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Author Topic: Buying new figure skates  (Read 1647 times)

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Offline surfdabbler

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Buying new figure skates
« on: August 05, 2015, 06:20:42 PM »
I'm currently skating on Hockey skates, and I'm looking at buying some figure skates.  Now, I'm not playing hockey, but the hockey skates are a lot of fun, and I do love the fast footwork and fast skating side of things, but I'm also doing figure skating lessons, and enjoy the figure skating maneuvers - not for competition, just for fun, exercise and the challenge of learning something new.  I'm not completely switching, but will probably end up skating with both, like having a road bike for fast commuting, and a mountain bike for weekend back-trails.  I like freestyle skating moves too, which are more suited to hockey boots.  Anyway, I digress...

I am currently skating twice a week, at Australian Intermediate 2 level, which means two-foot spins (correct entry and exit), tap-toe jumps and bunny hops.  I've used rental skates for a couple of lessons to use the toe picks, but I plan to continue with the figure skating lessons, so I'm looking at buying my own figure skates.  (Funny story - I performed a tap-toe jump in the rentals two weeks ago, and when I tapped the boots together, one of the boot straps got caught in a slot on the other boot.  I landed with both feet stuck together.)

As an adult at this level, I've read that I should be going for Jackson Freestyles.  Jackson seems to be all we get in Australia - all the skate shops stock them, and most places ONLY stock Jackson.  I'm a little concerned about fitting, and I may have to fly interstate to try some on.  I have tapered toes, wide feet and high arches, which seems to be a weird combination that doesn't match any brand, and as I said, in Aus, it's Jackson or nothing anyway.

Anyone had experience with purely measurement-based fittings and mail-order?

On the other side of things, anyone had experience with alternating between hockey/figure boots, and learning both at the same time?  I haven't had major problems with tripping over the toe pick on the rental boots, as I'm pretty conscious of it when switching, although the Freestlye boots have a much more aggressive toe pick.

Offline AgnesNitt

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Re: Buying new figure skates
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2015, 07:04:49 PM »
Reidell, Jacksons, and Harlicks all sell their same skates as roller skates.

If there are roller pro-shops around, you can try there as well as ice skate pro-shops.

In fact, I got my custom Harlicks measured at a roller competition. If there are roller competitions in your area, you may find fitters showing up there from the major brands.

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Offline riley876

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Re: Buying new figure skates
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2015, 09:00:35 PM »
On the other side of things, anyone had experience with alternating between hockey/figure boots, and learning both at the same time?

Not hockey & figure, but inline & figure (i.e. regular but rockered inlines, set up for slalom, not artistic inlines).  I switch between them continuously and continue on with learning the exact same things, at pretty much the same level.   Switching back to inlines is a 10 second adjustment, switching back to ice takes anything from 5 to 30 minutes to get my ice mojo back, depending on how long I've been away. 

I haven't skated hockey skates for years, so can barely remember how they skate,  but I imagine what you are proposing is rather less of a difference.

So, I'd venture to say that as long as you keep switching regularly it wont be a problem at all.    If anything you'll develop a better feel for your skates. 

Offline riley876

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Re: Buying new figure skates
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2015, 09:05:28 PM »
If there are roller pro-shops around, you can try there as well as ice skate pro-shops.

Great idea,  though one thing to watch for, is I believe there's a major difference in required stiffness between roller boots and ice boots, so don't expect the feel (during fitting) to be exactly the same even for the same branding from the same manufacturer.   Though it's probably close enough to get the basic sizing sorted.

Offline surfdabbler

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Re: Buying new figure skates
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2015, 01:37:47 AM »
Interesting idea about the roller skates.  I've just checked, and unfortunately none of the local rinks stock anything from Jackson.  According to the Jackson sizing charts, I need an 8.5 for length, and a 13 to get the necessary width in a C size (which is the widest Freestyle fitting).  Crazy!  I have no trouble at all buying normal shoes, but the ice skate sizing charts are crazy width-wise.  I really will need to try them on.

I'm glad you don't think switching will be an issue.  I've been switching back and forth a little already with the rentals, and I find every time I switch to the rental figure skates, the figure moves feel good, and when I come back to my own skates, I can do more on them, so there is definitely cross-learning happening.

Offline riley876

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Re: Buying new figure skates
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2015, 02:28:54 AM »
I like freestyle skating moves too, which are more suited to hockey boots.

I don't think I'd find anything easier in hockey skates, because it was such a revelation going to figures.  Found them so much more controllable and confidence inspiring.  Like night and day.  Even for doing cone slalom stuff.   (Not that there's any skills in slalom that figure skating doesn't also cover, though perhaps with a different focus).

What freestyling moves are you doing/aiming for?    What have you found easier in hockeys?

I'm very interested in crossing over the styles of slalom, freestyling and ice dance.  As an aficionado of all 3, I see so much lost opportunity in all of them.   All stuck stagnating in their own little worlds.

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Re: Buying new figure skates
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2015, 09:41:23 AM »
Great idea,  though one thing to watch for, is I believe there's a major difference in required stiffness between roller boots and ice boots, so don't expect the feel (during fitting) to be exactly the same even for the same branding from the same manufacturer.   Though it's probably close enough to get the basic sizing sorted.

