Fancy Italian Footwear, Part VII

Ok, as promised, here are some pictures of my new-new skates:

Pretty Harlick boots
Roll Line Giotto Plate
Shiny new Roll Line Giotto wheels.

I have been able to wear them a few times and so far I really like my new vice grips on wheels figure skates.  Ok, I kid.  But not really.  Anyone who has broken in totally new figure boots knows what I mean.  I never understand the people who put on brand new boots and complain because they don’t feel exactly like the old skates right when they put them on.  This just isn’t going to happen – especially when you have something made almost entirely out of leather.  Leather stretches.  So, really, if you get brand new boots they should be just a tiny little bit too tight.  After several hours of use they will stretch and fit just right around your foot, which prevents it from sliding around in the boot.  I break in my boots according to Harlick’s directions – only lace the bottom two hooks for the first 4-6 hours, then lace the bottom three for another 4-6 hours, then finally lace all the way up.  I have noticed this helps prevent the tongue from warping and twisting in odd directions (a big problem with many other boots I have owned), and allows flexibility while the boot is still very stiff.  I have only just started to lace to the third hook this week.

Also, I am really liking the Giotto plate for figures.  My coach seemed really really happy after my lesson, and he didn’t even realize I had the new equipment on until later.  I don’t feel totally stable, but everyone says I look stable.  I felt much more stable after I have laced up to the third hook, so I think this feeling will lessen as I break in the boots.  I do really like these plates for turns – I feel like I have much more precise control than I did with the Atlas.  I don’t plan on doing loops in these skates since I will be using my old skates for loops, but I like the Giotto much better than the Ring for the full sized figures.  I would probably recommend the Giotto to skaters who don’t do loops, or want one pair of skates for both.  I think the Atlas was easier to change action than the Roll Line, but it is also becoming more difficult to find Atlas parts as the newer models are not interchangeable with the older versions.  Nearly all Roll Line parts are interchangeable, or can be more easily acquired as they are the newer plates.  I am on the hard rubber again, but I have it cranked down pretty tight.  I suppose I could try going to the clear urethane, but I don’t know if I want to mess with what I have right now, as it seems to be working well for me.

As a side note on cushions – I have tried the medium (natural tan color) rubber upper cushion in the Rings for loops.  I kept the hard yellow rubber cushions for the lower position – this hard/soft combination was recommended on the Roll Line website for loops.  I was able to skate on this on two different floors.  On the tighter floor this combo seemed to work out rather well, although I was having a little trouble with creating a consistent curve on the non-loop part of the circle.  However, on the slicker floor this combo was not good because the skate started to skid when I applied pressure to skate the loop.  I like the soft/hard mix, but it is simply not stable enough for my weight on the slick floor.  I wish Roll Line had five levels of rubber like they do for the urethane – I think having a stiffness between the tan and yellow would have been a perfect match for my needs since I do not like the urethane for loops.  So I have gone back to the all hard yellow rubber, since that seems to be the best option for me.

Back to the new figure skates….

As for my wheels – I am again on the 63mm 61D hardness Giotto figure wheel.  I have been using this wheel for a long time and really like it.  I have noticed my newer wheels seem a little more narrow and rounded than my older wheels, but they still skate well.  I have been pondering getting the 60mm “loop” wheel Giotto for my other skates, but I probably won’t be getting those for a few more paychecks….

I am, however, using different bearings.  I usually use Bones Swiss in all my wheels.  I have tried the Bones Reds (made in China, not Switzerland) but I did NOT like them.  Other people swear by them.  They seem to behave on a case-by-case basis, but I won’t be using those ever again.  I have also (briefly) tried the Roll Line micro-mini bearings, but I did not like those either.  This time I stuck with my Bones Swiss, but I opted to get the newer “L2” or “Labyrinth” version.  These things ROCK.  They are amazing – super fast, super smooth, super quiet.  I love them.  Totally need a set for each of my skates (well, at least dance) before regionals this year.

So, all in all, I am getting along really well with my new skates.  Since the pivot adjustments, I am finally getting a bit more used to the dance and loop skates, although with the recent cushion experiment, I am still not totally stable on the loops yet.  They feel better though, so probably will settle in with time.  The dance skates are a tremendous improvement, and many people have commented that I am looking better since nationals.  Overall the whole Roll Line adventure was a bit of a hit on the bank account, but I am really liking the new equipment, and it does seem to be helping me improve my skating.  Of course, the season hasn’t even really started yet, and we shall have to see how the rest of the year goes, but so far I would have to say the investment has been totally worth it.

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