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Author Topic: Rental Skates or buy?  (Read 459 times)

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Offline eggskates

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Rental Skates or buy?
« on: January 09, 2017, 01:44:00 AM »
Hi everyone! I was planning on starting public lessons soon (woo) and had planned to use rental skates just to start, but me and my friends recently visited the rink and the rental skates left my feet extremely sore while skating. The size of the skates fit well as far as I knew, but when they were tightened it was irritating, and it would be too loose (able to move my foot around in the skate) if I loosened it any more. They're not laced rental skates by the way. It wasn't noticeable in as I got on the ice but as time progressed it became distracting,,,,

I was wondering whether I should buy actual skates, or start the lessons with the rentals,,/// Also if anyone has any advice they wished they knew before starting that would be well appreciated  :D!!

Offline nicklaszlo

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Re: Rental Skates or buy?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2017, 04:15:16 AM »
Nobody has ever liked wearing rental skates. 

Ask a figure skating coach (or several) where you can find a reputable figure skate fitter in your area.  I think it's perfectly okay to buy cheap skates as a beginner.  Even without a fitting.  Just be prepared to replace them with more expensive, expertly fit skates once you are not a beginner any more.

Nobody has ever succeeded in skating in double runners.  Don't get them.  Fortunately they only seem to come in very small sizes.

Offline eggskates

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Re: Rental Skates or buy?
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2017, 06:09:23 AM »
Nobody has ever liked wearing rental skates. 

Ask a figure skating coach (or several) where you can find a reputable figure skate fitter in your area.  I think it's perfectly okay to buy cheap skates as a beginner.  Even without a fitting.  Just be prepared to replace them with more expensive, expertly fit skates once you are not a beginner any more.

Nobody has ever succeeded in skating in double runners.  Don't get them.  Fortunately they only seem to come in very small sizes.

Okay thank you!! Do you have any recommendations for skates for beginners? In my pro shop they only stock Jacksons  :)

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Re: Rental Skates or buy?
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2017, 08:39:09 AM »
By "public lessons", I assume you mean group lessons or group classes?  If you've already decided you will be paying for lessons, then you should definitely buy your own skates.  What you should get depends a lot on your budget and your particular feet.  In general, it's best to buy separate boots and blades, but that will cost you at least ~$350.  For less, generally you get a prepackaged outfit with blades already mounted on boots.  The only hard advice I can offer is to avoid outfits in which the blades are riveted to the boots.  Buy outfits in which the blades are mounted to the boots with screws; that way the mounting can be readily altered if needed. 

Otherwise, it's best to get advice from coaches and other skaters on recommendations for local pro shops.

Offline mamabear

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Re: Rental Skates or buy?
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2017, 09:27:51 AM »
When we first started skating, I refused to buy skates until we had been taking lessons for 6 months.  My logic was that would be enough time to see if this was an activity we would be continuing with and thus worth the money.  I regret this decision because I do think it holds you back.  Having skates that fit and are sharpened regularly was amazing when we switched.  I didn't know that at the time though!  I wasn't familiar with these forums and had no previous experience.

Offline FigureSpins

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Re: Rental Skates or buy?
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2017, 10:59:52 AM »
Ordinarily, I suggest wearing rentals for the first LTS session (it's probably only a few weeks) and then decide if you're going to continue.  If so, get your own skates - well-fitted skates make progress so much easier and faster, which saves on lessons and practice.  If you're an adult, your feet aren't going to grow, so the skates will last a while until you "outskate" them, usually around the time you start learning jumps and spins.

However, since the OP says the skates have no laces and didn't fit well, I'd suggest going to Play it Again Sports or someplace else to get a cheap pair of skates for the first LTS session.

Things to stay away from in new/used skates: rivets are usually a sign of pond (low-level recreational) skates, which aren't good for lessons, as Nick points out. 

"Bendy" uppers are another sign - if you can bend the top of the skate over easily, the support is lacking and make skating on one foot very difficult unless you have iron-ankles.  (Most people don't, that's why so few people skated on the old, soft ice skates prior to the 1950's.  That's why "weak ankles" were a common excuse for not skating.)

