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Hybrid Speed Boots

To speed or not to speed, that is the the question . . .

Not sure those low-cut speed boots are really for you?  I've faced this dilemma, and for me, something was lacking when I took to the roads in speed boots.  Now with big wheel frames, this issue became even more significant.  Enter . . . Powerslide R4s . . . This boot is the boot of my dreams for road skating. 

It has a higher cut with a speed boot foot bed.  The R4 utilizes Powerslide's skeleton concept which basically means that its base is a composite fiberglass, not carbon, and has ankle bone cut outs.  It is not as heat moldable as carbon, but with the way this boot fits, right out of the box, who needs carbon anyway?  It's slightly cushier than a speed boot and a little more supportive with the additional height. 

The only negative for me was the height of the boot at the achilles.  I found this digging and gnawing at my tendons to be unbearable.  My solution was to cut, straight down the back of the boots with a pair of heavy duty kitchen scissors, opening up the backs.  I did not cut or encroach upon the fiberglass.  Next, I cut a "U" in the top of each boot making the backs lower.  Then I skated around this way and found that if I had 1/4" more, at the area where I did my cutting, I knew I would be in love!  I took my boots to a willing shoemaker and had him sew a piece of leather over the top of my cuts and "U's" leaving the 1/4" space beneath the leather intact and creating a lower smooth contact area  for my tendons.

My tendons and feet are happy.  My boots are responsive enough for me and allow me to use 3 X 100mm with 1 84mm frames.  Because of my happiness, I bought another pair of the same just to be sure that I would never have to be without a pair of R4s.  I performed the same surgery on the 2nd pair with the help of another shoemaker. 

I was also afraid that Powerslide might change these boots, and they did.  The newer version has the same skelton design, so the fit is there.  Changes were made to the closures of the boots.  I believe the closures to be a matter of preference as these boots fit me so well. 

The bottom of the boot is a speed boot; the top is a rec boot.  This is a hybrid solution that offers the best of both worlds with a little extra padding.  No ughly skater feet for me!

Comments

roadskater's picture

powerslide r4 hybrid skate

wow, claire. thanks for telling us about your boots. we talked about this in dc and it was interesting to hear that someone seems to have gotten the idea to take it easy on the ankle pain. i know elizabeth will be interested to hear as much as possible about this.

yesterday some of us hit country park and ken s there had some powerslide r4 as well. he seems to like them pretty well, but i think the toungue shifts on him and he hasn't molded them at all. did i understand you are not able to mold them? this may be the boot melinda b has as well and she seems to like it.

ok. if you come up with more thoughts or info, we're interested!

Powerslide R4s, Hybrid Skate

These boots are heat moldable but are not as easy to mold as a carbon boot.  It will take a higher temperature to mold them, so I've been told.  This will also require extra care so as not to burn them.  I can't completely advise on time, temperature, methods, etc. as they perfectly fit me with the modifications I mentioned in my original post.

I should add that I've had Miller's, Mogema's, various models of Powerslides, and I've tried other boots on that I did not purchase.  Consequently, I did not give them a lengthy opportunity as the fit was not close enough to my liking to be worth it.

eebee's picture

hybrid speed boots

Well what you have just described sounds like it might work for me as a solution to my perpetual inner-ankle-bone agony. I will try to find a way to try some R4's soon. I remember trying some Mogema soft speed-like boots that had a low ankle. Don't remember the name of them now, but they were basically like a running shoe on a speed frame (5 x 80's). I did not like them and felt like I was about to roll over on my ankles at any given point, and when I did the "Will I still crush my inner ankle bones whilst going up hill" test, they still gave me pressure on my inner ankles.

I'm sure it's my technique and/or weird shaped legs. But there must be a boot out there that'll help.

timv's picture

Medial Malleolus

I didn't know that you had been having inner ankle bone problems. Mine has been bugging me some too for about the last month or so. I thought it started when my right frame slipped out of adjustment. I tried to correct it but might have gone the wrong way and made things worse, or it might have been unrelated. It also might be that my old plastic rec skates changed shape enough over time to put pressure where they once didn't.

 

But it's quite a nuisance, whatever the cause. And it seems that once it gets bruised, normal skating that didn't hurt in the past will now keep continually aggravating it. I'm trying to accomodate mine as much as possible, keeping frames adjusted and wheels rotated, being careful about pronation and icing it when I remember to. I'm also trying to get out of those rec boots and make the transition to the new Hypers as quickly as possible, but that's a pretty big and for now somewhat painful jump in itself.

 

Hang in there and good luck with yours. We'll see what works, if anything.

eebee's picture

Medial Malleolus

Well now, googling your subject heading opened up a whole new world of ankle-bone info. Thanks!

My inner ankle bone problems begin when I climb particularly steep hills - the kind that I end up just "duck-walking" up, as my wheels have no momentum or leg-power behind them. On a flat, slightly descending or slightly ascending surface I don't experience this vise-like pressure, and my boots feel perfect. I remember trying various frame-positions, but nothing eliminated the problem. It's always possible that I only ever tried that AFTER sustaining ankle-bone bruises, which hadn't yet healed, so the injuries may still have been hyper-sensitive to ANY pressure at all. This year so far, I have not re-injured those bones. I'm planning on 'recking it' and switching back to my K2 Kinetics if I feel even the slightest bruising. These injuries typically occur on a hilly training ride over 30 miles or at the Philly Freedom Skate (lots of steep uphills from a standing start, no run up), or mammoth events like T2T and A2A.

