What to look for when buying new skates?

skatingbeast

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I know there are tons of threads where people ask about new skates so forgive me in advance. But is there anything in particular one should pay attention to when trying on new skates?

Background in case it helps: When I started to get more into figure skating my coach provided me with used boots (Wifas) since I was in really low level recreational Reidells. Once I decided to stick with skating, my coach put me in Edea Ice Flys. That coach really tried to control all aspects of my skating so me going to a boot fitter and trying on boots wan't an option. He measured the length of the foot, had me try them on in a very rushed manner, and that was that. With the Edea Ice Flys I had arch pain that lasted for over a year that is now mostly gone and also feel like my foot slides towards the toe of the boot, causing me to grip with my toes in the boot and my heel lifts sometimes. I need to replace my blades and have decided now may also be a good time to get new boots. There's a fairly knowledgeable boot fitter in my area but since this is my first time really going on and trying different boots what should I pay attention to? My heel is pretty narrow compared to my toe box, but I don't have a wide foot. I do freestyle (single jumps through flip) and recently started ice dance (pre-bronze dances). My blades are MK Professionals.
 

Elija

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Wow, those skates sound way too big. Your foot should definitely not be able to slide forward. I also wear ice flys and find it helps to stick little gel arch supports under the insoles (I also get arch pain otherwise as I have high arches). Also like you I have narrow heels but pretty regular toes, and overall small feet.

Pay attention when you get fitted to the width of the skate - don’t let them just put you in a standard width. If you plan to stick with Edea, try the B width not just regular C, which they will often try to sell you as “fitting anyone.” I believe other brands such as Jackson offer split width, which may be good for you if your heels are super narrow.

Toes should be at the end of the boot but not pressed hard up against it. Sometimes skates feel to small before they are laced, as if they are laced properly your heel will be pushed right into the back of the skate. Make sure you lace them as you would skate in them when you try them on, don’t just put your foot in the boot or lace loosely.
 

Ic3Rabbit

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I know there are tons of threads where people ask about new skates so forgive me in advance. But is there anything in particular one should pay attention to when trying on new skates?

Background in case it helps: When I started to get more into figure skating my coach provided me with used boots (Wifas) since I was in really low level recreational Reidells. Once I decided to stick with skating, my coach put me in Edea Ice Flys. That coach really tried to control all aspects of my skating so me going to a boot fitter and trying on boots wan't an option. He measured the length of the foot, had me try them on in a very rushed manner, and that was that. With the Edea Ice Flys I had arch pain that lasted for over a year that is now mostly gone and also feel like my foot slides towards the toe of the boot, causing me to grip with my toes in the boot and my heel lifts sometimes. I need to replace my blades and have decided now may also be a good time to get new boots. There's a fairly knowledgeable boot fitter in my area but since this is my first time really going on and trying different boots what should I pay attention to? My heel is pretty narrow compared to my toe box, but I don't have a wide foot. I do freestyle (single jumps through flip) and recently started ice dance (pre-bronze dances). My blades are MK Professionals.

Well, number one should be not to get edea's because they aren't for you as it sounds. Your arch pain probably went away because the boots are so broken down that the pain and pressure on the arches went away and the reason you are sliding is because broken down boot and sounds like coach didn't know wth they were doing and really messed you up.

For your type of foot and a split width try Jackson, Graf, Risport. You may get along with a riedell even. The others are SPTeri and Harlick, but I can't remember if Harlick does split width at all.

What new blade are you planning on pairing your new boots with?

The other thing I need to ask are are you planning on doing ice dance seriously competitively along with freestyle or is it just testing? Because if you are going to do it seriously, I'd be looking at two different pairs of boots: One for Freestyle and one for dance. And a dance blade on those dance boots. (Been there and have been doing that for years as I have done both elite competitively and now pro).

Anything else, just ask.

