Fancy Italian Footwear, Part X

Well, when I started on this merry journey, I hadn’t planned on making it a 10-part post, but I guess that’s how long it took.  I FINALLY have a happy combination in my loop skates that has lasted me more than a few days of practice, and on multiple floor conditions.  After about two days of practice I couldn’t deal with the urethane anymore – it just doesn’t curve!  I was on the softest urethane, almost completely loose action, and I was still having issues with the skate stopping short.  Finally, what I decided to do was use the hard yellow upper rubber cushions and the extra soft green flexible urethane cushions on the bottom.

Took the big yellow one from here

And the small green one from here

It is a bit like “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” only this was more like “Whiny Figure Skater and the Ten Million Cushion Combinations.”  In any case, when I used the medium rubber it was just too soft – it felt like the skate was literally collapsing with no support.  With the urethane I had the opposite problem, where the skate was so stable I found it hard to turn.  Using the large rubber and small urethane, I feel stable but still able to press a decent curve.  It is hard to explain, but at the crown of the loop circle, the deepest part of the edge, on my old skates I always felt like I could press into the cushions a little bit more to keep a consistent curve.  I had been missing that feeling for the past few months on the new skates – but I finally feel like I have that ability to get that slightly extra amount of pressure that is needed when I do the difficult part of the loop.

Entering the loop

I will say that in general, for other types of skating, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the mixing and matching of rubber and urethane because it does have a slightly less stable feel.  Which is helpful in the loops because it makes the skate easy to turn.  I think that for dance, figures, or freestyle it would make holding a decent edge or feeling secure on jump landings a lot more difficult however.  After several months of experimentation I am very happy with all of my new skates.  In general, I do like the Roll Line plates more than the Atlas, although I will say that the Atlas is still an excellent plate.  If I were not working on some of the more complex dances and figures involving difficult turns, I don’t think switching plates would have made much of a difference.  However, I do think that the Roll Line make it easier to get a solid consistent curve.  In terms of making adjustments to the click action, Atlas is much easier, so I would still recommend those plates to skaters who are going to have only one set of skates for figures and loops.  If one decides to go with the Roll Line, I think the rubber cushions are better for figures, although different skaters have different preferences.  I like the urethane better for dance, as I feel more secure skating at the higher speeds, and I could see how it would make jump landings more stable for freestyle skaters as well.

All in all I am very happy with my skates now.  I finally feel like they are my skates – the dance and loop plates feel comfortable and secure, and the figure boots are finally starting to feel like they are my boots and not a brand new pair of skates.  I am happy because now instead of fussing with my skates I can work on fixing me and just focus on the skating.

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