Contrary to what I thought in the beginning - pronating actually eases the pain once it starts. It's supinating that makes it worse, because in rolling my ankles outwards, that brings the inner cuff of the boot up to slam against my ankles. At that point, pronating eases the pain in my ankles but shoots it straight up to my knees instead!

You have this problem on the one side, eh? That's interesting, and helpful too, since you can maybe favor the pain-free side long enough to finish a skate without inflicting further damage on the hurt side. Just be careful not to wreck the good side in the process! I'm envious that it's your rec boots that give you the problem and not your speed skates! Most people have problems the other way round!

I tried heat-molding an old pair of Riedell boots to 'push out' the ankle parts, but this made the boots so loose overall, that I ended up with other areas rubbing, and not much foot support in general. I think it is impossible to push out an area about 1.5cm alone without pushing out the whole inner ankle area through heat molding, but I could be wrong. Maybe I should try that. I'm scared of ruining the boots though.

timv's picture

Re: Medial Malleolus

Thanks for the additional comments. Good point about only having one sore ankle bone (so far!) I guess that makes me something of a controlled experiment. I've been attributing that to the left-turn-mostly configuration of Country Park, plus maybe the facts that my right foot is bigger and my right leg stronger. But I don't really know.

 

I know what you mean about duck-walking up hills. It does seem to be about the worst for that sore spot, whatever that might indicate.

 

I'm not saying that my speed boots are less of a problem. They're new to me and causing discomforts of all sorts right now. I'm still just starting to get used to them and to speed boots generally. But I'm thinking that at least they're not old and broken down, as I suspect my rec boots might be. I haven't tried any heat-molding yet, so I'm still optimistic about them.

 

I've actually got them on right now, just taking advantage of time at the computer to try to get my feet used to them. I see what you mean about supinating causing more trouble than pronating. Yes, the inner cuff puts a lot of pressure there for me too.

 

And I appreciate the comments on your heat-molding experience. It does make sense about not being able to reposition such a large area without grossly deforming the whole boot, which I certainly don't want to do. I guess I should keep my expectations fairly modest for what that will accomplish.

Hybrid Speed Boots

The cutouts for the ankle bones and the higher cuff of the R4s should be pretty forgiving if the cutouts "hit" you in the right place.  The height of the cuff, on the sides, as I've cut out the backs a tad, should allow any pressure to be defrayed over a larger area than those poor ankle bones.  Since these have a little more cushioning than your typical speed boot, too, I think you may find them quite workable on those climbs.

 

Hybrid Speed Boots

I should add that I supinate radically.  My frames are adjusted all the way to the outsides in order to help me compensate.  Even then, I recently found out, that if I'm on the left side of the road, and there's a crown in the road, I can actually lose my balance to my left and fall over.  That's a whole other story, and I know that sounds bizarre, but your additional comments made me think back to a time when I had Mogema boots, I think they were MGR-1s(?) with 5 80s, and I found this set up to be absolute mush.  It was like I had nothing to push off of, and I could not keep myself upright half of the time as both of my ankles would twist to the outside.  I even added wedges, but I could not get this setup to work for me at all.

roadskater's picture

Wedges Between Skate Boot and Frame

Ahh. I was wondering how many here had used wedges between the boot and frame and if anyone had experiences to share. What situations indicate this to be a solution, if ever? Did it help? Do you still use wedges? I think I recall Jack talking of this years ago.

Wedges Between Skate Boot and Frame

With a lot of guidance from a knowledgeable source, I tried wedges.  My experience was that wedges are more of a last resort.  This does not mean that they won't work well with a different boot, frame, or even skater combo.  I just think that getting higher off the ground and not getting the advantage of bigger wheels, too, isn't optimal.  The boot that I tried them with just wasn't for me.  They fit; they were comfy; but the angle of my foot leaving the boot wasn't for me. 

Once again, I have to go back to my boots, R4s, and say that they were part of the correction.  I have found that many issues that arise can be corrected with frame placement as long as it's a reasonabably correct setup for a particular skater.  Especially for me, I don't think that centering my frames are a viable solution for me either.  There are those out there that would disagree, but I've been walking on the outsides of my feet for almost 50 years!  I just don't see myself centering myself on the ground much less on wheels.  I find side to side adjustments to be critical.

So, are there any other supinators out there??? 

roadskater's picture

Wedges Plus Mushy Mogema R1s

OK so you decided wedges were not for you, or at least at the time with the boots you had at the time. They might work for Elizabeth, who says her knees make hill climing especially painful for her ankles...I should let her explain all that. On the flats and slight grades she glides effortlessly, but the ankle pain comes on steeper climbs.

It's really great to hear someone who loves their boots! I have always loved my Verducci boots and only switched away from them for a bit of underfoot comfort I think...and to try something else. I'll be back on them soon and maybe even my 5x80 shockwaves for awhile to see if that kit will torque my ankle a bit less. I'll update with findings of course.

Interesting you mention Mogema R1 being mushy. I've been skating on those and I think the mounting system leads to various problems. They have mounting slots with bolt receiver that slides along the slots. This may be a great idea but I think it is not a great implementation. I'll probably write a journal entry on yesterday's discoveries at the park when I heard that squeak again...never a good sign when skating...squeak!

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