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hockeydad3

Stiffness of skates

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1 minute ago, flip12 said:

Marleau’s 9K’s are still down-spec’d a bit from how a stock 9K was. He stuck with TPU outsoles like there were on his previous CCM skates. His eyelet pattern is also funky, omitting eyelets 2 and 4 from the top which also promotes forward flex. Fedorov and Bure also rocked TPU outsoled boots after composite was introduced: Bure on his early Vapor 8s and Fedorov on G3s. McDavid’s stiffness spec apparently matches the third tier offerring in the Tacks lineup: https://www.icewarehouse.com/CCM_Tacks_9080/descpage-CT8S.html

If he had wanted stiffer when JetSpeeds came out he almost certainly could have had that spec.

Just to reiterate. Stiff doesnt = fast. Proper form = fast. Look at the mechanics of Crosby, McDavid and Mackinnon and you can see they are all wearing skates that are stiff enough to support their movements but they do not rely on the boot itself for stability. I think a lot of this has to be with players using their hips more instead of using their legs, like comparing Jagr vs McDavid skating styles. 

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4 minutes ago, flip12 said:

Marleau’s 9K’s are still down-spec’d a bit from how a stock 9K was. He stuck with TPU outsoles like there were on his previous CCM skates. His eyelet pattern is also funky, omitting eyelets 2 and 4 from the top which also promotes forward flex. Fedorov and Bure also rocked TPU outsoled boots after composite was introduced: Bure on his early Vapor 8s and Fedorov on G3s. McDavid’s stiffness spec apparently matches the third tier offerring in the Tacks lineup: https://www.icewarehouse.com/CCM_Tacks_9080/descpage-CT8S.html

If he had wanted stiffer when JetSpeeds came out he almost certainly could have had that spec.

That's interesting. I've never heard of down-spec'ed ice skates. I'm not saying they don't exist, I figure it would just be easier for the equipment manager and the skate company just to get an off-the-shelf skate that is one tier lower, like 7K.

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3 minutes ago, caveman27 said:

That's interesting. I've never heard of down-spec'ed ice skates.

One problem is that you are thinking that less stiff skates are “down-spec’ed” and that being less stiff somehow equates to less quality. 

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24 minutes ago, boo10 said:

Not at all.  Just pointing out that "top of the line" is not synonymous with "super stiff".  In fact, the OG Jetspeed is probably closer in stiffness to the 3rd price point in the Bauer 1S and 1X lines.

Oh. I've never touched a 1S or 1X in person. I like the heel lock very much in the JetSpeed. Not only do I get better feel in forward strides and cross-overs, but a much better feel in backwards c-cuts than my Bauer Supreme 6000s (which were a tier or two lower than the top-of-the line in the mid 2000s). They are also much lighter in weight, but JetSpeed to Supreme 6000s is like comparing apples to oranges.

I just happen to switch to CCMs last year since they were in my price range and I couldn't find Bauer Supreme TotalOneMX3 in my size.

Edited by caveman27

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Some interesting points, Laura Stamm has an article on her website way back in 2001 cautioning against the general skater getting in too stiff a boot.

As for the pros using stiff skates, getting back to the car analogy-  Once you are a great driver you can squeeze every bit of performance out of a 900 HP F1 car but if you or I got in it would be a hinderance to learn the skills of racing and driving.  Better skaters like pros have good edge control and can leverage the modern boot.

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6 minutes ago, start_today said:

One problem is that you are thinking that less stiff skates are “down-spec’ed” and that being less stiff somehow equates to less quality. 

Well, I guess that's true. My last skates were the Bauer Supreme 6000s. I know they were a tier or two down, from 8000s or 9000s, I don't recall, but they were a bit lower quality. Before then, it's a long stretch between, but I had Bauer Supreme 100s in the 1980s, which were top of the line at the time. Now, the stiffness level of the 6000s were fine and I skated in them for years.

I come from a time period when sticks were made with wood and when skates were made with real leather. And, so I saw expensive skates as upspec'ed skates, i.e. you pay more, but you got more. Low-end hockey skates would be something I saw as rental skates.

Edited by caveman27

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38 minutes ago, SkateWorksPNW said:

Just to reiterate. Stiff doesnt = fast. Proper form = fast. Look at the mechanics of Crosby, McDavid and Mackinnon and you can see they are all wearing skates that are stiff enough to support their movements but they do not rely on the boot itself for stability. I think a lot of this has to be with players using their hips more instead of using their legs, like comparing Jagr vs McDavid skating styles. 

