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Thread: Jackson Freestyles vs. Riedell 225 Motion?

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    Jackson Freestyles vs. Riedell 225 Motion?

    Hi! Like many others, I'm looking to upgrade my skates and I need some help!

    Some background: I'm an adult skater, started skating a few years ago on Jackson Artistes with a Mark IV blade. They're a little big, but overall, they've been good skates. I'm an average to slightly above-averagely sized woman, and I have decent knee-bend, but I'm not tremendously hard on my skates. I spent a lot of my "beginning" time working on turns and footwork, and I'm getting ready to test the Adult Bronze MITF. I also have consistent (but...ugly...) single salchows and toe loops, though I haven't done any freestyle tests.

    I actually haven't noticed anything wrong with the pure quality of my current boot or blade; I learned two single jumps and a number of turns, and it feels secure enough to start landing bigger/harder jumps when my skill level gets there. I'm looking to upgrade because, as I start skating more, and start doing harder technical content, the fact that my skates are a little big is really starting to grate.

    I tried out a pair of the new Jackson Freestyles from my local pro shop first--the person who fitted me insisted that my current skates were the right size, so I tried them in that size. Turns out, I really should not have listened to him--not only were they too big, in trying to tie them tight enough to mimic the correct size, the laces ripped open my left hand in three different places.

    I measured myself at home, and according to the size chart, I was actually a full size smaller. When I went back in to the pro shop to explain the situation, he had me try out that smaller size--in a Riedell. It actually really well, though because I have a wider toe box and narrower heels (the reason I went with Jacksons in the first place!), I had to try them out in a wide size.

    He might just be traumatized from having me bring the skates back with evidence that they really were too big, but since I tried on and liked the size of the Riedells, he's really pushing for me to buy the Riedell 225 Motion. I'm sympathetic to his point that I've struggled in finding a boot that feels good, and since I know the Riedell in that size and width does, I should go with that. That said, I went with the Jackson Freestyle for a lot of good reasons (the cushy interior! the wide toe box and narrow heel! the decent pre-attached blade!), and I'm worried about switching.

    Here's what I would love some thoughts on:

    1. Stiffness: I'm still learning single jumps, beginning spins, and some of the harder turns. When I put the Freestyles on, I was OVERWHELMED by how stiff they were--it felt like I was trying to splint my ankle in comparison to my worn in, plastic skates. (And I would have kept the plastic skates through all of my single jumps, if the fit wasn't getting so irritating!) The Freestyles are only a 45 in stiffness, though, while the 225 Motion is 70. I'm worried I won't be able to bend my knees or lace them properly. That said, I hate buying anything for my feet, and I would love to learn an axel some day (a genuinely possible goal), so if buying a better boot is a smart long-term strategy, I'm interested.

    2. Sizing: the pro shop guy insists that the Jackson and Riedell sizes match up really closely, but I'm not as inclined to trust him now (sadly, I can't just go somewhere else, because this is the only pro shop in town, and I do want to support him since he may end up eating the cost of the Freestyles that didn't work out for me). According to their size charts, they're very close (within 1/8"-2/8"), but I've heard that Jacksons run a little bigger, so if anyone knows about that. Similarly--I was wearing the Riedell in Wide, which according to the Kinsie's Closet chart, is about the same as a Jackson width C, but I've heard that Jackson's run wide in the toe box.

    3. Blade: If I do end up going with the Riedell, should I upgrade from the default Eclipse Astra blade? I don't know a ton about blades, but the Aspire XP that's on the Freestyles has a larger pick and seems to have a better "reputation" as a blade.

    4. Experiences: Has anyone tried either or both of these skates? How did they compare?

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    Dreaming is believing... Ic3Rabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lachesis View Post
    Hi! Like many others, I'm looking to upgrade my skates and I need some help!

    Some background: I'm an adult skater, started skating a few years ago on Jackson Artistes with a Mark IV blade. They're a little big, but overall, they've been good skates. I'm average to above-averagely sized, and I have decent knee-bend, but I'm not tremendously hard on my skates. I spent a lot of my "beginning" time working on turns and footwork, and I'm getting ready to test the Adult Bronze MITF. I also have consistent (but...ugly...) single salchows and toe loops, though I haven't done any freestyle tests.

