Saturday, February 11, 2012

Shoe Newz!

My skates have finally arrived.  After last Thursday's lesson I stopped in at the Pro shop to see if they had come in and the answer was "no".  I told the guy in the shop to give it another week and if they weren't in by then to cancel the order.  That must have sent a ripple through the Cosmos because the very next day there was a message on the home answering machine indicating that my wandering skates had miraculously arrived!  So today I timed my trip to the rink an hour earlier than usual to allow for trial fitting, heat molding and initial blade sharpening before the afternoon public session.

Nick, one of the skate technicians at the rink Pro Shop unpacks my Jackson Freestyles.  Nothing too fancy here--I'd love upscale boots and blades but I still have a kid in college.
First things first.  Before heat molding Nick blew some air into the boots with a heat gun and had me try on both boots just to make sure they more or less fit.
In they go.  Nick "cooked" them for about 15 minutes and then had me put them back on and lace them up.  I wore the boots for 20 minutes while they cooled and then took them off so that he could give the blades the initial sharpening.
Don't make them too sharp!  Nick runs the right foot boot/blade past the sharpening wheel.  The left boot is in the foreground leaning against the white boots.  Nick had quite a back log of skates to sharpen and more arrived while I waited for mine.
I left the shop, new skates in hand, and immediately put them to the test.  Are they an improvement over the rental skates I've been moaning about?  All I can say is that Cinderella was absolutely correct--no, not the "some day my prince will come"  thing but rather, the bit about how the right pair of shoes will change your life!  Now this is a philosophy I can get my head around--definitely more upbeat than anything Schopenhauer has to say!  I perimeter skated in the new boots and gradually got used to the blades, getting braver as the session wore on.  Mike, my skating instructor, was giving a private lesson and came over during the Zamboni break to say "hi" and admire my shoe newz.  He advised me to wear them for about 45 minutes to maybe an hour and then switch back to rental "bedroom slippers" for the rest of the session and gradually increase the time in the new boots over the next few outings.  Good advise but so hard to follow!  Also, during today's limited time on the ice, the blades feel fine as factory-installed but I'll ask Mike to watch me skate at our next lesson to see if he thinks the blade positions need any tweaking before I have Nick install the permanent screws.  This ice skating lark just keeps getting better and better!


  1. Congrats! I hate getting new boots, but once they are broken in it's really awesome. Take good care of them and they can last you a long time!

  2. Thanks Gordon. Yep, they're stiff. And yep, I'm paying attention to care issues with blade guards when walking from the bench to the rink and soft terry cloth blade covers while in storage. I'm going to order a pair of "Katz Straps" so that I can ease off the laces at the top hooks until the boots break in a bit. Don't want the dreaded lace bite which I can feel the beginnings of on my right foot... I'll probably blog about the straps once I try them out.

    1. What are Katz Straps?


  3. Lori: Katz straps are small bits of elastic that fit on the top hooks of skating boots : so that you can skip the top hooks when lacing up your boots and thus (especially with new stiff boots) reduce the risk of lace bite. I've ordered a pair ($10.00) and will report once I try them out. I can already feel a little bit of lace bite on the right foot with my new boots and hope these little straps will help out during the break in period. Details ASAP!