Buying skates can be tricky but here are some things to consider that will help you find the perfect fit and get the most out of your skates.
Skater level- A skater that has just started skating will not need as stiff of a skate, or as high quality of a blade as someone who is working on double and triple jumps and is much older. It is important, however, that all skaters have enough ankle support to keep their ankle still while performing edges and turns.
Skater size- A 50lb skater that is the same level as a 150lb skater will not need skates that are as stiff because they do not have enough body weight to break their skates down. Skaters should be able to bend their ankles at least slightly, even in brand new skates.
Blades- Blades with a square toe-pick instead of a rounded toe-pick are recommended for skaters who are learning jumps and spins. Any good skate shop should check for proper alignment of the blades and be able to adjust them if needed.
Boots- Skates should be snug, but still allow for toes to wiggle at the end and ankles to bend. Skates should not be bought leaving "room to grow" because this changes where the balance points are on the blade, making learning and adjusting difficult. An easy way to tell if a skate fits or not is to remove the insole and have your skater stand on it.
Most skate brands make skates of different widths to correspond to different widths of feet. Riedell is known to fit a narrower foot, whereas Graf or Jackson boots tend to fit wider feet. Most skates will also be heat-molded to a skaters foot, except Edea, whose inside is made from memory foam.
Where to buy skates
For used skates, you can check out the Lethbridge Skating Club Swap N Buy page on facebook.
For new skates, Bert and Mac's has some skates suitable for skaters working on jumps up to axel.
Higher level skaters will want to consider going to Calgary or Edmonton to look for boots. ProSkate or United Cycle are often the most knowledgeable of what skaters needs are.
For more in-depth information, please visit the following links:
Keeping your skates sharp is an important part of skating. Make sure to wear hard guards when walking around and put soft guards on after drying your blades.
There are several places to get figure skates sharpened, but is best done by someone who understands the requirements of figure skaters and has adequate training with figure skating blades.
Dave Kennedy, 25 years experience.
Sharpens figure and hockey skates.
Available by appointment: 403-360-8606.
Calgary or Edmonton:
Pro Skate or United Cycle shops have staff trained to handle figure skates.
When to sharpen skates?
This will depend on how often a skater is on the ice and how well they take care of their blades. If your blades feel as if they are slipping or sliding across the ice instead of holding an edge, this is probably when to get them sharpened.
Check out the link for more info: