|Powerslide R4 Boot Review|
|I tried a Powerslide R4 boot today for people who don't want to move into a full blown speed skate but want something lower and lighter then the fitness skate their in. Well I was a bit surprised. Normally when I put my foot into a fitness type skate they lock my ankles straight up and down and I can't crick my ankle at all to get an outside edge but it was just the opposite with this boot. I couldn't believe the outside edge I could attain with this boot. The boot worked as if you had a low cut boot on until you went to an extreme edge then it just stopped (like a saftey net). (article continued below)|
|This boot was built with the upper cuff separate from the lower cuff which allows the boot to work like a lower cut boot until you hit that extreme edge. Where this helped me is when I was extremely tired and would have to start thinking about not going to the outside edge because if I did I would fall off the edge I was still able use the outside edge because the upper cuff stopped me before I got to that extreme edge. This same idea is the reason the Mogema R1 low cut boot with Mogema's M55-80 mid profile frame works so well for me.
On the Mogema boot with the frame being lower to the ground I am able to extremely extend the time before I pronate because with the frame being lower to the ground the torque on my ankle is much less which means I can control the outside edge much longer. This means I will be skating efficiently longer than if I was on a higher profile frame which puts more torque on my ankle and tires it sooner and forces me to pronate sooner.
Well with the R4 you get the same result (not pronating as soon) as working with a lower profile frame but on the R4 you can put a higher profile frame on the boot and hold off pronation not because there is less torque on the ankle but when you get to the extreme outside edge the upper cuff stops you from falling off the edge where a lower cut boot with a higher profile frame you would fall off the edge when tired.
Bottom line is, when I was exhausted I could still hit deep outside edges and not worry about falling off the boot and I could do it with a high profile frame where before I needed a mid profile frame to get that same feeling. My double push was extremely strong on this boot because the boot would stop my ankle from collapsing at the extremes so I could push it further with more confidence.
Here I got this boot to compare to other fitness boots and now I can see it will be giving other low cut speed boots a run for their money. The boot was a few ounces heavier than a lower cut boot but weight isn't that important as I know the lighter a skate gets the less weight transfer you get which causes pronaton sooner. Indoor where there are no weight transfers the lighter the skate the better but outdoor where there are weight transfers you can have a skate that's to light (which causes you to pronate sooner).
Now normally I wear a size 9 in the Powerslide R1, R2 and R3 and they fit a little tight but I needed a 10 in the R4, so chances are you will want to go up about a half a size from the Powerslide chart for the R4. Also at the angle the upper buckle pulls I would suggest you order a Powerslide ankle stabilizer with the R4 as the stabilizer pulls at the correct angle to pull your heel back into the heel pocket. Also I didn't lace the very top eyelet on the boot, I stopped at the second eyelet from the top.
The boot will work without the stabilizer but it works much better with. I've been skating on it for 2 weeks now going back and forth between the other 3 lower cut boots that are working best for me right now and the R4 is keeping pace with the lower cut boots. But what the R4 is doing better, is the extreme comfort, the extended time before pronation and hammering the double push (both the extended time before pronation and hammering double push is due to the secure extreme outside edge).
Whether your looking for a low cut speed boot or a fitness boot I would look at this boot as it has the edges, double push and performance of a speed skate with the comfort and stability of a fitness skate. Powerslides come with paper in the toes of the boot so don't forget to pull it out before you try them on.
If you have any questions you can email me at: email@example.com
Richard, just a quick follow-up - I have been skating in the R-4's for 3 weeks now & they are incredible - great comfort & I can feel the edges quite well. We were correct to go with the size 10.5's to begin with but with a thin pair of socks they are very comfortable - at the end of a skate I am not hurried to take them off. I have an 11 mile loop that I skate which I can complete in around 45 minutes regardless of which way the wind is blowing. I figure I have been able to skate at up to 20 mph for up to 4 miles (if I have a tailwind). I am uncertain of the effectiveness of my DP technique but I can definitely feel that I am using some outside edge during propulsion. My skates definitely inscribe an S if that is a hint. Key is to keep doing the exercises.
Thanks again for all your advice - the skates are just great - I may have to upgrade them in the future with the Mogema cross trainer frame.
This is Bob M. from Minnesota. I just want you to know that I did fantastic at the Northshoreinline at Duluth MN on September 18th with the R4 boots you sold me. I attached them to my K2 "Straight 84" frames. I was reluctant to use the new boots since I only had 3 miles on them, but did anyway. I only recieved a small dime size blister on my left ankle smaller than a dime size by the end of the marathon - I never even knew I was getting it. The boots were flawless. Your suggested size of 1/2 size over my shoe size was perfect! I did 21 minutes faster than last year! I was in the fitness category this year and did 1:26. I believe this time will qualify me for the Advanced category next year. I felt great. Those skates really allowed my foot to transfer the power to the wheels rather than flex the boot like I had. Again, thanks a lot!, Bob
Richard -- If u recall I ordered one pair of size 12 R4 boots. I have been skating with them for about 3 weeks and I have seen some interesting changes in my technique. After a few sessions my skate track became a more pronounced swoosh and the recovery skate was crossing over my center of gravity (CG). However I was not getting additional power so after more sessions I concluded I had achieved the double push (DP). The R4 boot was stiffer then I expected and I recall that I read about not lacing the top row. This was very effective and I felt the skates biting well on the outside edge but I suspected that all I had accomplished was a fancier inside push. The carving action on the outer edge acted more like a break then a push. A key insight was when I began understanding that the DP technique requires an almost constant rolling of the 'blade' from inner to outer edge. I began practice and drills to focus on rolling my ankles back and forth.
This continued until two days ago when something wonderful occurred. I recalled reading that once I understood the DP the next step was to learn it with my hands behind my back. Throughout my 'training' the question 'Am I doing it now?' is constant. I evaluate how I'm doing and compare it with what I've read and understand from study (I have no skating partners or groups). I will find elements that are correct and others that don't feel right, but I can never be sure. My skating goal, my vision, has been to achieve the same grace and classy skating style I saw from a youth in Holland. Older gentleman in black would skate with their hands behind their backs and gently swap back and forth as they glided past (ice skating). That picture was in my mind as a clasped my hands behind my back and set down onto the outside edge. Without the counter balance of my arms that I was used to the balance was tentative and I was feeling how to adjust my torso to adapt.
Then it happened. I felt as if I had slipped into a groove. My head and upper torso were rocking back and forth above my CG while my feet crossed back and forth in opposition. Momentum was re-enforcing the rhythm and I felt more stable despite the fact that my feet were crossing over the CG as radically as they had ever done. I felt stable, graceful and very classy indeed! Since then I've discovered I can connect the bite of the outer edge directly with a leg extension for more speed then I am ready for. As always, the 'Am I doing it now?' question remains open and I'm sure I have a lot more to discover. I began skating in August. This is my 3rd skating rig since then (from beginners -- ankle casts with wheels, to a beginning cross trainer skate -- I destroyed them in six weeks, s and now to the R4s). It is impossible to make these moves in either of the two previous skates. Thank you for the good advice and good equipment! Thanks -- Bob G.
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