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Speed Skating Forum Most of the discussions in this forum will be about inline speed skating but discussions about ice speed skating and quad roller speed skating are also welcome.

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Old April 11th, 2010, 07:47 PM   #1
chaos4ever
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Default Considering getting speed skates... With a bunch of questions

Hey guys. First time on this subforum. I'm considering getting speed skates and would like to get some input and feedback.

Reason for speed skates: I believe I need to get new skates to replace my current skates fitness skates, that are considerably heavy, and has a serious blister zone that even e-z fit booties can't help with (short of some serious moleskin), and it'd be nice to go long distances (15+ miles) without having other problems that probably stem from the guarding reflex over the blister, as I'm also aiming to do a marathon in late July.

Background: I've been skating for about 15+ years (between the inline and ice varieties), with the last 5 years being pretty serious on inlines (with ice being a backup to keep up conditioning, though it's mostly in hockey skates). I've had 4x80mm and 4x90mm skates. I currently do 10-15 mile workouts twice a week. (Any farther, and the blisters start to act up.) Currently, I go about 10mph at a comfortable pace in the 4x90mms (Roces S254s), and can push probably 12mph over 15 miles. I'm 5'10", 195-200lbs, and I prefer the somewhat firm fit of my hockey skates over the more cushy fit of my fitness skates, as it feels like my heel is better secured.

Questions about switching over:
1> Would I be justified in getting speed skates to assist my long-distance skating?

2> Is my speed most likely limited by my skate or by my technique (I have yet to habitually implement the double push)? Should I be able to go faster in fitness skates? Should I wait until I hit a higher maintained speed before switching over? Will I have to unlearn a lot of fitness skate habits for the speed skate?

Question about speed skates themselves:
3> In terms of speed skates, I've been looking at getting a 4x100mm skate. Would this be too big of a jump from the 4x90mm with ankle support, though I've also had a lot less with hockey skates (and prefer the firmness of the hockey skate)?

4> How would a speed skate differ from, say, a K2 Radical 100 skate, aside from the higher boot cuff?

5> I am also considering in picking up ice speed skating in the winter months (at least after a few years, since Cincinnati doesn't seem to have any ice speed skating programs). Would it be worthwhile to buy a 165mm skate boot that can fit a short track blade and an inline skate frame, or would it be better to go with a 195mm/3-point skate for inline and wait a couple of years and purchase a separate ice speed skate? Unfortunately, it seems that 165mm 4x100mm frames are hard to come by, and may be getting phased out. Additionally, my current skate (Roces S254) seems to have a 165mm 4x90mm frame that I might be able to use for a 165mm boot, which leads me to ask:

6> Can frames/blades be mounted to boots of different manufacturers? I'm getting the impression the answer is "no", but I wanted to verify.


7> In small amount of research, it seems that Bont offers the best selection in terms of my budget constraints ($350-ish, max around $400). Currently, I see that the Cheetah, Semi-Race, and Jet skates fall within the budget… Are there any major differences among the lines and what kind of skating they’re designed for? While I am aiming to do a marathon this summer, I’m aiming to be able to do increase my workouts to 15-20 miles.

8> Are all boots these days heat-moldable? Would it be possible to break in the boot by just wearing it and having it conform to the foot over time? I actually did the latter with my ice hockey skates and they have yet to give me any blister problems in the past two years.

9> If there are any other skate suggestions, comments, etc., I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks!

And, to Bill and Greazer: you guys were right!

Last edited by chaos4ever; April 11th, 2010 at 08:50 PM.
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Old April 11th, 2010, 08:55 PM   #2
Bill in Houston
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Questions:
1> Would I be justified in getting speed skates to assist my long-distance skating?

Ya, sure, why not? I think you would like them. I like my speed skates a lot more than my cushy skates.

2> Is my speed most likely limited by my skate or by my technique

Both, I bet.

Should I be able to go faster in fitness skates?

I was faster in speed skates than in my Radical 100s, very first time I went out. This may not true for everyone, but it was for me.

