Holes in lining of Jackson Debut boots | Golden Skate

Holes in lining of Jackson Debut boots

ice_wind_and_lyre

Spectator
Joined
Nov 13, 2022
Hi all,

I'm a long-time lurker and first-time poster with a question I haven't seen discussed before (or at least haven't been able to find any previous threads on).

Summary: I have holes in the lining of my year-old Jackson Debut boots. Does anyone have any idea why this happened and if there's anything I can do to prevent this happening to my next pair of boots?

I'm an adult beginner now in my 30s that started taking skating lessons for the first time in my life in January 2019. I'm 5'4" tall and about 125-130 lbs, and I'm doing a mix of synchro, singles (sal, toe, and beginning loop), and ice dance (currently working on pre-bronze). I'm based in a major metropolitan area in the U.S. with many rinks and a few figure skating pro shop options. I have been skating in a pair of split-width (A heel, wide forefoot) Jackson Debut skates for about 13 months, averaging a little over 3 hours per week (the last couple months have definitely been above average, 4-8 hours/week). Up until this week, I've absolutely loved my boots -- they've been really comfortable, maybe very slightly narrower than I would like in the toes (I think I'm getting some mild ingrown nails on my big toes), with a good heel lock (something I didn't have in my previous skates). My boots have "just worked" -- I haven't had to think about them at all -- and have helped me grow as a skater.

This week, I noticed some rubbing on the inside of my left heel and found that a perhaps pencil eraser-sized piece of the liner fabric and foam had come off and was hanging by a thread of fabric, leaving behind a hole in the lining. At first I thought I must have somehow accidentally punctured the lining when I was most recently taping my skates and poking out the lace holes, but I don't know how I would have made a hole way back in the heel of my boot. Then I looked at my other boot and saw there is a larger (perhaps quarter-sized) hole in the liner fabric and foam in the same spot on that boot that I hadn't previously noticed since it wasn't uncomfortable for me.

I called my pro shop and they suggested I could cover the hole with moleskin (which I've done for the smaller hole since it was bothering me). I asked them if this was the beginning of the end for this pair of boots and they said depending on manufacturer, I might be able to send them in to be re-lined (I neglected to ask specifically whether Jackson offers this), but that short of that I would probably need new boots. Since re-lining would likely take weeks and the synchro competition season is kicking off and I need to have skates, I figure I probably need to order and receive new boots before I would be able to send these for repair.

I'm pretty disappointed because I was hoping these boots would last for a couple of years. I don't think I skate all that much or all that hard and it's not even as though the support is broken down. For personal reasons, I'm expecting to cut back on skating starting around April or May 2023, so I'm particularly annoyed at having to pay for another pair of boots that I may not be able to use for a full year. One thing I thought of as a possible contributing factor is that I started taking out the stock insoles after each time I skate once it got humid here because I find it helps them dry more fully and slows the development of odor, but even so, I wouldn't expect 6-8 months of doing that to put holes in the lining.

Here are my questions:
  • Is this a semi-normal way for boots to end their lives, or could this possibly reflect a manufacturing problem or a subtle fit issue with this particular pair of boots? If this isn't something that's somewhat usual, can you suggest other possible causes?
  • If anybody has had this problem, have you been able to cope with it for several months, and do you think I can make this holey pair of boots make do for another 6 months? (I'm pretty risk-averse so I'm inclined to order a new pair ASAP lest the lining gets to the point I can't skate comfortably anymore, but I'm curious to hear whether anyone has been able to live with this issue.)
  • For my next pair of boots, would another model of boot be more appropriate or less prone to this problem? (I will also talk to my pro shop about this, of course.) I loved my Debuts so much until this happened.
Thanks for reading! I hope I included the right information. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
 

tstop4me

Final Flight
Joined
Oct 2, 2015
Country
United-States
At least in my experience, this is not a normal wear-out point of failure.

(1) Defects in the lining are a possibility.

(2) Check your stock insoles. Are there hard ridges around the periphery of the heel left over from manufacturing? If so, they could be cutting into the lining every time you pull them out and put them back in.

(3) Are you sure that the heels of your feet lock in properly and don't ride up and down (even a little bit) when you skate? This could cause premature wear.
 

Elija

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Hi, same thing happened to me at the start of this year, though not as bad. Was just one small hole in one boot, in the heel area. At first I was putting bandaids over it, but that didn’t last long as my foot would just rub them off. I am guessing the hole is from my heel rubbing if I didn’t tighten my skates enough (I have very narrow heels and the same thing happens with all my sneakers as well).

