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Ice Skates 

Ice Skates: specifications, types

Features

The style of skating for which the skates are made. Nowadays, the following types of skates are distinguished by style: walking, hockey, figured and sprint. Each type has its own characteristics:

— Walking. Relatively simple models, intended mainly for recreational riding and not designed for specific applications; in other words — skates for general use, not related to hockey, figure or sprint (see below). It is this option that is considered optimal for beginners who are learning the basics of skating, for those who are prone to leisurely riding without “extreme sports”, as well as for renting on public ice rinks. Pleasure skates have a soft and warm boot (for maximum comfort) and a medium length blade with a long straight section that provides a good footprint. In addition, this variety has a wide variety of designs. Note that some of these models can be supplemented with teeth, as in curly ones, however, tricks on them should be performed with caution — a relatively soft boot, usually, does not provide the required support for the foot,.

— Hockey. As the name suggests, these skates are specifically designed for hockey. Their distinguishing features are a hard boot and a short length of the straight section on the blade. This provides a high degree of lateral support, control and steering, and the technique of movem...ent on hockey skates is more running than sliding. However, skates for defenders and goaltenders may have long, straight sections to improve stability. And hard materials, in turn, are also necessary to protect against impacts (primarily puck hits).

— Curly. Figure skating skates have a distinctive high boot and a blade with a rather long straight section and notches in the front. Thanks to all this, good support of the shin is provided, combined with mobility, as well as the ability to easily slide, accelerate and perform various pirouettes on ice, including relying on socks. Note that skates for this purpose are also quite suitable for pleasure riding, but it hardly makes sense to purchase them specifically for this purpose — in particular, because of the high cost. It is also worth considering that some manufacturers also position walking skates with teeth on the blade as figure skates, although in such cases there is no question of a full-fledged stunt ride.

— Sprint. Also, this type of skate can be called "racing" — they are designed to achieve the highest possible speed and are designed for high-quality flat ice. Outwardly, sprint models are distinguished primarily by a long blade that protrudes noticeably beyond the toe and heel of the boot, as well as a small height of the boot itself. In addition, in professional models of sprint skates (“clap skates”), the boot is attached to the blade only in the front part, on a swivel joint, the heel can move relative to the blade, and after each repulsion, the blade is attracted to the heel by a special spring. This is even more conducive to overclocking. Anyway, these skates are used on long skating tracks, and riding them requires special skills.

Gender

The type describes the "gender" of the skates. It is believed that male and female models differ primarily in design: the former are more massive and rough, the latter are more elegant, often using bright colours, characteristic patterns and patterns, etc. However, besides this, the differences may also lie in the shape of the boot. Therefore, using skates of a “non-native” type can be not only inappropriate, but also inconvenient.

Double bladed

Skates in which two blades are provided on each leg, parallel to each other.

Designed for the smallest children — mostly up to 4 – 5 years; Therefore, the size of shoes in such models is small. The key advantage of two-track skates is stability: the chance of falling off while riding them is very low, so this equipment is perfect for kids taking their first steps on the ice. However it is impossible to accelerate much on such skates, but in this case this feature is more of an advantage than a disadvantage.

Also note that the specific design of such skates may be different. Some have a full boot, others are worn over regular shoes with straps; in some models, the distance between the blades is small, in others they are installed almost at the very edges of the sole; the blades themselves can be either solid or divided (in the form of two blades one after the other), etc. Nevertheless, the features described above are relevant for all varieties of two-sliding skates.

Boot type

The type of boot that skates are equipped with.

— Fixed size. Fixed-size boots are more durable and secure than adjustable boots (see below), while being simpler in design and less expensive. Their main disadvantage is the actual size immutability. However, this shortcoming can be critical only if the skates are purchased for a child who is still growing; and even then, properly sized boots are usually enough to last a whole season. Therefore, almost all skates for adults, as well as most children's models, are equipped with boots with a fixed size.