Will I have to unlearn a lot of fitness skate habits for the speed skate?

No, I don't think so.

3> In terms of speed skates, I've been looking at getting a 4x100mm skate. Would this be too big of a jump from the 4x90mm with ankle support, ?

No.

4> How would a speed skate differ from, say, a K2 Radical 100 skate, aside from the higher boot cuff?

A speed skate is hard, with about 3mm of padding. The Rad 100 is squishy and has 1/4 to 1/2" of padding. It's like a soccer cleat vs a house slipper.

5> Would it be worthwhile to buy a 165mm skate boot that can fit a short track blade and an inline skate frame, or would it be better to go with a 195mm/3-point skate for inline and wait a couple of years and purchase a separate ice speed skate?

I'd vote for separate boots.

Unfortunately, it seems that 165mm 4x100mm frames are hard to come by, and may be getting phased out.

Ya, you're right, I think.

Additionally, my current skate (Roces S254) seems to have a 165mm 4x90mm frame that I might be able to use for a 165mm boot,

Ya, could be.

6> Can frames/blades be mounted to boots of different manufacturers? I'm getting the impression the answer is "no", but I wanted to verify.

For rollers, I think the answer is "yes, usually". Sometimes a particular boot brand will rub the second wheel of a particular frame brand. Blades, I have no idea.

7> In small amount of research, it seems that Bont offers the best selection in terms of my budget constraints ($350-ish, max around $400). Currently, I see that the Cheetah, Semi-Race, and Jet skates fall within the budget… Are there any major differences among the lines and what kind of skating they’re designed for? While I am aiming to do a marathon this summer, I’m aiming to be able to do increase my workouts to 15-20 miles.

Semi-race is taller. Most people would put it between the Jet and a Rad 100 in the speed-to-fitness continuum.

The Jet and Cheetah look similar. The Jet is moldable. The newer Cheetahs are not, I think.

Get the Jet. Ought to be able to get a Jet for $400 these days, I think.


8> Are all boots these days heat-moldable?

Most, but not all.

Would it be possible to break in the boot by just wearing it and having it conform to the foot over time? I actually did the latter with my ice hockey skates and they have yet to give me any blister problems in the past two years.

If it fits great, you don't have to mold it. If it doesn't just go ahead and heat mold it. It's not that big of a deal.


9> If there are any other skate suggestions, comments, etc., I would greatly appreciate it.

Can't think of anything now.

And, to Bill and Greazer: you guys were right!

I just got lucky.
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Old April 11th, 2010, 10:10 PM   #3
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Well, I've only been skating for slightly less than 3 years.

So hopefully I can give you a n00b viewpoint.

GO FOR IT! Best thing I ever did.

In rec boots (K2 Moto 90's) my average was around 9-10 with occasional max's of 17-18.

In speed skates, my average is around 12, but my max is as high as 22mph (not including being in a pace line), and I still have a lot of technique to work on.

In speed skates, you can get down lower due to being able to bend at the ankle more. Of course, this also means ankle strength is much more of an issue.

For me, speed skates meant I could get a boot that FITS ... I have a very narrow foot and customs were the only way to go.

Specific answers:

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaos4ever View Post

1> Would I be justified in getting speed skates to assist my long-distance skating?
It sounds like you have some nasty fit issue. I would say yes. Speed skates are much less cushioned than rec or hockey skates, BUT they also fit better. So a little give and take.

Technique can also account for blisters, others can comment more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaos4ever View Post
2> Is my speed most likely limited by my skate or by my technique (I have yet to habitually implement the double push)? Should I be able to go faster in fitness skates? Should I wait until I hit a higher maintained speed before switching over? Will I have to unlearn a lot of fitness skate habits for the speed skate?
For me, my techique just gets better, but it's hard to say without watching you skate (not that I could still say ...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaos4ever View Post
3> In terms of speed skates, I've been looking at getting a 4x100mm skate. Would this be too big of a jump from the 4x90mm with ankle support, though I've also had a lot less with hockey skates (and prefer the firmness of the hockey skate)?
Everyone makes a big deal out of this - I had much less of an issue going to 110's from 100's than from 90's to 100's, but everyone is a little different. If you do go this route, avoid an expensive mistake and get a frame capable of 110's, then just put 90's or 100's on them.