Good luck!
 

sandraskates

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Well, number one should be not to get edea's because they aren't for you as it sounds. Your arch pain probably went away because the boots are so broken down that the pain and pressure on the arches went away and the reason you are sliding is because broken down boot and sounds like coach didn't know wth they were doing and really messed you up.

For your type of foot and a split width try Jackson, Graf, Risport. You may get along with a riedell even. The others are SPTeri and Harlick, but I can't remember if Harlick does split width at all.

What new blade are you planning on pairing your new boots with?

The other thing I need to ask are are you planning on doing ice dance seriously competitively along with freestyle or is it just testing? Because if you are going to do it seriously, I'd be looking at two different pairs of boots: One for Freestyle and one for dance. And a dance blade on those dance boots. (Been there and have been doing that for years as I have done both elite competitively and now pro).

Anything else, just ask.

Good luck!

Great advice from Ic3Rabbit, as usual.

I'll add that I don't think Harlick has any "off the shelf" boots; they are all custom. So you can get the split width but as a custom only, and of course custom will be more expensive. You or your fitter would do some extensive foot tracings and measurements if you order from them. Very high quality boots that last a long time. Give them a call if you're interested. I am not sure if SP-Teri is offering an "off the shelf" option these days or is custom only.

I also had the separate boot / blade setups for freestyle and dance. The dance blade is shorter in the back / tail so it took me a while to not lean back as far on those blades as I can on freestyle blades. Yeah, I took a few backwards tumbles! But IMO, it's a lot easier to ice dance in blades made for that discipline than in a freestyle blade. So if you can afford two pairs, it would be a good way to go.
 

SmallAminal

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oh gosh...a coach that wanted to "fit" you in boots :palmf:

Above and beyond what to look in a skate, you should consider "what to look for in a fitter" so they get you into the correct skate. ask around, get some recommendations, and then call in advance and ask some questions, such as:
-how long have they been in business/what is their experience? Make sure its a place with figure skating expertise, not just a rink pro-shop focused on hockey that happens to sell some figure skates here and there.

-who will be fitting you? (there is a well-know store here where you may get fitted by the experienced owner or someone way less experienced). Make sure you get the experienced fitter at the store.

-what to expect and bring to the fitting. What do they want you to bring/wear (they should ask for you to wear the socks/tights you skate in and likely want to see your old boots too)? Do they measure you on brannock device only, trace your foot, etc? if they are vague, don't know, or don't seem to care, move on.....

-What brands do they carry? be wary of a store that carries limited brands. as every foot is different, having a variety of brands/models/sizes is going to be important. Ask about how much stock they have - sometimes the on-hand stock is limited so they rely on measurements to figure out what you need. To the extent you can find someplace with lots of stock to allow you an actual try-on, that would be best. Note that COVID restrictions may put a damper on physical trying on....rules vary by location.

-Can you book an appointment? Or when is the least busy time at the store? I once made the mistake of bringing my skater at the back-to-school rush hour crunch and we certainly didn't get the same level of attention. Some places operate on an appointment basis and it makes sure you get the attention you deserve. A fitting can take a looooong time, so if they are booking 10 minute appointments, I doubt you are getting the attention you need. I would expect to be there for an hour or more.

-are they willing to make adjustments once you wear the skates? what ongoing service do they offer to you?

There are probably others I've forgotten, but the bottom line is to research the place first and don't be afraid to ask questions! If its a reputable place, they will totally understand *why* you are asking!
 
Last edited:

skatingbeast

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Wow, those skates sound way too big. Your foot should definitely not be able to slide forward. I also wear ice flys and find it helps to stick little gel arch supports under the insoles (I also get arch pain otherwise as I have high arches). Also like you I have narrow heels but pretty regular toes, and overall small feet.

Pay attention when you get fitted to the width of the skate - don’t let them just put you in a standard width. If you plan to stick with Edea, try the B width not just regular C, which they will often try to sell you as “fitting anyone.” I believe other brands such as Jackson offer split width, which may be good for you if your heels are super narrow.