Anyway, eventually took the boot to a really good shoe repairer who knows skates and he gave me these little sticky circles that have almost a carpet texture but thinner. They are about an inch in diameter and you just stick them on and they have a very strong adhesive. They have worked great and I have been able to keep wearing my skates for the the last 8 months or so with no further problems. Just have to use a shoe horn with then boot to keep my heel from pushing the adhesive circle off when I put my skate on. So might be worth trying a good shoe repairer if you can find some of those little adhesive circles?
 

ice_wind_and_lyre

Spectator
Joined
Nov 13, 2022
@tstop4me Regarding (2), the insoles seem to be a flexible foam (?) and don't seem to have any hard ridges, but regarding your point (3), I think this must be what's going on. My heels do have a little bit of movement, especially when I really point my toes for ice dance, but it was so much less movement than I had in my old skates that it didn't really register.

I've now covered both the larger hole (which was growing) and the smaller hole with moleskin as a stopgap measure (similar to your suggestion @Elija) and am planning to stop by my pro shop next week. Might also need to make a quick trip to my local shoe repair spot! My ice dance coach mentioned that she has used small heel lifts underneath her insoles to help with heel lock for her narrow heels before she had her current custom boots, so that's another possibility I'll ask about.

Thanks for your help! I'll report back.
 

theblade

On the Ice
Joined
Feb 15, 2018
My kid also skates in Jackson split-widths and has this issue in several part of the boot due to extreme use. We use a completely inadequate Red Green duct tape solution of plastic tape where foam holes are forming. The other responses above provide far better solutions.

You are not alone (in dealing with this problem).
 

loveohio

Rinkside
Joined
Jul 17, 2017
You could tighten up the fit in the heel, and cover the hole, by wearing gel sleeves over your lower ankles. I think they make some with the gel just on a portion of the sleeve, as well as ones that are fully gelled, if you think all-around gel would be too much.
 

theblade

On the Ice
Joined
Feb 15, 2018
Good advice! Although gel sleeves in our case haven't prevented holes at the top of the boot for my kid. But a snug fit should result in less friction, at least in theory.

My old leather-lined skates back in the day did not have this problem.
 

bostonskaterguy86

On the Ice
Joined
Jul 3, 2018
Country
United-States
The lining in my Debuts has worn thin in a few places as well! No holes yet, thankfully - but that's probably partially because I've gotten next to no ice time in the last couple years...sigh. :(
 

tstop4me

Final Flight
Joined
Oct 2, 2015
Country
United-States
I'd like to point out that just as there are different grades of leather linings, there are different grades of microfiber linings. I bought a pair of Jackson Elites in late 2014. I was initially reticent about the durability of the microfiber linings. Knocking off a year for rink closures during the pandemic, I've skated on them for about 7 yrs (about five sessions a week almost year round). The linings are still fine; no thinning areas, no holes.
 

ice_wind_and_lyre

Spectator
Joined
Nov 13, 2022
I went to my pro shop today and we discussed some options:
  1. Jackson does re-line boots, but it would take at least a few weeks. They also might be able to re-last the heel narrower while they repaired my existing boots. As I've said previously, I need to have skates through the end of January, so this isn't really an option.
  2. I could buy new boots and we could go narrower in the heel. We also discussed going to the 5300 series boot (with the lowest available stiffness of 65), which has a different lining that does seem like it would be more durable (per @tstop4me's comment on different grades of microfiber). So, tentatively we're looking at $750 for the base boot and $50 for the width customization.
  3. They also directed me to a shoe repair place in the area that has some experience working on ice skates. Over the phone, they quoted me $100 to redo the heel lining in leather, an additional $20 for a 2-day turnaround, and an unspecified additional amount to fill the holes (the larger hole has lost a significant amount of foam.)
I'm worried the next narrower heel (AA?) would be too narrow, so my pro shop is going to get in touch with their Jackson tech rep about my problem before we order anything (maybe they can add more tendon padding or something rather than narrowing the heel further). With my wide feet, I've worn a lot of too-narrow shoes in my life and it's always misery. They didn't happen to have anything with that heel size lying around for me to try. They did say they could stretch it if the heel is too narrow.

I'm also a bit concerned about either re-doing the lining in leather or buying new 5300 series boots, which look like they come in leather. I've only had modern microfiber skates and the break-ins have been easy. I suppose I could always order another pair of Debuts with the same A heel, especially since I'm most concerned about having boots for the next 6ish months. I do know that I like them when they're new!

My immediate plan is to see how the moleskin holds up until after my next synchro competition in a couple of weeks. We have a gap after that competition until our subsequent one in mid-January. Hopefully that will give enough time for my pro shop to confer with Jackson and come up with a boot recommendation I can feel confident in. I may try the shoe repair place at that point if the moleskin doesn't seem like it will hold up until my new boots come in or if we don't have a boot order to put in.
 

