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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 October 9th, 2009, 07:21 PM   #1
LetsRoll
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Default $200 boot,$600 boot,$1500 boot

My first pair of speed skates are the Bont Shark 2 and have been a very good boot.I have been speed skating for 2 years and have had very little problem with blisters or pressure points.I feel like I'm ready to upgrade my boots but my fear is that I won't notice much difference from a $200 boot to a $500 - $600 boot.

Like most people involved in our sport I would love to be anxiously awaiting my new custom Simmons but $1500 dollars is not in the cards right now.

The question I have is whether or not you guys think I'll notice a big change if I go with a higher level boot but not the top end.I know skates fit everyone different but I assume some of you started with an entry level boot and have moved up.Nett racing had his Powerslide Triple X on sale from $599 to $200 and I have been kicking myself ever since for not getting in on that steal.

Do I have to go all the way to customs before I notice a real difference?All feedback is appreciated.Thanks and happy rolling.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 07:36 PM   #2
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If you have already had success with a Bont boot, my recommendation would be "stay with Bont." In terms of an upgrade, you will notice a difference. Will it make you a better skater, maybe not, but it will probably make the "skating experience" more enjoyable. Some of the newer boots (in comparison to older Bont boots) are a little stiffer and provide a better fit - better heat molding, etc. You could even get something as "low" (in the lineup) as the Bont Jet and still walk away being extremely happy. You do not need full customs to be an elite skater or even a good skater. Customs are great if you can afford them and if you have feet that don't fit a stock boot. However, custom boots will not make you a better skater than good fitting stock boots...in my opinion. I would look at the Bont Jet or the Bont Apache. If money is not an issue, try Simmons or Pinnacle. I would stay away from Powerslide and some of the others...
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Old October 9th, 2009, 08:12 PM   #3
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Figured I'd add here... a stock Simmons is $700 (not cheap, but way less than $1500!) and they offer 4 different lasts, so most people can get the fit they need from a stock boot.

Also, I have Bont Apaches right now and I'm very impressed with them. I can tell a difference in fit/support between those and their cheaper models, but not so much comparing them to the more expensive Vaypor, so I consider them a good value for the $.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 08:31 PM   #4
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It's already been said but I'd say stay with Bont if it's worked for you before. They're just an all around great company and product. I have the jets and love the bajeezes out of them rigs yo!
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Old October 10th, 2009, 04:34 AM   #5
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Default If the shoe fits.....

If it ain't broken, dont' fix it....
If you have no real issues with the current boot ask yourself what are you after? tighter fitting, more support, stiffer, lighter, etc... I have seen skaters literally skate those older Sharkies into the ground. Not that they fall apart due to poor construction, they literally have just skated the life out of them, getting many goods years of use. When you're holding your boot together with duct time it's time to change things up.

The newer Bont's are far different models than the old Sharkie's models, built on completely different last and use different finish and liner materials. They may/may not fit you the same. There are tons of boots out there that primarily provide more or less equivalent performance, but just as manufactures differ so do the performance of the models they offer (usually they offer a range of boots from entry to elite level, with price reflecting quality of materials and construction). You will find boots with differing heights, support, stiffness, finish materials and differing levels of carbon quality (hence the price increases over other models from same manufactures). Also, boots fit will vary from manufacture to manufacture - it's always best to provide a tracing and foot measure so the shop can better assist you with sizing. Newer boots are far more user friendly when it comes to heat molding, so that is a plus in your favor as far as getting a really nice fit with any boot you chose.

Somewhere deep in the past forum is a post I did on boot Fitting & Heat Molding, bottom line is make sure you are properly fitted for your new boots - in short be sure there is no extra space in the boot.
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Old October 10th, 2009, 02:30 PM   #6
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Thank you for the feedback! I agree that Bont has been a good fit for me and I have been looking at the Apache's pretty hard.I've considered the
"if it ain't broke don't fix it "angle as well.Eventually I will want new boots so thanks again for the info.
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Old October 10th, 2009, 02:37 PM   #7
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Yes if you are going for new Boots Bont is a good pick. We sell a lot of bont products and people love them... but for less then a simmons you could get a top of the line set up from Bont and Pinnacle.

If you want a cheaper custom Pinnacle and Edgetek offer customs cheaper.

Letsroll,
Let me know if I can help you. Also those closeouts you talk about are Out of stock.

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Old October 10th, 2009, 06:33 PM   #8
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If you are going to spend $500-$700, you absolutely cannot go wrong with Simmons, Pinnacle, or Edgetek. Stay away for the equivelant boots made in China. The inners and outers do not last as long as their American counterparts. All that flash come at a price......
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Old October 11th, 2009, 12:26 PM   #9
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I've had a custom Bont Apache for two years. I skate for fun and exercise. Some of the skaters above are much more experienced and will give much better technical advice. Having had one prior custom and two prior shelf boots, these are by far the best skates I've ever owned (including prior hockey and rec skates). They fit closely with almost no cuts, right out of the box. Because of the close fit, they give the most control of any skate I've owned and are definitely fun to skate on. Prior skates either lacked support, fit, or poked into parts they shouldn't, like my Achilles tendon or my inside ankle bone (it's real big).

