By Katherine Ruch
There is a common misconception that I often hear from the casual public skater. If I had a dollar for every person that has told me about how they have weak ankles, I would absolutely be a millionaire at this point. People are almost always shocked when I tell them it really has more to do with their ice skates than their ankles. I know it makes such a difference in skating that I often broach the subject with the parents of the kids I teach as soon as I feel like I can without them balking at the concept.
Most skating parents complain about how often they have to purchase new skates for their kids. If you were to travel to rinks around the country, you would find at least one parent who either just bought new skates for their kid or were already counting their dollars to put towards that next pair. Just about every week that I’m at the rink, I hear about someone who got new skates followed by the inevitable whining about how painful it is to break in those expensive things!
As someone who started skating in my late teenage years, I’ll confess that I don’t even know how often most people have to replace their skates! Sure I know the classic signs of skates that are breaking down, having coached for a few years and skated even longer! You look for too much creasing, a lack of support, you know the drill.
Instead of having to replace my skates too often, I find myself having the opposite problem. I have been skating in the same pair of skates for over 4 years. They still have plenty of support and if I can make them look better and smell a lot less stinky, I could probably even get some of my money back. During these years, I have diligently tried to wear them out, wanting something lighter and a little less stiff. Try as I might, I just can’t seem to do it! I have heard lots of suggestions ranging from doing more jumps to simply bending my knees more. I’m sure I will wear out these skates soon, even if I have to run them over with my car…
When I am in the market again for some new skates, I will consider things like stiffness, fit and a whole plethora of other things. Considering that skates are a big investment, it is certainly something that deserves some careful consideration! How often do you find yourself having to replace your skates? What kinds of things do you think about in regards to getting new skates?