Another HUGE benefit of such a frame if you go wiht Bont is that you can adjust the frame without taking the wheels off - very useful for your first time skating, as frame adjustment is something totally new.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaos4ever View Post
4> How would a speed skate differ from, say, a K2 Radical 100 skate, aside from the higher boot cuff?
Speed skates will fit better and fit tighter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaos4ever View Post
5> I am also considering in picking up ice speed skating in the winter months (at least after a few years, since Cincinnati doesn't seem to have any ice speed skating programs). Would it be worthwhile to buy a 165mm skate boot that can fit a short track blade and an inline skate frame, or would it be better to go with a 195mm/3-point skate for inline and wait a couple of years and purchase a separate ice speed skate? Unfortunately, it seems that 165mm 4x100mm frames are hard to come by, and may be getting phased out. Additionally, my current skate (Roces S254) seems to have a 165mm 4x90mm frame that I might be able to use for a 165mm boot, which leads me to ask:
I can't really comment on that, but make sure the 165mm skate frames fit right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaos4ever View Post
6> Can frames/blades be mounted to boots of different manufacturers? I'm getting the impression the answer is "no", but I wanted to verify.
I think if it's the same mount length and type (2 point vs 3 point) the answer is yes, but I haven't tried.

I use a Bont 3 point, so I'm stuck with Bont frames. I have lost frame bolts before though, and never wiped out - one huge advantage of a 3 point frame.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaos4ever View Post
7> In small amount of research, it seems that Bont offers the best selection in terms of my budget constraints ($350-ish, max around $400). Currently, I see that the Cheetah, Semi-Race, and Jet skates fall within the budget… Are there any major differences among the lines and what kind of skating they’re designed for? While I am aiming to do a marathon this summer, I’m aiming to be able to do increase my workouts to 15-20 miles.
15-20 should be possible on any skate, I was doing 16 2x a week on my Moto 90's. I do like Bont's though.

Are you an 'off the shelf' size foot? That changes your options a lot. I, as it turned out, am not (very narrow, long foot).

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaos4ever View Post
8> Are all boots these days heat-moldable? Would it be possible to break in the boot by just wearing it and having it conform to the foot over time? I actually did the latter with my ice hockey skates and they have yet to give me any blister problems in the past two years.
As Bill said, it depends on the skate. Bont's I believe are all heat moldable but I would check the individual skate, they should say.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaos4ever View Post
9> If there are any other skate suggestions, comments, etc., I would greatly appreciate it.
As I mentioned before, get one frame to save a lot of money, buy some cheap wheels and use them up, then go bigger.

I love my speed skates, it's the first time I look down and my boots look like my feet (really weird looking, lol).

I think it's the first time in my life I have a shoe that really fits.
== John ==
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Old April 11th, 2010, 10:21 PM   #4
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Would 2 months be enough time to get used to the speed skate in time to skate a marathon comfortably?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill in Houston View Post
7> In small amount of research, it seems that Bont offers the best selection in terms of my budget constraints ($350-ish, max around $400). Currently, I see that the Cheetah, Semi-Race, and Jet skates fall within the budget… Are there any major differences among the lines and what kind of skating they’re designed for? While I am aiming to do a marathon this summer, I’m aiming to be able to do increase my workouts to 15-20 miles.

Semi-race is taller. Most people would put it between the Jet and a Rad 100 in the speed-to-fitness continuum.

The Jet and Cheetah look similar. The Jet is moldable. The newer Cheetahs are not, I think.

Get the Jet. Ought to be able to get a Jet for $400 these days, I think.
Any opinions between the 195mm and 3-point other that than the 3-point requires proprietary frames?
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Old April 11th, 2010, 10:25 PM   #5
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I'll take a stab:

3 point:
Adv:
You can adjust the frame without taking off the wheels (13.0" frame or larger)
Frames are lighter
Frame+Boot may or may not be lighter
You can lose a bolt and not bust yourself up.