Harlick uses the exact same stock boots for roller and ice. If you try on a Classic it's a Classic. The stiffness and padding don't change. Doesn't matter what you're using it for - they just either put on a blade or wheels after you choose what boot you want.

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Re: Buying new figure skates
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2015, 10:00:34 AM »
On the other side of things, anyone had experience with alternating between hockey/figure boots, and learning both at the same time?

Not personally,  but I've known several coaches who wore each without issue as well as one skater who was learning both and switched between them with no issue either - as long as both pairs of boots fit well and you're not struggling with issues relating to fit that might be misinterpreted as issues with switching, you should be just fine.  There will be some adjustment between pairs of skates, but that happens even when one has two pairs of figure skates they switch between - and you learn to adapt quickly :)

Offline surfdabbler

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Re: Buying new figure skates
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2015, 06:40:52 PM »
What freestyling moves are you doing/aiming for?    What have you found easier in hockeys?

Well, I'm really not there with much freestyle yet, but my hockey teacher has complimented me on my smooth grapevine.  I can link them together and keep it going back and forth with the right foot leading.  I'm still limited to just one grape with the left foot leading, because I have to kick in a bit more speed to do a second one.

I've just always found hockey skates more responsive, and I've always enjoyed 'session' skating in hockey boots.  Even back when learning the basics of two foot turns fwd to backward.  Figure skates will say "You want to turn?  Oh, all right then, if you really want to, yes, we will do that, but as soon as that's done, I'm gonna hold you nice and stable, OK?  Round we go, and back to forward skating in the general direction.  Nicely done on the turn by the way."  Hockey skates on the other hand are constantly saying "Whatcha wanna do now?  Left, allrighty then, let's go!  Cool, OK, whatnowwhatnow?  I felt a bit of pressure to the right there, so let's go! Oh wait, you wanna go straight.  OK, sure.  What next?"

OK, I'm exaggerating the difference a lot.  Figure skates are more stable and balanced, and noticeably better for spins, stable in one foot glides, and of course necessary for toe-pick jumps.  Hockey skates are just that little bit more on the edge of control, ready to go for anything, and I like the feel of them.

Oh, update on the figure skate shopping - I called the one local store who I though stocked the Freestyle...no, they have no stock at all.  They measure your sizing and will order it in for you.  So, the nearest boots are 1000km away, and it's going to be a mail order gamble.  Wish me luck!

Offline amy1984

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Re: Buying new figure skates
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2015, 12:05:33 AM »
On the other side of things, anyone had experience with alternating between hockey/figure boots, and learning both at the same time?  I haven't had major problems with tripping over the toe pick on the rental boots, as I'm pretty conscious of it when switching, although the Freestlye boots have a much more aggressive toe pick.

I haven't had hockey skates on in ages but I did used to use both.  I found hockey skates better for racing around with friends and stuff.  They were faster and more maneuverable.  Now, I'd probably say it's the opposite because I'm so used to my figure skates.  But I certainly had no problem using both.

Offline aussieskater

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Re: Buying new figure skates
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2015, 12:51:37 AM »
surfdabbler, where are you located?  There are pro shops in Sydney which carry Risport, Gam, Reidell and SP Teri (not all at the same shop sadly!).  As far as working out which brand's boot last fits your foot the best, could you maybe ask if some skaters or coaches at your rink would mind if you slipped your foot into their boot?  If you are female with a very wide foot, you might want to try on some male skaters' boots as well.  Don't worry too much about model stiffness etc - all you're doing with this exercise is trying to eliminate brands.  It should be apparent pretty quickly which makers are just not a good fit for your foot shape. 

Re width - yes been there done that and had to have mine measured and ordered in a very much non-standard width (A heel and E ball).  While the boots which arrived after a 12 week wait have worked well for my feet, I admit I had my heart in my mouth buying such an expensive item effectively sight unseen.  Unfortunately, I think I read on here recently that Jackson now only offers non-standard width ("semi custom") boots from the Premiere level and up.

Good luck with the hunt!

Offline surfdabbler

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Re: Buying new figure skates
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2015, 01:25:25 AM »
I'm a male with a fairly normal male foot.  It just seems to be off the charts for measurement.

I'm in Brisbane, and have been joking to my wife about flying to Sydney to buy my skates!  I will try on the basic model Jacksons that they have at the rink - they have some old model Mystique - hopefully in some suitable sizes.  I'm hoping to work out size from that.  The Mystique only comes in a B, but the width seems to correlate with one size down, one width up, so if I can fit a 10B, then I will mail order a 9C in the Freestyle and cross my fingers.

I can't imagine ordering a really weird size based totally on measurements - that would stress me out, and I certainly wouldn't trust my own measurements on my first pair of figure skates!  Glad they worked out anyway.

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Re: Buying new figure skates
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2015, 06:08:58 PM »
I am getting new skates because I have broken mine down after 2 1/2 years. I am currently Pre-Bronze, but I will be moving up to Bronze soon, and I skate 4 times a week. I have always been in Riedell skates, and I like them because I have narrow feet. Not sure what my next pair will be though...