Having your own equipment will allow you to participate in activities that are not at East Penn’s home rink.
- Skates – In speed skating, skates are generally discussed as boots and blades separately.
- Boots – vary by materials, molding potential, stiffness. Boots start in the mid $200s.
- Blades – vary by hardness of metal, engineering; various bends, rockers, etc. Blades start at $145 – Pennington Ice Ace from Back Street Inline.
- Since they can be mixed and matched, there are seemingly countless combinations that you can have. Things that you should consider are:
- Age: Do you need to have reservations for growth? Both the boot and blade sizes vary based on the height, weight, and skill level of the skater. (One strategy against obsolete equipment is to buy something slightly larger and use thicker socks, thinning down until the foot truly outgrows the boot.)
- Anticipated dedication: If the skater is pretty much done growing (please do not include wishful thinking), it may make sense to spend more money on more durable boots (better control/command on skates) and blades made of harder metal (less sharpening, more control on choppy ice).
- Consumption personality: Are you the type that likes getting new things often? Getting a progression of skates on par with skill level will provide you the opportunity to get new "toys" more often, while creating a reserve of backup equipment, and perhaps some equipment you can share for those friends that you want to get into this sport you love.
- US Speedskating and Norton produced a Sharpening Clinic video that you may find helpful.
- Skin suits – "Help me help you." Skin suits not only make you look like a superhero, but they will help you go faster, and they will help us tweak your technique.
- Suits come with built-in shin and knee pads (no more "I forgot to put on my knee pads!" after putting on skates.)
- Cut resistant material (Spectra) can be built into the suit for added protection from the sharp blades. It is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended, as hospital bills easily exceed the extra cost.
- Accessories – Not absolutely necessary, but recommended.
- Cut-resistant gloves – For all those times your hands go down when you fall (i.e. all the time)... you wouldn’t want your fingers in the line of a speeding blade.
- Helmet – Bike helmets are acceptable, but they have many more holes (for airflow) than speed skating helmets do. Fewer holes mean fewer possible blade entry points. You can hold off on buying one of these, but eventually, you will want one.
- Sharpening tools – You will want to have a jig, sharpening stones, and burr stones.
- Speed tips – Beginning skaters don’t need these, but they are nice for making clicking sounds.
Contacting one of the vendors listed below may help you decide what to get if you need help.
The SkateNow Shop: new gear / used gear
Competitive Edge Sports
Speed Inc [pdf]