No this isn’t about the St. Louis derby league. Right now I wanna talk about feet.
Gross right? But it turns out that I’m not a unique and special snowflake. You see when I first got into derby, my first piece of gear was my skates. A pair of Vanilla boots, brass Knuckles 2.0 as a matter of fact, like the week they came out. The down side was my feet would slide around in them if I didn’t cinch them down like a vise. Now i could skate with out getting blisters…. for about 20 minutes before my arches started to hurt.So I’d loosen them up. Only to start to get another blister…AGAIN.
On and on this would go, tighten, loosen massage foot repeat throughout practice. So someone told me that I should get some riedells, and I did. Then it started again. So I go some bonts Hybrid Carbons. but there wasn’t enough ankle support AND the arch pain came back. Again. Now I’m in some Antik AR1s. Cinched them down and guess what. The pain came back.
Somehow I got the bright idea to just lace from halfway up the tongue to the end. Make sense? instead of starting from the bottom, the first hole where you go straight across then start lacing, diagonally, I started about 5 holes up. I left it kind of loose and only cinch it at the ankle. Of course my boot fits fairly snug so i don’t have much wriggle room to cause blisters, I have the perfect ankle support and my foot isn’t locked down causing pain in my arch.
What would drive me to write a blog post about painful arches? Well, maybe it’ll help another skater with the same issue. Often times I’ve heard a skater complain or go off track because of foot pain. But I never asked what specifically whether the pain was the ball, heel, blister, arch, toes, hang nail. It could be anything really. However Sunday night while trying out the new track, Nawty Dee mentioned that her feet were hurting, specifically her arches, and as we were speaking that the pain was starting to shoot up her shins. I showed her my boots and how they were laced. When she skated off track, I showed her a variation on what I had done with my laces.
So monday night after about 20 minutes of warmups I skated by Nawty and asked how her arches were feeling. My style lacing worked for me, but mostly after getting tired of spending money on new skate boots to “magically” solve my problem. Nawty said that she’s feeling pretty good, ‘cept her shins were starting to act up.
After warmups I got the new girls who still didn’t have gear but were watching the practice, and were in workout clothes, to follow me to a small spot and did some off skates excercises. So I was out for most of the endurance portion of practice. i got my skates back on and joined in on the fun.
Now after the fact Rosie informed me that they did over 125 laps, plus “chase the rabbit” and a push drill that I call the “choo-choo train” (last skater pushes the line). After the practice was over I went by Nawty again and asked her about her arches. She said “This is the first time I’ve never had to go off track after 20 minutes and stretch or take off my skates and massage my foot” and her shins didn’t act up as bad. She thanks me and told me that I should spread the good word, the Good word, but about how to relace your boots to avoid arch pain.
edit– thanks to riotousgrowls on reddit for another lacing idea. Use two laces on your boots regularly from the bottom to about halfway, and from the top down to meet midway and tie a bow as you normally would. Also thanks to the reddit user for reminding me about wax laces. I didn’t mention it in the blog, but Nawty and I both use wax laces. The wax holds better against the eyelets for the laces and doesn’t loosen while skating. In other words your laces will stay nearly as tight as you cinch them. Whereas non-wax laces (normal laces) tend to slip and loosen (that’s how your laces become untied if you don’t double knot/bow)
So check the picture for examples of how to lace up your boot and avoid arch pain.