When I first started skating the Skate City Speed Team, I used my Riedell quad speed skates. For those of you who aren't avid skaters, "quad" translates to "roller skates." In this case, they are roller skates designed for racing. But not against inline speed skates.
As it became obvious my kids were going to continue participating with the team, we quickly got our own inline speed skates. In my case, it was a pair of Vanilla Hero boots. Slightly better than entry level, I figured they would do well for a slow, old guy. For multiple reasons, that didn't prove to be the case. In addition to being a poor match for the needs of my feet, it eventually came to light that the carbon fiber of one boot was cracked, and that created all kinds of problems.
After we found out the boot was bad, the team coach loaned me a pair of Edge R boots. I truly loved those boots with one minor issue. They were a size 9 1/2, which isn't an issue unless your foot happens to be a 10 1/2. I used those for several months until I was able to pick up my next new boot.
That boot was a Bont Enduro. Again, the goal was to get a reasonable boot at a reasonable price. This boot was acceptable if not as good as the loaner boots. I'll say that quality trumped size in that case. The Bont boot quickly passed out of my hands as I broke an arm and my son "borrowed" them.
That situation led to a discussion with a teammate who realized he had a pair of Kaiser Custom boots that he picked up cheap to use for outdoor skating. They didn't work for his needs, and he offered them to me at a very reasonable price, and I figured if they didn't work, I could pass them along for the same low price. I've been using them for most of the past year, and WON'T be passing them along to anyone. My son was told he can't even try them on, just to avoid another case of him wanting to "borrow" them.
You'll note that Kaiser Custom is the only boot maker I linked. That's by design. And says something.
Now, I understand that boots are an individual thing, but I can't say enough about the boots I have. And these were custom made for another person. The fit and comfort of my boots make the other boots seem like instruments of torture.
Whether a result of years of running or just age, my feet were not fans of the other boots I've used. I have a condition called tarsal tunnel syndrome, which is the same as carpal tunnel syndrome, but in my feet. Simply put, as I run or bike or skate, my feet tend to go numb. With all of the other boots I've used the longest I could stand to keep boots on was 15-20 minutes. I've consistently spent 2-3 hours in my Kaiser skates with no issues. And that, to me, is remarkable.
Obviously, custom boots are in a league of their own cost wise. I certainly wouldn't be in these boots if I had to pay full price. But I truly love these boots, and can see myself trying to find a way to get a pair of boots custom fit to my feet in the future. Well, distant future. If Al Kaiser is still making them at that time.
If you ever have an opportunity to try a pair out, I strongly recommend at least testing them out. If a pair falls out of the sky and lands in your lap, consider yourself lucky. I know I do.
Just who is this Iron Pol?
A former out of shape sailor, who became a marathoner, then a triathlete, Ironman, and ultramarathoner. Now, life has pushed me into short track speed skating. More important than the titles is the lifestyle, and sharing it with others.