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Author Topic: New Skates Blog  (Read 475 times)

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Offline FigureSpins

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New Skates Blog
« on: January 24, 2017, 08:47:47 AM »
I love my new skates.  While I was extremely unhappy about the wait (ordered in June, arrived in early Dec mis-sized, replacements arrived early January) it is wonderful to have skates that fit right.

I replace my skates frequently because I'm picky and hate broken-down skates.  I have callouses and heel spurs from ill-fitting skates and I refuse to be bothered with making things work half-way.  Between skating and coaching, my skates are in use for 20-30 hrs/week.  It's a coaching business expense, so buying new skates isn't as financially painful as it is for someone who skates three hrs/week.

I went with custom Harlicks because my feet are two different sizes and I needed a split ball/heel width and they offered a discount at the PSA conference.  In hindsight, I should have had my skate tech measure and order.  It would have saved a lot of aggravation and time.  I had two pair of stock boots prior to this and the callouses (and baby bunions) were a major concern, as was the fact that I could never get the stock boots to fit both feet.  I had to choose secure spins or secure jump landings. (Chose spins, which isn't the worst thing.)

The last pair of boots were SP-Teri Super Teri's with split width and a few other options.  I had two major fitting issues: the toe box wasn't rounded enough, which left my toes squished together, even after punching them out multiple times.  The callouses came from the replacement insole not fitting properly after they were punched out.  More importantly, the damn things never wrapped around my calf enough for the tongue to stay inside the boot.  I'd press forward to flex my ankle/knee and the tongue would get "stuck" outside the edge of the boot.  Really annoying because all support was lost.  Worse, the stupid skates wouldn't stay tied - had to do half-knots at each hook and then double-knot the top.  Never had to do that before, but it was the only way to get the tongue to stay in place.  (Neither here nor there: the tongue hook was in the wrong place, although it was sufficient to keep the tongue from twisting.)  Bah.


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Offline FigureSpins

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Re: New Skates Blog
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2017, 08:54:10 AM »
Since the skate tech helped so very much with the boot fitting, I decided to splurge on new blades.  Stuck with the Gold Seals, even though I don't need them, but chose the lighter-weight Revolution blades.  So far, so good.  Love the chrome and they're really fast on the ice.  Supposedly, they won't need sharpening as often - we'll see.  I don't like dull blades, so I'll notice quickly.

I'm breaking in the skates a little at a time because the rink's pretty crowded and I can't navigate as confidently.

The first thing my fitter asked was that I use the stock nylon laces for 10 hours of skating.  I hate nylon laces - they cut my hands.  Thanks to the skatingforums.com member who suggested wearing gloves - that really helps a lot.  I can pull tightly, per the fitter's recommendation, and the laces are still white. (No blood from my fingers!)

I do have to tie a double-knot at the top because the nylon is slippery and comes untied more easily than cotton laces.  No biggie.  I've found that the half-knot above the eyelets is still a good practice; if the top comes undone, the lower part of the skate remains tight.  Saves some time.  It's tricky to tie the skates with gloves on, but you get used to it.

Still, once I get past the first 10 hours, I'm switching to cotton-blend laces and adding a few rhinestones with E6000 glue, just for fun.

This morning, I left the top hook undone, which gave me more kneebend.  That increased my ability to maneuver, turn and stop -- always a good thing.
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Offline FigureSpins

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Re: New Skates Blog
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2017, 08:56:29 AM »
Did lots of swizzles, dips and slaloms, pressing the tongue forward by bending the knees and ankles.  It's helping to mold the skate to my foot.  (They were heat-molded, which really got the break-in process off to a running start. 

While I know backward crossovers are good for breaking in skates, I had to take them slowly this morning.  The stiffness of the boots makes back crossovers difficult.  I'll have to really push myself on an empty session - couldn't skate backward crossovers and stop short if needed.
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Offline FigureSpins

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Re: New Skates Blog
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2017, 09:00:34 AM »
One thing I did was to replace the stock insole.  I gave Harlick a pair to use when making the skates, so that the thickness wasn't an issue.  They're Sole brand Thin Sport Footbeds, which are heat-moldable for a custom fit and has good arch support.  They were heat-molded with the boots initially, but I can still feel something isn't quite right.  Feels like the middle is a little too high.  I'll have to heat-mold them again and see if that helps, or swap them out for the same-size pair I have in my SP-Teri's.  (Or bang them with a hammer to lower the midsection, lol.)  My heels felt numb after an hour in them this morning.

