I have been relying on this forum a lot when deciding what skates to get and have learnt a lot about the technical side of boots and blades while going through the many many threads. As such, I thought it would only be appropriate if I give back by giving my insights to the Riedell 255's, which barely have any threads (the last I checked was 2, very briefly!) on it, with hopes that it could be useful to another skater who may stumble upon this lovely forum like I did.
Disclaimer: This is going to be a really long read as I would go into detail my experience with my previous boot, my considerations, and my thought process! I hope being this detailed would help others consider what is important to them when buying a new boot, so if you are here just for the review, scroll down!!
First things first - I am in my late teens, come from a tiny country in Asia and I started skating in September 2015, so its been barely more than a year. I am currently trying to get my loop and sit spin, and can do decent salchows and toe loop, though not perfect. I *should* be able to do my scratch, but after changing boots, I seem to have lost it and is in the midst of getting it back. When I have school, I would skate only once a week, for about two hours, but have been skating a lot more now that I am having my holidays, say up to even three times a week.
My first pair of boots were Edea's Motivo, which on hindsight, could have been a not-so-good decision. I decided on getting Edea simply because our only pro shop carries Jacksons and Edeas, (as well as WIFA, but that's really unpopular), and as a newcomer to the sport with totally no one to turn to, I thought to play it safe and get my boots from the shop instead. As a small shop run by two old coaches themselves, they were also not very properly stocked and didn't have Edeas in my size, so I tried Jacksons and WIFA, but didn't like how tight it was at my toes (I have a wider width). They told me to come back again in a week or two, where there was a new shipment of Edeas on its way. They said to call me when its here, but eventually I walked in on my own to check and she seemed to have completely forgotten about me. Looking back, I also realised they did not take into consideration my potential for future development, and only recommended me boots for my current level of skating back then, which were basic crossovers and stroking. I had no break-in period with this boot, and it was very comfortable and sufficient for beginners. Eventually, in a year, I managed to land my waltz, learnt my salchow and transited into a one-foot spin all on the very basic boot, which was completely broken down and provided absolutely no support when I was practicing my salchows. My foot was also slipping around in the boot and I had to consistently retie my laces as it came lose with almost every jump. That was when I knew, I had to change my boot.
I wanted to take into consideration my pace of learning when shopping around for a boot, but eventually was advised against it as the moves from this point on takes much longer than the basic moves that I learnt pretty quickly. As a coach said to me - 3 months to learn, 3 months to perfect. Also, landing a doubles is practically unheard of as an adult learner (I know its very much the norm in the western countries!) here in my country, and the only ones attempting to land doubles are mainly those in the national team. I also did not want to spend another sum of money after a year again when it breaks down and really wanted to pay that extra now so that it can last longer. And so, taking into consideration all of these factors, including my age and weight, I wanted to get a skate that is mainly used for singles, but could accommodate doubles for that extra stiffness that I may need as an adult learner.
I considered getting Edeas again since I know my size and could order it online to save on the possible markup should I get from the shop again. However, Edea's line of boots are very clear in its distinction - a boot for the singles, doubles, triples and then the Pianos. There was no in between and it did not help that the girls at my rink almost always boot one up from their level, so there are plenty of girls doing their singles wearing the Chorus instead of the Overture and so I had no feedback on the Overture. I did not consider Jacksons because they always gave me the impression that they are really slim in nature and would fit girls with slimmer feet, similar to Risports (though I am aware that they do have multiple width options), but nah. So I looked up Riedell instead, and they have a much wider range of boots than Edea! The 255 Motion immediately caught my eye because it was the highest level boot in its instructional series, yet recommended mainly for singles to doubles. It also had a rigidity of 70, similar to the Chorus (though I understand that the rigidity index is not standardised throughout the industry?), but nevertheless it fit the criteria well! I also saw not much a difference between the the 223 Stride, 229 Edge and the 255 Motion, besides the fact that it got stiffer in increments of 10. It also helped that I met another girl around my age who just got the 255 Motion as well, as an upgrade to her beginner skates, and she only had good things to say about the boot.
As I had no idea what my size was in Riedell, I did not want to risk getting a bad fit online and had to get it via a coach, who was the only Riedell dealer in my country. I told her I was looking to get the 255 Motion, and asked what's the difference between the 255 Motion and the 910 Flair, and if it was worth the couple of extra bucks to get the 910 Flair instead. For the record, Riedell states 910 Flair to have the same rigidity index of 70, recommended for single and double jumps, but is part of the crossover series, but never said it was crossover to what.
I barely managed to gather that it was meant for dance as well, but really had no more information. She said that it wasn't worth it as she deemed the 910 Flair as simply a more "lightweight" model to the 255 Motion, and recommended that I stick with the 255 Motion. I also asked her about upgrading my blade into Eclipse's Volant, which really pushed the price up, and she recommended I stick with the Astra blade as it is more than enough for my level. With that, she measured my size against Riedell's feet measuring equipment, as well as my width while asking if I had any issues with my old boot. I did tell her I think I am of a wider width and the toes feel really cramped in the old one, though still bearable. She went ahead with ordering a medium width for me at the end of the day. Take note that up till this point, I had never slid my foot into any Riedell boot, simply making decisions based on information I could find online.
Edit: Never knew there was a character limit of 10,000 characters! The actual review in the next post below!