Pointing toes | Golden Skate

Pointing toes

Aryel

Rinkside
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
Hi,

My daughter is wondering why she can’t point her toes in her skates. She is currently wearing Riedell Bronze Star, she’s height is 5 ft and weighs around 80-90 lbs. Could she be tying her boots too tight? What could she do to point her toes? Other than this problem, she loves her boots.
She can do all double jumps except for double axel which she is currently working on.

Would switching to other boots May solve the issue? She has narrow heels, so she does not like Jackson. Are there any other brands for narrow heels that she could try and also solve this toe pointing issue?
 

Diana Delafield

Frequent flyer
Medalist
Joined
Oct 22, 2022
Country
Canada
Hi,

My daughter is wondering why she can’t point her toes in her skates. She is currently wearing Riedell Bronze Star, she’s height is 5 ft and weighs around 80-90 lbs. Could she be tying her boots too tight? What could she do to point her toes? Other than this problem, she loves her boots.
She can do all double jumps except for double axel which she is currently working on.

Would switching to other boots May solve the issue? She has narrow heels, so she does not like Jackson. Are there any other brands for narrow heels that she could try and also solve this toe pointing issue?
Obviously skate boots are too stiff for a skater to point their toes like a dancer on stage whose ankle is free of restriction. But she can give the optical illusion of a pointed toe by working on turnout and a strong stretch of the leg in ballet classes, so that what the viewer sees from the side is the straight line of the whole leg running down the shin and continuing on down the boot lacing to the toe. Ice dancers can do it more easily than other skaters because their boots are cut lower at the back, allowing for more ankle flexion. It's the whole foot that is flexed from the ankle to be in line with the shin, so that it doesn't curve in or hang perpendicular to the shin when viewed from the side with each stroke.

Naturally high arches make it somewhat easier, but probably more so in dance (on stage, not ice dance), but it's not impossible to achieve this illusion with flatter feet. Wearing a boot with a higher heel might help, but the fit of the boot around her whole foot is more important. She shouldn't change to another brand that doesn't fit her properly in every other way just to make flexing her ankles a mite easier. More work at the ballet barre to achieve turnout and a strong stretch out to the toes will help more than trying to find a boot to do the work.
 
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Obviously skate boots are too stiff for a skater to point their toes like a dancer on stage whose ankle is free of restriction. But she can give the optical illusion of a pointed toe by working on turnout and a strong stretch of the leg in ballet classes...
Thank you for this answer (and thanks to Aryel for the question). I have always thought that, as applied to figure skating, pointed toes wasn't really the right term. The best a figure skater can do it flex the ankle (not the toes) a little so as not to make such a severe right angle at the ankle.

Dancer:


Figure skater:


Two exquisitely beautiful Olympic level skaters whose foot positions were not the most delicate were Sasha Cohen and Yuna Kim (in my himble amateur non-skater opinion).
 

adhara

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 20, 2024
Country
Finland

Aryel

Rinkside
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
Obviously skate boots are too stiff for a skater to point their toes like a dancer on stage whose ankle is free of restriction. But she can give the optical illusion of a pointed toe by working on turnout and a strong stretch of the leg in ballet classes, so that what the viewer sees from the side is the straight line of the whole leg running down the shin and continuing on down the boot lacing to the toe. Ice dancers can do it more easily than other skaters because their boots are cut lower at the back, allowing for more ankle flexion. It's the whole foot that is flexed from the ankle to be in line with the shin, so that it doesn't curve in or hang perpendicular to the shin when viewed from the side with each stroke.

Naturally high arches make it somewhat easier, but probably more so in dance (on stage, not ice dance), but it's not impossible to achieve this illusion with flatter feet. Wearing a boot with a higher heel might help, but the fit of the boot around her whole foot is more important. She shouldn't change to another brand that doesn't fit her properly in every other way just to make flexing her ankles a mite easier. More work at the ballet barre to achieve turnout and a strong stretch out to the toes will help more than trying to find a boot to do the work.
Thank you Diana. I was wondering how could skaters point their toes with such a still boots. As Mathman said, pointed toes are probably not the right term. I’m not familiar with the term turnout, do you have an example of a skater who does it beautifully? For me, Sasha Cohen seem to do a great job but she is not? Kamila’s leg looks beautiful but she’s not? Sorry, I’m bit confused.