Toes should be at the end of the boot but not pressed hard up against it. Sometimes skates feel to small before they are laced, as if they are laced properly your heel will be pushed right into the back of the skate. Make sure you lace them as you would skate in them when you try them on, don’t just put your foot in the boot or lace loosely.

Do you have any recommendations for gel arch supports? I also have high arches and may need these in the future even if I switch to something other than Edeas.

The boot fitter I plan on going to took one look at me back in the winter and said I never should have been in a C width. I'm definitely interested in split width boots. Thanks for the advice!

Well, number one should be not to get edea's because they aren't for you as it sounds. Your arch pain probably went away because the boots are so broken down that the pain and pressure on the arches went away and the reason you are sliding is because broken down boot and sounds like coach didn't know wth they were doing and really messed you up.

For your type of foot and a split width try Jackson, Graf, Risport. You may get along with a riedell even. The others are SPTeri and Harlick, but I can't remember if Harlick does split width at all.

What new blade are you planning on pairing your new boots with?

The other thing I need to ask are are you planning on doing ice dance seriously competitively along with freestyle or is it just testing? Because if you are going to do it seriously, I'd be looking at two different pairs of boots: One for Freestyle and one for dance. And a dance blade on those dance boots. (Been there and have been doing that for years as I have done both elite competitively and now pro).

Anything else, just ask.

Good luck!

Thanks! I stopped working with that coach because I just didn't trust them anymore after multiple issues, not just with boots.

I don't know much about Graf because I don't see many people wearing them where I skate. The boot fitter in my area can pretty much get anything. I forget which boot company, but he has a really good relationship with one of them. Definitely interested in possibly getting a split width. Right now my blades are MK Pros and my two new coaches both suggested I stick with them. And right now I plan on testing ice dance and maybe doing some solo dance at adult competitions. I just started ice dance in October so only got 5 months into ice dance lessons before rinks closed due to Covid. I will say I instantly fell in love with it and could see myself focusing on it more in the future, since I'm not a strong jumper, but it's too soon for me to say.

Great advice from Ic3Rabbit, as usual.

I'll add that I don't think Harlick has any "off the shelf" boots; they are all custom. So you can get the split width but as a custom only, and of course custom will be more expensive. You or your fitter would do some extensive foot tracings and measurements if you order from them. Very high quality boots that last a long time. Give them a call if you're interested. I am not sure if SP-Teri is offering an "off the shelf" option these days or is custom only.

I also had the separate boot / blade setups for freestyle and dance. The dance blade is shorter in the back / tail so it took me a while to not lean back as far on those blades as I can on freestyle blades. Yeah, I took a few backwards tumbles! But IMO, it's a lot easier to ice dance in blades made for that discipline than in a freestyle blade. So if you can afford two pairs, it would be a good way to go.

I'm not sure I want to go the custom route quite yet, though I know the fitter I plan to go to does work with Harlick. Last time I talked to him was right before Covid and he said Harlick's wait time was something like 5 months! I'm still new to ice dance so want to do it a bit longer before I spend the money on separate boots and blades.... I'm loving thus far, though!
 

skatingbeast

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oh gosh...a coach that wanted to "fit" you in boots :palmf:

Above and beyond what to look in a skate, you should consider "what to look for in a fitter" so they get you into the correct skate. ask around, get some recommendations, and then call in advance and ask some questions, such as:
-how long have they been in business/what is their experience? Make sure its a place with figure skating expertise, not just a rink pro-shop focused on hockey that happens to sell some figure skates here and there.

-who will be fitting you? (there is a well-know store here where you may get fitted by the experienced owner or someone way less experienced). Make sure you get the experienced fitter at the store.

-what to expect and bring to the fitting. What do they want you to bring/wear (they should ask for you to wear the socks/tights you skate in and likely want to see your old boots too)? Do they measure you on brannock device only, trace your foot, etc? if they are vague, don't know, or don't seem to care, move on.....