Look at the blade: if it curves up sharply at the back, it's been improperly sharpened.  YOu'll have a lot of backward falls when using them as a beginner.  That's dangerous!
If the blade is completely flat, you'll need a good sharpening.

One bit of final advice: if you are going to buy new skates, be prepared to order them and wait (up to 3 weeks) for the order to arrive.  Very few pro shops carry inventory, so adult sizes usually have to be ordered.  Have them check the width as well as the length.
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Offline eggskates

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Re: Rental Skates or buy?
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2017, 07:53:10 PM »
thanks everyone!! I feel much more informed now haha  :laugh: I'll probably try to get on the rink more often before buying my skates as group lessons don't start until a few more weeks and I'm still afraid of falling so I'll have to get used to that  :sweat . I'll make sure to keep all your advice in mind when picking new skates!!

Offline Query

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Re: Rental Skates or buy?
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2017, 08:05:18 PM »
If you buy your own, make sure they fit snug! I bought boots from Play It Again Sports, that were too loose. I broke a leg, though that was partly because I hadn't practiced falling gently, and I stiffened and fought the fall too hard.

the rental skates left my feet extremely sore while skating.

If the skates hurt immediately after putting them on and lacing them, then they truly don't fit. For example, if the toes or something else are squeezed painfully.

But if they don't hurt until you have skated a while, it usually means that they aren't tight enough (e.g., you didn't lace them tight enough), so the skin and the boot rub against each other.

That's not completely true - e.g., if the arch support is too low or too high for your feet, that might take a while to hurt. (There are some tricks where you tie the bottom a little loose, then tight a half-surgeon's knot before you lace the hooks, to stop slippage between bottom and top, then make the top tight, that sometimes help.)

Likewise, if the blade mount isn't centered to your anatomy, you may be over-using your muscles on one side, to keep the blade vertically aligned. (You COULD stick a wound up paper towel under one side of your foot (or the insole - but please remember to remove it before the next person uses them) so you don't need much muscle use to stay aligned.)

But usually, I find that rental customers have their problem cured by lacing the boots tighter - much tighter. I tell them that if they can stick a finger under the lace, anywhere, it isn't tight enough to support their ankle, and to prevent rubbing. They usually think that lacing it tighter will make it hurt more, but usually the opposite is true.

BTW, they sometimes have a pain problem if they wear short socks, that don't come over the boots, because that tends to make the top of the boots bite into their foot a bit - but hopefully you know better. Likewise, if you stuff the bottoms of your pants inside your boots, they come party out, and then fit loosely. Mostly a bad idea. And if you run the laces behind the boots, every time you bend your ankles, you pull on and gradually loosen the laces. (Though you can get away with that on very stiff boots - but few rental figure skates are in that category.)

Buying new boots may not immediately solve your problem. Mabye the biggest advantage of buying your own is that you can make modifications to the boots to make them truly fit.

One other thing to try, before you buy your own boots: Wear thick squishy socks, like fleece ski socks. Then, when you tighten them, the socks will to some extent squish where they need to to make the boots fit. It's not perfect, but it sometimes works. You might need a larger boot size to fit the socks.

I have a reason for suggesting you delay buying your own: During your first month or two, you probably want beginning level figure skates that keep the toe picks high and mostly off the ice. But later, you will need those toe picks, and you will want skates with a somewhat more advanced blade. Besides, many people give up on any new sport, in their first few weeks.

Offline ChristyRN

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Re: Rental Skates or buy?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2017, 08:07:52 PM »
When we first started skating, I refused to buy skates until we had been taking lessons for 6 months.  My logic was that would be enough time to see if this was an activity we would be continuing with and thus worth the money.  I regret this decision because I do think it holds you back.  Having skates that fit and are sharpened regularly was amazing when we switched.  I didn't know that at the time though!  I wasn't familiar with these forums and had no previous experience.

The ex got me and our daughter skates during my second session of LTS. If he hadn't spent the money I would probably have quit. I felt like I had to keep going enough to get our money's worth out of them. Fifteen years (and four sets of boots and numerous blades) later, I'm still going. The ex and the daughter, not so much. *Her* daughter starts LTS next week.