McDavid’s lower leg strength and activation is so far superior to anyone else currently playing the only other footage I’ve seen of similar unparalleled power is watching Bobby Orr (on YouTube...Orr’s before my time). McD also gets away with not bending his knees as much as guys with locked ankles—like Cam Atkinson for example. Connor does get extremely low sometimes, but he’ll fly through the entire opposing team in what looks like a ridiculously relaxed posture. Modano skated like that too, just with less zip and zing.

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54 minutes ago, caveman27 said:

That's interesting. I've never heard of down-spec'ed ice skates. I'm not saying they don't exist, I figure it would just be easier for the equipment manager and the skate company just to get an off-the-shelf skate that is one tier lower, like 7K.

Pros have long had much higher granularity than that. Parts can be swapped in and out to achieve the right feel. Sometimes that could mean dialing the stiffness of a part back...or up. To simply grab a lower tier product could work in theory, but that idea obscures the fact that there’s so much more going on than meets the eye in a custom boot. Companies want you to think pros are using the latest and greatest, but just as with sticks, it’s not really possible to tell what specs a player has until you get properly identifying information, which isn’t necessarily the retail wrapper you see on sticks or skates. It’s not a question as much of what would be easier to supply a player, because then custom skates wouldn’t exist. But players have mismatched size feet or a desire for more stiffness in one area and less in another. If CCM didn’t fulfill those wishes, Bauer would, etc., etc.

Another Fedorov anecdote: his Air Accel Elite styled Nikes were different than everyone else’s. They were cut one eyelet lower and had a Graf 703 / 501 shaped tendon guard instead of the Daoust shaped one that was standard on that line. Mogilny similarly had shorter cut Vapor 8s and XXs with varying top eyelet spacing / placement. Not on all of his pairs but some.

Edited by flip12

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I’m only 5’10” and 11 stone 6 (160 pounds), and not an expert skater, but going from mid range to top end (Bauer 2s pro), the biggest differences were comfort (no lace bite) and more control. I can skate for three hours no problem.They certainly don’t restrict my ankles, quite the opposite. Maybe they are beyond my abilities, others may know better. It is possible the construction of top end boots has become more sophisticated since Laura Stamm made her comments. 

6 hours ago, stick9 said:

That's great, you'll have the best form in the senior home. 😉

Your comments relating to older players border on the offensive. 

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45 minutes ago, Leif said:

 It is possible the construction of top end boots has become more sophisticated since Laura Stamm made her comments. 

 

Certainly could be, I just thought it interesting that she brought it up almost 20 years ago.

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1 hour ago, Leif said:

I’m only 5’10” and 11 stone 6 (160 pounds), and not an expert skater, but going from mid range to top end (Bauer 2s pro), the biggest differences were comfort (no lace bite) and more control. I can skate for three hours no problem.They certainly don’t restrict my ankles, quite the opposite. Maybe they are beyond my abilities, others may know better. It is possible the construction of top end boots has become more sophisticated since Laura Stamm made her comments. 

Your comments relating to older players border on the offensive. 

@Leif - I'm 49...

Edited by stick9
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20 hours ago, oldtrainerguy28 said:

But shouldn't the blades be realigned properly to do this? Doing this on skates with bad alignment makes zero sense? Aligned yes.... 

Prior to this research I am in I'd have agreed with you. Recently we added an observation test because of a request from a podiatrist. It's an observation only with very limited parameters but I think what it alludes to is important enough to be explored in it's own.

What he wanted to see was what impact the muscle training had on skates that had holders in a different position to the control skate. 5 of us skated in a blind test with no laces (straight line one and two foot glides only that were measured with video analysis) using a range of skates from CCM and Bauer that had been randomly selected.

The instant we stood on the ice we could immediately tell if the holder deviated left or right from our control skate, regardless of brand of skate we were in. Laser measurement of the skate then confirmed the observations. However the most pertinent observation was that the longer we spent in the skate the less the holder deviation mattered, until after around 20 minutes of skating you basically forgot about it. Note that holder deviation was less than 2mm to either side.

In a nutshell - the podiatrist proposed that because there is no boot support, the holder alignment - to a point - isn't as critical for body alignment. With the ability for the foot and ankle to adapt to the holder position, this reduces the knee and hip deviation from the center line. The video analysis supported this.

This is an observation only, it requires a proper project to evaluate it correctly but based on our experience so far I do not disagree with his theory. If you train with laces undone the holder position becomes less important, the critical component is the activation of your muscle groups to control the skate blade without any boot support.

