"I love to skate, but I have such weak ankles!" How often have you heard this or said this yourself? There is no such thing as weak ankles, but there is such a thing as poor fitting and/or low quality skates. This is a fairly common problem and entirely preventable. Skates are the most important piece of equipment for ice skating. Properly fitted skates contribute to safe, painless, enjoyable skating.
PROPER SKATE FIT
NEVER buy oversized skates to "grow into".
When to sharpen your blades depends on many factors. Walking on your blades without skate guards will dull blades quickly as will the sand and rough ice encountered with pond skating. Be aware however, that frequent sharpening will decrease the life of the blade. The instructors will be happy to check your blades and advise you if a sharpening is needed.
SKATE PURCHASE - NEW OR USED?
This decision is highly dependent on the age of the skater, the skater's ability level, and your budget. Good used skates are ideal for young, growing children who are learning the basics of skating or are skating on a recreational basis. Carefully fit and scrutinize the equipment before purchasing. Older or advanced skaters will need high quality skates to help them reach their potential. If you are buying new for a young skater, it is likely they will outgrow them in a season. However, you can make a resale worthwhile by properly caring for the skates and retaining some of the value.
STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT SKATES
PARENTS: PLEASE DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!!
Top 3 most common mistakes made with skates for beginning skaters:
1. Buying a cheap pair at a department or sporting goods store.
2. Buying skates larger than shoe size so the child has "room to grow".
Doing #1 and/or #2 above and, after being told by the pro that the skates aren't right, thinking "Oh well, we'll get better skates next time, after she outgrows these."
If you buy cheap or ill-fitting skates your child will not get the full benefit of the lessons and will therefore not progress as rapidly as otherwise possible.
We recommend that you go to a store that specializes in ice skates to get your child properly fitted. You might want to prepare your child by explaining that the skate will not fit like a pair of sneakers. They will be snug. Tell them that the skate has a job to do. It has to support their ankles and to do this it ca not be loose and floppy.
This does not mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars on competition quality skates. Both Jackson and Riedel brands have a good beginner skate in their lines. Jackson also has a skate line called "Softec" that looks like a hiking boot. Just make sure you get them with a figure blade and NOT a hockey blade. Some stores will give you 1/3 of the purchase price back as credit to your next pair of skates when you trade in as your child grows.
And a special note to parents of boys. Do not let the skate shop talk you into buying hockey skates instead of figure skates "because that is what the boys wear." That translates into "because we donnot have any black figure skates in stock." Boys who wear hockey skates to our program find it harder to learn some of the skills (because the shape of the blade is different) and impossible to learn other skills (those that involve the toe picks, which hockey skates do not have). A boy who does not want to wear the black skates might want to check out the Softecs!
NOTE: We do not allow children on the ice wearing double-blade skates.