Five: Learn About the Boot
boot holds your foot. Most boots have two parts: a shell that surrounds
your foot and a cuff that surrounds your ankle. Usually, both parts are
made of plastic that is flexible yet supportive. The final fitting to
the specific contours of your foot is provided by a cloth liner inside
the boot. There are skates currently on the market that have eliminated
or cut away some of the plastic, making the skate itself more
form-fitting. Most boots are ventilated; this is a plus because air
circulates better in the boot.
The job of the boot is to support the foot and ankle.
This support is what makes it possible for most people to skate easily.
Inside the boot are a separate lining and foot bed, both of which
should be removable and washable. As noted above, these are critical to
proper fit and comfort. In fact, when determining fit, the liner should
be removed and placed on the foot. If it fits comfortably, it should
then be put into the skate and the fitting process repeated to ensure
that the boot itself is shaped properly. Liners are made of various
materials, but more expensive skates use moisture- absorbing,
breathable materials for added comfort. They may even have "memory
foam" that molds to your foot.
Boots must be attached securely to the foot. There are three different
ways to do this; laces, buckles, or a combination of both. Buckle
closure systems should have three adjustable buckles. The buckles are
permanently attached to the skate; if their position grips your foot in
uncomfortable places you should try a different model. Laces are
generally only used on specialty skates, such as hockey, racing, and
some aggressive. Laces give a custom fit but are not as quick and easy
to use and may not provide adequate support for the beginner.
Lace-buckle combinations use the buckle around the ankle, and laces
over the foot.
Try on skates carefully. Every manufacturer makes its boots to its own
specifications. Sizes will vary even within brands. Take into
consideration the type of socks you like to use. Skates are not like
shoes; they will not stretch, although some liners will conform to your
foot in time.
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