Conflicting Boot/Blade Advice | Golden Skate

Conflicting Boot/Blade Advice

gorgonzola

Spectator
Joined
Oct 4, 2019
Hey everyone, long time lurker here. Super appreciate this forum. I'm getting lots of noise around boot and blade decisions, so I thought I'd come here for potential clarity. Providing details since I don't know what's relevant to answering the questions I have.

I've been skating for four+ years, M, 28, 5'11", under 140 lbs (if any of this matters). I skate 4 days a week, 7-9 hours total. I have one-hour lessons twice a week. Landing all doubles but 2F/2Lz are inconsistent (maybe due to mental blocks). I do off-ice stretching and jumping drills.

Location: Bay Area, CA, USA
Boot: Jackson Premiere 2802 10.5" purchased in 2019.
Blade: Apex Supreme 11.5" purchased in 2019.
Regular shoe size: 10.5" or 11" depending on the manufacturer

Boot fit: Bending forward I can fit a single finger down to the top of my Achilles, pronating outward I can fit a single finger down to the top of my heelbone. I have insoles from when I was fitted to account for pronation and wear a bunga pad sleeve on my right boot to protect my heelbones (punchouts helped with the pain from friction but not enough). Boot is snug everywhere except the area above the middle of my foot. I can wiggle my toes.

Blades: I've never skated on anything but the Apex Supreme and the Legacy blade I had over years ago. At very high speeds, my right blade wobbles left and right. Not sure if this is a weight distribution issue or something else. Spins are centered on a good day.

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Problem Statement/Situation:
Primary coach (of nearly two years) seen twice a week + secondary coach (from four months ago) seen once every two weeks, and two fitters due to covid complications. Everyone is in Bay Area, CA.

Boot issue:
I initially went to the fitter (F2) because the skates stopped staying tied and were loose around the ankle. This fitter says that I may have been sized initially with thicker socks and recommended I get new boots. He did the tracing and we ordered the boot. That was eight months ago, I still don't have a new boot due to order backup.

New boot specs: Size 12C, different brand (manufactured locally). Maybe 12C > 10.5 but maybe they're just using their own sizing chart.

I went to my normal fitter (F1) a month later (so 6/7 months ago) and they swapped out my laces for thicker ones along with a diff lace tying technique. They stay tied now, but they also said if it keeps happening, the boot might be breaking down and I may be in order for a new boot. Previously, the fitters mentioned moisture decay along the bottom of the boot, which was treated with some sort of refinishing. There was also a point where I had to get the holes plugged because the screws would loosen on both blades. The screws have been completely fine since the plugging, so I stopped investigating.

Blade issue:
Primary coach says she wants me to get a blade with a "bigger toe pick" and "swears by p99s" because I'm doing more flips and lutzes. She also says I'll have greater control that way. New secondary coach said they're fine and is just focusing on my technique. Fitter (F1) says Apex Supreme is fine for my level. Fitter (F2) asked if I wanted new blades + upgrade blades because my current blades may not fit the new boot.

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Questions:

  1. Given the conflicting information about the blade, do I need to upgrade to something else? RE: primary coach, is the toepick on my current blade not fit for 2F/2Lz?
  2. Given my wobbling right boot and limited description above, do my boots sound like there's an issue? Is something else afoot?
  3. Why do four different people have different opinions? Maybe I'm not clear enough.

I only have a single brand of reference, so I don't know what "good" should feel like at this point (in terms of boot and blade). Dunno if there are problems that should be addressed here. Will gladly provide more info even though some of these questions may be hard to answer since you can't see me! Also, now that progress is slower, I want to know my problems are just technique and not something else. Honestly, I'm just looking for a little more control over the situation. I feel like I don't have the skating knowledge for said control, and it's a wee bit saddening.

Thank you, strangers! Y'all are awesome.
 

Ic3Rabbit

Patineuse élite et professionnelle
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Olympics
HI and welcome! This should be simple:
1) You're not in a stiff enough boot for your skill level, height/weight.
2)Yes P99 or MK Phantom (depending if you want 8ft or 7ft rocker) would be better for you, get the heck away from Apex and Legacy.
3)IDK what is wrong with boot but you may be wobbling and all kinds of other things if the boot is broken down/breaking down and/or the sole is warped. You may also have some other defective issues going on with equipment.

