So you just bought a magnificent pair of
skates, and they fit just right ; all the other pairs you tried (and you
tried many) were unpleasant in some way.
Until the first ride, where they grow increasingly
uncomfortable.. What to do, send them back? Well you are sure that the
other models will be worse, and this one is only a tad wrong. Maybe you
can live with that?
Well you cannot. Because you are a serious
skater, you skate long distance or difficult pavement, and you know that
damaged feet will not take you anywhere. Now is the time for a little
customization of your skates - a little only : everything described below
- harmless to your skates.
- easy to do.
- at your own risk. :)
Proper frame adjustment conditions most of
your comfort, and most of your skating efficiency : enough to justify a
little bit of your attention :-)
All boot-frame combos allow you lateral adjustment, (most
will also allow longitudinal adjustment, not studied here). If your frames
are too much to the outer sides of your boots, that is, with a large space
between them, your weight will apply to the inner edges of your frames,
causing your feet to pronate. If your frames are too much to the inner
sides of your boots, that is, with a small space between them, your weight
will apply to the outer edges of your frames, causing your feet to
Depending on your body's geometry, that may make things
better or worse for your feet's comfort. What you want is an adjustment
that lets your feet neither supinate nor pronate, with a perfect lateral
balance when your body is completely relaxed (I like my feet to supinate
So you have to adjust your frames the following way : take
out the two wheels which prevent access to the two screws that attach the
frames to the boot ; if your ankles tilt to the outside, push your frames
to the outside, I recommend to move the frames by two or three millimeters
between each try, keeping them as parallel as possible. Some skaters "toe
in" a little bit at the end of the adjustment, this is not discussed
When you are finished, you should be able to stand at
rest, with laces unfastened, body relaxed, without any tilting of the
ankles. Quite a few coaches will make you skate with laces unfastened to
make sure your frames have been properly adjusted.
When doing this adjustment, I had a severe case of
pronation : even after I pushed the frames all the way to the inside, my
ankles were still tilting inside. So I had to insert little wedges (see
picture) to make the wheels stand on the ground even closer. I made these
wedges by cutting out and drilling a very ordinary aluminum ruler, that
happily enough had exactly the triangular section I wanted.
The end result is twofold :
- the wheels are close enough to allow no tilting at all
of my ankles
- there is a small but definite (a few degrees ?) angle
to the frames.
Both effects are definitely wanted.
Having done that solves 70% of the comfort
Left foot seen from below, frame pushed nearly all the way
to the inside.
Left foot seen from below, heel part, identical
Close-up of one of the 4 identical wedges inserted between
boot and frame
Final result : boot soles are horizontal, but frames are
clearly not vertical. You can see the little wedges under each
Good skating implies that your heel is locked
down to the sole. If the geometry of your boot is not perfectly adjusted
to your foot, this may not be assured at all times. An easy way to ensure
the heel does not move is the foot strap - if you came from rec skating,
you are probably familiar with them.
The ones on the picture are home-made : I never found a
model small enough to adjust to speed skates. They are built with cheap
and ordinary material : 25 mm strap, hook & eye material, extensive
use of neoprene glue. Easy, efficient.
If you believe you can escape this subject, think twice.
While blisters tend to invade all areas of the foot, I only faced the
classical heel blisters.
First make sure you took good care of the previous two
items : blisters are frequently created by unwanted moves of the foot
inside the boot. Sometimes it is impossible to make the foot totally
immobile in reference to the boot : vibrations from rough pavement alone
can cause that. Many skaters strongly believe in thick socks, or thin
socks, or special socks, or no socks...
I believe in preventing friction between the foot and the
boot. You can
- line your boot with silk : tedious
- smear the boot with grease : easy
I used silicone grease, inert and less prone to
retain impurities. I know it does not sound very pleasant, but you only
need a very small amount.
For increased efficiency, you may have a
tendency to fasten your laces very tight. Many boots are actually sold
with a double lace. If the laces are loose, you waste efficiency ; if they
are too tight, your feet hurt. The particular case or the Mogemas is worse
because the tongue is very thin.
So I decided to make it thicker by adding a rubber layer,
again glued with neoprene glue. After a number of uses, the rubber is
crushed to one millimetre, but this is enough.