TIPS AND ARTICLES > Fitting Guidelines
The purchase of a boot and blade is a major decision which can represent a substantial financial investment. A proper fitting boot and blade insures your investment in ice time and coaching fees.
A skater's size, weight, and skating level are very important. These aspects will determine what boot and blade to purchase and how long they will last. While seated, the boot should be snug in the heel, arch, and ball areas for best support. Toes should be able to wiggle freely but not slide to any great degree. After the boot is laced and the skater stands, the boot should feel slightly tighter. There should be little to no movement when the skater tries to lift her or his heel. The toes should just be touching the front of the boot. Toes should feel slight pressure but not severe bending or pain. Toes should also not be cramped or curled under.
It is important to have a correctly fitted boot for optimal skater performance. The boot must be snugly fit so that it responds exactly to the skater's movement. Additional room in the skate can cause the foot to slide and thus may impede the skater's progress.
As a parent, it can be difficult to afford boot after boot to accommodate a child's growing foot in a short period of time. In many instances, a larger boot will be purchased to handle a growth spurt in an effort to reduce the cost. This is acceptable when the skater is in a basic level (pre-alpha – delta) or beginning freestyle. In this case we recommend a ½ to 1 size bigger than they are measured by a professional with the possible addition of a growth insole.
Note: Since every skate manufacturer is different, you cannot go by a person's shoe size to determine the proper fitting skate.
Improperly Fitted Boots and Early Skate Breakdown
However, we recommend that you not buy a larger sized boot than necessary. The longer the boot, the larger the ankle dimensions. The skater will have to work harder to tighten the laces so that the boot will fit snugly. When laces are tightened over a boot that is too large for the skater, it causes the boot to break down faster losing the ankle support vital to skating.
Improperly Fitted Boots and Foot Ailments
Another negative effect from wearing a boot that is too large is the potential to develop foot problems. Wearing a large boot can lead to the development of blisters from the boot rubbing on the foot. Tendonitis, bone spurs and bunions are just a few of the other ailments that an improper fitting skate may create. The skater's progress may be impeded as well because a larger boot will place the skater on the wrong balance point. Often, what was meant to save money may end up costing more in the long run with lessons, medical bills, and time lost.