20 September 2012

It's aBOOT time for another pair.

It’s been 7 years since I got my first and only pair of custom made boots. Some consider them the best speedskating boots the world has to offer. They are handmade by one person, a pioneer of custom boots, who has too many of the worlds top skaters using them to count. But 7 years of wear does a lot to a nicely stitched pair of leather boots-they’re under constant barrage from sweat, sharp blades, tweaking hot spots, repairs, torque and so on. Now, the leather has been worn so much that each practice has me retightening them up to 5 times and they still aren’t able to hold it’s tightness around my foot. So in the spring, it was apparent that to be as good as I possibly can in speedskating I would have to get my feet casted for a new boot. Last week, after a long delay, I was finally notified that the boots were finished and to be shipped out by yesterday! I can’t wait. I really liked the casting process and think these new boots might give me more control on the ice. Here’s some pics of them.

How are they made? 
First, my feet are duct taped in certain areas to compress unwanted spaces and gaps, mostly between my toes. Then a wetted molding sock is put on my foot that hardens within a minute and the bootmaker vigorously smooths out the sock over my foot while I bend my knee and apply 90% weight on an angled foam platform. The boot is cut off and then a cast is poured into the mold that hardens for 3 days. Finally, the carbon fiber & leather boot is made over that. Very few people in the world can do this and do it well, so thanks Kip Carpenter.

My casts after 3 days of hardening
Here are my old boots. I love ‘em and hate ‘em. I also had painted them white and over that tribally painted an unfinished quote. “No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory, no cross, no crown.” -William Penn

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