Your Guide to Figure Skates

Written By: Riedell | May 22, 2018

Figure Skates are more complicated than most people realize. From beginners to pros, the right figure skates can make a big difference in a skater’s performance. But what exactly does each part of the skate do and why are they so important?

The Riedell Difference

Riedell Skates takes figure skates seriously. With the only skates endorsed by the Professional Skaters Association, Riedell has a long history of excellence when it comes to crafting figure skates for both beginners and pros. Our figure skates have some of the lightest boot and blade combinations on the market that boast impressive longevity. With a wide variety of sizing options we are able to complement nearly any skater’s preference when it comes to fit and style.

With Riedell, we guarantee that you’ll find your perfect pair of skates through a perfect combination of innovation and proven design. Any serious skater knows that a proper fit is the key to a good performance. With more standard sizes and widths available than any other brand, our boots offer the perfect balance of fit, comfort, and support to unlock your best performance.

Understanding the Parts of the Boot

A figure skate is comprised of the boot, blade, and laces. A figure skating boot is much more complex than your average shoe. Professional skaters will have their boots custom molded to their feet to achieve a perfect fit. At Riedell, we make custom figure skating boots that can match even the toughest of requirements. With a custom Riedell figure skate, you can choose everything about your boot; take your pick of color, leather temper, firmness, heel height, materials, and more!

The parts of a figure skating boot are similar to that of a normal boot, including the tongue, laces, eyelets, sole, heel, backstay, and lining. But with figure skates, everything has been taken to the next level. The lining of a figure skate is used for both comfort and warmth. Additionally, the padding in a figure skate is altered to handle the repeated high impact the boot undergoes as skaters jump, spin, and perform.

Some chose to take their boot fit to the next level by using an R-Fit™ Footbed Kit. By partnering with a leading podiatrist/former skater, we created the R-Fit™ Footbed Kit to address the competitive skater’s in skate foot support needs.

Understanding the Parts of the Blade

Just like boots, a figure skating blade is comprised of many essential components that add up to make a dynamic piece of sporting equipment.

  • Rake, Pick, Teeth: The most well-known part of the toe pick, the teeth are the sawtooth edges that have been cut into the front of your blade.
  • Drag, Master, Drop Pick: The Drag is the lowermost spike on your toe pick. Traditionally spaced just slightly farther apart than the rest of the teeth, the Drag is what skaters use to initiate vertical jumps.
  • King Pick, Primary: A King Pick is the topmost spike on your toe pick. This large, protruding pick helps to enhance a skater’s contact with the ice while performing toe assisted maneuvers.
  • Non-Skateable Zone: The Non-Skateable Zone is the section of the blade directly behind the toe pick. This section of the blade is used while completed spins and utilizes a rocker profile, meaning that it maintains a gently sloped form. A standard Non-Skateable Zone, or NSZ, can range anywhere from 1” – 1 ½”.
  • Lift Angle, Heel Lift, Toe Lift: Your Lift Angle is the space between the ice and your blade’s tail, the furthermost part of the blade that extends past the heel. The height of your Lift Angle will determine the time it takes for your pick to come into contact with the ice. For example, if you have a larger Lift Angle then it will take longer for your Toe Pick to come into contact with the ice, whereas a smaller Lift Angle means that your Drag will hit the ice all the more quickly. The lift is decided as the degree of the Rocker on your blade.
  • Rocker: The Rocker is the center section of your blade that is shaped in a gentle curve.
  • Spin Rocker: The Spin Rocker is the “sweet spot” of your blade located right behind the balls of your feet. It is here that skater will perform spins.
  • Heel Plate and Toe Plate: Plates are what attaches the blades to the boots, which in turn adds stability, allowing a skater more control when performing tricks.
  • Runner: The runner is the section of the blade that primarily makes contact with the ice.
  • Stanchions: The stanchions are the metal post like structures that connect your blades to boot of your skate.

Choosing Your Perfect Skates

At Riedell, we offer a multitude of different figure skating configurations. Non-competitive skaters typically decide to take their choice from our boot and blade sets. Between our Instructional Series, Recreational Series, and Beginner Series, you’re sure to find the perfect pair of skates for your needs. Competitive skaters, on the other hand, have their choice between a plethora of individual boots and blades, all of which can be custom modified to cater towards a skater’s unique preferences.

Whether you’re about to take your first steps on the ice, or you’re gearing up for your next competition, Riedell is here to help you find the skates you need. If you’re uncertain about which figure skates are right for you, a member of our team would be more than happy to assist you. Send us a message to get started!