The Science of Skating - How to Choose Hockey Skates
We admit it. We're crazy about the foot and what it can do. The biomechanics of this amazing body part is what drives us to design, test and manufacture elite hockey and figure skates. It started as a family business in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland in 1921 and it continues today across Europe and North America.
FEET ARE DIFFERENT – SHOULD SKATES BE?
Most people assume they have a normal foot. And most skate manufacturers assume they can create a skate that will fit well if they design it for a normal foot. But the reality is that very few customers will have a normal foot and adjustments will have to be made to any boot to create a proper fit. This includes adjustments to width, length, and the blade alignment.
The most common mistake made by skate manufacturers is to assume that a normal walking or running stride applies to skating—it does not. There is no heel strike in skating as there is in a walking stride. In fact, most skating is done on the forward 1/3 of a skate blade (under the ball of the foot). Thus, competitors offer padded or “air” heels in their footbeds and soles that suggest they'll protect against “roll-over” and such. While these features may or may not hurt, they certainly don't assist in skating and often add weight and unnecessary complexity - and cost - to the skate boot.
THE GRAF DIFFERENCE
GRAF skates are driven first and foremost by fit. We call it True 3D Fit – heel width, backstay shape and heel instep depth. For most fit profiles, you can choose from entry-level, performance or pro-level depending on your skill and budget. We take the concept of True 3D Fit one step further with our GRAF insoles featuring SIDAS technology. Our network of authorized dealers has the expertise and equipment to assess your foot type and develop a custom footbed that further enhances fit.
Why are GRAF skates only available through authorized dealers? Because it takes an experienced professional to determine your foot type and the right skate to match. We spend countless hours educating and training our dealers on the science of fit. Choose any skate based on colour, appearance or price and you can end up with pain, fatigue and a lot of wasted money. How fun is that?
Regardless of the brand you choose, make sure your number one criterion for purchase is fit. We could go on for pages about detailed biomechanics and manufacturing like how our high heel counter locks the subtalar joint to eliminate movement, or how most manufacturers use a pre-molded plastic counter that can't be adapted to accommodate a customer's foot, and which often features a “v” cut on the side for forward flexion that's located too low, reducing the ability to provide foot lock and creating a weak spot which over time will break down the boot just where it needs the most stiffness… but we won't.
HOW TO CHOOSE A HOCKEY SKATE - THE BOTTOM LINE
The bottom line is take the time to talk to an expert about skate fit and make an investment that will not only improve your game but also save you in the long run. We guarantee it's worth your time and your money.
Just visit your authorized GRAF dealer
and let the professionals take care of the details.