It’s Time for Your First Pair of Figure Skates
There's been a spike in figure skating these past few years which only continues to grow.
Every new year gives birth to new hobbies, trends and interests, with figure skating certainly being one of them.
More adults have started to skate at public rinks, and more kids have also been picking up the sport.
If you fall into one of these categories and are starting to get hooked, you may consider buying your own pair of figure skates or upgrading an existing pair.
Break-in Your New Skates At Home With Polyglide Synthetic Ice
While PolyGlide Ice focuses on what you skate on, it has not stopped our customers from asking for figure skate recommendations.
At any level, the right skates can improve skating performance, help you land those loops, and make the most of your training time.
However, the more you skate, the more you realize that rental skates have their limitations.
Rental skates are made of a cheap plastic or leather and are only good for recreational use during a public session..
Furthermore, you can't guarantee you'll get the same pair every time you get to the rink.
And if you're a youth or adult skater moving up the ranks and learning the disciplines of figure skating, you'll need a better pair of figure skates too.
Let's understand figure skates better and cover some of the best skates at all stages.
Understanding Figure Skates
The traditional, classic figure skate has two main parts: the boot and the blade.
While this may sound straightforward, each component is carefully made to ensure figure skaters can generate speed, perform jumps, and stops.
Figure skating boots are smooth and exude class on the ice.
The best ones are made of high-quality leather, often three pieces stitched together to form a sturdy boot.
Leather is a durable, flexible material that can withstand the moisture and condensation when skating.
Today, some boots are made of synthetic materials, hard plastics, or a combination of leather and synthetics.
As a result, the price range varies, with pure leather boots being the most expensive.
Figure skate boots are designed to protect your foot while being lightweight so you can execute jumps.
In addition, boots have padding around the ankles for added support and strong laces so you can always secure them.
Figure skating boots also come with a degree of stiffness, with harder boots designed for beginners.
When choosing your skates, stiffness plays a major role, as a boot that's too stiff can lead to injury.
The blades of skates are where the metal meets the ice.
It's what allows you to glide, spin, and perform the jumps the pros do that take your breath away.
The blade also gives grip and control, which accounts for the precision needed in figure skating.
The standard blade is a long piece of tempered carbon or steel, sometimes with a chrome finish.
It's attached to the skate via two metal plates on the sole of the boot (the heel and toe plates), held in place by screws.
The metal blade is attached to the plates with two columns called stanchions.
Check Out Your Skate Blade W.E.A.R. Score With This Generator Tool
In ice skating, the blades of skates consist of several parts, including the stanchions that extend to the runner and the long piece of metal that comes into contact with the ice.
At the front of the blade is the toe pick, a serrated piece of metal useful for stopping, turning, and performing spins.
The runner is not a single piece of metal; it consists of two sharpened edges with a concave radius of hollow between them.
This radius of hollow is the most crucial part of the blade, as it determines the depth of the groove and the skater's grip and control on the ice.
Choosing the appropriate radius of hollow for the skater's weight, skill level, and intended use is essential for optimum performance on the ice.
You essentially have multiple edges:
● An inside edge: The part of the blade that faces the inside of your foot.
● An outside edge: The part that faces away from the body.
You can use the edges on each foot to move in forward and backward motions, which technically gives you eight edges.
Finding the right blade with the right edge and hollow can determine your grip, speed, and performance.
The other factors you must consider include style, color, and sizing.
Beginner Skaters: Transitioning from Recreational Skates to Your First Pair
Renting skates can be a suitable option for beginner ice skaters trying ice skating for the first time.
However, as you progress in your skills, rented skates may become less desirable due to the lack of control over the skate's design, brand, and durability, which can impact the average skater's experience.
To assist beginners, we have compiled a choice of skates from three highly recommended models of skates, all under $200, that provide the right balance of fit and performance.
In addition, these beginner ice skates come with blades, which are not commonly included with more advanced skates.
- Jackson Ultima Artiste: The Jackson Artiste skate and blade combo is great for beginners looking to take their skating to the next level. It has durable leather construction with reinforced ankle support so you can learn those new spins, turns, and single jumps.