    I actually haven't noticed anything wrong with the pure quality of my current boot or blade; I learned two single jumps and a number of turns, and it feels secure enough to start landing bigger/harder jumps when my skill level gets there. I'm looking to upgrade because, as I start skating more, and start doing harder technical content, the fact that my skates are a little big is really starting to grate.

    I tried out a pair of the new Jackson Freestyles from my local pro shop first--the person who fitted me insisted that my current skates were the right size, so I tried them in that size. Turns out, I really should not have listened to him--not only were they too big, in trying to tie them tight enough to mimic the correct size, the laces ripped open my left hand in three different places.

    I measured myself at home, and according to the size chart, I was actually a full size smaller. When I went back in to the pro shop to explain the situation, he had me try out that smaller size--in a Riedell. It actually really well, though because I have a wider toe box and narrower heels (the reason I went with Jacksons in the first place!), I had to try them out in a wide size.

    He might just be traumatized from having me bring the skates back with evidence that they really were too big, but since I tried on and liked the size of the Riedells, he's really pushing for me to buy the Riedell 225 Motion. I'm sympathetic to his point that I've struggled in finding a boot that feels good, and since I know the Riedell in that size and width does, I should go with that. That said, I went with the Jackson Freestyle for a lot of good reasons (the cushy interior! the wide toe box and narrow heel! the decent pre-attached blade!), and I'm worried about switching.

    Here's what I would love some thoughts on:

    1. Stiffness: I'm still learning single jumps, beginning spins, and some of the harder turns. When I put the Freestyles on, I was OVERWHELMED by how stiff they were--it felt like I was trying to splint my ankle in comparison to my worn in, plastic skates. (And I would have kept the plastic skates through all of my single jumps, if the fit wasn't getting so irritating!) The Freestyles are only a 45 in stiffness, though, while the 225 Motion is 70. I'm worried I won't be able to bend my knees or lace them properly. That said, I hate buying anything for my feet, and I would love to learn an axel some day (a genuinely possible goal), so if buying a better boot is a smart long-term strategy, I'm interested.

    2. Sizing: the pro shop guy insists that the Jackson and Riedell sizes match up really closely, but I'm not as inclined to trust him now (sadly, I can't just go somewhere else, because this is the only pro shop in town, and I do want to support him since he may end up eating the cost of the Freestyles that didn't work out for me). According to their size charts, they're very close (within 1/8"-2/8"), but I've heard that Jacksons run a little bigger, so if anyone knows about that. Similarly--I was wearing the Riedell in Wide, which according to the Kinsie's Closet chart, is about the same as a Jackson width C, but I've heard that Jackson's run wide in the toe box.

    3. Blade: If I do end up going with the Riedell, should I upgrade from the default Eclipse Astra blade? I don't know a ton about blades, but the Aspire XP that's on the Freestyles has a larger pick and seems to have a better "reputation" as a blade.

    4. Experiences: Has anyone tried either or both of these skates? How did they compare?
    You're going to need to go with something rated around a 60 stiffness. Boots are leather and take awhile to get used to the feel but things have changed so much in recent years and many are heat moldable and so on which really helps get them comfy for you to wear.
    It sounds like you may need a split width boot. Try the Jacksons: You can try the FreeStyle which is rated 49, but you may find that because you said you are average or over average sized female that you might need a bit stronger boot when the time comes to do more difficult jumps, so you may think of perhaps looking into a Jackson Debut boot which is separate from the blade, and is rated 55. That should be sufficient for you for a good while. As far as blades are concerned you have a few choices: There is the J. Wilson Coronation Ace blade which will be rated to take you up through doubles if you wish (It also comes in the Revolution option). There is MK Professional which has same rating, but be aware the rocker is 7ft instead of 8ft. There are also a few options in Matrix and Ultima.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Ic3Rabbit; 03-11-2018 at 06:11 PM. Reason: changed gender based on OPs post below

