy" toe box.

I wouldn't get your heart set on a semi custom model from Jackson being a solution for you. What they call "Rapid Custom" is small changes like combination width adjustments, tongue swaps, sole choice (Fusion, LCL, LCF). You would be most likely a full custom boot (based on their Elite 5200 model) built around your foot (about $950 depending on bling). I assume you can get a custom fitting in Canada for the Jackson's.

If you want a boot to fit (or most likely to fit) you'll probably have to travel. First, if you're in Canada (and I know it's a big country) Riedell is located in Red Wing Minnesota, and they have by all accounts a fabulous full custom program. Whether they'd fit your particulars I have no idea. My skater is a Jackson girl and hated the stock Riedell fit from literally the second she laced them up.

A trip to the SF Bay area would allow you to visit Harlick, Avanta and George Spiteri, formerly of Sp-Teri, now running his own pro shop in the old factory. George fits Sp-Teri, Jackson and Riedell boots. The other option for Sp-Teri is the new manufacturing location in Nashville.

Warning, even customs aren't fool proof. We were picking up my skaters semi custom Jacksons (Premiere 2800's) on Saturday and chatted with a woman waiting to be fit who spent $900 on custom Harlicks, only to have them not fit and cause her extreme pain and bruising. She then spent another $400 for them to be fixed to no avail, hence a new fitting with George for Sp-Teri's.

Good luck to you and I hope you can find something that works for you.

Thanks Sibelius for the first-hand (ish:biggrin:) info about the Debuts!
Interesting... I guess customs or not, the most critical thing is to have a trustworthy fitter with a full array of options. I hadn't thought of travelling just for a fitting, but the investment might be worthwhile :think:
 

hanyuufan5

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I believe heel slippage is from the boots being too big somewhere in the foot part, not the ankle (which doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't also too small somewhere else). The most common reason is the boots being too long.

Debuts are definitely not stiff enough. I don't even weigh 45 kg soaking wet, and I've been told that I might be able to get away with Debuts for beginning double jumps. I'm about to upgrade to them now because I'm struggling with single loops and flips in my Freestyles (the next-lowest level).

It's pretty surprising that you even could get as far as you did in the boots you've been in. That says more about your talent than the suitability of the boots.

I agree that you need semi-customs or customs, and from an experienced figure skate (not hockey) fitter. Impolite or not, (s)he should probably ask your height and weight, and it probably couldn't hurt to bring some medical records about your feet. Travelling is definitely worth it. You'll save money (and your feet!) in the long run.
 

Flying Feijoa

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I believe heel slippage is from the boots being too big somewhere in the foot part, not the ankle (which doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't also too small somewhere else). The most common reason is the boots being too long.

That sounds like a good point. I'd only heard about wide boot heels letting feet lift up, but thinking about it if the boot is too long one's feet would also slide forward more easily.
Maybe that's why when the fitter narrowed my boots slightly via heat-moulding/lacing, I felt more slippage, since (as people were discussing in another thread) that might have made it longer...

I'd already gone down from 255 in Edea to 250 in Risport. The Jackson size 6 of my old Classiques appears to be equivalent to 245 mm. Hmm... I wonder if 5 mm is a significant difference (and how different fitters got different measurements for the same post-pubertal pair of feet).
 

Ic3Rabbit

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Ic3Rabbit thanks for the info!

In fact I've seen a sports doctor, podiatrist and GP in the past 6 months, for my primary concern (the Haglund's).
I've pretty much done all they recommended (try different padding, punch out, ice, new orthotics) except the last recommendation by the podiatrist: custom boots. So your sentiment is shared :biggrin:

I live in Canada now, so based on location and my budget I was considering semi-custom Jacksons. It seems I can only get them through the nearest authorised dealer, who will only do semi-customs if the stock boots don't fit.

Thing is I can't really tell if I'm fitting those stock Jackson Debut 6Rs or not. Tehnically they feel fine, but I can say that for all my previous pairs when I tried them on in the shop without blades - the issues didn't appear until I skated in them for a while.

Also I'd still need to decide which model (Debut or something else) to base a semi-custom on.

Just wondering if you know how cutomisation deals with heel bumps/bursitis; how do they reconcile securing the heel with relieving direct pressure on the bump?

May I ask where you are in Canada? That would make it easier for me to direct you to a good fitter who could help you. If you don't feel comfortable writing it on the open forums here, you can always send me a private message.
:)
 

Nimyue

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May 15, 2018
Messages
381
A couple things. You definitely need a custom.

HOWEVER, I caution you on Jackson. I have fully custom Jackson Elites that have given me the heel bumps you have. They are now working for me, but I have had them extensively modified to work. I had a fitter un-stitch them to add memory foam into the ankle of the boot. Even custom, this is not standard any more!!! So if you do go custom, ask for that! My heel bumps are due to very slight movement of my heel, but the top of my heel banging into the hard heat mold-able plastic in the boot. So the memory foam both reduced the movement and padded the hard plastic. I've also had them punched out there. The thing that really stopped the movement was a firm grip on my ankle bones rather than my heel.

I'd really recommend a fully custom Harlick from a very good fitter possibly. Or really making sure your Jackson customs have a lot of memory foam in the boot around the ankle, which is not standard. Harlicks didn't work great for me, with my personal issues and preferences, but since you do a lot of ice dance and have various deformities on your feet, I really think they will be better for you. Putting my foot in a harlick was like stepping into a cloud. They use a lot of various padding and it really helps keep the hot spots from being agitated. There is very very very little padding in a Jackson.

ETA: Oh and also a Debut is not sufficient at all. I had the freestyles which are slightly stiffer and they are scary to do axels and doubles in. While my Elites were being modded, I wore them but... yeah there's not enough support. I'd get at least the Premiere. But AGAIN with your foot problems, a full custom would be better.
 
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