Figure Skating

We recommend some general considerations for choosing figure skating equipment to stay comfortable and minimize injury during your training and competition. The basic equipment you need for skating is boots, a knife, and comfortable warm clothes. For all sports, you’ll also need to plan for hydration and, if you’re skating outdoors, don’t forget sun protection too. 

 Clothes:

  • Comfortable warm clothing is required for figure skating, with the lining being removed after you warm up.
    Warm-up pants, sweatpants or leggings can be used. They should not be loose and should give you the freedom to stretch.
  • Many female skaters choose to wear thick skating tights with a skating dress or skirt.
    Long sleeve top.
  • Jacket or sweater.
  • Gloves or mittens.
  • Socks are comfortable and fit.

Figure Skating Shoes:

The skates and blades can be purchased together as a unit for beginners, or separately for advanced skaters.

Figure skating boots that fit properly are essential for injury prevention and performance. The back of each boot should fit snugly against each heel. Heel slippage can cause heel bumps, calluses, and hammer toes. There should be enough room to wiggle your toes a bit and you shouldn’t lose circulation in your feet once the straps are firmly and completely tied. When buying boots, try and check for defects such as asymmetry or poor leather condition. Your walking shoe size may differ from your skating boot size. If you have a size difference between your feet, you may need custom-made or semi-custom (hot-printed, pre-made) boots. If your foot has bony prominences such as bunions or protruding ankle bones, Professional skate shops or cobblers can often “punch” or stretch the boot to specifically accommodate the shape of your foot without creating a custom boot. Do not forget to gradually unlock new boots.

Soft leather or vinyl boots are sufficient for beginners. More experienced skaters will need firmer skin to provide adequate foot and ankle support for more challenging moves. Finding the right balance between support and flexibility is key to choosing the right skating shoe for you. When wearing your boots, you should be able to flex your ankles (moving your knees over your toes, with your heels firmly on the floor) as best you can without wearing boots. If your boots don’t allow your ankles to bend, greater shock will be transferred to your knees, hips, and back as the jump lands, increasing the risk of injury to these joints.

Skating Knife Pictures:

Beginners and recreational figure skaters can use the “recreation knife” which is usually attached to the boot. If you’ve progressed beyond the beginner level, you’ll want more specific bars based on your skating style and abilities. Professionals at specialty skating shops can help with your choice. Keep in mind that better quality blades require less sharpening, have better flow on the ice, and can affect the quality of your spins and jumps.

Knife keeper:

The blade guard protects the blade when walking onto the ice, reducing your need to sharpen the blade. Don’t forget to remove the shield before you step onto the ice.

Hydration:

Staying hydrated will help you stay alert while skating, can help prevent muscle cramps and will help with your post-training or competition recovery. Bring your own water bottle to the arena so you can monitor your fluid consumption. We recommend that you drink about 300-400 mL before arriving at the arena (ref: http://www.ausport.gov.au/sportscoachmag/nutrition2/pre-event_nutrition), and 250mL (1 cup) of water or sports drink every 20 minutes during training and for one hour after training. Your fluid requirements will vary depending on environmental conditions and your body size. To check if you are hydrated enough, you can weigh yourself before and after your workout. If your weight stays the same then you are most likely well hydrated.

Sun Protection:

If you’re skating outdoors during the day, don’t forget to keep sunscreen and lip balm in your skating bag and apply before you warm up. 

Optional Extras:

Helmets and hip, knee, elbow and/or wrist guards or protectors can be worn if they make you feel more comfortable when learning to figure skate for the first time. 

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