Archive for the ‘figure skating’ Category

Best Zuca Skate Bags

Friday, October 15th, 2010


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Zuca Bag Review: Best Bag for Figure Skating Gear

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Visit any rink with serious figure skaters and you will find colorful square Zuca skate bags lining the walls. What makes the Zuca bag so popular with skaters is that is that they are cute; they store a ton of stuff, and they are sturdy enough to sit on. Click on any bag for more info and pricing on that bag.

zucablackbag


What Makes a Zuca Skate Bag Cute? For many young figure skaters, skating is more than a sport, it is an expression of their identity. Zuca bags appeal to young girls and teenagers because they can create their own look. You buy frame separate from the bags itself . The frames come in trendy colors and the bags come in hip patterns. Part of the fun is coordinating the frame and bag. And the fabric choices will amaze you: pink camouflage . . . black with sparkly crystals . . . lime green with pink polka dots . . . Hawaiian . . . .turquoise and brown . . . The list goes on and on. You can also add flashing wheels and add a skater’s name in embroidery or in rhinestones.

zucabagflower

How Much Stuff Can Fit in a Zuca Skate Bag? The roomy size and thoughtful design (pockets and shelves) allows skaters to store skates, blade guards, music, gloves, sweatshirts, tights, water bottles, and other accessories.

zucahotpink

How Strong is a Zuca Skate Bag? The frame of a Zuca bag is so strong that skaters can sit on it. A Zuca frame is the perfect height for a little stool that skaters sit on when putting on and taking off skates or when resting. Many rinks lack adequate benches so the bags are constantly in use as a seat.

zucagreenpink

How Much is a Zuca Skate Bag? Zuca bags cost a pretty penny. The frame runs from $100 to $150 and the bag runs another $50 or so. But the skaters LOVE them and they really are well made and will last forever. You can buy the bags separately if you want to update your frame.  Zuca bags can be used for other purposes besides skating. Photographers love them to cart around heavy gear as well.

zucabrownstar

Where Can I Buy a Zuca Skate Bag? You can buy Zuca bags at some skate shops, but the skate shops will not offer the full array of choices. the best way to buy a Zuca bag is to check them out online.  Amazon has several sellers with a wide array of choices and good prices. Click on any bag here to go to a seller.

zucacamou

What’s the Best Way to Give a Zuca Bag as a Gift? Gifts are all about unwrapping a surprise, but the best way to give a Zuca bag is to give a certificate for the bag.  That’s because half the fun of a Zuca bag is picking out the color of the frame and the fun fabric of the bag yourself.  You don’t want to pick the zebra bag with a black frame , when what she really wants is the turquoise bag with the brown frame!  Solution: Print out pics of the best Zuca skate bags and put them in an envelope! She will be thrilled to see all the choices and excited to know she can make the final decision herself.  I’ve put pics of some of my favorites on this post.  Feel free to print them out if you like the envelope idea.  By the way, each pic has a link to the Amazon store where it is sold. If you do buy from Amazon, please buy through my link. Thank you for your support. Let me know what bag you like best.

zucazebrared

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Related posts:

How to Buy Figure Skates for a Beginner

How to Buy a Figure Skating Competition Dress

My Squidoo lens on figure skating dresses

Best Gifts for a Figure Skater

Tips on Buying Used Figure Skates

My eHow on How to Sharpen Skates Properly to Give You an Edge.

My eHow on How to Skates for Skates Properly to Make Them Last

Skating at Rockefeller Center Ice Rink: Is It Worth It?

Text and all photos copyright by kpdesign, creativezazz.com

I tweet when I find good skate deals so follow me on Twitter.

Creative Scarecrow Ideas for Halloween Decorating

Monday, September 27th, 2010


Creative scarecrows can spice up fall decorations. Many neighborhoods hold scarecrow decorating contests. My sister and I have worked together to enter a few of these and have been lucky enough to win grand prize a couple of times. Our best tip? Use old clothes to come up with a scarecrow theme, then pay attention to detail to make a whole scene.