I'd like to take this further. For skaters that have medium to severe pronation, I'd like to test the impact on moving the holder outward, not inward. What happens to the muscle groups when an unlaced skater is forced to over compensate, how the range of holder deviation impacts on alignment, how does it change the foot structure and muscle strength, changes to knee and hip alignment etc etc. But this is for another day and another project.  

Ideally the holder position would always be centered for a skater (sorry CCM and Bauer but I think there is something really amiss in your manufacturing process when it seems every skate you make has the holder in a different position relative to the center line of the skate) but for most people and LHS's / online stores this is just a dream with how skates are currently made. However skating with laces undone does appear to allow the body to compensate for holder alignment to a degree. 

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20 hours ago, caveman27 said:

Well, the concept of skating with laces undone to get a feel for the edges and developing better balance and having a stiff boot for game-time play seem to be two different things to me. You have a video of someone achieving better skating skills but running drills with laces tied loosely and he's not in a game. That seems okay as one is using more muscles to achieve balance to make up for less ankle support. But you can correct me if I'm wrong, would you or do you skate like that during a game. 

I don't know of any NHL-level player who wears a skate with a less stiff boot than a pro-level boot, or an Olympic level figure skater who is wearing an intermediate or beginning level boot instead of an expert level boot. Are they all "crappy" skaters who are relying on stiff boots to adjust for poor fundamentals of ice skating? Actually, pro level skaters require stiffer boots, whether its ice hockey or figure skating, for the amount of stress they are putting on them. Intermediate level skates flex too much.

 

No, you wouldn't skate unlaced in a game. If you read my comments, I have always said that skating laced up provides more support and allows you to skate better. Boot stiffness is part of this. To reiterate - why train laces undone? Primarily balance, to develop your balance over the skate blade at ALL times, for every move you make - ergo deeper edges, tighter turns. Get this right and then you get maximum power into the blade - ergo more speed. You also build a broader muscle memory set, this allows you to control the skate better thru any type of position or play you may get involved in. 

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The following is from the other side of the fence, something I doubt very few of you have ever seen. Pardon the length but it's relevant.

Around a month ago I was at the rink training during a public skate (I adjust my work day so I can skate during the day). A family turned up, the 2 boys hopped on the ice. One of them came up to me and asked for some tips on how to skate. I took one look at how he was standing and thought hmm, this could be interesting. He was from New Caledonia and on holiday visiting our country, ice skating was on the bucket list. He had never skated / skateboard / ski in anything before yet there he stood in crappy plastic / no edge / blunt rink rentals and he was balanced perfectly over the skates. 1 hour later and he could: cross over both sides, 2 foot stop both sides, had an outside edge on corners (the first time I showed him his outside edge he got so deep he fell into it and to the ice) and we were working on his backward crossovers when he had to go. This kid was skating dna on steroids. It didn't matter what I showed him, he got it immediately. To him it was as natural as walking. If I could have signed him up I would have on the spot. He was skating better in one hour than other skaters I know who have been skating for years. Why? Because he was perfectly aligned over the skates blades. It wasn't his skates, it wasn't his strength, it wasn't his skating skill set, it was all down to how naturally he was aligned and balanced over the skate blades. Very rarely do you see someone like this and I have coached thousands of skaters over the years.

So the next time you go for a skate in your 2S Pros or you are having a debate as to which stiffness of skate you should buy, have a think about about where your skating ability really sits. As I said in my first post, it's not about the skate.....

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31 minutes ago, oldtrainerguy28 said:

But you cant play a game with no laces so while strengthening may happen it's not practical.  Its interesting 

It's not the strength, it's the alignment. This muscle memory transfers over to playing games laced up. Red Dog hockey is also doing the same thing, it just takes a different approach.

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50 minutes ago, Vet88 said:

No, you wouldn't skate unlaced in a game. If you read my comments, I have always said that skating laced up provides more support and allows you to skate better. Boot stiffness is part of this. To reiterate - why train laces undone? Primarily balance, to develop your balance over the skate blade at ALL times, for every move you make - ergo deeper edges, tighter turns. Get this right and then you get maximum power into the blade - ergo more speed. You also build a broader muscle memory set, this allows you to control the skate better thru any type of position or play you may get involved in. 

I see.

There's a lot of skating drills to improve balance and doing deep edges and tight turns, and working on posture and stride to maximize acceleration... all with the skates laced up as one would wear during a game. I see that wearing laces undone is kind of like doing a barbell bench press as opposed to machine bench press, in that you are forcing yourself to use secondary muscles to balance the bar in addition to using primary muscles to push the bar. I'm not opposed to your method, but I think that balance/control and speed can also be attained in other methods where skates aren't loosely laced. 