— Adjustable size. Boots with the ability to adjust the size in a certain range. This feature makes it easier to choose — there is less chance that the size will be inappropriate — and also allows you to buy skates for your child "for growth". On the other hand, the adjustable size complicates and increases the cost of the design, while reducing its reliability. Therefore, the vast majority of skates with similar boots are designed specifically for children and teenagers who need to constantly adjust their shoes as their feet grow.

Size

The boot sizes that skates come with. One skate model can have a full fixed size grid ( 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46 size) and include both children's skates(teenagers) and adults. And for models with adjustable sizes(see "Type of boot"), size ranges are indicated in this paragraph, while one model can be produced in several range options. For example, the designation "35-38, 39-42" means that the skates are available in two versions: one is adjustable from size 35 to 37, the second is from 39 to 42.

Boot material

The main material used in the outer trim of the boot.

Combined synthetics. Combination of different types of synthetic fibers. Specific materials are usually selected with the expectation of resistance to low temperatures and moisture; in general, the combined synthetics are durable, retain heat well, and also do not tend to stretch. At the same time, this material is relatively inexpensive, which makes it very popular, especially in pleasure and hockey skates (see "Skating style").

Genuine leather. Quite an expensive and prestigious material: the skin is durable, reliable, impervious to moisture and at the same time allows the foot to “breathe”, and such boots look stylish and solid. In general, this material is considered suitable mainly for figure skating (see "Skating style"), it is practically never found in skates for other purposes. Among the shortcomings of the skin, in addition to the price, one can note the need for special care: shoes must be thoroughly cleaned and treated with special products, otherwise wrinkles and cracks will appear on them.

Nylon. Nylon is well suited primarily for recreational and hockey skates: it has good strength and rigidity, combined with low weight. However such material costs a little more than the same synthetics, and therefore is less common.

Artificial leather.... Material that imitates the appearance of genuine leather. Most popular in figure skating models. The quality of leatherette, usually, directly depends on the price category of skates: inexpensive varieties wear out rather quickly, and the most advanced ones are almost indistinguishable from genuine leather. In general, this material is quite soft, but weakly retains heat and does not absorb moisture.

Plastic. Relatively inexpensive material, which can easily be given almost any colour. At the same time, different types of plastic can be used in modern skates — from inexpensive and relatively fragile to advanced and high-quality ones. So it is best to evaluate the quality of a plastic boot by the price category of skates.

— Composite. Composites are a material consisting of several dissimilar components that do not mix with each other. The specific composition of such a material may vary, however, carbon fibre is most often used in skates — carbon fibre with a plastic filler. Such a material has high rigidity, it is extremely light and at the same time durable, however, it is very expensive — and therefore is found only in certain models of premium hockey skates.

interior material

The interior material is in direct contact with the foot, so the comfort of wearing skates largely depends on it.

Nylon. Synthetic nylon fibre is the most popular option due to its wear resistance, durability and reliability combined with a low price.

Faux fur. This material is used not only for practical purposes, but also for decorative purposes. And in addition to a pleasant appearance, it is also pleasant to the touch and retains heat well.

Genuine leather. Interior material used primarily in figure skating models (see Skating Style). At the same time, the boot itself can be made of both natural and artificial leather. Anyway, natural leather fits snugly around the leg and absorbs moisture well, but it is expensive and poorly protects against the cold.

Synthetic fabric. Usually, in this case, a synthetic fabric is meant, which differs in composition from the nylon described above. The specific composition and overall quality of this fabric may vary depending on the price range of the skate, but it is generally quite durable and reliable.

— Microfibre. A type of synthetic fibre made up of very fine threads. This material provides excellent thermal insulation and at the same time allows the foot to “breathe”, and also removes moisture well. On the other hand, it costs more...than the same nylon, and the mentioned advantages are fundamental mainly for professional use. Therefore, microfibre is rare, mostly found in high-end hockey skates.

Sole material

— Plastic. The sole material used in most modern skates, regardless of style or price range. Such popularity is due to the fact that there are many varieties of plastic on the market that differ in performance, strength and, accordingly, cost. This allows you to choose the best option for almost any type of skate. The overall quality of a plastic sole usually depends on the price category of the product. It is also worth considering that some types of this material do not tolerate temperatures below -10 °C, so when choosing, you should pay attention to the temperature limits indicated in the documentation. This is especially important when buying inexpensive skates.