As far as the comments about starter sets with riveted blades and plastic soles, I started in them. Since I had to replace them in a year due to weight loss and my feet changing/slipping around, I don't feel it was a bad choice for me. Especially as much as I hated skating in the beginning.
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Offline Query

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Re: Rental Skates or buy?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2017, 08:18:38 PM »
Especially as much as I hated skating in the beginning.

So why did you keep skating? This is supposed to be fun!

Rivetted boots are fine if they HAPPEN to balance your feet right. But if not, they cost more to adjust the mount position (you need special tools, like a reasonably high end pro shop will have, unless you have a well equiped home shop, and know what you are doing) than cheap skates are worth.

Offline eggskates

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Re: Rental Skates or buy?
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2017, 09:19:27 PM »
If you buy your own, make sure they fit snug! I bought boots from Play It Again Sports, that were too loose. I broke a leg, though that was partly because I hadn't practiced falling gently, and I stiffened and fought the fall too hard.

If the skates hurt immediately after putting them on and lacing them, then they truly don't fit. For example, if the toes or something else are squeezed painfully.

But if they don't hurt until you have skated a while, it usually means that they aren't tight enough (e.g., you didn't lace them tight enough), so the skin and the boot rub against each other.

That's not completely true - e.g., if the arch support is too low or too high for your feet, that might take a while to hurt. (There are some tricks where you tie the bottom a little loose, then tight a half-surgeon's knot before you lace the hooks, to stop slippage between bottom and top, then make the top tight, that sometimes help.)

Likewise, if the blade mount isn't centered to your anatomy, you may be over-using your muscles on one side, to keep the blade vertically aligned. (You COULD stick a wound up paper towel under one side of your foot (or the insole - but please remember to remove it before the next person uses them) so you don't need much muscle use to stay aligned.)

I have a reason for suggesting you delay buying your own: During your first month or two, you probably want beginning level figure skates that keep the toe picks high and mostly off the ice. But later, you will need those toe picks, and you will want skates with a somewhat more advanced blade. Besides, many people give up on any new sport, in their first few weeks.

I'll make sure they're snug when I do get them!  ;D And the rentals were snug when I put them on but it was about an hour of skating later that they started to hurt,, I doubt it was something to do with laces because they don't have laces  :sweat I don't know how to describe them but they were kind of like pulling devices?? You pull on a piece of plastic to make it tighter. I think the main problem was the rentals in my area are (comparable to?? not sure) hard plastic skates.  :( I'll add an image of what they looked like,,

I think i'll find that I won't give up on the sport as I love being on the ice! I remember as a kid I used to stare at figure skates at the rink and want some for myself  :laugh: I actually never knew I could buy my own though HAHA that's probably why I never asked as a kid whoops

Offline eggskates

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Re: Rental Skates or buy?
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2017, 09:25:31 PM »
I felt like I had to keep going enough to get our money's worth out of them.

As far as the comments about starter sets with riveted blades and plastic soles, I started in them. Since I had to replace them in a year due to weight loss and my feet changing/slipping around, I don't feel it was a bad choice for me. Especially as much as I hated skating in the beginning.

Sounds like what I'd do,, HAHA

And I'll make sure to keep that in mind, though I'm not sure whether they'd be a good fit as I would want to keep the working life of a skate for as long as I'd have it, but then again I'm just a beginner so I don't really know my stuff  :-X

Offline sampaguita

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Re: Rental Skates or buy?
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2017, 10:39:53 PM »
I started with rentals, but they were comfortable. My personal goal was to be able to do forward stroking on rentals. After that, I bought my first pair, the Riedell 133. I think it cost me around $100+.

But if the rentals are uncomfortable, I suggest: (a) getting cheap, secondhand skates -- but those of the training type, like Riedell, Jackson, etc. OR (b) buying new skates, again, of the training type. Buying your own new skates has a number of advantages -- they will fit better, AND if you end up not liking skating, you can always sell your skates.