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    Thank you so much! (Also, I edited to clarify--I'm a woman, and I'm relatively average-sized. I just wanted to emphasize that I wasn't the same size as a teenager--or at least, the same size that I was as a teenager )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lachesis View Post
    Thank you so much! (Also, I edited to clarify--I'm a woman, and I'm relatively average-sized. I just wanted to emphasize that I wasn't the same size as a teenager--or at least, the same size that I was as a teenager )
    I don’t like the idea that the fitter is trying to push you into Riedell, just as he pushed you into the wrong size. Do you have any other options for a fitter? Even if you have to drive a bit longer, it might be worth it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tavi... View Post
    I don’t like the idea that the fitter is trying to push you into Riedell, just as he pushed you into the wrong size. Do you have any other options for a fitter? Even if you have to drive a bit longer, it might be worth it.
    That's a good point, and I've definitely thought about it! I definitely have learned not to take his word at face value. There is another pro shop about two hours away from me, and I've thought about taking a weekend trip for this--BUT, bizarrely, they don't carry Jacksons at all. I'm also not sure if the pro shop will give me a full refund unless I get my replacement from them. (And also, I just feel bad--they'll probably have to eat the cost of the pair I tried out, and they're willing to.)

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    I have the Riedell motions now and I love them! For me, the heels are a bit wide, but I have extremely small feet. My feet are a normal width, like almost textbook. (My skate fitter/rink manager was measuring my feet and actually commented on how normal my length to width ratio is) I am about where you are skill wise, but am about five feet tall and like 115 pounds, so it took a while for me to wear them in. (Walking around in them at home helped a lot) on the ice they are wonderful! And since you will be falling learning new jumps, the 70 stiffness is amazing. I hurt my ankle on a loop and am 100% sure it would have been much worse if I had had a lower stiffness boot. For me, the stiffer boot is a long term investment since I want to land my axel sometime this year. If you think it would take a few years to learn the axel, your boots might be to worn out by then. So make that judgement accordingly based on how many times a week you skate and how quickly to break them in completely to where they can’t be used for doubles any more. (There are videos on YouTube by figureskaterwendy that can tell you when it is unsafe to skate in a boot if you need the info ^^) I would measure yourself according to the detailed instructions on riedell a website and see what size you are. I did it, and my feet fit wonderfully in the boot, so the charts are accurate. Jackson’s website is honestly poorly designed and would be hard to measure by yourself, so I think you need a professional Jackson distributor for that. (This is just in my opinion of the website.) Don’t put all your trust in a third party sizing chart, like at Kenzie’s closet. I have the Aurora blade and it is a dream!!! Definitely upgrade your blade if you get the riedell, it is 200% worth it. The auroras finish does scratch since they are just polished stainless steal and not chrome plated, so if that is something you really would not like, I would go with the Volent, or just another brand completely such as paramount (my favorite brand, but I can’t get them because my rink doesn’t sharpen them, which you would have to check to see if your rink does if you ever consider them) NEVER GET A TWO PART BLADE SUCH AS JACKSON ULTIMA MATRIX LEGACY. I have heard horror stories of falling screws and rattling blades, so I just would not risk it since the blade profile is nothing amazing. I wish I could say something about MK or Wilson, but I’ve never used them, sorry. All I know is the Aurora blades are wonderful.

    Good luck in finding skates!

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    GS Supporter Tavi...'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cirrusate View Post
    I have the Riedell motions now and I love them! For me, the heels are a bit wide, but I have extremely small feet. My feet are a normal width, like almost textbook. (My skate fitter/rink manager was measuring my feet and actually commented on how normal my length to width ratio is) I am about where you are skill wise, but am about five feet tall and like 115 pounds, so it took a while for me to wear them in. (Walking around in them at home helped a lot) on the ice they are wonderful! And since you will be falling learning new jumps, the 70 stiffness is amazing. I hurt my ankle on a loop and am 100% sure it would have been much worse if I had had a lower stiffness boot. For me, the stiffer boot is a long term investment since I want to land my axel sometime this year. If you think it would take a few years to learn the axel, your boots might be to worn out by then. So make that judgement accordingly based on how many times a week you skate and how quickly to break them in completely to where they can’t be used for doubles any more. (There are videos on YouTube by figureskaterwendy that can tell you when it is unsafe to skate in a boot if you need the info ^^) I would measure yourself according to the detailed instructions on riedell a website and see what size you are. I did it, and my feet fit wonderfully in the boot, so the charts are accurate. Jackson’s website is honestly poorly designed and would be hard to measure by yourself, so I think you need a professional Jackson distributor for that. (This is just in my opinion of the website.) Don’t put all your trust in a third party sizing chart, like at Kenzie’s closet. I have the Aurora blade and it is a dream!!! Definitely upgrade your blade if you get the riedell, it is 200% worth it. The auroras finish does scratch since they are just polished stainless steal and not chrome plated, so if that is something you really would not like, I would go with the Volent, or just another brand completely such as paramount (my favorite brand, but I can’t get them because my rink doesn’t sharpen them, which you would have to check to see if your rink does if you ever consider them) NEVER GET A TWO PART BLADE SUCH AS JACKSON ULTIMA MATRIX LEGACY. I have heard horror stories of falling screws and rattling blades, so I just would not risk it since the blade profile is nothing amazing. I wish I could say something about MK or Wilson, but I’ve never used them, sorry. All I know is the Aurora blades are wonderful.