- Riedell Skates - Sparkle: Riedell has long been a go-to brand for beginners in figure and recreational skating. These sparkle beginner skates have light ankle support that focuses on comfort. The solid PVC sole and stainless-steel blade allow for hours of skating without wear and tear.
Botas - Cezar: European brand Botas focuses on affordable yet durable skates. This high-performance model with a waterproof finish. With comfortable lining on the tongue and upper, your boot fits snugly without causing discomfort.
As you build your skills before jumping to a more expensive skate, these skates will get the ball rolling.
Intermediate Skaters: Upgrading to Advanced Skates
- Jackson Ultima Freestyle Fusion/Aspire FS2190: The highly rated Jackson Ultima Freestyle Fusion combines leather, PVC, and microfiber to create a powerful skate. This skate is a "step-up" from the Jackson Artiste for intermediate skaters. The tongue and upper lining are designed to reduce injury, allowing proper support for the ankle.
- Edea Figure Skates Chorus: Skaters ready to take their single jumps and competitions to the next level (we're talking double and triple jumps) need a reliable boot. The Edea brand has supported competitive and professional skaters for decades, and this is a great entry to elite skates. The Edea Chorus also has patented Dual Density Technology to support the ankle and foot from single jumps to those more difficult to master. Edea is all about fit, with a boot that almost feels made for your foot.
- Jackson Ultima Fusion Elle: This Jackson Ultima, recently launched figure skate, has rolled lining, durable microfiber upper, and a large, soft tongue that wraps around the shin for optimal support. It has a newly designed Fusion sole to reduce impact and the fantastic Mirage blade, which can be changed if necessary.
Advanced Skaters: Custom Figure Skates
With advanced level figure skates, boots, and blades are almost always sold separately from the more expensive skates.
At this stage, the competitive figure skater has an idea of the type of performance they want from their blades and may even change them for different occasions.
Edea Ice Fly Figure Skates: Edea boots are the high-end quality boots pros go to when looking to upgrade. These are lightweight and can accommodate almost any blade. The special design, shape and breathable materials make them ideal for the elite skater who demands performance, style, and durability.
Risport RF1 Elite Ice Skates: Another reputable skating brand. Olympic and elite figure skaters trust the Risport boot for its lightweight but durable materials. It's high-quality leather and sleek design makes it stand out on the ice. It also has features like special aeration to reduce moisture and special durable materials that adapt to the shape of your foot.
- Jackson Supreme Low Cut (Men's Boot): Jacksho produces boots for all levels, and the Supreme low cut is great for men who want more flexibility and speed in a shorter boot. The carbon fiber sole reduces boot weight even further, but no comfort and support is lost thanks to rolled topline and extra padding in the ankle areas.
Blade choices for intermediate to advanced skates
Blades can range from $250 to $750. Some common blade brands include:
These blades come in different lengths, hollows, and materials.
Get a skating coach or boot technician to help you choose the best blade based on your objectives.
Finding the Perfect Fit
Choosing the right figure skates can be overwhelming.
There are several factors to consider including:
Size and Comfort: Figure skates come in different styles and measurements and are sometimes targeted to different types of feet. Two skates the same size might not necessarily be the right fit. All manufacturers carry distinct size charts and measurement guides to purchase the most comfortable skate. You can also measure your feet at home to ensure you get the most comfortable skate. Buying too small or big skates will lead to a poor skating experience and painful blisters. The correct size skate will improve your comfort level, which is the most important factor.
Cost: What's your budget? Beginners should not spend more than $200 on skates. You can still see if figure skating is right for you (or your child) without a large investment. Advanced skaters, however, may need custom skates or high-quality boots and blades, which can cost well over $1000.
Stiffness: The stiffness of the boot provides the support needed for you to skate as best as you can. Boots come in varying degrees of stiffness.
Soft skates with minimal stiffness are also growing in popularity for recreational use.
Advanced skaters need stiff boots to repeatedly perform Axel jumps and turns.
