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Editor’s note: In each issue of SKATING magazine, one of the country’s top skate technicians will provide their expertise on skating boots, blades and related industry equipment.

Boot stiffness ratings: What do they really mean?

Within the past few years, many of the skate

boot manufacturers have started giving their boots a stiffness rating to indicate (on a scale from 1 to 100) the amount of ankle and tongue support each of their boots provides. With the implementation of these ratings, I

have spoken to many parents, coaches and skaters who have begun to question whether stiffness ratings across manufacturers are comparable. For example, if a particular boot is rated a 70 stiffness in Brand X, will the 70 stiffness in Brand Y be the same? The answer is, probably not. There is no official

industry standard rating scale for these measure- ments. Instead, each manufacturer independently rates the stiffness of their own boots against other models they produce. In fact, the stiffness ratings are meant to educate both the skate fitter and con- sumer about where each boot model falls in regard to the level of support provided for that particular brand. So, if one boot model is rated a 50 stiffness and the next model is rated 70, this indicates that not only is the next model boot stiffer, but by how much. Another question that comes up is this one: If a

skater is performing a certain jump, such as a double Axel or triple Salchow, shouldn’t they be in stiffer skates to match their level? Although the level of the

skater should be taken into consideration, many other factors need to be taken into account, such as age, height, weight, frequency of skating and body mechanics, e.g., overpronators and over- supinators. In my experience, a 10-year-old girl, 4 feet 4 inches, 58 pounds working on a double Axel more than likely does not need the same stiffness as a 16-year-old boy, 5 feet 8 inches, 130 pounds performing the same jump. How do you know which stiffness is right for

you? The key is to make sure you are evaluated by a qualified skate fitter who is knowledgeable about the variety of boots on the market today. They will be able to give you a complete assessment to determine not only what stiffness you should wear, but put you in the most appropriate boot for you, regardless of the brand. Patti Larkin is a retired certified orthotist; she

spent 20 years in the orthotic field designing and fitting custom braces and foot orthoses. As a former compet- itive skater, coach and judge, Larkin has successfully merged her skating experience with her knowledge of the foot and body mechanics to fit skates over the past 15 years. She is the owner of Houston Skate & Dance Shop.

advertiser spotlight: DISNEY ON ICE — The ‘Next Step’

Have you considered skating beyond com-

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What defines a Disney On Ice skater? Athletic,

talented, enthusiastic, versatile and a team player. We seek out these traits, along with strong techni- cal and theatrical abilities, in senior-level singles, pairs and ice dancers. To achieve such a varied skill set, take ice dance or pairs lessons, try aerial silks, participate in Theater on Ice — anything to expand your horizons.

32 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018 At Feld Entertainment, we strive to create a

work environment that ensures everyone succeeds. Coaches work one-on-one to develop a skater’s abilities, helping him or her discover new oppor- tunities in pairs partnerships or aerial acts such as Spanish Web and Silks. Ready to hang up your skates? Feld Entertainment has welcomed many former Disney On Ice skaters into positions ranging from public relations to IT. Indeed, when you join, it’s just the beginning. To be considered for Disney On Ice, submit

a portfolio with resume highlighting competitive circuit experience and any music, theater, ballet/ dance experience; include photos and a 3- to 5- minute video (with introduction showcasing your personality) showing technical skills and exhibition program to: Feld Entertainment, Inc. Attn: Judy Thomas, Talent Director 800 Feld Way Palmetto, FL 34221

ask the expert



Q: What are ways to help reduce or eliminate odor from my boots and feet?

— Kelli, 15, San Jose, California

A: To solve any problem, you need to identify the cause. For stinky skates, the primary cause is the moisture in your boots generated by the sweat from your feet. Fresh, dry knee-highs, tights or thin skating socks on your feet for every skate is the first thing to try. If you still need help, thin, plastic grocery bags on each foot will provide a solid barrier to the moisture generated by your feet. After skating, it is essential that you dry out your skates completely. Loos- en the laces as far down as you can and pull the tongue open. If you can, take out the insoles or sock liners in your boots and let them dry out too. Stand your boots up so they can air out overnight. Some skaters use dryer sheets in their skates to help mask the odor. Storing your boots in a locker at the rink or in your skate tote, while convenient, will trap moisture inside your skates. Also, check the Internet for commercially available charcoal or silica desiccants. Do not use high heat to dry your skates.

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