How can I get ice skates that fit?
June 19, 2008 12:45 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to get back into ice skating after a long hiatus. (25+ years!) But I'm having some problems with the fit of the skates.

The rental skates that I get at my rink give me adequate ankle support and feel sufficiently snug, but when I stand up the blades do not feel like they are centered under my feet.

They feel like they are hitting me under my big toe, or between my big toe and my second toe -- a little to the "inside" of where a line right down the middle of my foot would be.

I don't feel that I am most stable this way ... I think they would feel more stable if the blades were scooted over a little bit on the bottom of the boot. (A little farther to the left on my left boot and a little farther to the right on my right boot. Does that make sense?)

This is a very noticeable feeling, and it's not one that I ever remembered having when I was skating (pretty frequently) as a kid.

Are any of these statements likely to be true?

a) It's all in my head.
b) It's not all in my head. They fit differently now because my feet have changed shape as I have aged.
c) That's the way ice skates are supposed to feel, and I just didn't remember it that way. Get used to it.
d) Rental skates are made for "the average" and I am not the average, therefore they are never going to fit me correctly.
e) I could easily buy some skates with the blades attached to them in just the right place for me -- this is something that is done all the time.
f) I could buy some skates with the blades attached to them in just the right place for me, but they would be very expensive and elaborate.
posted by mccxxiii to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would vote for:

c) IMHO the blade is supposed to be on the ball of your foot; when you push off with an ice skate you want the ball of your foot to be doing the most work, just like running or walking. Or at least a large portion of the work; just inside the big toe sounds right to me.

f) It's very common to change the profile of the blades to center you- but only from toe to heel. Changing the position of the blade in relation to the width of your foot may be impossible - all the chassis(es?) (the plastic that mounts to the boot and holds the blade) I've ever seen all put the blade in the same place in relation to the width of your foot. I may be misremembering the term chassis.

Finally, if you haven't skated in 25 years so unless you are on one heck of a weird workout schedule the specific muscles have deteriorated a lot. Perhaps your ankles are bending in (extremely common) and so the blades feel like they're located closer to your big toes than back when you were standing straighter on them?
posted by joemax at 1:00 PM on June 19, 2008

All of the above?

a) the different balance required for skates may be making it feel like your feet are falling out when they aren't in actually.
b) it's entirely possible that weight gain or just plain aging feet are making your feet special.
c) You are probably heavier now than when you last skated (presumably as a kid). All kinds of things are going to feel different that you remember.
d) Rental skates are crap skates, usually dull and with primitive support. They might even not be made for average, but whatever it is, they are designed for heavy use, not what the normal skater is doing.
e)It's easy to buy boots and skates separately and have them mounted for you. You need a skate shop for this though, not a generic box store.
f) It's also possible to buy expensive skates this way.

and you forgot g) the skates you had as a kid may have been cheap and over-large, if your parents bought into the same purchasing patterns as mine.

If you intend to skate again more regularly than once a year, go to a skate store and find a pair of solid boots that will work for your feet/body and skating style. This can be done for less than 100, or up to 250 if you're going to go crazy. Remember, as a grown-up you're not growing, so an investment in good equipment is reasonable.
posted by dness2 at 1:05 PM on June 19, 2008

Feeling like it is on the inside might mean things are a bit more loose than it should be. most of the pushing in normal skating is done with the inside edge, so this could be interpreted as being the ball of ones foot just below your big toe. as I think about it a good deal of your push comes from your big toe.

A person needs lots of lower body strength for skating to be smooth. I see lots of ankles/feet flopped in and out with inferior skates, and lack of strength. little kids use plastic skates that give their ankles strength to keep from wobbling.
posted by Amby72 at 1:19 PM on June 19, 2008

I am a figure skating coach who went back to skating after a 17 year break.

b, e, and f with a little bit of d.

Rental skates suck. Probably the blade is mounted correctly, but the boot has been misshapen through hundreds of different wearers, making the balance of the blade hinky (that's a technical term!). Also entirely probably that the rocker (essentially the bottom of the blade) has been misshapen through careless and too many sharpenings.

If you think you're going to be skating for a while, you can skip straight to f, and spend some money on boots and blades. A good beginner or low freestyle boot will run about $250-350 and you can get a good blade (I like MK Pros) for about $165.

However, Jackson and Reidel both make excellent beginner and low freestyle boot/blade combinations. Give Rainbo Sport Shop a call for advice (although I wouldn't buy skates over the phone--make sure you try them on at a reputable local dealer. Rainbo can tell you who.) Tell' em Xan sent you.
posted by nax at 3:11 PM on June 19, 2008

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