I don't feel like the heel's really getting back into the padded pocket, so fitting the insole correctly will probably resolve that issue as well.
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Offline FigureSpins

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Re: New Skates Blog
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2017, 09:03:54 AM »
The SP-Teri's had closed-cell foam on the tongue - it was part of the fitting problem with the tongue.  Could never get it to stay compressed, so it led to the tongue getting stuck outside the boot.  The Harlicks have smooth foam, so that isn't an issue any longer.

My calves really ache after wearing them for a while - I feel like I went skiing two days ago.  Lot of tightness, so I've been using my foam roller and my massage stick, which help tremendously.
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Offline FigureSpins

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Re: New Skates Blog
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2017, 09:09:13 AM »
The top edges of the boot are rubbing because the tops bend inward a little.  The fitter said I could crimp them outside with a pair of pliers, but I'll probably just tough it out.  To that end, I put a half-strip of KT Tape on my calf where the boot rubs.  It's like stretchy fabric band-aid material, without the little gauze pad.  It worked perfectly!  It stays flat and goes under my pantyhose sock, so it protects my leg. 
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Offline Loops

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Re: New Skates Blog
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2017, 12:35:36 PM »
Yay!!  Glad the new skates are FINALLY the good size and working for you.  Wish I could write off skates as a work expense and/or feel OK about splurging like you did.  I dream about custom boots......

Offline FigureSpins

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Re: New Skates Blog
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2017, 09:11:24 PM »
The boots fit pretty well, but I feel like the heels are loose and there's a ridge across the foot, at the back of my arch.  I'll have to flatten the insole a bit at that spot because my heels are falling asleep and my feet ache.  That might let me get my heel against the backstrap more easily.

Although I feel like I'm on stilts, I really like the Revolution blades. I'm really glad I bought them. 

Can definitely feel the weight difference - these skates are lighter than my SP-Teri/Traditional Gold Seal combination.  That's good: I'm old and getting weak, lol.

Managed some forward crossovers in both directions and CW backward crossovers.  I was demonstrating a proper windup entry and pulled off a couple of one-foot spins without thought.   FO three turns were so easy that I felt like the blade was getting ahead of me.  Took a few times to figure out the check. 

The boots are stiff, but I'm getting more ankle/knee bend now. I used my "wall flex" exercise, which helped loosen them up.  Some dips, back crossovers and edge glides are working the boots into shape for my feet.

Overall, I'm very happy with them.  Definitely need a good skating practice to sweat them up and get the break in process moving along more quickly.
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Offline FigureSpins

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Re: New Skates Blog
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2017, 01:13:18 PM »
So, here's a problem that I've noticed lately: the Harlick boots have a bit of a ridge across the sole, inside the boot.  It's not the insert...the inside sole of the boot has a ridge where the heel and instep of my foot meet.  It feels like the change from heel down to the ball of the boot should have been shaped more.  Think of putting wooden blocks together.

I might try compressing the insole over the ridge to compensate because I don't think I can chisel/sand/shave that spot inside the boot easily.

They ache in that spot after a few minutes of wearing.  If I don't adjust it, my heels are a little numb after I take off the boots.

I can now do forward turns and mohawks, waltz jump, toe loop and most half jumps (mazurka's a little off) and I can do an upright, scratch and sit spin.  The sit spin is barely recognizable, but between the achy knees and the stiff boots, it's acceptable for now.

Edges and Figure Eights are so much easier, especially the outside eights - the skate tech did a great job of mounting/aligning the blades.
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Offline FigureSpins

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Re: New Skates Blog
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2017, 04:55:15 PM »
Last week, I took my sore feet and skates to a local running store and asked for insole help.  Instead of the Superfeet Yellow, the clerk suggested Superfeet Black.  (The arch on the yellow is not in the right spot for my feet.)  She marked and trimmed the footbeds to fit my skates and they solved several issues: arch support, softened the heel-to-arch ridge of the boot, raised my right foot up so the heel cup fit tighter and snugged up the toe box.  Boy, are they in there tightly, though: to shift it over a notch, I had to use a screwdriver to pry it out from under the achilles-area padding.

Edges are pretty solid, but I'm still struggling with left-back-anything turns.  Just can't find the turning spot easily.  (Not that I practice or anything.)
Spins are okay - I don't need a passport on laybacks.  Sit spins are little iffy, but that's due more to my knee problems than the skates.
Jumps are more controlled and I've been surprised several times with near-landings when demonstrating for students, including a few for my CW skater. (I'm CCW)
Moves are soooo much easier on these skates - I think it's the blades.  I might even take a test, if I ever get back to practicing.  *gasp*
"If you still look good after skating practice, you didn't work hard enough."

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