Everything about Liners
The short answer: Most stock liners that come in a skate are fine. If you have a problem with the stock liner, then the Intuition liner seems to solve a lot of problems.
A liner is the padding that can be taken out of any hardboot skates. If there is no padding that can be taken out in your skate, then you have a softboot skate and this buyers guide is not for you ;)
A liners main goal is to be comfortable, right? True,
A liners main goals is to be super hard, right? Also true.
Skating is all about using your feet to controlling what your wheels are doing. This movement is translated between your foot and the wheels with the liner. That is why the tighter your skates are attached to your feet, the more control you have. Ice skaters don't even use a liner, they don't even use socks!
To maximize energy transfer, your liner needs to be thin and hard.
Every foot is different, that is why it is very difficult to make a liner that is comfortable and still hard and thin. Most liner brands solve the comfortable issue with making their liners super thick. The padding of a thick liner then shapes around the foot and creates a sort of universal adjustable fit.
The best liners on the market however did a lot of research about the shape of a foot and are able to make their liners thinner. A good example is the Intuition brand liners
If your skate is a bit loose for you, then buying a liner that is nice and thick might help you.
If your liner is super tight, then buying a liner that is nice and thin might help you
The top part
Liners can have different shapes at the top. so not all liners will fit in all skates for that reason. Or perhaps they will fit but it will just look a bit silly. Ideally a liner should stick out about 1-2 cm above the cuff. There are 3 different shapes.
- Hockey cut
- Straight cut
Allot of skates from the 90's go up in the back around the calf area of your leg. This is a legacy feature from the hockey ice skates that the first inline skates were evolved from. The hockey cut skate were said to offer more backwards stability, but in modern times this is not really considered.
Most modern skates have a straight cut. This works best for most types of skating. Straight cut liners can be put in both v-cut and hockey cut skates.
Some aggressive skates and also speed skates have a v-cut. This is enables a skater to stretch their toes more for higher jumps and longer strides. It comes with a price though, skates with a v-cut offer less support and are thus less stable to skate on.
Liner toe area
Something to look out for when getting a liner is the toe area. Cheaper liners have a toe area in the same material as the rest of the liner. More expensive liners offer a neoprene toe area. The neoprene material is stretchy and thus offers a less rigid fit.
Skates that dont have this feature might best be bought one size bigger.
What liners to choose
If you need help deciding what liner to choose, then check out the video below where we try out all models and give live feedback on each and all of the differences.
Hardboot vs Softboot
The short answer: Go for a Hardboot
A hardboot skate has a removable liner. This means that the padded part of the skates can be taken out and replaced. Softboots do not have removable liners.
Some of the cheapest recreational skates on the market are softboots (do not get those, they are horrible) and also some of the most expensive skates on the market are softboots.
Skates should NOT flex sidewards at all. The stiffer a skate is built, the better it performs (stiff on the outside does not mean it is not comfortable on the inside).
Some of the most stiff skates in that regards are carbon based softboots like the Seba CJ, USD Carbon or Gawds skate.. They are however all often over 300 euros. The cheapest way to create a well performing skate is to built it in the hardboot style.
The short answer: all hardboots come in 41-42 style double sizing
Its typical for hardboot skates to come in double sizing. This means that 2 or more sizes are bundled in to one. It is expensive to create these moulds so that is why brands combine sizes. They will put a size 41 liner in a size 42 boot and call it a 41. Because this is actually a little lie, we will correct for this on our webshop and call it a like it is. If you buy a 41-42 size, then this can mean two things:
1. Either the brand advertises it as a 41-42 themselves and we advertise it conform to their labeling
2. Or we have purchased the size 42 skate and labeled it 41-42 ourselves since their 41 would also use the same mould and does not differ in any sensical way.
After years of experience helping people in the store, and comparing different skates to each other for ourselves, we noticed that it is never justified to put in a smaller liner in a bigger shell. The shell should always be filled up in length to the max. Every body likes to have a little bit more room at their toes. A skate should fit perfectly, but this fit comes from the top and with of the foot. not from the lengt.
Sometimes skates that are listed on our website as double sized can be found somewhere else floating on the internet with a single size. That means it is falsely advertised.
What size to choose?
The short answer: take your shoe size or one size up
Skates should feel be very very tight. The problem is that most people are not used to having this sensation on their feet at all and thus think they need a bigger size.
When you stride, your are moving controlling your wheels with your foot and the skate is the tool to transfer this movement. The stiffer the skate and the tighter the connection between those wheels and your foot, the better performance you will get.
If you are thinking of getting a hardboot skate, then you can dive in to this excel sheet in the description of one of our vlogs. The sheet lists the true, inside length of all the hardboots we sell. If you know the length of your foot, just add about 10mm-20mm for the liner and then you will have the perfect size. Of course skates vary in width and height as well but then at least you have one of the metrics right.
If you order a skate and it is not the right size, then you can always return and exchange it for another size or get a refund. Before doing so, read the next chapter below.
How to know the size is right
The short answer: Commit to skating them in house
Never put on a pair of skates and then, while not even tightening them, decide that it is not your size.
When you get new skates, first put in the laces before you put them on. Skates have allot of padding in the back that pushes the foot forward and you need the closure system to push your foot back in to this padding.
Close the buckle, laces and straps as tight as possible. Then, make sure your ankle joint is as close to a 45 degree position. This means bending your knees a bit and press your shin against the front of the skate. This is the skating position and this is the position you should use to consider the size. Do not judge the size in any other stance.
Skate around the house a bit and see how the control is.
It should feel very tight overall, but not have a specific pressure point.
A good way get some indication of how this skate works with your foot is to take out the liner and try the shell without the liner. Never put on the liner without the hardboot shell. You need the shell, laces and buckle to push your feet back in the liner. A liner in your size will always feel too tight when tried on without the rest of the skate. Instead put your foot in the shell, shove it to the front so that your toes slightly touch and then feel how many fingers you can put in the back behind your heel. It should be more than 1, but not more than 2 fingers. If its less then 1 finger you will either need a way smaller liner (not smaller size but with less padding) in this shell, or you would need a bigger skate. If you have more than 2 fingers of room in your skate, then your skates are most likely to big.