Buying a Pair of Skates
Buying a pair of skates is like buying a car. When it comes to cars there is an abundance of features and characteristics that different drivers need or want – headroom, safety ratings, towing capacity, gas mileage, turning radius, etc. You can go on and on about what differentiates one car from another. Even your neighbor can tell you what car they like and think is best, but when it comes down to it, you make the final decision on what works for you. You’re the one driving it. Skates are very much like that.
Just like there are many different car manufacturers, there are many different skate manufacturers and each manufacturer has their own nuances regarding the sizing, shape, and features offered within their skates. Even different skate models from the same manufacturer can vary widely from one another. Simply because you see someone at the rink that has a pair of skates they feel works great for them or there is a high level skater at the rink that recommends you purchase a particular brand of skates doesn’t mean it is the best skate for you. Just like with our example of the car, that skater’s needs and experiences aren’t the same as yours. Their body, feet, skating style, skill level and habits aren’t the same. Why should your skates necessarily be the same? Just because someone knows how to drive a car and likes the car they drive, doesn’t mean they know what the best car is for you. It takes someone intimately familiar with the different aspects of skates, blades, body dynamics, feet, and more to help a skater determine the appropriate skate to maximize their skating ability. That’s why you should see us.
In addition to having a Certified Pedorthist/Retired Orthotist on staff
we are authorized dealers for Avanta, Don Jackson, Edea, Gam, Harlick, Riedell Skates, Risport, and SP Teri. In order to put the right foot in the right skate for the best performance and fit, it requires a lot of knowledge. To augment that knowledge, we’ve visited many of the skate manufacturers and spent several days on-site with them learning about their skates and observing their fabrication processes. As a result, we’ve learned the intricacies of the different companies and models to know what boot would work best for a particular skater. You see, fitting a pair of skates is not as simple as taking a measurement and saying, “You need a size 6.” Fitting skates is almost a science.
Different skate companies use different lasts and therefore have different shapes (That’s a good thing - people’s feet have different shapes too!). Manufacturers also use different materials and engineering when designing their skates which results in differences in stiffness, durability, fit, heel height, blade length, arch support, etc. All of these factors and more play a role in which skate is best for any given skater. For example, a higher heel puts a skater more on their toes. How is that going to affect their jumping? How about their spinning? What impact is a longer/shorter blade going to have on overall balance and control? What role does stiffness play? These and many other characteristics that aren’t even mentioned here need to be considered when choosing a skate that will maximize a skater’s ability.
Finally, the importance of a proper fit cannot be underemphasized when it comes to skates. When you wear a pair of shoes that doesn’t fit right, it’s annoying, but you can manage. Your feet might hurt or slip around inside, but you’re able to get where you want to go without too much trouble. However, when it comes to skates, it’s a completely different story. With skates, the skater is trying to keep their balance, maybe skate backwards, skate on one foot, spin, and possibly even jump. There’s no way they can do it successfully in a skate that doesn’t fit their foot. Imagine trying to jump, spin or even skate on one foot on a 1/8” wide blade while your feet are slipping inside the skate. For these reasons, we highly encourage
everyone looking to purchase a pair to skates to receive a professional skate fitting. Just as your neighbor can’t tell you what car you should drive, neither can your fellow skater.
A professional skate fitting at Houston Skate & Sports Orthotics Center allows you to receive:
- A Professional evaluation from an experienced and knowledgeable staff
- The ability to try on different brands and level of skates that we carry in stock.
- Free heat molding if applicable
- Dynamic alignment to ensure blade placement is correct.
- Complimentary blade sharpening on your new pair of skates
- Always free follow-up assistance if necessary.
If you can’t see us in person, contact us
. We’ve been fitting skates for over 15 years and during that time, we’ve developed a system for doing successful remote fittings for customers as far away as Alaska, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and Thailand.