I used my daughter’s old flower girl dress, for example, to come up with a scene depicting “The Ring Bearer and Flower Girl at Frankenstein’s Wedding. I used her old figure skates to come up with “Skate Crow.” I used my son’s old Kobe Bryant jersey and old basketball shoes to come up with a scarecrow shooting hoops . . . (Kobe Die-ant of the LA  UnderTakers.) An old saddle gave me the inspiration to come up with “Ghost Rustler,” a cowboy lassoing a ghost.

Next up: I want to do a hula girl in a bikini to make a beach scene. Got you thinking? What clothes do you have that be used for a creative scarecrow scene this Halloween?

Make your scarecrows pop at night with a blacklight.

I hope my pics inspire you. Let me know if you have other creative scarecrow decoration ideas for Halloween.

Related Post: How to Make A Prize-Winning Scarecrow

Frankensteinflowel25web

scarecrowskaterweb

scarecrowsign

kobscarecrowweb

kboecrow2

Pet Clothing

kobesign

cowboyscarecrow

ghost

cowboyrope

Please share your creative ideas for cool scarecrows.

view my squidoo lens on Halloween scarecrows.

Amazon has some funny Halloween decorations! Check them out!

Also lots of craft stuff.

Other craft posts:
How to Make a Yoga Mat Tote Bag
How to Make a Tassel
How to Make Bookmarks from a Photo
How to Make Designer Baby Burp Cloths Using Ribbon

CA Figure Skater Mirai Nagasu, 16, Going to Olympics

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010


Southern CA’s Figure Skater Mirai Nagasu, 16, Captures Silver . . . and Lots of Hearts

Mirai Nagasu floored me at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships: beauty, grace, strength, agility, artistry.

She won first in the short program.

Loved her dress. So original. The music came from Pirates of the Caribbean, which she lists on her website as one of her favorite movies, and the dress looks like a sparkly treasure.

Mirai came in second place to Rachel Flatt in the long program. Kudos to Rachel for skating well and earning more points from the judges, but to my mind Nagasu has that special something on the ice. See her skating on the link below. Wow. In any case, they both go to Olympics 2010.

I have a special spot in my heart for Mirai Nagasu because she is from Southern California. Her parents own a restaurant in Arcadia. Nagasu started skating when she was just 5.

She is as pretty as her name, “Mirai,” which means “Future” in Japanese. Boy, oh boy, she is the future of skating! I bet that the name Mirai will start appearing in “most popular names for girls” lists soon.

A recent article in the New York Times talks about the Mirai’s struggle with self-esteem. In fact, her coach instigated a “no cry” rule after she broke down from the stress of it all a couple times. The article said a couple of times she felt like taking off her skates for good. Figure skating is a stressful sport . . . stressful for the skater and indeed, the whole family. Skating is demanding physically, emotionally, and financially.

Mirai: You are beautiful, your skating inspires; and you deserve your spot on our Olympic team. Enjoy yourself!

More than 10 years of practice went into these skating performances. A sport like this requires a huge commitment from the family. Congratulations to Mirai and to her parents and other supporters as well as to Rachel Flatt and her family and supporters. Good Luck at the Olympics!

Let me know what you think in comments below.

Related posts:

how to buy a figure skating competition dress

how to buy figure skates

tips for buying used figure skates

best gifts for a figure skater

figure skating crafts

My ehow article on How to Care for Figure Skates to Make Them Last

Best Gifts for a Figure Skater

Friday, November 13th, 2009


Best Gifts to Give a Figure Skater

Tips on what to give a figure skater

When my daughter started figure skating, I had a hard time finding gifts that related to her sport. Local stores at the mall had no gifts for ice skaters. So I searched online and found the best sites from which to buy the best skating gifts. I am putting the ideas and links up here as well as some ideas for gifts you can make and even a few you can just pick at Target or another local store.

Please let me know if you have other ideas for ice skating gifts. I would love to hear from other skate moms who found good figure skating gifts. If you are a figure skater, let me know your favorite skate gift ideas to add to the list.

I tweet when I find good skate deals so follow me on Twitter.

Zuca bag

ZÜCA Starz and Pink Sport Frame & Bag

Every figure skater wants a ZÜCA bag , the stylish little suitcase with a frame sturdy enough to double as a seat. And there are so many hot designs out there now! The frames and bags are sold separately so even if she already has one, get a second bag for a new look. They are expensive, but worth it. By the way, these things never seem to go on sale anywhere, but Amazon does seem to have a fair price.

