Sunday, 21 January 2018

Fashion: Dancing On Ice

ice skating wifa skates blog review

Happy New Year, how is 2018 treating you so far? Please accept my apologies for not posting in so long but last year ended with a few unexpected life changes and I had to take off some time from London and blogging.

However, whilst I spend some time at home in Germany, I’ve rediscovered one of my oldest hobbies - figure ice skating. It’s one of my hobbies, which actually stayed with me for many years. As a child and later teenager, I was very fickle with sports and I changed my mind so many times. I did bowling, swimming, taekwondo and even attempted ballet but nothing fascinated and engaged me as much and for as long as figure ice skating has.

The winters from my childhood were usually pretty cold and the nearby lakes and the town moat would freeze so all children would go skating sooner or later – I miss the afternoons on the ice playing with friends until it got dark at 4pm. We would play chase or hockey. However, I didn’t always have ice skates as they were very hard to get in Germany in the early 2000s. At first, I used to have strap blades to tie to my shoes, but those weren’t a great deal. My first pair of ice skates were then bought at a local sports shop but the shoes weren’t of great quality. The faux leather was very baggy and didn’t provide much support for my ankle. The shoes weren’t insulated enough so my feet would regularly freeze and get numb which shouldn’t be the case with good ice skates. It took me 13 years to find my perfect pair and here is my story:

The Perfect Ice Skates

At the time I was ready to invest in some decent ice skates, shops who would sell professional skates were rare. Eventually, I found a very small outlet in Dresden, who would offer a fitting session and sell further accessories. The shop had a website and I was able to buy a few ice skate models from Wifa and Ri-Sport. The offer was overwhelming because I had never bought professional skates nor did I have any recommendations. These days you can buy bundles, so ice skate shoe and blade are already adjusted or you buy both parts separately. Then there’s also the option of buying shoes for beginners training or first jumps. However, I’ve never regretted my decision nor the long wait to have invested in professional ice skates. Wifa has a list of international shops and distributors on their website which is super helpful as I saw that there are now more shops in Germany and buying professional equipment is not as difficult as it was back in the days.

wifa ice skates review

My pair is from Austrian skating specialist Wifa. The shoes are made of leather and they are thermal-dynamic meaning, once my feet get cosy and warm in the shoe through skating, the material forms itself around my feet. I’ve also seen sellers putting the shoe in a microwave and helping you to adjust the shoe in the shop these days – but at the time I got mine, I had to go skating nearly every day in order for the shoe to fully adjust to my feet. This is an essential process because the shoe needs to fully support your ankle (twisting can be fatal and may lead to serious injuries) yet at the same time the shoe shouldn’t clamp any artery. Your feet need to be warm and comfortable at all times and then ice skating will be an absolute joy!

Once I got the right combination, I also bought a specially designed carrier bag and skate guards which I can use when I leave the ice rink. Walking with sharpened blades on hard ground can be dangerous and also damage the blade permanently. Anyway, I got my shoes and I luckily lived in a town which had an ice rink, so I wasn’t dependant on cold winters and frozen lakes anymore. A regular training was exactly what I needed and the years 2009-2012 saw my pinnacle of ice skating training. I signed up for a course and once I had absorbed and internalised the basics, I was good to go on my own.

I’ve learnt mainly how to understand the physics of the glide, the process that’s happening during ice skating (basically with your weight and different shifts, you carve the u shaped sharpened blade into the ice surface. The ice in between the sharpened edges gets pressed together and produces a very small thermo-dynamic process, so the ice actually melts under the blade and allows you to glide). I would say I’m confident enough to try out turns, backward skating and pirouettes, but I’m still rubbish in crossings and changing between backwards and forwards effortlessly. Ice skating is one of these sports that requires a lot of legwork, balance and discipline – something that I value because no matter how often I may fall down, I always get up and try again. I found that once you’ve performed a figure or certain step correctly, it will become second nature and you won’t forget how to do it. Even after years, you’ll have that confidence.

figure ice skating backwards
what to wear for ice skating

What to wear for ice skating?

I find comfortable clothes the best and ideally, you can take off your coat. Though ice rinks are cold dance floors, you’ll easily get warm. I like wearing a pair of thick thermals or thermal leggings because they are flexible and comfortable and not a big deal if you rip them. A jumper is always a good idea but I’ve also seen skaters with thermal tops. Thick coats or anoraks are obstructive as you’ll feel trapped and can’t move around freely. A pair of gloves is advisable – falling down will happen and it’s not a nice feeling when you have cold and wet hands. I’ve ordered a specific pair of elastic skating gloves which come with in-built protectors from Wifa.

ice skating outfit
ice skating outfit and wifa skates review

Here's What I'm Wearing:

Christmas Penguin Jumper: £12 Primark (current AW17/18)
Black Leggings: £15 Pieces, via Vero Moda (current AW17/18)
Ice Skates Bundle: £350 Wifa
Black Coat: £35 Stradivarius (sale Aw15/16)
Protector Gloves: £30 Wifa, (permanent item)

Ice skating equipment is as any professional sports gear expensive: the gloves came around £30 and I paid for my first pair of Wifa skates a price of around £350 which makes my skates the most expensive pair of shoes I own. I have had them for nearly ten years now and you’ll never know, maybe one day I might become a professional ice skating princess. Skating in London might be a bit of a challenge as there are no ice rinks close to my home. The nearest one is in Alexandra Palace or Islington but I'll give it a try once and see how feasible timewise it is to go regularly skating here in the UK. 

Thank you so much for checking out today's ice skating post. Hope to speak soon. 
Take care and till next time,
Carolin
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