Ic3Rabbit

Patineuse élite et professionnelle
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Olympics
I went to my pro shop today and we discussed some options:
  1. Jackson does re-line boots, but it would take at least a few weeks. They also might be able to re-last the heel narrower while they repaired my existing boots. As I've said previously, I need to have skates through the end of January, so this isn't really an option.
  2. I could buy new boots and we could go narrower in the heel. We also discussed going to the 5300 series boot (with the lowest available stiffness of 65), which has a different lining that does seem like it would be more durable (per @tstop4me's comment on different grades of microfiber). So, tentatively we're looking at $750 for the base boot and $50 for the width customization.
  3. They also directed me to a shoe repair place in the area that has some experience working on ice skates. Over the phone, they quoted me $100 to redo the heel lining in leather, an additional $20 for a 2-day turnaround, and an unspecified additional amount to fill the holes (the larger hole has lost a significant amount of foam.)
I'm worried the next narrower heel (AA?) would be too narrow, so my pro shop is going to get in touch with their Jackson tech rep about my problem before we order anything (maybe they can add more tendon padding or something rather than narrowing the heel further). With my wide feet, I've worn a lot of too-narrow shoes in my life and it's always misery. They didn't happen to have anything with that heel size lying around for me to try. They did say they could stretch it if the heel is too narrow.

I'm also a bit concerned about either re-doing the lining in leather or buying new 5300 series boots, which look like they come in leather. I've only had modern microfiber skates and the break-ins have been easy. I suppose I could always order another pair of Debuts with the same A heel, especially since I'm most concerned about having boots for the next 6ish months. I do know that I like them when they're new!

My immediate plan is to see how the moleskin holds up until after my next synchro competition in a couple of weeks. We have a gap after that competition until our subsequent one in mid-January. Hopefully that will give enough time for my pro shop to confer with Jackson and come up with a boot recommendation I can feel confident in. I may try the shoe repair place at that point if the moleskin doesn't seem like it will hold up until my new boots come in or if we don't have a boot order to put in.
Hi. Are you sure your tech didn't have boots confused? The Supreme 5300 is rated 75. The Supreme Pro 5320 is rated 65 and is Suede and is usually marketed to show skaters and coaches. With the combo of disciplines you are doing, the Supreme Pro would fit the bill for you. Now, if you want a cheaper to customize option, look at Jackson Synergy Pro, they're 75 rated but it can be rapid custom adjusted to a stiffness of 60 through 85 for no extra charge, I think the average turn around time on them is +/- 2 weeks.

Good luck! :)
 

ice_wind_and_lyre

Spectator
Joined
Nov 13, 2022
@Ic3Rabbit No, I'm not totally sure they didn't have boots confused! They seemed to be saying that we could order a 5300 series boot with a lower stiffness of 65, but I can clarify when I next speak to them. I did also look at Synergy, but they seem to have the same lining as Debut, so not much of an advantage over staying with Debut for me (except that I think they're pretty but I'm not sure I can justify an extra ~$300 purely for aesthetics). I do need white skates for synchro, but I suppose suede can be taped over just as well as leather or microfiber?
 
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sk8ymcsk8face

Rinkside
Joined
Aug 21, 2022
If the root of the problems is the not boots fitting, with heels not being fully locked in, could the tech pinch the sides of the boot inwards a little around the heel. I’m imagining with the skate off and with some heat too, squish both sides of the heel inwards and kind of re-mould the heels of the boot to be a bit narrower for you.
 

Ic3Rabbit

Patineuse élite et professionnelle
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Olympics
@Ic3Rabbit No, I'm not totally sure they didn't have boots confused! They seemed to be saying that we could order a 5300 series boot with a lower stiffness of 65, but I can clarify when I next speak to them. I did also look at Synergy, but they seem to have the same lining as Debut, so not much of an advantage over staying with Debut for me (except that I think they're pretty but I'm not sure I can justify an extra ~$300 purely for aesthetics). I do need white skates for synchro, but I suppose suede can be taped over just as well as leather or microfiber?
The 5300 supreme you were quoted is 749 as is. You are looking at 649-ish for the Synergy boot I suggested and then Supreme Pro 5320 I suggested is 599, and I'm just going to say that if you go with the latter, DO NOT put tape over the Premium Suede upper (aka the outside of your boot). If you need white skates sometime, please buy white skate covers like these.
 
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WednesdayMarch

Final Flight
Joined
Mar 24, 2019
Country
United-Kingdom
I have the Supreme Pro 5320 in the wide fitting and they are quite wide in the heel but I don't have any problems with that. They are also blissfully comfortable. But if you need white boots, then white boot covers are the way to go rather than tape.
 
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