— Rubber. Relatively flexible and soft material that resists low temperatures well. Nevertheless, rubber does not have fundamental advantages over the same plastic, but costs a little more, which is why it is extremely rare.

— Composite. In the case of skates, composite usually means carbon fibre — carbon fibre with a plastic filler. In terms of strength, such a material is superior to steel, it is cruel, due to which it provides a clear transfer of force from the foot to the blade of the skate, while weighing very little. However, carbon fibre soles are not cheap, so they are used only in certain models of premium hockey skates (usually the entire boot is made of the same material in such models).

— Stainless steel. The material used in a rather specific type of skate: removabl...e blades worn over regular shoes. There is no own boot in such skates as such, they consist of blades, soles and straps for attaching to shoes. Of the practical properties of steel, it is worth noting strength, durability, resistance to low temperatures and, at the same time, a rather large weight.

Ankle support

Skates have additional ankle support.

This feature means that each boot has special protrusions for additional fixation of the ankle joint. This reduces the risk of injury. Of course, a boot with such a function should be high; however, note that not every high boot provides a full-fledged fixation of the ankle — this detail is typical mainly for rather expensive skates.

Type of steel

A type of steel used in skate blades. Different grades of steel differ primarily in hardness and resistance to corrosion. In general, the harder the blades, the longer they last and the less often you have to sharpen them, but increasing the hardness reduces corrosion resistance and affects the cost. In addition, the quality of steel often depends not only on its type, but also on the price category of skates. Specific types can be:

Stainless. The most inexpensive and softest type of "skate" steel, which, however, can be used even in fairly advanced skates. Note that, despite the name, "stainless steel" is still not completely resistant to rust, and the blades still need to be wiped dry after use.

Alloyed. Steel with special additives that improve hardness and some other properties. Somewhat harder than stainless steel and keeps sharpening longer, but it resists rust worse, is more demanding to care for, and is more expensive.

Carbon. Steel with a high carbon content is very hard and holds sharpening for a long time. On the other hand, such an alloy costs accordingly and requires careful maintenance, since it rusts easily from prolonged contact with moisture.

High carbon. Steel with a very high carbon content. The hardest and at the same time the most expensive variety, moreover, it is d...ifficult to sharpen and sensitive to rust (however, in terms of the latter property, such steel almost does not differ from “ordinary” carbon steel).

Replacement blades

Possibility to remove and replace skate blades. This feature can be useful if the “native” blade has become unusable, or if you want to install a better or more suitable one instead. Some models even allow you to replace the blade with rollers and use skates in the summer. In addition, skates with this feature are well suited for public skating rinks: with regular intensive use, most of the blades wear out, and it is more profitable to change them than to buy whole skates every time. Anyway, this design is most popular in walking models (see "Riding Style"), occasionally it is found in hockey and almost never used in other varieties.

Note that blades from different manufacturers differ in the design of the attachment and, usually, are not interchangeable.

Leg fixation

Ways of fixing the leg provided in the design of the skates.

Buckle. Also known as a clip. Buckle has the form of a buckle, which, when fastened, fixes the strap threaded through it. The main advantage of such fasteners is ease of use, and the retention itself is quite reliable. At the same time, for a number of reasons, this option is considered less suitable for skates than laces. Therefore, skates that use only buckles are rare, usually such clamps are auxiliary — in addition to lacing.

Velcro. Fastener based on classic Velcro: one half of the fastener "sticks" to the other through the use of small hooks that cling to thin and strong fibers. Velcro is very easy to fasten and unfasten, but not very reliable, besides, the quality of retention deteriorates noticeably as it wears out. Therefore, such clamps are used only as auxiliary ones, in combination with lacing or buckles.

Lacing. Lacing similar to that used in regular shoes. It is the most reliable type of retainer, due to which it is used in most modern skates. It can be supplemented with buckle or Velcro, while the main method of fixation is still lacing.
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