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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 January 30th, 2009, 08:31 AM   #1
evilzzz
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Default Why *are* speed boots low cut?

Can someone explain to me exactly why speed boots do away with ankle support? Getting used to not having the extra ankle support is a big, big step in making the transition to speed skates.

Less weight? sure, a bit.
Ankle flex? I've heard this mooted, but can you really do stuff in a low cut boot that you can't in a cuffed boot?
Other reasons?
Or is it just to stop the plebs from invading the speed scene?
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Old January 30th, 2009, 09:20 AM   #2
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Double push?

You cant do it properly with high cut anyways you put it

Otherwise less weight is main reason for me, and more power on push because of ankle push.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 10:30 AM   #3
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Ankle flex..
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Old January 30th, 2009, 12:52 PM   #4
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As is said above, a key part of what most speedskaters do is varying the angle of the foot, front to back, and side to side. This is all done by bending the ankle various ways, because the ankle is the only body part that's flexible enough to do that. Other body parts bend also, but without ankle flex, the body movement is incomplete. It's key to double push, but important to good speedskating other than double push.

Depending on your definition, speed skating can be done in high boots. Some skaters in high boots skate fast, faster than some skaters in low boots, but not as fast as they could if they got low boots and trained to use them well.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 01:25 PM   #5
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You'll occasionally see slalom skaters wearing free skates and jeans, outpace lycra clad speed skaters, not really relevant but funny as hell.
The point is ankle flex allows access a higher top speed, it doesn't make you go faster.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 01:44 PM   #6
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Agree that ankle flex allows faster skating if properly used, as do speed skates, large wheels, and lycra. None of these give speed in themselves, but actually can slow a skater who doesn't use them properly.

I expect the faster speed by slalom skaters would only be for short distances, and when the person is more running than skating. Proper speed skating is more efficient, uses less energy per minute. Ankle flex is also important in cross-overs, which are important to do on the circular tracks which allow organized speedskating to be done.

Part of the whole speed skating thing is keeping low, including your hips close to the ground, so your leg can push far out to the side, which can greatly increase the amount of power you can apply with each push. When you're low, during the skating stroke, your foot, ankle, and leg go through various positions, from under your body, to far out to the side, which can only be done well if you bend your ankle.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 01:47 PM   #7
Bill in Houston
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilzzz View Post
Getting used to not having the extra ankle support is a big, big step in making the transition to speed skates.
Is it really? It's not that tough...

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Originally Posted by evilzzz View Post
Ankle flex? I've heard this mooted, but can you really do stuff in a low cut boot that you can't in a cuffed boot?
Ya, you can. Just like how the aggro guys and I think slalom, too, leave their cuffs loose to be able to hit certain edges or land on a rail a certain way.

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Originally Posted by evilzzz View Post
Or is it just to stop the plebs from invading the speed scene?
Ya, this might be it. There is a limited supply of spandex, and if more plebs invade, spandex prices will go thru the roof... I used to wonder the same thing though, if it was just an affectation. But then, the very first time I wore speed boots (same wheels and bearings as my speedness boots) I was faster.

All that said, look at the finish line photos of major races. The fastest groups will all be in speed boots, but pretty soon guys and girls in old hockey skates start showing up, right next to serious speedskaters in custom boots. The equipment helps, but it's not magic.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 03:06 PM   #8
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Thanks, Jim. That's as good an explaination as I've heard!

Bill.. for me.. I am finding the lack of ankle support makes a massive, massive difference. Now, I know that they are still new and I need to put in more hours and more miles, but it is just my conclusions based on my own experiences.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 03:15 PM   #9
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to break it down just a bit further:

when most skaters get to a certain level, they feel hampered and restrained by a higher cut boot. This is not true in 100% of the cases, but most. I personally need that freedom of movement in the ankle area while still maintaining the snugness of the skate on my foot. That just can't be achieved in a higher cut boot.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 04:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilzzz View Post
Bill.. for me.. I am finding the lack of ankle support makes a massive, massive difference. Now, I know that they are still new and I need to put in more hours and more miles, but it is just my conclusions based on my own experiences.
I was probably a bad enough skater when I made the switch that it was no big loss... Lately I am having some trouble with my lower legs not being strong enough to do what I am asking them to do, so maybe I answered too quickly.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 07:01 PM   #11
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hey evil sleeper,

I am not much of a speedskater, in fact can't really even call myself that, I just do to motivate myself. I have tried all manner of boots and I find the midcut like the Bont Jet or Powerslide C4 is perfect. Enough ankle support so you don't have to be an exceptional skater but low enough to where you can experiment and fine tune your form. As the excellent skaters have replied there is a lot to be said for "ankle flex". For me, I really don't understand it but what I do feel in skating and is one of the things that makes it so frustrating and yet so wonderful is that just a milimeter of change in one thing or another or a little different force applied at just a slightly different moment and you suddenly find yourself going noticeably faster. Sometimes this will happen to me and I like wonder if it is me. Sometimes I'll be brave about it and keep pouring it on and other times I kind of back off because I'm going uncomfortably fast. Sort of like playing a musical instrument. The chord may be easy to play but for some reason it seems next to impossibly to play it perfect. Then one day you do and freak and then can't again. This goes on and you hit more good notes than bad but years and years later, you would think you would play everything perfect but nooooo, still not perfect. And it is just a matter of moving your fingers perhaps a half a milimeter on the fretboard but makes such a difference in tone.

Ok, sorry I blah blah'd. Being a novice I can say that if you get a good midcut speed boot it will allow you to start skating speed style and in that process you will see that what the pros do and teach really does work and you go fast. When you get your form down and strength then maybe go lower cut, I am sure if you can use that tool properly you will go faster, otherwise all those pros would use something else. I have tried a low cut boot and tried and tried again and I am just not good enough to use that tool properly. I do ok in the mid cut but not low cut. I am sure it is my bad technique or something I'm doing wrong but that goes back to being good enough to properly use the tool. As much as I would like to think I could drive an Indy car I bet I would kill myself trying to drive such a thing.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 08:41 PM   #12
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Just wait till you feel the freedom and REAL support that a good speedboot provides and then you'll see. I was on a speedboot like 3 months ago and while the boot gave me THE PAINS it allowed me to recover and polish to some extent my old technique repertoire wich included the infamous double push. Now i had to sell those cause would i continue to use them and i bet they'd have caused permanent damage to my ugly feet. Now i am skating on rec skates and i feel like there's two persons grabbing my legs while i skate. I simply can't do any technique and the shin splints i get from "normal" skating are incredibly surpassing the pain that my speedboots gave me and that's is a LOT. There my 0.02$
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Old September 18th, 2018, 11:31 PM   #13
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Default Left-right vs fwd-bkwd bending of ankle with low cut boots?

QUESTION: Are there benefits of wearing low cut inline speed skating boots to allow for more left-right bend in the ankles?

Good points here about the need to allow for forward bend at the ankles to enable for lower squats. But low cut boots also remove left-right support. Since I began skating on my advanced boots with low cut, I feel less left-right stability in the ankles and am not able to push off and skate as aggressively as I use to at indoor speed skating practices.

My understanding is that left-right bending of the ankle reduces power in your strokes and crossovers. As a result, Iíve definitely lost a step or two and am not skating as fast.

What are the benefits of wearing low cut inline speed skating boots to allow for more left-right bend in the ankles?

Last edited by allanjeong; September 22nd, 2018 at 01:42 PM.
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Old September 19th, 2018, 06:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allanjeong View Post
Good points here about the need to allow for forward bend at the ankles to enable for lower squats. But low cut boots also remove left-right support. Since I began skating on my advanced boots with low cut, I feel less left-right stability in the ankles and am not able to push off and skate as aggressively as I use to at indoor speed skating practices.

My understanding is that left-right bending of the ankle reduces power in your strokes and crossovers. As a result, Iíve definitely lost a step or two and am not skating as fast. Any thoughts on possible benefits of allowing for more left-right bend in the ankles?


Speed will come after you get used to it. Give it some time.

Also adjust your suspension to suit the new boot. That should definitely help. Probably need to loosen it. Since the lower cut boot likely has less leverage on the plate.

Maybe try greasing the contact points where the cushions meet the truck. It really smooths everything out and let's the suspension work as intended. This also lets it move a bit better under a slightly tightened kingpin.
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