I write this to support what's been said above about custom boots. They'll improve your fit and joy of skating, if you need the better fit. A better fitting boot has immediate benefits, but the rest is up to you.

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Old October 11th, 2009, 03:07 PM   #10
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I have tried a number of different boots and supposedly top of the line without going custom and I have found that the Bont Jet and Apache are by far the best. Now I skate every day and usually around ten to fifteen miles in the morning and sprints and intervals at night after work, in all kinds of weather. The Jets I have put a lot of miles on and rough miles and I have only had to sand down a few glue spots on the inside of the boot. Heat molded and that works the best of any boot I have tried. The Apaches are made with more quality. Better insole and just all around better than the Jets. But the Jets are very good you just may have to work with them. The tongue on my Jets slips down a little but it doesn't affect anything. I did take it to the cobbler and he put a little thing at the top of the tongue so when I lace through it the top lace holds it up more but I was just being anal and it really didn't need to be done. The Apaches have no problems or issues. Depending on how much you want to spend I highly recommend both and get the three point. I have switched back and forth between two point and three just to experiment and I find the three point to be the skate I always go with. Now I am not a pro or even advanced skater I am like MickyB and do it for fitness fun but I do put a lot of miles on and weather does not stop me and I can say the Bonts are perfect. Can't get better. Their wheels are excellent. Ok, for rain, I use Storm Surge which are really unbelieveable. You can skate across a wet wooden bridge and they grip even better. It is freaky. Another thing great about the Bont boots is the inside. The material dries quickly and doesn't smell after being wet or sweated in a lot. I live in Texas and sweaty boots is the norm.

I bought the Lugino Challenges and the Powerslide C2 which are supposed to be top of the line or at least very good and they are garbage compared to the Jet and the Apache is even better than the Jet. I would be surprised if you need a custom once you heat mold the Jets or Apaches, Bonts heat molding is by far the best and the boots are very stiff and very comfortable at the same time. Genius. If you think about it a moment the three point is also genius.

Best of luck and I hope this helps. In training you might consider the Bont G3 wheel. I use them all the time and they wear well and are inexpensive without being cheaply made. Bearings fit in tight and secure. Again, perfect. For racing use the Mints or Pinks and for wet MPC storm surge. I went out one time in my Storm Surges because it was supposed to rain like a big dog but it didn't and in dry the Storm Surges will give you a great workout because you will think you are skating in quicksand. Very hard work just to go ten miles per hour. But in rain, wow, they are unbelieveable.
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Old October 11th, 2009, 04:22 PM   #11
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looks like you are getting some good feedback, which for the most part is consistent with what i have heard and see out there with skaters.
I do know of a couple of elite speed skaters that have had issues with Luigino's.
But one point i feel needs to be made and hasn't yet - customer service and manufacturer's who offer the best support for their product.
From my direct personal experience, Simmons skates excels in this regard. I have reason to believe that Pinnacle may also offer fantastic customer service and support, and i am quite sure they do. Perhaps edgetek does as well, but i don't personally know.
Conversely, some brands have distinguished themselves with lack of customer support.
Glen Koshi was a real straight up guy repping Bont skates in the U.S. and he was a great resource and built a loyal following, though his status with Bont has changed significantly. That said, a lot of skaters are on Bonts and from what i've seen, most are very satisfied.
But as for customer support, i have personally had hours of advice given to me by Dave and Jennifer Simmons on whether i needed customs or not based on tracings of my feet, and Dave Simmons even rebuilt a boot of mine even though i had bought it 2nd hand, for crying out loud. I am on my 2nd pair of Simmons, a custom this time, and they are amazing! Their stock boots are just as amazing if your feet don't demand customs, and if your former stock boots worked well for you (as you said they did), i would suspect that you don't need customs.
Makers like Simmons will work out every detail with you and answer every question. When and if issues arrive, they will work out the problems, often at no cost, and work very hard for each customer's satisfaction.
Let me put it in dollars and cents: if two brands of boots are equal quality, the one with great customer support is actually worth twice the amount of a comparable boot with crap for customer support. That;s been my experience, and frankly, i learned it the hard way (i;ll spare you the story). But in reality, if a boot maker does not support their product fully and consistently, it's best to not do business with them at any cost!
In terms of speed boots, I've owned Powerslides (several), Mogema, K2, McDaniels, and Simmons.
As for your original question, i think you can get all the boot you could want for $500 - $700, and will be sacrificing nothing, once you determine that your feet are not one of those that require customs. For me, Dave Simmons went to great length to help me determine if customs were necessary for me. He also put a lot of work into fixing problem areas in my original simmons skates, at no cost if memory serves me. I believe a few of the other makers would help you out in this regard as well.
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Old October 11th, 2009, 05:54 PM   #12
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Wow, this is great feedack!I knew I wouldn't be let down.Something that I had overlooked before I started this post is that I don't have to buy customs to get a Simmons boot.When I think of Simmons that is the first thing that comes to mind. Just like Online Inline mentioned,I probably don't need customs considereing how few problems I've had with stock boots.I've broken in enough ice hockey skates growing up that speed boots aren't really that bad.

Let me say again Thank you for sharing your experiences with me.It has opened my eyes for sure.I don't feel bad about not taking advantage the triple x boots anymore.

I'm still a fan of Bont's and I've already said I'd love to have a pair of Simmons.I skate with 6-8 people here at home and they all have Simmons.My decision is going to be much easier now.
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Old October 11th, 2009, 06:06 PM   #13
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if you can, you might try to borrow a pair of the simmons (or other skates) from one of the skaters you know if it is close to your size. Try it out for even one mile, and you;ll get a feel for what yo can expect from a new boot of that brand.
I tried this once and wow, what a difference from the skates i was on.
If you are narrowing your choice down to a brand, send that guy a tracing of your feet if there is any question of whether or not you think you might need customs, but it sounds like you feel you don't.
Also, having had a stock and a custom simmons, i think the difference between the two is not a whole lot, as the primary difference is the obvious one- that customs are built to your feet. As far as quality, weight, etc, the differences are miniscule or none.
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Old October 11th, 2009, 09:49 PM   #14
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I got into a slight argument with the True Rev rep at the Northshore marathon expo this year over this very issue. He was shocked that I would drop $1,500 on custom Simmons skates without trying all other manufacturers. He may be right (or at least have a good point) but I tend to disagree. My point is that you can roll the dice and buy two, maybe three stock skates and hope that one works for you or you can spend the money for custom skates and know that the skates will fit perfectly. On top of that, you get to customize the skate to your own personal preferences and you are buying from a company that has one of the top reputations in the industry in both products and customer service.

I realize that not everyone can spent $1,500 bucks on skates. I had a hard time deciding if a custom skate was necessary or if I could get away with a stock skate. The extreme price difference does make this a tough decision. Ultimately I opted for the custom skates, but even the stock Simmons skates are semi-custom.
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Old October 11th, 2009, 11:36 PM   #15
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I think you are getting real good advice. I do differ with one comment which said Powerslides are garbage. I've skated Powerslides and Jets. I have nothing against the design or construction of Jets I think they are fantastic skates. They just were not comfortable for me. No amount of heat molding or tweaking would solve the problem. I currently skate on Powerslide C4's and I love the boot. I know many others love Powerslides as well. The bottom line is a great skate is the skate that works for you best. Typicially it seems if you find a stock skate that works for you stay with that manufacturer because their general design is comfortable for you. I know you like Bonts and they are a good choice so my comment is a moot point but I did want to clear up the statement about Powerslides being garbage.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 12:04 AM   #16
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While those posting here have had positive experience with Simmons, please remember that there are a handful of consumers who have not had good experiences with this, or any, manufacturer, as is the case with any product that we buy. I am someone who cannot wear stock boots due to inherited bunions on both feet, plus being rather flat footed made wearing stock boots unbearably painful. There are many people who like Simmons boots, and I do not want to disparage the manufacturer, but I will say that I bought a pair of custom Simmons, spent $1200 (the cost at the time) had problems with them, the blocks on the left foot were askew, which was attributed to the molding of my feet. Simmons would not fix the problem, despite my offer to pay for it. Granted, this was back 7-8 years ago, before his custom boot market took off. But still, I won't buy a pair of Simmons again, ever for that reason. But that is my opinion and my choice, because I was not happy with the level of customer service I received.

My point is just to put out there that no manufacturer is without a few stumbles. I think Simmons has developed in their customer service and satisfaction since the time I bought my boots (2002), which I'm glad to see. But I won't be dropping a big chunk of cash with him again.

Alot of people on this forum, who know me and my husband Kevin, know that we both skate in custom Marcheses (well known in the ice speedskating community), which were the boots I went to after the debacle described above. I also had a pair of custom Bont pyros and McDaniels in the interim, while I was waiting for two separate pairs of Marcheses to be built. But as soon as Marcheses were built, the others were put in the closet. But, like Simmons, Marchese is expensive. Plus, since he is a very small family operation, and builds boots for many national and international short and long track ice speedskaters (I believe the entire Korean short track ice team is on his boots), the wait time for his boots is v-e-r-y long. These are my boots of choice, just as others love their Bonts or Simmons. There are also more custom boot makers out there now than there were 7-8 years ago, including Pinnacle (lots of happy forum members with Jimmy's boots) and Edgeteks (we have several teammates on their custom boots).