Offline Ethereal Ice

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Re: Rental Skates or buy?
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2017, 12:33:25 AM »
When I very first started, I did not want to wear rentals so I ordered a pair of $50 skates off Amazon and used them for about two months. I did not know anything about sizing figure skates, and I just figured that I was only going to use these to skate with my husband once every couple of months for fun, and I would just order my regular shoe size. They were a shade big, but I wore two pairs of thicker socks with them and they fit ok. If you go this route be sure you have them sharpened,  they to not come sharpened, and read the reviews to see if they run small or whatever.

What I did not know when I ordered them was that I would get totally hooked on skating and we would almost immediately start skating 3-4 times a week. In my cheapo skates I learned front and back swizzles, basic stroking, stopping,  backwards wiggle skating, side pumps, most of the basic pre alpha stuff.

So, I fairly quickly began to understand that really nice skates are expensive. Typically, the higher level and more expensive, the stiffer (more supportive) they are. They usually have to be broken in, and are supposed to fit well enough that once broken in you can use very thin socks, tights or even go barefoot... they should fit like second skin. When you get better quality skates they should be at or a little above your level, and that if you are a heavier person you may need higher level skates to support your weight and keep them from breaking down prematurely. Also, really higher level skate boots come without a blade, you have to select it. Finally, they are not cheap. I think the estimate given of $350 was not bad, they have the Jackson Elle at our pro shop with blade for around $250. I think that is a great beginner skate.

I assumed that I might spend months on my cheap skates, I did not think nice skates were an option for me financially right then, and being a heavier skater, I was mystified as to what to get. I did not even look into getting skates just kind of decided to wait. And the fate intervened.  I was scrolling through ebay about a month and a half into skating and saw the most lovely skates, they actually caught my eye. They had blades, the price $110.

So my research began. The seller had given a ton of info and pics. I went to Kenzie's closet,  a very valuable information site for figure skating equipment. I was able to measure my foot length and width, and check the Reidell sizing chart for width and length, and discovered that a 9.5A in Reidell should fit me. I researched the type of skate, they were upper level but older model, so equivalent to something that one could do single jumps on easily, again, sounded ok for a larger skater to break in. The blades I also researched, a basic MK beginner blade, brand new and probably placed for economics of selling the skate. They had never been worn before, the blades or skates. Knowing all this, and that new, this similar set up would cost me $500-600, I decided to take the risk.

When they first arrived I made the mistake of trying to put them on with my previous skate socks, just one pair, but owie!!  I was convinced they were too small. Then I tried them on with a pair of nylons. Better, much, but still tight. My big toe could wiggle, but the sides felt so snug! After some more research I got a pair of trouser socks. I wore my skates every day at home for 30 minutes at first with gaurds on working up to an hour. On the days I skated I started at about 10 minutes twice with a rest in between, working up to about 45 minutrs non stop after about 2-4 weeks. I would say they were broken in pretty good after about 10 skates along with wearing them at home. Breaking them in they just felt tight on the sides and stiff in the ankle. After breaking them in they now feel like they are an extension of my foot. They have never given me a blister, caused numbness, significant pain or anything like that. I do wear bunga pads on my ankles because they seem to fit better that way, there was less creasing on the boot when I flexed with the Bungas on, my boots are too old to have a flex notch.

So, if I had not come upon my magical boots, which, I am closing in on a year wearing, I am not sure what my course of action would have been. We have ended up having to order custom boots for my husband because of his super wide feet, but he struggled a year in skates that never fit right. Custom boots are expensive and we wanted to make sure it was something we were going to stick with. His skate skate story this year is even longer than mine, but that has been my experience in the skating world with getting skates so. I did decide to switch to dance blades while my soles were still in decent shape and could hold another blade, because dance with my husband is my ultimate goal. He was getting the same blades, basically a beginner's dance blade with his custom boots. I have four skates on them now, really enjoying them, I figure by the time I am ready for a more advanced blade my boots will probably also be ready to be replaced, and if not I can put these blades on new boots.

