There’s a common misunderstanding that higher level boots allow the Skater to perform better. We see parents put their children on Ice Fly’s as soon as they start to learn doubles; expecting the higher level boots to speed up their learning process. To make things worse, it is known that some Retailers will sell Ice Flys to any Skater without informing them or their parents the risks involved. Boots that are too stiff will prevent the Skater from bending their knees, thus hindering the Skaters ability to perform elements. On top of this, Skaters risk back injuries and ground shock if they are unable to bend their knee on jump landings. The knee bend balances the Skater when landing jumps, if they are unable to bend their knee then they will compromise by bending their back. It is generally not apparent when the Skater is young but will surely be revealed as they get older.
Even though higher level boots sometimes come with features like “Light-weight”, the ultimate purpose of any boot comes down to “Ankle Support”, also known as “Stiffness Rating”. Why is ankle support so important? When Skaters perform jumps, the landing leg bears up to 8 times the Skater’s body weight. If there isn’t enough ankle support when landing, Skaters are likely to suffer sprained or even fractured ankles.
Let’s do some Math. We have 3 Skaters with different body weights, (A) 25kg, (B) 45kg, (C) 70kg. Below are the maximum weight they bear when landing:
A: 25kg * 8 = 200kg
B: 45kg * 8 = 360kg
C: 70kg * 8 = 560kg
Do you think A and C require boots of same ankle support, when A only bears 1/3 of C’s landing weight? The answer is obvious.
The boot stiffness guideline is generally designed for fully grown adult Skaters. The level of boot required depends on the Level of Skating, Body Weight, Leg Muscles and Height of Jumps. One should only move onto a higher level boot if the lower level boot is proven to be insufficient (and coaches can usually tell if that’s the case). Boots also get weaker due to length of use, so it might actually be better to replace with the same boots rather than upgrading. Better for the Skater and better for your wallet.
Just remember the most popular choice isn’t always the best choice.