Figure Skate Blades 101

Written By: Riedell | April 14, 2011

Did you know that the earliest skates used animal bones as blades? Early Scandinavians used these skates as a mode of transportation! Thankfully, blade technology has come a long way since then, allowing for higher jumps, faster spins and better rake engagement. There is a lot to know about blade technology, but we’ve put the basic definitions in one place:

Radius of Hollow (ROH)
Just like every skater has a different style, ice skate blades vary too. When the blade is sharpened, a certain amount of steel is removed from the center to the heel and toe. This is called the hollow. Deeper hollows result in two precise edges, while flatter hollows result in less predominant edges. Based on your skating style as well as your personal preference, select a blade’s hollow that fits best. Each Eclipse Blade model has a recommended ROH. Blades should be sharpened by an authorized Riedell dealer for best results (you can learn more by reading our Eclipse Blades catalog).

Heel Lift
Knowing where your rake (or toe pick) is in regards to the ice is one of the fundamentals of figure skating (We all remember the scenes from The Cutting Edge!). But did you know that the clearance of the rake is determined by the heel lift? Higher heel lifts provide more clearance between rakes and the ice, while lower heel lifts result in less clearance. When determining the ideal heel lift, keep in mind that lift measurements are in ranges and vary slightly from blade to blade.

Blade Radius
Radius is the amount of curvature the blade has from heel to toe. Often referred to as the rocker, it determines how much blade is actually in contact with the surface of the ice while you’re skating, as well as the lift of the blade. Therefore, more steel on the ice = more speed, less agility & less steel on the ice = less speed, more agility.

What do you want to know more about when it comes to blades?