14K Gold Ice Skates Charm Figure Skating 16.5mm

Try finding a delicate little 14 K gold skate charm like this at the mall . . . .  You just can’t find figure skate-themed jewelry down the street.  But I found some beautiful skating jewelry online.

14k Gold Diamond Ice Skate Charm (1/10 cttw)

Wowee! Check out this gold and diamond skate charm!   This pretty ice skate charm is crafted from solid 14 karat gold and decorated with genuine diamond accents (1/10 cttw). Offered in your choice of white or yellow gold, it features a lobster-claw clasp that attaches easily to just about any chain or bracelet.

Sterling Silver 3D Ice Figure Skate Earrings 925

Gotta have the sterling silver figure skate earrings dangling from your ears.

Figure Skate T-Shirt

Sometimes you want to show the world you skate. It’s hard to find skating-themed t-shirts in stores, but most print-on-demand online shops have a ton of choices. Anyone can submit designs at these places, so you have to sift through quite a few amateur designs before finding the good ones. When I get time I plan to try to come up with a few of my own designs.  Meanwhile, here are some from Zazzle.


create custom t-shirts at Zazzle

Figure Skate Mug

Zazzle and the other print-on-demand online stores also offer other figure skating gift items like mugs.


buy unique gifts at Zazzle


Tickets to Ice Show

Check in your neighborhood to see if an ice show is in town.

Tights

Ratty old tights are OK for practice, but a new pair of skate tights can make you feel like you are skating in a competition, even if you’re not.  Maybe they can even make you skate better.  Amazon has a ton of styles both over-the-boot and under-the-boot.

Amazon has a ton of styles.

Blade Covers

Soakers wear out quickly.  A new pair in a colorful shade will make taking care of blades more fun.

Size Large Terry Cloth Blade Covers / Soakers

DVD Carrying Case

Skaters carry their own music to the rink to prepare for competition. Give her a glittery cd case to keep her music scratch free.  Maybe put her name and phone number on it, as these tend to get left behind. I could not find any extra specialones online, but look at Target or Best Buy etc.

Figure Skating Fleece Throw Blanket

You may use it more than she does if you are the one who watches her practice, but this fleece throw with ice skates on it is comfy and warm. This one is great or look at the local fabric store . . . . there is an off chance they have material and you could make on.

Hair Scrunchies

Pick up a few pretty hair scrunchies at the local Target or beauty supply.  Drug stores often have good ones.  Heck even the dolar stores sometimes have OK ones. If you sew, these are easy to make just using basic elastic and pretty fabric.

Books about Skaters (and bookmarks, too)

Books about Skaters and Skating from Amazon will show you a ton of books. If you buy anything from Amazon, please use my link (I am an Amazon affiliate).  Bookmarks with a skate theme make a good gift as well if you can find any.  I am going to design some and put them up for sale soon.

Artistic Skates mousepad
Artistic Skates by passionforskating
Create a mousemat on zazzle

Crafts about Skating

Check at your local Michaels or Joanns or other craft store for scrapbooking items about figure skating such as these and others.

Jolees Boutique Themed Ornate Stickers, Figure Skating


Christmas Tree Ornaments with Skate Theme
Cool Christmas Tree Ornaments with Ice Skate Theme will link you up with some great holiday ornaments you can order online.  Ornaments is one area where the stores do seem to have a lot of choices, so look at Hallmark or stores in the mall.  I find Kohls has great ornaments.

Brand new skates and a new competition dress are great gifts as well, but I think the skater has to try these on.  So you might consider making up your own coupon for these gifts.  By the way, some of these ideas would work as a great holiday gift for a skating coach as well.  Good luck finding the right figure skating gift and let me know if this list helped.

Related Posts:

Tips for Buying Used Figure Skates

How to Buy a Figure Skating Competition Dress

My Squidoo Lens on Figure Skating Dresses

My ehow article on How to Care for Figure Skates to Make Them Last

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Ice Skating as a Summer Sport in Claremont

Friday, June 5th, 2009


Cool off on the Ice this Summer

In some parts of the country, ice skating is a seasonal sport. Skaters wipe off their blades and put away their gear when spring melts the snow.  But here is So Cal, figure skating and hockey are both year-round.