As has been mentioned above, you may not need a custom boot, and if you are happy with a particular manufacturer, then stick with it. Good luck.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 12:31 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txskater
I think you are getting real good advice. I do differ with one comment which said Powerslides are garbage. I've skated Powerslides and Jets. I have nothing against the design or construction of Jets I think they are fantastic skates. They just were not comfortable for me. No amount of heat molding or tweaking would solve the problem. I currently skate on Powerslide C4's and I love the boot. I know many others love Powerslides as well. The bottom line is a great skate is the skate that works for you best. Typicially it seems if you find a stock skate that works for you stay with that manufacturer because their general design is comfortable for you. I know you like Bonts and they are a good choice so my comment is a moot point but I did want to clear up the statement about Powerslides being garbage.
I agree 100%, Bont makes great boots but the Jets simply don't fit me as well as the Powerslide C4's do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Code Monkey
Powerslide C2 which are supposed to be top of the line or at least very good and they are garbage
I really REALLY have to disagree with that comment!
I've started out speedskating on the old Powerslide R2 165 mount boots, moved up to Powerslide C4 165 and now on Powerslide C4 195, all stock.
These boots were/are comfy, fast and lasting for me. If they work well for me they must also work for at least some others... So how can they be garbage?

Want to know what I did on these boots?
- 200km (125 miles) tour in 11 hours
- 6x 24 hour races (3x team of 10 <1x 12th of 500>, 1x team of 6 <2nd place>, 1x team of 5, 1x duo <2nd place>)
- +/- 50 (probably more) marathons and other long distance races, some of these with podiums in my category and/or high positions overall, 1:14:20 marathon PB
- 1000's of kilometers/miles of training to do the above

Can you do all that on garbage boots? I doubt it...

Cheers,
Andy.
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Old October 12th, 2009, 03:54 AM   #18
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No matter what other peoples experiences are or were, it will always be a risk in making the choice on a skate. Your feet are different then mine and mine are different then others. Even in customs it can be a risk. I think the risk is less with customs because so much care is involved to begin with. There is also the cost factor. Don't forget you will be buying more bearings and more wheels. I have read many great things about Simmons boots so I am sure they are made very well. I also have the Powerslide C4's which are good boots, they are not garbage and I did not say that, I said the C2's were. Now I can say that when I got my C4's I had to reglue the bottoms back on because they were peeling off. The quality issue I was speaking of. Now I can't say all Bonts never have problems that would be silly but my experience with my purchases and in dealing with Glen Koshi who is beyond excellent to deal with I am very happy with my Bonts. I failed to mention I have been abusing my Jets for two years now and they feel and perform great. Still stiff beyond stiff. Serious scrap marks and look tough which they are. I called the C2's garbage because that is where they ended up. They killed my feet and looked very cheaply made. No amount of heat molding would help. I tried and tried to get them to work but I got blisters every time I skated over four miles and that just won't do for me. Now others may do very well with them. It is a risk. The C4's are good boots but not as stiff as the Bonts and for me not nearly as comfortable. But again that is me. You may not fit well in a Bont, but since you seem to already and Bont doesn't just sit around and make the same thing over and over they develop. My gut feeling is you will like the Bont. Another thing is I have both C4 and Bont Jet and Apache and I go by what my body says to skate in and it is always the Bonts. I didn't like the Luigino Challenges at all and they also tend to fall apart in places but some guy named Joey Mantia does pretty well on them. But I have been told Joey could skate on those old skates I had as a kid that had metal wheels that you put on the bottom of your shoe and he would win races. My experience is more of a daily usage story and the abuse that a skate takes doing that. Now if you are going into the more expensive category try the Vaypor. I didn't because it is to expensive for some old guy that just skates for fitness and fun and just tries to go fast every now and again. If you have a two pt. frame and want to stay with it perhaps a discounted C4 is the most inexpensive way to go and then after a year of skating on it or however long you can then if you want to try the 3pt and you weren't out much money. Personally I like the 3pt. idea and it has helped me do what I am doing. To get a boot for $200 that is as stiff as you can take and can take some serious abuse for years and still be the same as when it was new, man that is hard to beat. That is what the Jet has been for me. Also with all the wet weather I have skated in nothing on the Jet has come unglued, inside or out. I just got the Apaches because they got discounted for a few months and so I jumped on it. Didn't really need them but eventually these Jets have to wear out, you would think. I have heard people who wear the Vaypors that have skated professionally for fifteen or more years and still travel all around racing and in all the boots she has had, she says the Vaypors are the most comfortable and best performing boots. And she has been on the same ones for I think two years and she races a lot.

Anyway best of luck and have fun skating in your new boots.
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