If you'd like suggestions for equipment feel free to ask.

Good luck! :)
 

gorgonzola

Spectator
Joined
Oct 4, 2019
HI and welcome! This should be simple:
1) You're not in a stiff enough boot for your skill level, height/weight.
2)Yes P99 or MK Phantom (depending if you want 8ft or 7ft rocker) would be better for you, get the heck away from Apex and Legacy.
3)IDK what is wrong with boot but you may be wobbling and all kinds of other things if the boot is broken down/breaking down and/or the sole is warped. You may also have some other defective issues going on with equipment.

If you'd like suggestions for equipment feel free to ask.

Good luck! :)

Thanks for the reply! I know you've tested pretty much every blade out there, so I'll trust you and my coach on the P99s. This wouldn't have been much of a discussion, but the fitter discouraged me from switching from Apex to P99 since in his words, they're for the same skill level.
Do I need a new fitter too? If so, is there anyone you'd recommend in the Bay Area or other cities if necessary?

For equipment, my feet are wide, which is why I was fitted for Jacksons in the first place. They did cause bruising under my right heelbone and the bone near my big toe, but it went away after a while (due to bungas and now there's just a bunion there) and, at the time, didn't seem to inhibit progress. Just to keep my options open, there doesn't seem to be an issue with Reidell or Risport on this forum if they work, but Auras are a different story. Has the consensus changed around them in 2022?
 

supersharp

Rinkside
Joined
Aug 28, 2022
The wobbling on your right foot could be from a blade mounting that isn't completely straight. It is sadly very common for blades to be mounted on a slight curve rather than straight, and/or to be twisted from a mismatch with the boot sole. Either of these could account for the wobbling feeling. The curvature usually comes from adding the final few screws at a tiny bit of an angle so that the sole plate gets pulled slightly sideways as the screws are tightened. The shift is small, but relative to the thickness of the blade, it can be significant.

It's pretty easy to check for curvature: put the boot in your lap upside-down so you are looking at the blade and sole. Take a straight-edge and place it along the side of the blade from the toe pick to the heel, about a cm from the edges. See if there is a gap between the blade and the straight-edge anywhere along the blade. It will often show up as a gap at the center or as a gap at the toe and/or heel. Then lay the straight-edge on the other side of the blade. If it lays flat on both sides, then your blade is mounted on a straight line. If there is a gap at the center on one side and at the toe/heel on the other, your blade is mounted on a curve. Be sure you use the same side of your straight-edge on both sides of the blade so you know you are seeing a consistent comparison--if your straight-edge is not very precise, it can still show you if the lineup is the same on both sides of the blade. Meaning, it will create an exact mirror image if you place the same end and side of the straight-edge next to the toe pick IF the blade is straight and the straight-edge is slightly flawed. The easiest way to do this is to place it along one side and then flip it over like turning the pages of a book (the blade is the "spine").

Any curvature will make it easier (or too easy) to travel into the direction of the curve and harder to travel in the direction against the curve. At higher speeds, the blade will feel like it is wobbling even if the screws are completely tight. If you have a good skate tech, they can help adjust the mounting to get the blade straight.

The blade can also be twisted, which happens when the boot sole and the blade sole plates meet at different angles at the front and back of the boot. It's pretty common for one sole plate to lay mostly flat and the other to have a bigger gap on one side before the screws are tightened. If the boot sole is too stiff to bend when the screws are tightened, the blade will twist at the center as the sole plates and sole get pulled together. It's a little harder to see, but your skate tech might be able to help you (I use a couple of precision-milled bars placed on the blade to check for this at intervals down the blade). I've had numerous skaters who were really frustrated with their blades and then completely happy once we identified and resolved the twist problem.

Good luck! Skating is hard enough already without little glitches in the equipment.
 

gorgonzola

Spectator
Joined
Oct 4, 2019
I can give an update now (and another once my boots get here).

Tl;dr:

1. Tracings revealed several gaps and spacings from my boot sizing in 2019. We went down a size, went up in stiffness, and opted for customs with all of the idiosyncratic differences between left and right feet shape.
2. New blades are P99s
3. The fitting doubled as a mini learning session about brands and blades.

As mentioned by thread replies and DMs, this is a simple problem if you're talking to people who know what they're doing.

Now we wait. Thanks for the help, all!

@supersharp I will let my skate tech handle this issue.
 
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