In my hometown of Claremont, CA, we have two nearby ice rinks. Both are in Ontario. But don’t get them confused. Each has its own feel.  One is more than four decades old, while the other is only a few years old.

When the weather gets hot, call some friends and check out one of these rinks.

Both rinks offer:

public skating

hockey lessons

figure skating lessons

broomball

birthday parties

skate rentals

The older and smaller rink is:

Ontario Ice Skating Center
1225 West Holt Boulevard
Ontario,  CA  91762-3639
(909) 986-0703

The newer and larger rink is:

Center Ice Arena
201 S. Plum Ave.
Ontario
(909) 986-4231

My daughter skates at Center Ice Arena. She likes it because it is bigger than the rink on Holt. But our neighbor’s daughter started at the Ontario Ice before Center Ice opened, and she loves it.  Try them both.

If you want to see a local figure skating competition for free, check out the ISI Open at Center Ice July 18 and 19, 2009.  My daughter competed in this the last 3 years (see pic of her at event above).  We are coming as spectators this year. For two days local figure skaters from all levels compete. A great way to see the thrill of figure skating up close. More details are at the Center Ice site.

Related posts:

How to Buy Used Figure Skates

Figure Skating Gift Ideas

How to Buy a Figure Skating Competition Dress

Volleyball Summer Camps in and around Claremont


Tips for buying used figure skates

Thursday, February 26th, 2009


Buying used figure skates is risky business. But you can save half off or even more. Check out these tips from a figure skating mom.

Check eBay and other online sources (search “used figure skates” also try “ice skates“), and you will see lots of offers.

Check this link for skates at Amazon and you will find both new and used skates.

You can also find used skates at some skate shops and sports shops. Also check bulletin boards at the rink. Don’t buy the first cheap skate you see.

What to avoid: anything with heavy creases at the ankle, a sign that the boot is broken down and won’t support you; rough patches inside the boot, which can lead to blisters; and rusty or nicked blades.

Be sure you consider only boots and blades that fit your level of skating.  Do not buy a boot for a more advanced level, just because you can get a deal. More advanced boots are stiff to support jumps. You do not want super stiff boots if you are a beginner. New skates for advanced skaters are too stiff for beginners. The toe pick is also too big for beginners. Used skates can be less stiff, but the toe pick stays the same . . . still too big for beginners.

You take a risk when you buy used skates online because there is no way to test how broken down the leather is. That being said, I bought my daughter’s third pair (pictured here) used from a shop in New York without trying them on (we live in Southern California). They were the same brand and model as at our shop but half the price. I think I paid about $110, whereas the shop at the rink was charging about $250.  The photo and description looked good. And I felt comfortable about the shop owner after she told me exactly how to measure my daughter’s feet and asked many questions about her skating level. She sharpened the blades and threw in a pair of soakers. The only flaw: the chrome on the lace eyelets was not as shiny as the brand new ones her friends had.

I think used skates in good condition might be just fine for a beginner if you are careful about what you buy. A beginner might even like the fact that the skates were “broken in” a bit. More advanced skaters needing stability for jumps should probably steer clear of used skates. If possible have a coach check used skates out before you buy.

ZÜCA Spotz and Pink Sport Frame & Bag

With the money you save buying used skates, you could get a ZÜCA bag. This is the hot bag to have for the ice. Amazon has them in all different colors and styles. If you buy through Amazon, please use my link (I am an Amazon affiliate).

If you are a skate mom and spend a lot of time at the rink, check out the Amazon Kindle. The best way to read while your daughter skates!

If you are thinking about buying new skates, please read my tips for buying new figure skates first.

Whether you buy used or new, please be sure to dry the blades after each use (so they won’t rust). See links below for more information on proper care of skates and blades.

Let me know if these tips on buying used ice skates helped. Good Luck.