-What brands do they carry? be wary of a store that carries limited brands. as every foot is different, having a variety of brands/models/sizes is going to be important. Ask about how much stock they have - sometimes the on-hand stock is limited so they rely on measurements to figure out what you need. To the extent you can find someplace with lots of stock to allow you an actual try-on, that would be best. Note that COVID restrictions may put a damper on physical trying on....rules vary by location.

-Can you book an appointment? Or when is the least busy time at the store? I once made the mistake of bringing my skater at the back-to-school rush hour crunch and we certainly didn't get the same level of attention. Some places operate on an appointment basis and it makes sure you get the attention you deserve. A fitting can take a looooong time, so if they are booking 10 minute appointments, I doubt you are getting the attention you need. I would expect to be there for an hour or more.

-are they willing to make adjustments once you wear the skates? what ongoing service do they offer to you?

There are probably others I've forgotten, but the bottom line is to research the place first and don't be afraid to ask questions! If its a reputable place, they will totally understand *why* you are asking!

Thanks for the advice! The main boot fitter in the area owns a shop that serves both hockey and figure skaters. He's been around for years and is pretty reputable. My current coaches recommend him but I know there are people who say they don't like him as well. He's a personality and not everyones cup of tea. He loves to talk shop and explain things which I really appreciate. Everything he does is by appointment. I was joking with one of my new coaches that I'll have to take a half day from work because I'll probably be there forever talking to him.

And yes, they're willing to make adjustments. I know at least one boot brand he has a really good relationship with and will even send the boots back to the company for tweaking. When I was in a lot of pain from my Edeas I went to him and he tried to help me with the issues.

I recently started going to him for skate sharpening and he's the one who told me I needed new blades and got out this tool to show me they were almost in the red zone for being too flat. This was after I tried talking to my old coach about how I felt my spins were regressing and my coach just shrugged it off and said they were actually improving.

One of my open questions is around getting my blades aligned. I know they'll put in a temporary mount at first but in the past my old coach would spend time with me on the ice to see if blades needed to be moved, so I'm not sure who I can get to help me with that.
 

Ic3Rabbit

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Do you have any recommendations for gel arch supports? I also have high arches and may need these in the future even if I switch to something other than Edeas.

The boot fitter I plan on going to took one look at me back in the winter and said I never should have been in a C width. I'm definitely interested in split width boots. Thanks for the advice!

Do NOT get gel arch supports and put them in your boots, especially if you have high arches. I have high arches and my boots are split width and when they are fitted and made properly for your foot you do not need anything in your boot like that. You are risking alot by shoving those in your arches.
 

Elija

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Do NOT get gel arch supports and put them in your boots, especially if you have high arches. I have high arches and my boots are split width and when they are fitted and made properly for your foot you do not need anything in your boot like that. You are risking alot by shoving those in your arches.

Can I ask why you suggest not using arch supports? They work great for me, and I know lots of other people who use various types of arch supports or insoles like superfeet. Superfeet didn’t work for me as they were too high in the heel and pitched me too far forward, but I know others who love them.
 

Ic3Rabbit

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Can I ask why you suggest not using arch supports? They work great for me, and I know lots of other people who use various types of arch supports or insoles like superfeet. Superfeet didn’t work for me as they were too high in the heel and pitched me too far forward, but I know others who love them.
I didn't mention superfeet because they are a full insole and those are fine. I have even mentioned in the past about myself wearing orthotics for supination that fit in my boot heels (because that is how they work), but if you are just shoving an arch support piece in like you mentioned in a previous post, no.
 

Elija

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I didn't mention superfeet because they are a full insole and those are fine. I have even mentioned in the past about myself wearing orthotics for supination that fit in my boot heels (because that is how they work), but if you are just shoving an arch support piece in like you mentioned in a previous post, no.

