1. How should
a new boot fit?
A proper fit
is often unique to each individual skater. However, in general,
the boots should be just slightly longer than the length of the
foot or ½ or ¾ size larger than the foot for a growing child.
The ball of
the foot should lay flat and the toes pushed slightly together.
A little wiggle room for the toes is acceptable. The width should
not be so wide that you can curl your toes under or have to put
two pairs of growth innersoles to take up the space.
The heel must
be very snug. The best possible fit would be to have the heels locked
in place and no up and down movement. As the boots break-in, the
heel pocket may widen a little. Therefore, if the boots are fitted
wide in the heel, they will feel sloppy or loose after break-in.
decades ago that the heel fit was the most frustrating issue for
skaters and skate shops. We developed the combination ball and heel
sizing on stock boots. This allows the skater to be fitted in a
more comfortable width for the ball and a tighter width in heel.
The combination size stock boots are available in all the stock
models and all size ranges. The combination is restricted to a one-width
difference from the heel to the ball. For instance; an AA heel and
an A ball, or B heel and C ball. If the skater needs more than a
one-width combination, a custom boot is required. With custom boots,
we can make several width differences between the heel and ball.
2. Why would
a skater need custom boots?
It is understandable
that parents would like to keep their skater in stock boots as long
as possible. Stock boots cost less, prices range from $250 to $475.
They are also quicker to get, sometimes the same day of the fitting
or within a few weeks.
In some cases,
a stock boot does not fit the design requirements or fitting needs
of the skater. Although SP-Teri stock boots can be ordered with
a one-width combination, custom insoles and special tongue covers,
some issues can only be corrected or accommodated by a custom boot
include one or more of the following reasons:
- The skater
needs two different lengths or widths
- The skater
needs a heel and ball combination of two or more widths
- Design requirements
such as; scallop cuts for dance flexibility, low cut back for
toe pointing, asymmetrical ankle pattern or high instep, ankle
pad channeling for stress relief
- Wide range
of color choices
- The ankle
support may be different on the right and left boot
- LDS pads
may be needed to stiffen the instep area (a feature only available
on SP-Teri custom boots)
- Special sole
and heel requirements for blade positioning
design for missing toes, fussed joints, or to allow for bone break
repaired with medical hardware.
information, talk to a pro shop specialist in your area or call
SP-Teri for advice. Voice communication is highly recommended since
we will need background information. We will ask questions concerning
skating level, previous injuries and equipment and other relevant
3. What is
the right way to break-in my new skating boots?
By far the best
way to break-in new boots is to skate in them. First, start by spending
a session or two just stroking forward, stroking backward and doing
simple spinning. When the boots feel comfortable, add the basic
jumps you can land consistently.
You may find
that when the boots are new, you may have to relace the boots during
the session to allow the lace to stretch, leather stretching and
foam tongues compression. The top hooks should be left unlaced until
you feel you need more support for jumps. Lacing the top hooks at
the beginning may cause shin splints, tendentious and bursitis or
may cause the heel of the boot to separate. In addition, if you
lace the boot to the top and do not bend properly, the crease may
develop at the ankle, but down below the lower instep area.
When you try
to break-in boots by walking in them or wearing them while watching
television, you do not get the crease in the right place. Walking
in skates results in a walking gait, a heel strike and then transferring
weight to the ball and then pushing off the first toe. This is not
the same action as stroking. Walking gait will cause the creasing
to develop forward of the instep.
4. I find
I am on an inside edge most of the time. What could be causing this
a skater falls to the inside edge, the reasons could be the boots
are broken down, the blade position is to far to the outside, the
blade edge may be uneven, and/or the skater has a bio-mechanical
problem such as pronation.
In most cases,
a skater has problems on an inside edge because of pronation. Eighty
percent of the population pronates. Some very minimally, most noticeable
and again some others very drastically. Those that have minimal
pronation, usually may have edge problems that require more than
just a blade position adjustment. The bulk of the pronators require
heel wedges, custom insoles, vacuum molded insoles or orthotics.
5. What are
the differences between custom insoles and orthotics?
and over-the-counter corrective devices have generic arch supports,
heel lifts or heel wedges. These types of insoles are made to accommodate
the average pronation that can be corrected without a doctor’s prescription
and can be placed in stock boots with little or no size modification.
custom insole is made to fit the SP-Teri toe and heel shape and
SP-Teri lengths. The insole lifts the heel and tilts it to the outside
and supports under the arch. It is three quarters length from the
back of the heel to the metatarsal heads. The insole will usually
have a vinyl top cover, but may be ordered with a leather or poron™
top cover instead. The insole does not require additional room in
the boots or upsizing to allow space. Custom insoles can be sold
as an after sale item or when the boots are ordered. You can at
anytime call or write to SP-Teri and order custom insoles to fit
your current stock or custom boots.
insoles on the other hand can be purchased at most drug stores and
sports shops. They usually lift the arch and may tilt the heels.