For more skating tips, follow me on twitter

Ice Skating Tee shirt
Ice Skating Tee by skatingislife
View other shirts designed online at Zazzle


Get $25 Gift Certificates for just $10. Click Here

Related posts:
How to buy a figure skating competition dress
Best Gifts for a Figure Skater
My eHow on How to Sharpen Skates Properly to Give You an Edge.
My eHow on How to Skates for Skates Properly to Make Them Last
Best Zuca Skate Bags
How to Buy Figure Skates for Beginners

Text and all photos copyright by kpdesign, creativezazz.com

I tweet when I find good skate deals so follow me on Twitter.

Figure skating crafts

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009


Two things my daughter and I love: figure skating and crafts. But it’s hard to find craft materials with a an ice skating theme! So I am sharing my links to items that feature figure skates. Hope you find something you like. I will be adding more, so check back. Let me know if you have suggestions.

I also have a post about figure skating gift ideas.

My ehow article on How to Care for Figure Skates to Make Them Last

You can pick up tickets to ice skating events like Stars on Ice; Disney; and even the Olympics and World Figure Skating Championships through Empire.

Figure skating gift ideas

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009


If your daughter plays soccer, you have no trouble finding her soccer-related t-shirts, hair clips, and even shoe adornments when you want to give her a gift that celebrates her sport. But if she skates on ice . . . well, have fun hunting. It is almost impossible to find any figure skating gifts at the mall, so you have to spend time surfing the web.

That’s why I am going to share the links that I find. I hope these hints save you time and help you find the perfect gift for your skater. Feel free to give me suggestions.

I also have a post about figure skating crafts.

Please let me know if you like these suggestions and if you have others. I will be adding more soon.

How to buy a figure skating competition dress

Saturday, February 21st, 2009



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For figure skating tips and deals follow me on Twitter.

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Tips for Finding and Affording a Competition Dress that Wows

You’ve spent hours taking your daughter to the rink and spent hundreds on skates and lessons. Now it’s time for her first competition. How do you go about buying a skating dress that won’t take forever to find . . . and won’t break your budget? Here are some tips from a skate mom to consider.

If you have more tips to share, please add in comments section below.

Even if you do not have a figure skating competition coming up, a new skate dress can inspire you to skate your best on the ice.

Age. Do not pick something too provocative for a young girl or too cutesy for an older girl.

Style. Do not pick a style based on what it looks like in a picture on a model. Some ice skating dresses work well with thin bodies and others with fuller ones. Choose a style based on what it looks like in the mirror. Remember you will be moving in the dress, so make sure it works when you bend and jump.

Size. Buy something that fits now with a little room for growth.

Color. Not everyone looks good in every shade. If you are not sure, read up on color analyzing to see what “season” the skater is.

Theme. Pick music and routine before you get the dress. Classic music requires a different style than, say, pop, rock or 60s music. Have the dress fit the theme. In the photo above, my daughter’s theme was the 60s. She skated to “These Boots are Made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra. She is third from the left. In the photo at right, she chose another 60s song, “I Feel Good” by James Brown.

Budget. Only look at figure skating dresses you can afford.

Competition Rules. Sometimes there are competition requirements so check this out first. Never buy or make dresses with adornments that fall off easily as this is hazardous on the ice.

Timeline. Do not wait until the last minute. This is especially important if you are having the dress custom made or buying online.

Advice. Ask coaches and more advanced skaters where they get their costumes.

Where to look. First place to look is a skate shop, usually located at or near a rink.  The manufacturer’s tags will have model numbers. Jot down the numbers of the best styles along with the size that fits and price. Even if you do not find the perfect competition dress, you now have information for comparison shopping at other stores or online.

Also check shops that sell dancewear.

Attend figure skating competitions as the rink often allows companies to bring merchandise to the rink and set up a rack.

Other skaters often sell their old costumes, so ask at your rink.

Choose a dress that is age-appropriate and fits well no matter how you move, as shown above. This color is great on this girl as well.

Google “figure skating dresses” or “ice skating dresses” or “competition dresses” and you will find many online stores.  If you have done your research you will have a couple model numbers in mind. Check return policy and shipping time.

Amazon also has some great skate dresses, often at a good price. Check these skate dresses out.