I won’t choose boots based on ankle flexibility but since my daughter needs a new pair soon, I’d like to pick the right boots for her. If I can find boots that fit narrow heels and let her flex her ankle more, that would be the best.
 

Aryel

Rinkside
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
Thank you for this answer (and thanks to Aryel for the question). I have always thought that, as applied to figure skating, pointed toes wasn't really the right term. The best a figure skater can do it flex the ankle (not the toes) a little so as not to make such a severe right angle at the ankle.

Dancer:


Figure skater:


Two exquisitely beautiful Olympic level skaters whose foot positions were not the most delicate were Sasha Cohen and Yuna Kim (in my himble amateur non-skater opinion).
Thank you, I will ask my daughter’s coach to explain to me what does she exactly mean by pointed toes so that I have a better idea. Alina in the picture has her right toe turned to outward instead of pointing downward. Is that what the turn out means?
 

Aryel

Rinkside
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
If it makes her feel any better, Kamila Valieva (known for gorg extensions) has a horrible toe point because her boots (Edea Piano) are so high cut that they barely allow for any ankle movement. Yet her turnout is so perfect you barely notice.

Picture From the Side: https://japan-forward.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/resized.Valieva1.0213-e1644740394830.jpg
Different angle that shows the "flexed" foot: https://media1.popsugar-assets.com/...I_b7a9c4dc1bd41975_GettyImages-1238465342.jpg
Thanks, I will ask my daughter if she can flex her ankle Mandy stretch out her leg more. I will talk to her coach as well.
 
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Thank you, I will ask my daughter’s coach to explain to me what does she exactly mean by pointed toes so that I have a better idea. Alina in the picture has her right toe turned to outward instead of pointing downward. Is that what the turn out means?
:) I am put of my depth on the subject of turn out, so I will have to leave that to our resident experts Icerabbit and Diana Delafield. It's just that I find it striking to compare the position of the foot and toes when ballet dancers and figure skater perform similar moves.

Here is a Russian split jump.

Dancer:


Jason Brown:


Dancer:


Sasha Cohen:


(Somewhat OT, but the Sasha picture, iconic though it is, also illustrates the peril of the tights-over-bppts look. It is supposed to elongate the leg line, but it also gives an "I broke my ankle" vibe. ;) )
 
Last edited:

gkelly

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
"Flexing" the ankle in most contexts means the opposite of pointing the toes/foot.
Pointing the foot is referred to as extension.

When dancers speak of a flexed foot, they mean with the toes up toward the shin, if possible with a narrower ankle angle than standing flat.

Anatomically, flexion in that sense can be referred to as dorsiflexion (toward the back of the foot), and extension as plantarflexion (toward the sole of the foot).


Just so we're talking about the same thing.

And no, skates designed for jumping are not designed to allow full extension similar to what can be achieved with bare feet or ballet shoes. You can extend your toes as far as the skates will allow but to get the most extended line the turnout is an important part, as discussed above.
 

Diana Delafield

Frequent flyer
Medalist
Joined
Oct 22, 2022
Country
Canada
:) I am put of my depth on the subject of turn out, so I will have to leave that to our resident experts Icerabbit and Diana Delafield. It's just that I find it striking to compare the position of the foot and toes when ballet dancers and figure skater perform similar moves.

Here is a Russian split jump.

Dancer:


Jason Brown:


Dancer:


Sasha Cohen:


(Somewhat OT, but the Sasha picture, iconic though it is, also illustrates the peril of the tights-over-bppts look. It is supposed to elongate the leg line, but it also gives an "I broke my ankle" vibe. ;) )
I'm assuming the coach is referring to her basic stroking. If the whole free leg is turned outward from the hip/glutes (as in the basic ballet positions when the foot is on the floor), then when viewed from the side the skater's toe appears to be pointed. It's largely an optical illusion. The viewer seated to the side sees the front of the skater's leg in a straight line from the front of the thigh right down to the toe of the boot without seeing the blade or the heel of the boot. The split jump, on the other hand, demonstrates hip flexibility and extreme stretch of the muscles of the inner leg and the back of the leg, particularly of the thighs.
 

Aryel

Rinkside
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
:) I am put of my depth on the subject of turn out, so I will have to leave that to our resident experts Icerabbit and Diana Delafield. It's just that I find it striking to compare the position of the foot and toes when ballet dancers and figure skater perform similar moves.