Disadv:
Only 1 frame manufacturer

2 point:
More frame choices
Boots may be lighter
More boot choices
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Old April 12th, 2010, 02:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaos4ever View Post
Would 2 months be enough time to get used to the speed skate in time to skate a marathon comfortably?
I went from Radical 90mm to semi race Powerslide R4.
The boot fit perfect out of the box with one ezee-fit on the right foot.
What I notice still is calf fatigue still after 60+ miles. It is getting better and I could skate a marathon faster than with the K2 radicals which was not that fast anyway.
I am glad I went with the more comfy boot since comfort was #1 on my must have list.
P.S. What I notice the most is how much faster you roll down a hill! It is surprising still and you maintain that speed longer before you start peddling again.
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Old April 12th, 2010, 02:40 AM   #7
Bill in Houston
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaos4ever View Post
Would 2 months be enough time to get used to the speed skate in time to skate a marathon comfortably?


Any opinions between the 195mm and 3-point other that than the 3-point requires proprietary frames?
John got the 2pt vs 3pt about right I think.

2 months is plenty of time if you are skating 3 times a week. When the race comes, you will know which skates you should be on.
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Old April 12th, 2010, 02:53 AM   #8
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I skated Napa after having my speed skates for 3 weeks.

I did have some problems with my knee 'popping out' sort of thing I hadn't had on the 16 mile skates up to Napa though. Not quite sure what it was, I pushed to the sides too hard and I also never hit hills quite that steep in training. Any or all of the above could have been an issue.
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Old April 12th, 2010, 03:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
2> Is my speed most likely limited by my skate or by my technique (I have yet to habitually implement the double push)? Should I be able to go faster in fitness skates? Should I wait until I hit a higher maintained speed before switching over? Will I have to unlearn a lot of fitness skate habits for the speed skate?
Your speed skating technique will actually be limited by your fitness skates by the way they limit ankle flexibility. Your speed now is probably limited by your cadence and fitness level, whereas on a speed skate you can use your power more efficiently.

Quote:
3> In terms of speed skates, I've been looking at getting a 4x100mm skate. Would this be too big of a jump from the 4x90mm with ankle support, though I've also had a lot less with hockey skates (and prefer the firmness of the hockey skate)?
If you're not ready for 100mm wheels on a speed skate, you can always put 90mm wheels on. I think people make too big a deal out of ankle support. Rec skates don't provide ankle support, they brace the leg like a cast. A speed skate fits closely to the ankle and provides structural support like a hiking boot while still allowing the ankle to flex. Ankle bend is very important for speed skating technique.

Quote:
4> How would a speed skate differ from, say, a K2 Radical 100 skate, aside from the higher boot cuff?
I had an older generation of Radical and I think it's actually a very nice transition boot. They look like they've gotten a bit higher in the cuff which I don't think is as good. The Radical still has padding like a rec skate and is low enough so that your ankles can flex. The speed boot will fit more like a hockey skate. The Radical was great for very long distances but since moving to speed skates I can't tolerate them anymore for some reason.

Quote:
5> Would it be worthwhile to buy a 165mm skate boot that can fit a short track blade and an inline skate frame, or would it be better to go with a 195mm/3-point skate for inline and wait a couple of years and purchase a separate ice speed skate? Unfortunately, it seems that 165mm 4x100mm frames are hard to come by, and may be getting phased out.
I skate using 165mm mounts for that reason. The big disadvantage is that 100mm frames with 165mm mounts tend to be noticably higher. You're right though, 165mm frames are going the way of the dodo bird. If I were cheap and knew I'd be doing ice, I'd go 165mm. I have separate boots for inline and ice now since I do them both at the same time so my next boot will be 195mm.


Quote:
6> Can frames/blades be mounted to boots of different manufacturers? I'm getting the impression the answer is "no", but I wanted to verify.
I've interchanged K2, Luigino, Bont and Powerslide, frames and blades with no problem.