Offline Ethereal Ice

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Re: Rental Skates or buy?
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2017, 12:52:26 AM »
One more thing, if you get your own skates, check out the caring for skates thread up top. It is very informative and helps you learn to keep your skates dry and odor free, the blades from rusting, and helps them last longer. They are an investment and I love to care for mine. You can also look around these threads to check out protective equipment and skating attire.  The search feature on here has garnered a ton of info for me this past year.

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Re: Rental Skates or buy?
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2017, 06:37:14 AM »
Discussions so far have concentrated on poor quality or ill-fitting boots as a reason to avoid rentals.  Another reason is poor sharpening of the blades.  From other discussions of rental skates, there are reports that some rinks do routinely sharpen the blades on their rental skates.  At the rinks I've been familiar with, especially at my current rink, they do not.  Over XMAS break, I had family visiting from out of state.  I took a young niece skating; she has skated for several months, has her own skates, but didn't bring them.  I looked at three pairs of rentals, and picked the best of the lot; but the edges were dull and all dinged up.  A woman I recently met at the rink used to skate when she was much younger; she just started again, this time with her young daughter.  The woman's old skates were no longer serviceable, so they were both on rentals.  After about four public sessions, she gave up on rentals and bought low-end skates for herself and her daughter.  I've also looked at rentals when newbies have asked me for help.  Edges have always been mediocre at best.

Offline eggskates

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Re: Rental Skates or buy?
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2017, 07:00:58 AM »
Wow!! Thank you for all of your help   :D I'm definitely going to buy skates before lessons, however I'll probably settle for cheaper ones for a start. I think I'll try to get into a good habit of taking care of my skates with cheap ones!! I'm really excited to start lessons! Scrolling through this forum is extremely helpful ahaha,,

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Re: Rental Skates or buy?
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2017, 07:02:47 AM »
Here are some other low-cost options for the OP to consider, especially if the OP is a woman (not clear from this thread).  Check to see if you have pro shops in your area that have been around for a long time (say, 10 yrs or more).

(a) Some pro shops have discontinued models in stock that they are selling off at clearance prices.  For example, I saw a brand new advanced boot that I was familiar with.  It had been discontinued about 10 yrs ago and had been selling for about $300.  It was on clearance for $75.

(b) Some pro shops buy back used high-quality skates in good condition (mainly if you originally bought the old skates from them and are buying new replacements from them), recondition the boots, resharpen the blades, and resell them at decent prices.

(c) Some pro shops sell off-brand skates that have about the same quality as name-brand skates, but at lower prices.

All this depends somewhat on luck (finding a suitable model in your size).  And since you don't know what to look for at this point, it's important to get referrals for decent pro shops from coaches and experienced skaters.  With these options you can try before you buy (not the case with eBay).  And decent pro shops will stand behind what they sell you, in case problems should arise.

 

Offline eggskates

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Re: Rental Skates or buy?
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2017, 07:26:19 AM »
Here are some other low-cost options for the OP to consider, especially if the OP is a woman (not clear from this thread).  Check to see if you have pro shops in your area that have been around for a long time (say, 10 yrs or more).

(a) Some pro shops have discontinued models in stock that they are selling off at clearance prices.  For example, I saw a brand new advanced boot that I was familiar with.  It had been discontinued about 10 yrs ago and had been selling for about $300.  It was on clearance for $75.

(b) Some pro shops buy back high-quality skates in good condition (mainly if you originally bought the old skates from them and are buying new replacements from them), recondition the boots, resharpen the blades, and resell them at decent prices.

(c) Some pro shops sell off-brand skates that have about the same quality as name-brand skates, but at lower prices.

All this depends somewhat on luck (finding a suitable model in your size).  And since you don't know what to look for at this point, it's important to get referrals for decent pro shops from coaches and experienced skaters.  With these options you can try before you buy (not the case with eBay).  And decent pro shops will stand behind what they sell you, in case problems should arise.

Thank you for the tips! I've found that theres only 2 well known pro shops around my area, but ones 45 mins away  :sweat I can't drive yet so I'd feel bad making someone drive me there ahaha. I'll have to check with my local pro shop though!!