Ebay has hundreds of competition dresses. Check the seller’s rating as a seller, not just the overall rating. Communicate about size before you bid. Ask to see additional photos if needed. If there are crystals, make sure they are Swarovski. Make sure you have time to receive item well before the competition. Have a back-up plan in mind. We bought a dress off eBay once . . . and the seller never sent it! So always have a back-up plan.

Keep in mind: you can zazz up a plain skate dress and make it dazzling by putting on Swarvoski crystals yourself. Practice on another item as applying them properly takes a little practice. You will need to buy Hot Fix Swarovski Crystals and a hot fix applicator, found at Amazon or in better sewing stores or some craft stores.

Darice 2704-01 Rhinestone Setter Hot-Fix Applicator Wand

Sewing Options.

Custom Seamstress.  If money is not an object, hire a professional seamstress who specializes in skating outfits. Schedule your dress to be made well in advance of the competition. Find a seamstress by asking at the rink.

Sew it yourself only if you are a good seamstress. Be advised that figure skating costumes are usually sewn on a specail sewing machine called a Serger that allows seams that stretch. They are made from 4-way stretch material.  Check to make sure it is truly 4-way stretch and not just 2-way.   You can find patterns online.

Another less expensive and maybe easier option is to convert a dress, like I did with the dress above. Go to the thrift store and look for prom gowns made of 4-way stretch material.  Have your daughter try it on and see if you think you can alter it.  We did this a couple of times with great success.   I shortened the dress made a slit in the sides, took in the seams, and added crystals. We used dance shorts for underneath. I had a beautiful custom dress for under $20! Click on any picture to see a larger version.

 

 

Note in the photo above: the theme was “Glamour” since the song was Fergie’s “Glamorous.” I altered a prom dress, used hot-fix Swarovski crystals, and had a friend do her hair to fit the theme.

 

 

Never wear ratty old tights with your new dress. Get a couple pairs of new tights and save them for competition day. You can get skate tights at Amazon as well.

Take good care of your competition dresses. After you are done you can sell them on ebay or at your rink, use them as practice dresses, or give them to a younger skater who is a friend.Please let me know if you find these tips helpful, or if you have others to share, by leaving a comment below. Good luck finding a dress that wows for less!

Figure Skating embroideredshirt Figure Skating by ZazzleEmbroidery See more Red Embroidered Shirts

For more figure skating tips and deals follow me on Twitter.

Shop Amazon – Juniors Clothing

Related posts:

Best Zuca Skate Bags

how to buy figure skates

tips for buying used figure skates

best gifts for a figure skater

figure skating crafts

My squidoo lens All About Figure Skating Competition Dresses

Skaters often take yoga to help stretch out. Here’s my instructions for How to Make a Yoga Mat Tote Bag.

How to Get Free Tickets to Legoland California

Text and all photos copyright by kpdesign, creativezazz.com

Commemorate your daughter’s first competition with a charm she will cherish her whole life. Finding well-made figure-skating jewelry is not easy, but I did find a few items and am sharing a link to figure skate jewelry.

A good cd case is going to come in handy if your daughter starts skating in competitions as she will need to carry her own music with her. Be sure to label all your cds with her name and her coach’s name. Always have at least 2 copies of her edited music.

Here’s another tip: Second Spin is a great place to buy used cds for music. They have really low prices and ship fast. We have used them many times. Click the link below for the latest deals at Second Spin.

SecondSpin.com


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How to Buy Figure Skates that Fit Your Feet . . . and Your Budget

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009


Axelent Ice Skating Keds Sneakers kedsshoe
Axelent Ice Skating Keds Sneakers by skatingislife
Learn how to sell art online at Zazzle.com
My daughter at her last skate competition.

My daughter at her last skate competition.

Everything You Need to Know About Buying Figure Skates

The time had finally come to fork out money to buy my daughter pretty white skates. She was about 8 and had been taking lessons twice a week for a year at Center Ice Arena. Using rental skates—stiff, brown and less-than-attractive—she had mastered swizels, one-foot glide, backwards crossovers, hockey stops, ballet jumps and increasingly advanced moves required to pass a test to move to the next level.  All without complaint.  Ice is hard when you fall. In those early months bruises testified to her perseverance. Her class dwindled as the difficulty increased. Now she was the only one left on the brown rentals. She was starting jumps and spins. She needed better skates. She had earned them.