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My two cents . I think a hockey skate should be very stiff . I wouldn't think you would want the boot its self to have any flex . Yes you want to have a degree of forward flex . I believe to much restriction of forward flex would be determined by the height of the boot , thickness and stifness of the toung , or over tightening of the top couple of eyelets . when you create forward flex while in stride the boot its self is not bending . Now all that being said , I believe the most important thing with skates is proper fit . Sounds like an obvious statement correct ? Well heres how I would define proper fit . When placing your foot inside the boot you want all negative space removed with as evenly dispersed light pressure as possible . In addition to having a heat moldable boot closely formed to your foot there needs to be a certain thickness of foam with just the right density to fill in the voids in and around you ankle and heel area . the exact needs to achieve this will obviously vary from foot to foot . Some will be able to do this with off the shelve skates and others will need customization . unfortunately with off the shelve skates manufactures sacrifice the thickness of foam and focus to much on lightening the skate . when you remove all negative space with evenly dispersed pressure you'll just need light pressure on the laces to snug things up . this will create the best stability between your feet and the skates allowing you to have the best chance of proper balance and biomechanics . If you have negative space in the skate boot this will cause you to over tighten causing too much restriction , and will throw balance and proper stability off . It will also cause pain , blisters ect...

I'm no expert but any thoughts ? anyone agree or disagree ?

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Regardless of how the skate fits, the fit does not correct your bio mechanics.Lets say you pronate, a perfect fitting skate will straighten your ankle and help to reduce the amount it pronates but your foot STILL wants to pronate in the skate. Over time the pressure the foot places against the inner wall will eventually cause the inner rear quarter of the skate to open up, which allows the foot to rotate a little more, which places more pressure on the inner rear wall etc etc. A self fullfilling prophecy. Also a skate with extra stiffness causes other issues, even with a perfect fit. Your foot still wants to pronate but it is now leaning up against an unforgiving wall and keeps banging against this with every step you take. I have seen many examples where this has lead to blisters and irritated tendons. You either adjust the skate to suit your bio mechanics or you retrain as I have done and many others are successfully doing, the skate itself doesn't fix anything.

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Another point is that your skating biomechanics encompass your whole body.  The alignment of everything from your head to your shoulders, hips and knees plays a huge part in how force is transmitted through the foot into the skate and then the blade to the ice.  So the foot is kind of the last part of this chain.  With a stiff skate, given perfect biomechanics up to that point allows efficient and controlled energy transfer to the ice, but it doesn’t fix flaws.

The thing the no lace skating gives you in addition to the strengthening already discussed is feedback, magnified responses to adjustments you make as you do drills.  Move your knee a little bit, change how you rotate your shoulders, etc.

Here is a related article that references how Miro Heiskanen ties his skates.

https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/stars/2019/08/20/finland-loose-laces-and-dull-blades-how-stars-defenseman-miro-heiskanen-developed-into-an-elite-skater/

Again, once you have all those components, a stiffer boot can ensure nothing is being lost because of the boot, but it is not the cure.

Here is an Athletic article talking mainly about forward flex but also about potential energy leak from lateral sloppiness, although there aren’t any real citations for the work they did, maybe I will Google and see if those are publicly available.

https://theathletic.com/696003/2018/12/07/the-nhls-best-young-skaters-all-have-something-in-common-how-they-tie-their-skates/

 

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I don't think you can have one without the other. Proper form and technique will be much harder to achieve full potential with a poorly fitted skate, same for a properly fitted skate with poor form and technique. Lots of chatter about how critical holder alignment can be but overall fit of the skate is secondary?!? That just sounds counter-intuitive to me.

IMO you need a properly fitted skate AND footbed before you can even discuss form and technique. At some point the poorly fitted boot will hold a player back. 

We can argue stiffness all day but fit, that to me sounds like a no brainier.

Edited by stick9

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12 hours ago, oldtrainerguy28 said:

Amazing man. So nice to chat with. And an amazing skater. 

This has turned into an argument rather than a preference discussion.  Everyone is different.  When I do free skating I don't tie my laces, I skate to build my other muscles and balance.  if a skate truly fits you properly, you shouldn't have to lace it.  What I mean by that is the skate should be perfect.  Lacing should be an added benefit.  Just my two cents.  When I would do power skating and skating clinics when I was younger we had a European teacher.  First thing they said was take out your laces.  In russia a lot of players learn to skate without laces  You need to do what works for you and that's that.  

Edited by iceman8310

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