Thread: 1 skate for all
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Old June 19th, 2019, 03:30 PM   #7
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Tallahassee, Fl.
Posts: 1,918

Hi Learning,

(this is about skates and not about shoes, so don't get flustered thinking I am not talking about skates)

I like what Sir Aaron said, with some changes. I use to use sneakers for everything but after I married, my wife decided I should wear something more formal for everyday. I wanted comfort. We started looking and found some ECCO shoes that looks great and are very comfortable. I never heard of them before that. They aren't a spit and polish shoe but they are very good looking and I can go for a morning run.

What I am saying there is that there can be great compromises that will do well up to Gold Level skating.

When I competed, I could afford only one high quality competition pair of skates. A lot of my peers and top skaters had several pair of skates. I did very well and sometimes better with one pair. There is a yin and yang with one pair of skates. They are not specific set up so you will probably not be able to reach your absolute level, but the other side of the coin is that most people will never reach that level no matter what their skate setup is and if a skater has a good in-between setup, they will not have to readjust to different actions and stiffness all the time. Concentration can be placed on technique instead of readjustment. As I said: yin and yang.

My setup was very good for me and at the time (late 60's, early 70's) it was top of the line with some minor sacrifices. I started with a 192 boot which was changed later to a 220. I had for all my competition years a Snyder super deluxe plate. My wheels were 57mm that were matched to the floor I was skating on, sometimes I had more wheels if I had to change rinks. I mostly ran on fafnir bearings. I used Snyder stops. I did everything (freestyle, dance, figures) on those skates and I was very good at racing in sessions with that setup. for real speed skating I had a real pair of speed skates but rarely used them since I never competed, but only practiced with the speed team.

I set my action very tight so, it was actually good for my dance and freestyle. My 220 boots were stiff enough for the figures but with enough flex to do everything else. Yes, it wasn't perfect for any one discipline but I did take a lot of first places in inter-club meets and I was able to earn a spot at nationals in freestyle in 1972 (I never got to go because I enlisted in the military before nationals).

What I am trying to say is that you can do all with the one setup, but you have to be intentional and get a high quality setup with specific characteristics. you have to understand that it won't take you to gold level performance but would you ever hit that level anyway even with separate skates. yes, it is nice to have a pair of spit polished black leather shoes to go ballroom dancing, but how often does a person need those shoes.

If you want my recommendation:
1. Pick a primary skating discipline and choose your skate with that in mind first.
2. Pick your secondary discipline and tweak your skates according to that.
3. Let your 3rd discipline happen with what you have already configured.

Suggested configurations: (this is what I would do now)

1. Plate: snyder super-deluxe. This is great and strong for freestyle, and you can get good action for dance also.
2. Wheels: 57mm, not too slick but not too tight for your floor. This will take some practice. Harder wheels roll faster, softer wheels stick better (generally this is true but could fool you sometimes).
3. Boot: I would go with the 297 professional because it is stiff and flexible at the same it is stiff enough to allow a good edge. I would use the 220 again but they are now being constructed way too stiff for me. I like enough ankle to hit heavy leans without struggling and yet a good boot frame to hold no matter how hard I lean at my ankle and able to assist with returning from my lean.

Down side is that the plate is heavier than most of the modern plates but it has a great stability. The action is not as deep as the imperial plate but this will also make sure you intentionally make an edge instead of an accidental wobble causing the lean.

That is what I would recommend for a 1 pair setup.

A side note: you lean at the ankle, not at the waist (95% of the time) so the boot and plate combination should be made to make the lean easy and natural.
Jim (The Ancient One)
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