Old Boots Never Die...
Here are pictures of my Riedell Gold Stars (purchased new in the summer of 2002) after 4 years of use. The leather lining has worn through where my ankle bone rubs, the stitching is shot, the outside shows countless scars from blade mishaps, and the arch material is separating. I now know the color of the padding used inside the boot - bright blue!
(click to enlarge)
Yet I still love them. They are very comfortable, but I'm afraid that they're reaching the end of their life. I've had the stitching redone by a local shoe repair shop, and the padding on the tongue replaced by Cooke's in 2004 or 2005. I skate about 10 hours per week in them from September through March when our rink is open, and much less during the off-season. It takes its toll.
My Coronation Ace ice skating blades are just as old as the boots, but they have much life left. I believe that the reason is because I hand sharpen them. While it takes time to do, it is much more gentle on the blade and better maintains its profile. Here is a link to a page describing how they compare to new blades after four years of hand sharpening. The hand-sharpening process is messy and time-consuming, so it won't be suitable for everyone.
revised November 20, 2006
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