Starting out on rentals.

.

But entering the skate shop gave me shivers, and not from the cold. I had zero knowledge of skates.  I knew girls at her rink spent hundreds of dollars on a pair of skates. I did not want to get the wrong thing!

Well, Skate-girl is almost 11 now and is ready for her fifth pair of skates. We learned from each purchase we made.  We paid from $5 (a lucky used bargain) to about $530. More advanced skaters pay much more. Here’s my tips for avoiding pitfalls in this expensive sport.


Know when to buy. Don’t buy until you try. Rent first. I’ve seen a lot of ads on eBay for skates worn only once or twice because the enthusiasm wore off after a couple of falls. After a year in rentals I knew my skater was committed, and I think she valued her new skates more after waiting to get them. I’ll never forget the giddiness she felt finally getting her first pair of brand new white skates.

Know where to buy. Sporting goods stores and department stores sell figure skates, but the best place to buy is a shop that specializes in figure skates. You will find more choices, better skates, and a knowledgeable salesperson. If you are lucky, your rink has such a shop. But beware: some skate shops at the rink specialize in hockey. Sales staff may have only a few figure skate models and limited knowledge of how to fit and recommend figure skates. Such a shop will be fine for a beginning pair, but you may have to go elsewhere if your daughter advances.

Got Ice? embroideredhat
Got Ice? by Embroidery4U
Create embroidery designs online with zazzle

A good fitting technician will: ask about the skater’s weight and height; observe how she stands; measure length, width and ankles carefully; and ask about skating level. If you are not asked these questions, you need to find another fitter.

Know what to spend. Be prepared to spend $150-$250 for a entry-level set of boots and blades. You may find a deal for less, but you do not want cheapo plastic boots  . . . you would be better off renting.

 

Know your level of skating. A more expensive skate is not better for beginners! Entry-level and recreational skaters need a boot that is more comfortable and flexible than the stiff skates made for jumpers. Beginning skates also have smaller toe picks. So don’t think you are doing your daughter any favors by buying something that is more expensive than what she needs. It is counterproductive!

Buy skates and blades as a package at first. Beginning skates come as a set with a blade already mounted (but not sharpened).  As you advance you buy the boot separate from the blade so you can customize what you need.  Beginners do not need (nor want) the more advanced blade, so why pay more?

Blades. When you do buy blades separately, get them slightly large.  That way you can use the same blade for the next pair of boots. One blade can last through two boots if you think ahead.

 

Know your shoe size vs. your skate size. Shoe sizes and skate sizes are not the same thing!  Each company has its own sizing system. A reputable skate shop will have rulers from all the brands they sell.  For example, if you buy Riedell boots, you will be measured on a Riedell ruler. If you buy Jackson boots, you will be measured on a Jackson ruler. You can research how each company’s skates fit by visiting their website.

 

Online tips. If there is no good shop near you, or if you want to save money and are willing to take a bit of a risk, you can buy online. But be careful about communication and return policy. You want to buy from an online shop that converses with you by email or phone.  The salesperson should ask your shoe size and have you trace around both feet on paper and then measure the drawing both in length and width. (Be sure to do both feet as one is often larger.) Give the skater’s age, skating level, height and weight.  Be sure to say if feet are narrow or wide, if the arches are high or low, etc.  If you buy online, be sure they do allow returns and under what conditions. You may have to pay shipping on returns.

Wear the right sock.  Try the boot on with the socks you will be wearing. Most coaches recommend wearing thin socks or skate tights, not bulky socks. Regular cotton socks absorb sweat and may make feet cold. They also bunch up. You will never see them on serious skaters. Skate shops sell skate tights and skate socks, but you can also use nylons or trouser socks. Bring two pairs as you may want to try the boot with two pairs of tight-fitting socks. Some growing skaters will buy the skate a half size big to allow for growth and then wear 2 pairs or add a sole liner to start.

Try on skates properly. Once your foot is in the boot, kick the heel back firmly several times to make sure your heel is snugly against the back of the boot. Kicking the heel back is important. Make sure you lace up correctly. Start from the bottom and pull laces firmly before each crisscross. The laces should be roughly half inch apart at first but may go a bit wider and looser at top. The salesperson will help you lace up, but pay attention so you know how to do it.

