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Figure Skating Equipment and History






Olympic figure skaters wear boots that are custom-made for each foot and heavily reinforced with thick, stiff leather interiors and extra ankle bracing.

Boot tongue

Figure skates are made with wide tongues, with rubber or sponge padding for flexibility. Skates should be tied tightly to afford maximum control.


A modern blade has a very slight curve, equal to the radius of 180-220 cm. The blade is sharpened to produce a flat or concave cross section. To maintain a sharp edge, the bottom quarter inch of the blade is made from time-tempered steel. The "sweet spot" of the blade is below the ball of the foot.


Skating boots originally were street boots, and heels have always been part of the look. Different figure skaters prefer different size heel - ice dancers often wear high heels, which push their body weight forward onto the balls of their feet for deeper edges and better control of quick steps and changes of direction.


The groove down the middle of the bottom of a figure skate blade is called the hollow. Finely ground edges on either side of the hollow provide control and speed. The depth of the hollow varies depending on the skater's event, weight and style.

Toe picks

Teeth cut into the toe of the blade are used for pushing off in jumps and as the pivot point during spins.