Yes, but why? I’m not ‘shoving’ them in, they are stuck in place and can’t move. So curious why this is problematic?
 

Ic3Rabbit

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Yes, but why? I’m not ‘shoving’ them in, they are stuck in place and can’t move. So curious why this is problematic?

You do what you want. If you get injured it's on you.

As a pro, I'm telling you it's not a good idea.

I gave the advice to the other poster based on what I know from working with podiatrists and orthopedists on my own feet, ankles, etc for many years, as well as the best boot and blade specialists in the business.

I'm not going to argue with you and justify myself any further based on what I know.

Do what you want.
 

Elija

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You do what you want. If you get injured it's on you.

As a pro, I'm telling you it's not a good idea.

I gave the advice to the other poster based on what I know from working with podiatrists and orthopedists on my own feet, ankles, etc for many years, as well as the best boot and blade specialists in the business.

I'm not going to argue with you and justify myself any further based on what I know.

Do what you want.

Not trying to argue, I genuinely want to know why it’s a bad idea to use arch supports, as this is the first I’ve heard of this. Obviously I don’t want to damage my feet either, so if there’s something I’m missing I would love to know the actual reason why I shouldn’t wear them. I have been wearing them over a year now, and they have helped tremendously, so that’s why I’m asking. I also spoke with my coach (who has over 50 years experience coaching and working with boot and blade companies) before using them and he didn’t see anything wrong with it.
 

Ic3Rabbit

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Not trying to argue, I genuinely want to know why it’s a bad idea to use arch supports, as this is the first I’ve heard of this. Obviously I don’t want to damage my feet either, so if there’s something I’m missing I would love to know the actual reason why I shouldn’t wear them. I have been wearing them over a year now, and they have helped tremendously, so that’s why I’m asking. I also spoke with my coach (who has over 50 years experience coaching and working with boot and blade companies) before using them and he didn’t see anything wrong with it.

Possible injury over time and boot break. But I'm also not arguing. I have tried to say this for multiple posts.

We can agree to disagree if you'd like and move on.
 

Nimyue

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I have used the gel arches in the past, and they aren't great.

Fortunately for me, my boot fitter is an ex-podiatrist, so he makes custom insoles for me in my boots. He uses orthotic foam and glues them to a jackson insole which always seems to be the best for me. I skate in Risport boots :) The first go around he had me try on about 10 different stock insoles first and then added the extra arch support.

ETA: the gell ones and others you can get off amazon feel different, and I can't explain it but you are aware they are there. The properly fitted arch support with insole from my fitter, I forget they are there. That's the best way I can explain the difference.
 

skatingbeast

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Just wanted to close this out with saying I finally had my appointment with the boot fitter in my area and we landed on Riedells! I also tried Risport which I liked as well and I had a hard time deciding between the two but the Riedell's were a bit more comfortable right out of the box. From the fitting it seemed like these are going to be a huge improvement in fit over the Edea's I had been in before. My Edeas were a 255 C width and my Riedells are a 7.5 A/AA. And because Riedell's are a domestic brand, if I have any issues with them, the fitter can send them in to be worked on. I don't have them yet because my blades needed to be ordered, but excited to be able to try them out soon!
 

Ic3Rabbit

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Just wanted to close this out with saying I finally had my appointment with the boot fitter in my area and we landed on Riedells! I also tried Risport which I liked as well and I had a hard time deciding between the two but the Riedell's were a bit more comfortable right out of the box. From the fitting it seemed like these are going to be a huge improvement in fit over the Edea's I had been in before. My Edeas were a 255 C width and my Riedells are a 7.5 A/AA. And because Riedell's are a domestic brand, if I have any issues with them, the fitter can send them in to be worked on. I don't have them yet because my blades needed to be ordered, but excited to be able to try them out soon!
I'm glad to hear the Riedell's are working out for you now!
 
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