Test properly. Stand and lean forward. For a child, you want to be able to wiggle a finger into the back of the boot when the skater is leaning forward. For an adult they should fit snug but not feel tight.  Coaches and fitters recommend buying no more than a half size up.

Ask about heat fit. Many better boots can be “heat fit.” The shop will heat them in a special oven. You then try on the warm skates let them cool. The skates mold to your feet. We did this with my daughter’s first pair of new boots, and it worked like a charm. Do not try doing this in your oven at home. If you buy the skates at the shop, this is free. You can heat fit again later as the skater grows, but you will be charged a fee for subsequent heat-fitting.

Get waterproofing. Water is a pair of skate’s biggest enemy. Blades rust and leather rots if exposed to water. Better skates have leather soles. You can protect your investment if you have the shop waterproof them. They will charge you and it will take a couple days.  They remove the blades, put on the waterproofing and let it dry, then out the blades back on.  Our shop  painted the skater’s name and a design on sole first, which the girls loved. It made the boots more special.  I am glad we went ahead and paid extra for waterproofing. A skate-dad told me he did not know about this option when he got new skates for his daughter at a different shop.  After a few months they had water damage and it was a hassle to wait until they were dried out to have it done later.

You should also periodically put Sno-Seal or similar beeswax waterproofing product on your skates.

The best price is not always the best choice. We all want a deal.  But getting the correct skate and right fit is so important, it may be worth it to have a professional help you. Returns are always a hassle. You may wonder why the shop at the rink charges more than the same skate online. Good skate shops work with you for the initial fitting of the boot at no added cost. This may mean providing a sole liner, or “punching out” the leather near the ankle, or stretching the boot or heat fitting. Skate shops have special tools to fit skates. Buying skates at a shop also includes the first blade sharpening. If you buy skates online, and then take them into the shop for this work, you will pay ($10-$20 each time) for each of these services.  That adds up. But no matter where you buy, it is a good idea to research skate models online before you plunk down cash. If you do buy online, many places will price match. Ask if they will throw in blade guards.

Used tips. Buying used is risky business. But I have done it successfully. Here’s some tips on buying used figure skates.

New boots with watrproofed soles.

New boots with waterproofed soles and sharp blades.

Sharpening. When you buy skates, the blades are not sharpened. Make sure you like the fit of the boot before you have the blades sharpened. Once the blades are sharpened, the return policy is usually voided. Be sure to get figure skate blades sharpened by someone who knows how to sharpen for figure skating (not hockey). Ask experienced skaters at your rink who sharpens their  blades.

Break them in. You can break your skates in by wearing them around the house with the blade guards on and by skating for short sessions. If you find they still hurt after a few weeks, take them to the shop for readjustments. On my daughter’s last pair, we went back for adjustments about five times. We got the sole built up a couple times and the ankles punched out a couple times until it was right. You can also buy special blister pads or gel ankle wraps. The gel ankle sleeve was great for my daughter and worth the money.  Skate shops sell these. Later we got her boots stretched for a small fee.

Take care of your skates. Every skater needs two kinds of blade protectors: hard and soft. Only put on the hard ones while walking in the skates. Never store skates with the hard plastic protectors on, or your blades will rust. I have seen blades less than a year old covered in rust because they were stored this way!  After each use wipe the blades off and put on terry cloth covers on for storage. It is best to let skates air out to dry. Scratches on the leather are inevitable . . . if you want to keep your skates pretty you can buy over-the-boot tights or nylon skate covers that go over the boot.  They come in a variety of colors.

Enjoy your skates.

Please let me know if you find these tips helpful or if you have additional tips to add.

Read an edited version of the these tips at eHow.

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That’s my beautiful daughter on skates!

The most popular skate bag is a Zuca. Well made with a spot for everything, and you can even use the sturdy frame as a seat! Check them out at Amazon. The model below is my daughter’s favorite.

 

Even though the rink is cold, skaters need to stay hydrated. We try not to use disposable water bottles as they are bad for the environment. Here is a bottle from Amazon that I like.

 

 

Text and all photos copyright by kpdesign, creativezazz.com


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