jo skates

Skating in the key of life



Okay, I am giving myself a pat on the back for two reasons. One is that I am actually posting twice this week! It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that.

Two is that I did a session with an entirely different pair of skates and blades. And even though it was excruciating, I stuck it out until the bitter appearance of the Zamboni.

I have been meaning to do this for a while. The skates that I’ve been wearing are now just about six years old, and getting really worn. There’s a hole inside one of them and the tongue on the other one cuts into my ankle.

Instead of going for a new set of boots, though, I thought I’d try to go back to an older pair that I wore for about three years and then put aside. I really liked how this pair fit, and I don’t really want to break in a new pair right now.  I put the old ones on a few weeks ago for a trial run. They seemed to have life in them still, and plenty of support. The dance blade on them was fairly worn and had some rust spots, so I couldn’t really skate much then. But the fit was promising.

So I had the old blades sharpened, and tried this different set up tonight. I brought both pairs, just in case. Changing back to these used skates was very different from getting a new pair. This used pair of boots felt really comfortable, and I could immediately bend my knees and ankles much better than I have been. This meant that I could get into a much more aligned position on most of my edges. This was a real plus.

On the down side, the blades were both very sharp and much more worn than the ones I’ve been using. This meant I spent the first half of the session fearing for my life and skating in an uncharacteristically timid way (even for me!)

But here comes the pat on the back part. I didn’t give into the urge to change back to my other boots. By the end of the session, I felt much more comfortable. Even though it will still take some getting used to, I think I will officially switch over this week. I’m not going to change blades yet, though; I will wait until I’m sure that the used boots will still work.

I used to hear Sara Bareilles’s song “Brave” at the rink a lot, and it always inspired me to get out of my comfort zone. So here goes my soundtrack for the week:


Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

8 thoughts on “Brave

  1. What a great experiment going back to your old equipment! I’d be curious to hear about which setup you prefer and why!


  2. Yes, this will be interesting! Usually I’d just bite the bullet and get new boots, but I feel like this might be a happy (though temporary) measure.


  3. I went back to my old boots and blades exactly once. I’d kept them with the notion that I’d use them when going outdoor skating and thus spare my new equipment from the gritty ice and slushy puddles that one encounters after storms. Even though the boots were the same brand and model and the blades were almost the same–just an upgrade since the old blades had been discontinued, the old skates felt alien. It took forever for me to regain enough trust to commit to anything resembling a deep edge. After that I decided an extra trip to my skate tech for a premature sharpening was probably better than an extra trip to the emergency room!

    I don’t know how elite skaters seem to quickly adjust to new equipment every six months–but that’s probably why they’re “elites” and I’m not! And I still don’t know what to do with my old skates. The boots are shot, but maybe I’ll keep the blades and then when I have two pairs of old blades I’ll mount them on a small tray and deliver cocktails out on the ice!


  4. Yes, I’ve also used old pairs for pond skates, with similar degrees of alienation. Hopefully this will be a little different, but I’ll report back. It is interesting how more elite skaters can just pop on the new boots. One of our fairly advanced adult skaters was at the rink with a new pair just a month before AN, and she complained about how stiff they were and then went through her double-jump-laden program! Sigh…. I’ll be moseying along here….


  5. I skate more on quads than ice nowadays and bought a new pair of quads last fall. LOVE them. There was no breaking in, they were immediately wonderful. But now, going back to my old pair which I decided to use for outdoor skating…meh. I think I’ll just get some protector covers for my new skates and just ditch the old ones.


    • I’ve never tried quads–sounds like fun, especially the part about being outdoors. It’s getting to be that time of year when it’s hard to be inside all day, even when part of it is at the rink!


  6. Going back to old boots and blades is surprisingly difficult. That said, after losing the pair I was using, I’m back on an old pair that I’d already worn for six years. I’d had Harlick reline this old pair and my skate tech made a number of tweaks, removing a footbed that took up too much space, adding a tiny arch support, and moving the blade. Then a different skate tech gave them a sharpening and took it on himself to re-rocker the blade, making them better than they’d been in a long time. It’s all working so well that it’s making me re-think the necessity of new skates, although that is still going to happen.


  7. Wow, Mary, hearing that is encouraging. I’m sorry you lost your skates, though! I’ve been doing okay on this used pair–never thought about getting boots relined, but now that I hear your story I’m considering it. Were your Harlicks custom? That would really make it worthwhile.


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