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Ice Skating Blades - Figure Skating Blades

Figure Skating Blades

Ice skating blades are the essence of figure skates.  Performance characteristics such as speed, momentum, balance, freedom of movements and precision of turns and jumps are often defined by the quality and parameters of figure skating blades. There are ice skating blades designed for different levels of skating expertise. Such parameters as material of ice skating blades, their length, hollow depth, runner curve and size of toe picks should be considered when matching new blades with your skating style and expertise level.

The constituent parts of figure skating blades differ from skate to skate accounting for their price and level suitability. All ice skating blades consist of a toe plate, a heel plate and a runner. A runner (the surface that comes in contact with ice) has two sharp edges at the bottom with a round hollow in between of them. The depth of this hollow varies from blade to blade and may be changed by grinding at a blade sharpening shop. The deeper the hollow the more forgiving the blade is allowing for mistakes in skating technique but reducing the speed and ease of gliding at the same time. Typically the skaters start using shallower hollows as their skating skills advance.   

 Another variable of figure skating blades is a rocker (radius) which is the degree to which the blades are curved. The rocker of most traditional figure skating blades is either 7 or 8 ft. Certain performance characteristics depend on the rocker of blades. Thus, a smaller radius usually results in sharper, precise turns and broader variety of movements, whereas bigger radii allow for more speed and better control.

The blade length is also a very important factor to consider when choosing your ice skating blades.  The right length sizing of figure skating blades is imperative in order to ensure correct performance of jumps, spins and figures and avoid possible injuries. Longer blades result in good stability and speed whereas shorter blades provide maneuverability. On the other hand, long blades make certain skating moves dangerous or impossible by catching the heel of a skater and short blades result in displacement of the rocker making it impossible to center spins and maintain balance. Typically, figure skating blades should be about ¼” shorter than the boot length.  However, in such sports as ice dancing shorter blades are used to provide for a wider movement range. Some elite-level freestyle skaters prefer using longer ice skating blades to gain extra speed and glide time.

All figure skating blades are equipped with toe picks which also differ in size and designs. Toe picks are the teeth at the front part of blades used for takeoff and landing in jumping. Presently, there are straight-cut, cross-cut and k-pick designs of toe picks, the choice of toe picks usually depends on individual preferences. Advanced skaters tend to use ice skating blades with larger toe picks.

The runners of figure skating blades are cut from hard durable materials (such as tempered carbon or stainless steel) and then chrome plated. The price of figure skating blades depends on the grade of steel used for their manufacturing. Carbon steel blades are cheaper but softer than stainless steel blades. They are more prone to dents and quick dulling and consequently require frequent sharpening. Stainless steel blades have a longer service life but are generally more expensive.  Lightweight materials, such as aircraft aluminum or titanium are applied in advanced blade holders to make the blades lighter.  

There are many renowned manufacturers of Ice skating blades which offer blades with different characteristics designed for various skating activities and skill levels. Jackson, Riedell, Mitchel & King and John Wilson blades have gained the world fame for their quality and performance. Thus, John Wilson is a company with an impressive 300-year history in designing and manufacturing of premium class figure skating blades. John Wilson blades are manufactured only from high-quality advanced materials with the use of state-of-the-art technology including laser cutting and sharpening, precise surface treatment, innovative weight centering solutions, etc. Due to implementation of high-grade materials John Wilson blades have a longer service life compared to other blades and require sharpening less frequently. John Wilson blades are designed for various proficiency levels with implementation of the best combinations of features, including straight-cut and cross-cut toe rakes, taper side honed and parabolic design solutions and various rocker curves. John Wilson blades have been receiving invariably positive reviews from both Olympic and world skating champions and beginning skaters. John Wilson blades enable to reach top performance on the ice and account for quicker progress in the learning process.

If you would like to learn more about John Wilson blades, please, contact us at 818-785-2002 or at