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Everything You Should Know About Ice Skates

May 26, 2008
Ice skates were originally invented to help people save energy whilst they were hunting in harsh winter conditions. Early ice skates were made from the leg bones of horses, ox's and deer. The early versions of the skates were attached to the feet with leather straps and the people that wore them used a long pole with a sharp metal spike to help propel them along.

These skates have since been developed for different types of skating. The most notable development of the traditional Finnish design took place in New Brunswick in 1859 when James A. Whelpley developed the skate to help people that wear them travel over extensive distances. The skate was designed to help the user travel rapidly along the Long Reach section of the St John River. The skate was made up of a steel blade that was attached to a pair of normal boots with leather straps. The design and quality of these skates has been in development ever since.

Although it may look like the ice skate comprises of a single blade skate the actual blade of the skate does not meet at a single point like a knife. Instead the ice skate blade has two blades that have a hollow ridge between them. Both of these blades run parallel to one another and indeed the better the quality of the skates the better the more consistent the two blades are.

Poor maintenance and improper sharpening techniques can therefore damage the effectiveness of the skates and can have a considerable effect on an individual's ability to skate. The hollow between the two blades is known as the Radius of the Hollow and the depth of this hollow is different depending on the types of skating that the skates will be used for and the ability of the skater.

The radius of this hollow can be anything between 0.5 cm and 2.5 cm. In general the larger the hollow the greater the control the skater has but skates with less of a hollow can achieve greater speeds. The style of skate that the person chooses is generally made as a result of a number of different factors including the skater's ability, strength and also the activity that they use the skate for.

There are five core types of ice skate which each have unique aspects that differentiate them from the rest. These skates fall under the following categories figure skates, hockey skates, bandy skates, racing skates and touring skates. Figure skates are typified by the toe picks on the front of the blade and are designed to enable jumps in figure skating.

Hockey skates are used for playing ice hockey and typically do not use moulded plastic on the upper section of the boot so that the skater can have a good range of mobility. Racing skates generally have longer blades and they are often higher than other skates so that the skater can make deeper turns without the boot contacting the ice.

Touring skates are those that can be attached to cross country ski boots and are used to travel long distances on ice. The length and breadth of these skates makes them steady on uneven ice and the fact that the skates can be removed from the boots make them popular as it is possible to approach any terrain without having to completely remove the boot.
About the Author
During the early 90s Shaun Parker was a leading British Ice Hockey player. He shares his expertise to help people that are looking for ice skates and ice hockey equipment so that they can find the best for their budget.
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