Quote:
7> In small amount of research, it seems that Bont offers the best selection in terms of my budget constraints ($350-ish, max around $400). Currently, I see that the Cheetah, Semi-Race, and Jet skates fall within the budget… Are there any major differences among the lines and what kind of skating they’re designed for? While I am aiming to do a marathon this summer, I’m aiming to be able to do increase my workouts to 15-20 miles.
You shouldn't select your speed skates that way. Your #1 criteria should be fit and comfort, and you need to try on skates from all the major manufacturers even if they're outside your budget. All manufacturers' skates fit differently. Speed skates are extremely unforgiving for bad fit. Unfortunately they tend to feel OK in the shop but cause problems when you're 30km into your skate.

Quote:
8> Are all boots these days heat-moldable? Would it be possible to break in the boot by just wearing it and having it conform to the foot over time? I actually did the latter with my ice hockey skates and they have yet to give me any blister problems in the past two years.
Most boots are heat moldable. Bont boots are very nice that way. The heat molding is more than just the padding though. It can change the shape of the structural part of the boot. Breaking it in will mold the padding a bit but it won't make the boot conform as well as it would if you heat molded it.

Greg
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Old April 12th, 2010, 04:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TermV View Post
You shouldn't select your speed skates that way. Your #1 criteria should be fit and comfort, and you need to try on skates from all the major manufacturers even if they're outside your budget. All manufacturers' skates fit differently. Speed skates are extremely unforgiving for bad fit. Unfortunately they tend to feel OK in the shop but cause problems when you're 30km into your skate.
How would you recommend doing this if there are no brick and mortar stores nearby?

Would the heat molding address this issue significantly?
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Old April 12th, 2010, 04:54 AM   #11
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You haven't said much about your foot - I found out that heat molding only really helps to make things BIGGER, it won't make a boot much smaller.

So in my case with a narrow foot a custom boot was the main answer.

If you've got an average or wide foot, so much the better. You can heat up the boot until it's soft, put your foot in it, and lace up. Voila!
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Old April 12th, 2010, 05:32 AM   #12
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semi race powerslide R4....woah! semi race is a bont boot and 3pt. Powerslide R4 is a rec boot. 2pt. big difference.

IMO bont has much more mold-ability. sizing is different, bont runs big, like a size or 1.5 bigger. Powerslide I wish I would have ordered a half size bigger... again my opinions here.

I couldn't read every word but I read enough that I haven't heard all the advantages of a 3pt setup. How about more stability, less flex in your frame. Ya there is only one manufacturer making them, but you have a wide array of boots and frames to choose from. Honestly I think that makes the decisions easier! I tried several powerslide boots and 4 different frames, when I tried a bont I got an edge immediately.

Cheetah has a heat mold-able tongue, jet is much more mold-able and so on. but if you start with a cheetah setup you can get a boot later and slap it on, you already have a sweet very light frame.

honestly a lot of this is in the user, you might try a setup and love it immediately or you might go through several before getting into your setup, or the setup your body feels comfy in. There are a couple ways to help with the transition, powerslide makes the aforementioned R4 which is really a rec boot- or the bont semi race which is a race boot+. they are your go-between type of boot. I love my semi race, and I will still use it for long distance skating, I can handle 110mm wheels with them, then use the Apache for racing. I guess I'm sorta in between right now.

I have recommended the semi race bont to a few others on here and they are very happy with them so again I will recommend it to you as well.
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Old April 12th, 2010, 10:46 AM   #13
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A couple of months ago I already knew you would post those questions here, they all do. Anyway:
Welcome to the dark side, we've got cookies! Have fun speedskating chaos4ever!

edit: By the way, JT (speedysktr on here) aka Speedy aka "the president" lives just around the corner from you, I'd PM him if I were you.