Your weight, skill level, strength, and type of skating discipline will determine how stiff your boot shoot be.
'Overbooting,' which is a beginner skater buying an advanced skate, can lead to foot pain, injury, and poor skating experience.
- Blade: Blades determine factors like speed, balance, and precision. These are all based on features like the type of metal, length, toe pick, and radius of hollow. Watch the features. However, most skate shops can mount new blades as needed.
- Design: We all have different preferences regarding color, material, and style. To an extent, figure skating is all about flair and pageantry, but don't buy a skate because it looks good. Keep the design last on the list.
Should you buy used skates?
We get it, figure skate prices go up the further you get in the sport.
It's the reason why skaters drop out of competitions over time, as it's just too costly to upgrade.
That begs the question; should you buy used skates?
There are several reseller sites to find skates at great prices, but there are a few drawbacks.
It's a risk.
You're often unsure of how long the previous owner used the boot.
The boot might be too stiff for your current skill level.
Some might be worn down, leading to injury.
Furthermore, used boots have limited shelf life, so you end up purchasing another one faster than if you bought a new skate.
If there are large, deep creases in the boot, especially the ankle region, the skate has been heavily used and will probably break down soon.
If you buy used skates, do so from a reputable dealer and aim for beginner skates, as you can swap those out as needed.
Maintaining and Caring for Ice Skates
Whether you're a beginner, intermediate skater, or pro, taking care of your skates is non-negotiable.
As you've noticed, figure skates are an investment.
More importantly, you won't need to ditch your skates early because they no longer look good or worse; they no longer perform to your expectations.
Maintenance can be split into two categories: caring for your blades and caring for your boot.
If you use your skates often, blades are prone to rust and losing their edges quickly due to poor care. Make sure to:
- Sharpen your blades: The sharper your blades, the better your performance. On average, you should sharpen your blades after every 20 hours of skate time. This figure can increase or decrease depending on how often you skate. Take your skates to a professional, as hockey and figure skates require different techniques.
- Skate Sharpener: At some point, you may want to consider investing in a skate sharpener to always have your blades sharpened to your liking. Sharpeners now have the technology to help you get the best edge for your skates.
- Keep them Dry: After a skating session or hockey game, skates collect moisture from the ice, which can rust your precious blades. Keep a thick microfiber cloth to dry your blades after you take them off.
- Invest in soakers: Drying the blades alone may not be enough. Soakers are a thick cloth that covers your entire skate blade and will absorb any leftover moisture while you have them in your bag. They don't double as skate guards, so be careful not to use them for that.
- Protect your blades with skate guards: When you're not skating, blades can develop dust, get nicked, or develop scratches. A blade skate guard protects your blades from the locker room to the rink when walking in your skates. Here are a few fancy options to consider: Guarddog Skate Guards, Guradog Skate Guards for Figure Skates
As previously mentioned, boots can be made of different materials.
Taking care of the boot can save you hundreds of dollars, as even mid-tier boots are built to last.
Here are some care instructions:
- After spending time on the ice, a dry skate is a healthy skate. That cloth that dries your blades can also dry your boot. Make sure to dry the inside and outside of your skate.
- Give your skate some time to air dry after using the cloth. This extra step ensures your skate does not dry rot or develop mold.
- Protect your figure skates with a waterproof seal. Some contain beeswax or other compounds that reduce moisture.
- Clean and polish any scuff marks
- Check your boots periodically for loose screws or broken laces.
While skates wear down like any other tool, the better you care for them, the longer they last.
It’s Time to Skate
Figure skating is an exciting and wonderful sport.
The more you skate, the more invested you are in getting better, even if you're a recreational skater.
At any stage, it's an exciting feeling to lace up your new pair of ice skates.
Moving from rental skates to your own pair is the biggest jump, as choosing the right skates can determine your trajectory.
The same goes for intermediate and advanced skaters.
The best pair of ice skates is out there for you, but it requires patience and looking for the right features for your skill level.
We hope that with this guide; you'll find the best skates you can use on both natural and synthetic ice.