All the different speedskating disciplines are balancing acts, on a 1.1mm blade or on rounded wheels. To be “balanced”, the weight has to be evenly distributed on both sides.of the blade or wheels.
When using a pressure plate to determine your footprint, esspecially the weight distribution, it’s clear that the average of all force on the plate runs from the heel to the second toe.
So the blade should be set-up exactly under the red line(see pressure capture pictures), so the body weight is evenly distributed on the inside and outside of the blade. This way you are in perfect balance.
Fine tuning back to front
Now it’s time to consider the right technique, esspecially the basic position, ankle in “closed packed position”, so the angle between shinbone and the foot should be as small as possible so the the ankle is fixed. This is free stability actually, you only need to get used to this position. Also you want to get on the ball of the foot for getting the perfect feeling to shoe, blade and ice.
For some it’s very difficult to find the right balance back to front and to stay or get on the ball of the foot. So to improve this feeling of control, we can use washers between shoe and blade to adjust the hight of the heel. This might be up to +10mm. We use 2 or 3 mm washers.
Fine tuning sideways
When fitting the boot to the foot, as described in 1. we are actually “only” getting the best fit from foot to shoe, but there is no compensation for pronating or supinating, like you might be used to when getting a pair of running shoes. The shoe will compensate for your particular posture.
In speedskating this will not work because you are balancing on a thin blade. The your body, your foot will take it’s preferred posture and there is no counterforce which could compensate.
Therfore we need to adjust the blade to the boot, so the blade is exactly 90degrees to the ice.
We have 1°, 2° and 3° wedges at our disposal, so we are able to fit boot and blade exactly to everyones needs.
Blade or frame assembly
After the boot has been fitted the blade can be assembled to the boot. In Shorttrack and inline the frame or blade is bolted to the boot from the outside. In general the inline frame is fixed to the boot by M5 allen or torx bolts, in shorttrack M5 hexagonal bolts are used.
Setting up Longtrack speedskating boots and blades is a little different, from the inside of the boot a M4 allen bolt is fitted, to which a special nut is fitted from the outside.
In speedskating, shorttrack and inline skating de set-up of the equipment is of the highest importance. First the boot has to be correctly fitted to the foot, than the blade or frame has to be set-up to the style or character of the rider.
Through years of experience we developed the skills to achieve the optimal performance for an athlete.
Offcourse ideally you would want to have a custom fitted boot, but that’s a costly path. These days most speedskating, shorttrack en inline boots are heat-moldable, so they can be fitted to your foot to some degree.
In general the more expensive boots are better and easier moldable as the entry level boots.