out of 5
Jackson Hinged SkatesAugust 04, 2009
I bought a pair of these skates in March 2006 with the Matrix Freestyle blade, and I am still skating in the same pair today (I am a Senior level skater). Although I never experienced problems with skates breaking down, this lifespan is quite impressive. Previously, I had a normal pair of Jackson boots, and before that I skated in Riedell. I do not think the hinged boots are heavier, but the light blades may also even out the difference for me. The boot itself may be a touch heavier than non-hinges. They are also very comfortable, although there was a short time--as with any skates--when I endured a blister or two. The hinged boots are quick and easy to put on. I love the convenience of easily tightening them whilst skating (instead of getting off to lace up normal boots). The wires do potentially fray, but I have only needed to replace one once and did not have problems with that. Perhaps they aren't aesthetically beautiful, but I wear them with over-the-boot tights and I don't think they draw much attention. I got these skates after I had the first of two stress fractures in my lower back (the second came five months later, but I don't think the first ever healed--thus, unrelated to the skates). The flexibility of these boots is incredible, and I love being able to point my toes as much as they allow. When I first switched, it was surprising to discover the impossibility of simply coasting in these skates. The flexibility makes it so you can never relax because the wobbliness will make you lose your balance. The constant need to tense your ankle and lower leg muscles also develops those more. Stroking and edges are wonderful in hinged boots. You are able to achieve very deep knee-bend, and this removes some pressure from the rest of your body that typically exerts more force to press into the ice. This is helpful on landings because the extra bending range can often help you save a crooked jump. Unfortunately, this also makes spirals much more difficult because your foot is constantly threatening to slip from under you. The Matrix blades contribute to the edge quality. They also require fewer sharpenings, maybe once every couple of months. Once I adjusted to the skates, I found spins easier to maintain. Change-edge spins are probably easier, too. It is possible to get a much deeper sit on sit spins, and it is so comfortable! Jumping is certainly different in these boots, but very possible once used to the skates. Jump timing will necessarily shift to accommodate them. With hinged boots, your foot remains on the ice surface for much longer than in normal boots. You attain a really deep bend, extend upward, and even as you may begin to rotate, your stretched foot may still be touching the ice. Recently, I've been switching between the hinged boots and my old skates in practice. While I love both, I have found I have more spring in my jumps in the non-hinged boots. The bottom line is this: hinged boots are gentler on the body and allow so much more knee bend; however, the support normal boots provide cannot be equaled. Having a stiff boot gives a skater something to push against to help jump into the air. Hinged boots provide much more bending possibility, but I think they might also require a bit more work to obtain the same height in jumps. The funky Matrix blade includes the runner and the structure to which it is mounted. This is inconvenient for people who often perform Biellmann and other catch-foot spins because the runner and mount edges are kind of sharp, and fingers may get stuck inside of the toepick area. The two-piece blade structure was built to make it possible to easily replace the runner, but I don't know of anyone who has taken advantage of this (or needed to, considering the super sharp blades). These boots were created keeping in mind the multitude of injuries skaters suffer. I absolutely agree that they reduce the pressure on knees and hips particularly on landings (when the majority of force bears down on the body). They are fantastic skates, and I hope they work well for you, too.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.