The insoles are typically made to fit a dress shoe and athletic
shoes and must be trimmed down to fit into skating boots. Also,
the forefoot portion is thicker then the SP-Teri custom insole and
takes up more room in the toe box then is normally allowed for a
When a skater
is being fitted for boots and an over-the-counter insole is used
for fitting, the skater, in most cases, requires a half size longer
boot or a width wider boot. The upsizing for serious competitive
skaters can be a problem when an accurate tight fit is needed.
underfoot appliances purchased through a doctor, physical therapist
or clinic with a doctors prescription; and, made at a lab by trained
technicians who specialize in biomechanical corrections. The appliances
are most accurate to the skater’s specific needs to correct for
biomechanical problems or leg length discrepancy.
is made either full length or ¾ length. Some ¾ length orthotics
will have a top cover extending to the end of the toes. There are
many different materials used to make orthotics. The best materials
for skate orthotics are made of graphite, fiberglass or light plastic.
These are lightweight and rigid.
are used in skates, the device must lay neatly in the boots and
without interference of the counter of the boots. If the boot does
not have sufficient room for the orthotics, (that part from the
metatarsal heads to the back of the heel). The orthotic may tilt
to the outside, slide forward, or rock up and down.
In most cases,
an orthotic can not be placed in a stock boot without sacrificing
the accuracy of the arch and heel correction. The recommended accommodation
for orthotics is to have custom boots made with an allowance for
the orthotics. This way a void space or cavity can be created in
the custom boot to allow for the proper width, arch height and pitch
of the orthotics. The skater gets the proper size length boot with
the orthotic serving as the underfoot support.
be supplied with the orthotic that is going to be used in the custom
boots when the boots are being made in order to design the correct
upper pattern and construct the foot Last with the required space
for the orthotics.
6. If we
send a plaster of paris cast to SP-Teri, will the boots be made
from the cast?
we have heard that skaters sent casts to boot companies and are
told the boots will be made off the cast itself. Unfortunately,
it is untrue. A boot can not be made from a plaster cast. Full positive
casts are helpful for a three dimensional presentation of the skaters
feet, and help identify abnormalities such as bunions, hammer toes,
navicular spurs, haglund's deformities (heel spurs), large or pointed
anklebones, and flat or low arches.
to the construction of footwear, the boots need to be made with
a Last. A Last is a wooden or plastic foot shape that is unique
to a manufacturers particular sizing. The Last controls the shape
of the toe box, arch, heel and determines the height of the boot
heel. The top part of the boots, called the upper, is pulled over
the Last and attached to the insole. The insole itself is nailed
to the Last. Once the boot is lasted, the soles are attached by
gluing and high pressure pressing. The soles are pressed on with
1,000 pounds of pressure. The soles are trimmed and the Last is
then removed from the boot.
If a boot was
attempted to be made by using the cast as a Last, the plaster cast
would fracture from the hammering during the lasting process and
would further disintegrate during sole pressing. It would also not
have the proper heel angle to accommodate the normal height heel.
We do encourage
customers to submit plaster casts to us when ordering custom boots.
The casts help us identify problem areas on the foot that are not
presented sufficiently on the tracings.
casting socks specially designed for full positive casting and is
available through your local pro shop.
Some skaters order custom boots by supplying a foam foot impression,
doe that help get a better fit?
This again is
one of those marketing shows, which do nothing to help size the
foot. Often times, skaters are charged $40.00 or more for the foot
the foot impressions are worthless. Since the impressions are only
showing the underfoot and side of the foot below the ankles, there
is not much information a manufacturer can get from the foot impression.The
impression can not be used for foot length sizing because it may
not be deep enough to capture the total length or may be made too
deep and cause the toes to crumble the foam material itself.
measurements are impossible to take because the impressions do not
capture the top of the toes, instep or ankle areas. The impression
does not present the entire foot with meaningful information for
The only method,
right now, available to copy the foot in a three dimensional representation
meaningful for the manufacturer is with a full positive cast. SP-Teri
has casting socks for that purpose. The casting socks have been
very successful for skaters who have supplied casts when they ordered
SP-Teri custom boots.
8. I often
see the boot tongue twist to the outside, why does this happen?
twisting to the outside is a common problem and has been around
for a very long time. The reason is that the boots are made symmetrical
(meaning the same on both sides) but the foot is not symmetrical.
The inside ankle is larger than the outside ankle. It is also more
forward toward the centerline of the foot than is the outside ankle.
The inside half of the foot comes up higher than the outside and
takes up more volume in the boot than the inside does. In addition,
the ankle mechanics causes the leg to go slightly to the inside
when the leg is bent forward. Subsequently, when the leg bends forward,
the inside ankle hits the edge of the tongue and pushes the tongue
forward. The outside half of the instep area usually has a little
space between the foot and the boot, thereby allowing the tongue
to twist and fill the space.
The more a skater
bends, the more the tongue will be pushed to the outside. In addition,
pronation contributes to the tongue being pushed to the outside.
Other contributing factors are; boots that are fitted too wide,
breakdown, high insteps and skaters legs that are slightly larger
than the upper allows for.
addressed the problem several years ago with the plastic lace loop
inserted in the tongue. This allowed skaters to lace through the
loop in the tongue, pull the tongue to the inside and secure it
in the center position. We have now made a lace hook a permanent
feature in all our stock boots. We now see less tongue twisting
with skaters who wear SP-Teri boots.