Junker JU05 custom skate review
By Merten Schüler
When you do inline speed skating, you will at some point realise that normal recreational skates are not sufficient any more. The reasons for this is that most fitness skates are heavily padded, this is comfortable but results in a huge decrease of power and control. Also, often boots do not allow you to easily mount another, e.g. 5-wheel, frame.
At this point many people decide to get a carbon race boot. However, there might be trouble ahead: if the boot does not fit perfectly, this will result in blisters, ganglions and sore feet. Some of the effects can be eased by “heatmoulding” the boot where the speed boot supports this, but heat moulding is often not as good as a full custom fit.
There is another option – getting a custom boot. These are carbon race boots which are tailored to the skater's foot. There are several manufacturers and makes available. This review covers the German manufacturer Junker Skates.
Junker skates are produced by Daniel Junker, himself being a speedskater and thus knowing what racers need. His workshop is situated in Castrop-Rauxel, which is part of the Ruhr area in West Germany. An advantage of this is that shipping, e.g. for later repairs, is much faster than to/from overseas. Also, you can visit Junker himself to get the moulds taken.
Getting a custom skate takes some weeks – as it needs to be built after having measured your feet. So your first step is to have a mould taken – often you can meet the custom skate producers at bigger racing events or you can easily arrange some other meeting. The moulds are mainly made from gypsum, in addition, photographs and drawings are taken. This seems to be a lot of hassle, but ensures a perfect fit later.
Materials / Interior
The skates' interior is manufactured from high quality calf leather, with neoprene to support the Achilles tendon. Also, the skates feature an orthopaedic sole which supports the foot and allows for a better power transfer.
Colour options are one of the other beauties of a specially tailored skate – you have awesome flexibility. Each leather part of a Junker boot can be coloured differently in one of 10 colours. Only the carbon and rubber parts are always black.
Junker boots feature a unique patented system which allows the skater to cant the frame by a small angle while still providing an orthogonal powerful mounting. This is done by inserting a small angled plate and turning the mounting nut on the boot.
Laces and Buckle
The boots come with waxed laces. In addition to these, a powerstrap with buckle provides extra tightening. Buckles can easily be replaced.
Custom boots are expensive – a pair of Junker boots costs about 1100 Euros (about 750 GBP). But considering that a decent off the shelf boots costs at least half of this, the investment is well worth it. Also, Junker Skates offer several options for packages including frames and wheels, e.g. the Mogema 5x90 setup displayed here.
When it was time for me to get speed boots, I thought about buying an off-the-shelf skate. But hearing about the problems and having troubled feet I decided to go for custom skates straight away. I have my Junker boots for two weeks now and already skated several long training sessions and my first marathon race in them – without any problems, blisters or whatever. Putting my recreational skates back on makes me realise how much more power and control I've gained. So I'd definitely recommend considering a custom skate when you are serious about speed skating. Your feet will love you for this decision :)
Junker website - http://www.junkerskates.com/
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