Cheers,
Andy.
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Old April 12th, 2010, 11:36 AM   #14
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Disadv:[/B]
Only 1 frame manufacturer



2 frames manufacturers

http://drspark.dreamwiz.com/cgi-bin/..._review&no=203

http://drspark.dreamwiz.com/cgi-bin/...sc=asc&no=1430[B]
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Old April 12th, 2010, 01:12 PM   #15
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LOL... Lots of well intentioned advice... confusing eh? To and my 2 cents on some points:

- Technique & fitness is the main limiting factor in nearly all skaters, not equipment. Not that better equipment won't help, but you have to learn to use it properly (easier said than done) and even then it will only give you a slight advantage.

- There is an unwritten line between "fitness" and "speed" skate somewhere. Some people would say boots like the K2-Radical & Bont-Semi fall under fitness/speed category, but for me the distinction is very clear; a full speed skate has no liner. It's a hard carbon/fibre boot with some padding which you stick your foot into. A fitness (or "speedness") skate has a liner that cushions and supports your foot. The difference is like night and day. So I would classify the Bont-Semi as a speedskate and the K2-Rad as a Fitness skate. Why do I think this is important? Because you have to know what you are letting yourself (and your feet) in for if you decide to go the whole hog and buy a full speed skate.. like I said, the difference is like night & day.

- Regardless of what you decide, try to find a speedskating club (or at the very least a bunch of better skaters) to train with. It's a very important ingredient in your development; in fact I would say that it's actually essential (far more than your choice of equipment).


Good luck; let us know how you get on.

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Old April 20th, 2010, 03:49 AM   #16
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More questions!

1. (Kind of a repeat, but worded differently) I've been browsing the used section of Nett Racing, and I found a pair of of Powerslide R2s and a pair of Bont ice speed skates. I'm wondering, is it a good idea to use an ice speed skate boot (leather/carbon) on an inline frame and/or using an inline boot on an ice blade (both boots being 165mm)? Also, are there any resources that talk about the pros/cons of ice speed skate blade lengths and curvatures?

2. How forgiving are boots if you're off by 1/2 a size? Would this be as relevant for the Powerslide R2/Bont Semirace boot? EDIT: The reason I ask this is because I'm afraid of buying a new skate and have a boot that doesn't fit properly, and then have to be forced to shell out another $200 for another one that fits, since I can't return the one I originally bought (since these guys seem to be special orders)

Last edited by chaos4ever; April 20th, 2010 at 06:31 AM.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 05:59 AM   #17
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Dont EVER buy too big boots unless your leg is growing. It causes heel blisters. At least that stands for speed boots.
As for 165mm mount, you are again limited by further update of frames since 4x110mm frames does not exist for 165 mount, so I'd suggest you to go with 195mm mount and 110mm frame with 90mm or 100mm wheels for starters (90mm wheels will bring you to same height as 100mm frame would, and if I understand right you have 90mm wheels).
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Old April 20th, 2010, 06:51 AM   #18
eighteen_psi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Letme View Post
Dont EVER buy too big boots
This. You can open boots with heat, you cannot shrink them.

Ideally you should probably get a boot that is a little too tight for comfort out of the box, then you can mess with the fit with heat. Also, don't size up with socks on. A good many boots go up for sale shortly after purchase because people bought too big. My Bonts were painful to cram my foot into the first time, but with some initial heat work (and tune ups here and there) they're still great after almost 4 years even having lost quite a bit of weight. If I'd gone even a little bit up, no way that'd have happened.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 07:20 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eighteen_psi View Post
My Bonts were painful to cram my foot into the first time, but with some initial heat work (and tune ups here and there) they're still great after almost 4 years even having lost quite a bit of weight. If I'd gone even a little bit up, no way that'd have happened.
Did you buy based on Bont's sizing chart, or did you intentionally buy one 1/2 size or so down?
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Old April 20th, 2010, 07:44 AM   #20
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nope, I bought one size down. from a 13 to a 12 with my semi race.

then 1.5 for my Apaches. they are an 11.5 and they needed some molding to get them fit, but with a full race boot you'd rather it be snug!

This is me though I measure my foot at 303mm so 11.5 should fit me fine. I was just scared to go the full 1.5 down! I haven't worn an 11.5 since jr High school! lol

use their method in mm it's much more accurate.
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