Skates - Find the Right Fit
Beginner Skaters (CanSkate)
Beginners can start with hockey skates or figure skates; either are appropriate at the CanSkate level. Recreational skates sold in department stores and sporting goods stores should provide adequate support for the beginner. Skaters in Advanced CanSkate programs will need to have figure skates.
Skates can be purchased at several locations, including:
- Al Anderson’s Source for Sports
- Bike Universe
- Sport Chek
- Canadian Tire
- Top Shelf Sports
- Larry’s Sports Exchange
- Saskatoon Sports Exchange
Figure Skates for Advanced Skaters (Advanced, Pre-Star & STARSkate)
There are many things you can do to help ensure that your skater gets the best possible result. Think about your budget; it will be helpful to the skate fitter to know what sort of price range you are thinking of. Go to an experienced figure skate fitter – one who will sell you equipment that is appropriate for your skater’s strength, technical level, and ability. For a young skater, a stiff, top-of-the-price-range boot is usually the wrong choice. It can be damaging to a skater’s progress if they are trying to skate in a boot that’s too stiff for them. It doesn’t allow their ankles to bend properly.
For a stronger skater, not having enough support can affect progress as well. Finding the appropriate boot and blade combination is one of the most important aspects of getting a new pair of skates. It is worth spending time with an experienced skate fitter. When you visit a Figure Skate shop, allow enough time. The process of properly fitting a skate takes about an hour to three hours depending on the level of skating and boot you need. Having a proper fitting boot will reduce the skater’s chance of injury and increase the possibility of good performance.
Most figure skates are heat moldable. A good skate fitter will mold the boots for you, providing an even better fit. Professional fitters have a variety of other tools to help custom fit every boot. Bring your old skates. A used pair of skates tells a story. They tell the fitter about the strength of the skater, whether the skates have been tied properly during use, and many other things that help the fitter determine what boot the skater should be moving into. Bring the socks/tights that you usually skate in; this is also important in getting an accurate fit.
Where to Purchase NEW Figure Skates
Bike Universe provides complete skate fitting and skate sharpening services. They will discuss a skater’s needs and provide thorough and proper fittings. as well as heat molding, and information on skate care. They deal with a wide variety of boot and blade manufacturers to offer the best possible range of pricing and fit.
Buying USED Figure Skates
Some skaters opt for used skates, but you need to be cautious that the blade is not so worn that it cannot be sharpened anymore. Used boots will need punching out in the ankle area for a comfortable fit. Properly done, punching is a precise adjustment that takes some time. Over-punching (making too much room in the boot) can cancel out all the advantages you got from having a carefully fitted boot.
Russ Prosko (306-384-0341) has extensive experience in used and new figure skates. He also sharpens skates from his home.
Breaking in New and Used Figure Skates
Most skate brands use a technology that allows the boot to flex and bend in the ankle area while still being tied tight for support. However, even though the heat molding process fits the boot to the foot, the skater will still have to physically break in the crease area. Walking around in the skates at home, or doing squats while the skates are properly tied, will help break in the crease area.
Some boots may need punching out in the ankle area for a comfortable fit. If you are having your boots punched, allow at least twenty minutes in the shop. Properly done, punching is a precise adjustment that takes some time. Over-punching (making too much room in the boot) can cancel out all the advantages you got from having a carefully fitted boot.
Keeping on Top of Changes
As skater’s feet grow or change shape, adjustment to the boot may be necessary. Never suffer through a problem! Skate technology has come a long way, and an experienced fitter can make your boots perfect.