So way back at Nationals (a few months ago) I ordered some new skating boots. After years of skating I have come to find that Harlick is my preferred boot brand – for me, it just fits. No amount of nagging, pandering, berating, or insulting from the peanut gallery is going to change my mind on that account. The only problems I have with them are (1) they are expensive! and (2) I have to wait so long for them to get made, since I order custom fit boots. The expense I can justify – actually in terms of cost per wear they are definitely the cheapest boots I have ever owned, since they last so long – and the wait is something I just have to put up with. In either case, suffice it to say, I was super excited when my new boots came.
Last year, as you might recall, my major equipment update was buying new Roll Line plates. In the end I had the Giotto plate for figures, the Dance plate for dance, and eventually wound up having a spare Ring plate sitting around, and my old Atlas figure plate re-mounted for my loop skates (which was totally the right decision – my loops are much more consistent on the Altas plates). Another nuance of the situation… the wheel base on my dance plate is 150mm, whereas on the figure plate (and the Atlas plate) it is 145mm. At first I really liked the added stability of the longer Roll Line dance plate, and at the beginning of last year I was very happy with the set up. However, as I am working into the more advanced dances with quicker footwork and sudden one-foot turns, I am finding the added length cumbersome, and I find I just don’t have the control I want over my skate. And, since my figure plate is shorter I can directly compare how I feel in my different pairs of skates; on my dance plates I constantly feel like my weight is falling backwards, especially when I am trying to cut a deep edge and I can’t quite make it, whereas in my figure skates I feel like I am right over my skate and in total and complete control (well, you know, most of the time). I have been thinking about it a lot, and I am pretty sure the reason is that the shorter plate length is perfect for where my weight is distributed over my foot. A really good explanatory page with information about plate mounting is here, if you want to check it out. So, long story short, I have decided I want a 145mm plate for my new dance skates. Which, as luck would have it, I happened to have sitting around in the form of my Ring plates. The Ring plates are set up just like the Dance plates, except for lack of a toe-stop mount. Which, as of right now, I am not really in need of. If I want to get a 145mm length plate with a toe stop mount, pretty much my only Roll Line option is the Energy plate – it is set up similar to the Giotto, but with a space for the toe stop. Since I love my Giottos, I wouldn’t be opposed to switching to the Energy should the need for a toe stop arise… I just can’t afford a new plate right now, what with having just bought boots and all. But I figured it would be better to mount the plate with the correct length now, and switch them later should the need arise. So, as of right now, I have ended up with my new Harlick boots on the Roll Line Ring plates.
Oh, and I LOVE them. I was able to skate on them for an hour last night, and, while I am sure I looked really silly (new boots = hard to bend my knee = hard to do edges = look like I can’t skate), I can tell that the shorter plate length is going to be a very good thing. Firstly, the boots fit absolutely perfect. I mean, seriously, perfect. I love them. And with the shorter plate length I really feel like I am over my foot in the skate. These just feel like my skates. I tried a few three turns (basic one-foot turns) in both directions – so easy! I have been feeling a lot of drag from the longer plates, but with these the turns just happen. My only question now is getting the action adjusted appropriately – I think I might need to go down to the green (soft) cushions on my new dance plates to get the edges I want, but I might also need to break in the boots a bit more before I make that call (it could just be my lack of ability to bend in the boots right now). Either way, I really like them, and now I just need to break them in and tweak them until they are perfect.
And, lest you thought I would leave you pondering what they looked like, here are pictures of my new dance skates:
So, new skates, yay! I must say I am super pleased with them and I am hoping they will be broken in by the end of the month. I will post an update once I get them broken in and get the plates dialed in to the perfect setting.