Here is a Russian split jump.

Dancer:


Jason Brown:


Dancer:


Sasha Cohen:


(Somewhat OT, but the Sasha picture, iconic though it is, also illustrates the peril of the tights-over-bppts look. It is supposed to elongate the leg line, but it also gives an "I broke my ankle" vibe. ;) )
Thank you, yes I can see the difference in Russian split between dancers and skaters. Thanks for your help!
 

Aryel

Rinkside
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
"Flexing" the ankle in most contexts means the opposite of pointing the toes/foot.
Pointing the foot is referred to as extension.

When dancers speak of a flexed foot, they mean with the toes up toward the shin, if possible with a narrower ankle angle than standing flat.

Anatomically, flexion in that sense can be referred to as dorsiflexion (toward the back of the foot), and extension as plantarflexion (toward the sole of the foot).


Just so we're talking about the same thing.

And no, skates designed for jumping are not designed to allow full extension similar to what can be achieved with bare feet or ballet shoes. You can extend your toes as far as the skates will allow but to get the most extended line the turnout is an important part, as discussed above.
Thank you!! It makes a lot more sense now! I spoke to my daughter about the turnout but she insists her older friends can flex their toes towards soles a bit more than she can in boots.
 

Aryel

Rinkside
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
I'm assuming the coach is referring to her basic stroking. If the whole free leg is turned outward from the hip/glutes (as in the basic ballet positions when the foot is on the floor), then when viewed from the side the skater's toe appears to be pointed. It's largely an optical illusion. The viewer seated to the side sees the front of the skater's leg in a straight line from the front of the thigh right down to the toe of the boot without seeing the blade or the heel of the boot. The split jump, on the other hand, demonstrates hip flexibility and extreme stretch of the muscles of the inner leg and the back of the leg, particularly of the thighs.
I think her coach was referring to her free leg at the time of landing jumps and camel spin. I see what you mean on leg extensions when doing basic stroking, thanks for your explanation. I wasn’t able to speak with her coach today but will do!
 

Diana Delafield

Frequent flyer
Medalist
Joined
Oct 22, 2022
Country
Canada
I think her coach was referring to her free leg at the time of landing jumps and camel spin. I see what you mean on leg extensions when doing basic stroking, thanks for your explanation. I wasn’t able to speak with her coach today but will do!
Just found this blurry still, pulled from an old practice video, while I was adding pictures to my computer today. If you can make it out, it shows the same principle holds for jump landings and camel spins. I'd just landed a throw and held my landing position while my partner is sliding under me, preparing for a platter lift (from a backward entry for me). Sorry about the white legwarmers against ice obscuring it, but you may be able to see that my free leg, the left, is turned out from the hip. To someone over by the boards, my kneecap would be facing them, so to speak :). To them, my toe will appear to be pointed. Same position as for basic stroking, just more exaggerated in a jump landing. For a camel spin, the leg would be the same but the upper body would be more horizontal in line with the leg.
 

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adhara

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 20, 2024
Country
Finland
Thank you!! It makes a lot more sense now! I spoke to my daughter about the turnout but she insists her older friends can flex their toes towards soles a bit more than she can in boots.
They might just have lower-cut boots.

As of right now, do not change her boots simply to point her toes more unless she is full-on switching to ice dance. It's really not that important.

If she gets older and still wants to switch her boots after she understands more about skating and how everything works, then she can make that decision.
 

Aryel

Rinkside
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
Just found this blurry still, pulled from an old practice video, while I was adding pictures to my computer today. If you can make it out, it shows the same principle holds for jump landings and camel spins. I'd just landed a throw and held my landing position while my partner is sliding under me, preparing for a platter lift (from a backward entry for me). Sorry about the white legwarmers against ice obscuring it, but you may be able to see that my free leg, the left, is turned out from the hip. To someone over by the boards, my kneecap would be facing them, so to speak :). To them, my toe will appear to be pointed. Same position as for basic stroking, just more exaggerated in a jump landing. For a camel spin, the leg would be the same but the upper body would be more horizontal in line with the leg.
Thanks, Diana. I got it! In fact, we have a couple of skaters under the same coach who are pretty good with it. I now have a clear understanding of what my daughter’s coach meant.
 
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