Where to start? A lot of parents and new skaters don’t know where to start in the purchase of skates for the first time. There are so many boot and blade choices out there. Then there is the price factor as well. A lot of parents get sticker shock when they see a $300 boot only price. That is not where you need to start when you first get into skating. You wouldn’t buy your 16 year old a Lamborghini as their first car. Lets talk a little bit about where you should start and why.
Many skaters start looking at their first pair of boots because they are tired of renting skates or they want to have a nice pair of skates that have more support then rentals offers or want to have skates that are their own.
Skaters that are under age 6 we suggest starting in the Jackson boot line with the Glacier series. If offers decent support for skaters in the Snowplow to Basic 2 level. You get both boot and blade together. The Glacier 520 is under $75 and is available in sizes 8-10 for tots. The only down side to this line is the fact that the blade is riveted on rather then held on with screws. As the skater progresses you don’t have the option of upgrading the blade like you do with some of Jackson’s other offerings.
Skaters that are in the basic skills program from Basic 1 through Freestyle 2 we recommend the Jackson Artiste or the Jackson Classique. Personally I love both of these boot lines for several reasons. One is that for the money you get both boot and blade together and they are not riveted on, the blade is held on with screws so that as the skater progresses you can move to a more advanced blade. The sole of both of these boots are man made plastic which requires no waterproofing so the boots are very low maintenance which for skaters just starting out has a lot of added value in it.
I know that personally I have had my own skaters start in these boot lines for the majority of my coaching career. These boots and built not just for the beginning skater but for skaters learning to jump. I regularly have students in these boots up through Axel or double Salchow jumps. The Artiste runs under $140 available in sizes tots 11 through adult 11 and the Classique is under $160 for sizes tots 8 through adult 13. Once skaters start learning jumps and one foot spins I usually have the skaters upgrade the blade to a better quality blade such as the Mark IV. The Mark IV blade when upgrade times arrives is very economical at under $70.
The Classique boot and blade set is slightly higher on the totem pole from the Artiste but these two options are my first choice because starting out through axel you won’t find a better option for the price.
That’s where we feel skaters should start. Post next week we will talk more about where more advanced skaters should start both boot and blade wise.