    Good luck in finding skates!
    I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a “normal” width or a “textbook” length to width ratio. I also have small feet, but I wear Jacksons, not Riedell. Which brand fits you best depends on a lot of things, including the shape of your foot.

    As to blades, I have Matrix Legacy and love them. Everybody has different preferences, but if the Matrix line was as shoddy as you make it out to be, I doubt elite skaters like Plushenko and Jason Brown would continue to wear them.

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    Hey! Thanks for critiquing my post, I am a bit new to the forums (and wrote this at one am oops)

    By "textbook" and "normal" all I meant was that my foot is neither wide, nor is it narrow. It it right in the middle of the two, so my fitter called it normal. I guess there really isn't a normal width, but it was for lack of a better term. Sorry if I explained that strangely in the post.

    As for blades, there are a lot of posts, on the forum particularly, about the quality of Legacy blades and the high chances of defective blade parts due to it's two-part style. It just makes the possibility of malfunction a bit higher, and I have read some really passionate posts against them. I've never had personal experience with them, so I don't have an opinion on them that way, I was just relaying the many stories I read when I was researching for my own blades. (I actually came across the same kind of response when I was told by someone that Chrome blades chip and rust, but another person told me that would never happen, so I guess it is all about the variation of production quality from product to product) I'm sorry if it sounded rude or shoddy, I just thought I would throw the information in the post on a bit of a whim, so it was a little rushed and had 3rd party info from other people on the forum. But I am glad that the blades work for you.

    Have a good day/night.

    ~Sate

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cirrusate View Post
    Hey! Thanks for critiquing my post, I am a bit new to the forums (and wrote this at one am oops)

    By "textbook" and "normal" all I meant was that my foot is neither wide, nor is it narrow. It it right in the middle of the two, so my fitter called it normal. I guess there really isn't a normal width, but it was for lack of a better term. Sorry if I explained that strangely in the post.

    As for blades, there are a lot of posts, on the forum particularly, about the quality of Legacy blades and the high chances of defective blade parts due to it's two-part style. It just makes the possibility of malfunction a bit higher, and I have read some really passionate posts against them. I've never had personal experience with them, so I don't have an opinion on them that way, I was just relaying the many stories I read when I was researching for my own blades. (I actually came across the same kind of response when I was told by someone that Chrome blades chip and rust, but another person told me that would never happen, so I guess it is all about the variation of production quality from product to product) I'm sorry if it sounded rude or shoddy, I just thought I would throw the information in the post on a bit of a whim, so it was a little rushed and had 3rd party info from other people on the forum. But I am glad that the blades work for you.

    Have a good day/night.

    ~Sate
    No worries - I didn’t think your post was rude, just wanted to point out that feet - and experiences with blades - can differ!

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    Just responding about the blades. Paramounts are two-part blades also, not just Matrix. For that matter, so are Revolutions. The old Matrix 1 blades had replaceable runners that sometimes had problems when not attached correctly, so you may have been reading posts about those. The Matrix 2 blades are permanently fixed and there are no removeable parts; they are no more likely to come apart than Paramounts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cirrusate View Post
    NEVER GET A TWO PART BLADE SUCH AS JACKSON ULTIMA MATRIX LEGACY. I have heard horror stories of falling screws and rattling blades, so I just would not risk it since the blade profile is nothing amazing.
    By a two-part blade, I assume you really mean a blade in which the parts are not brazed together. After all, traditional blade designs, including the Eclipse Aurora, are typically fabricated from three parts: a blade body including the runner and stanchions, a heel plate, and a sole plate; the heel plate and the sole plate are attached to the blade body typically by brazing. So, if your complaint is really aimed against multi-part blades in which the parts are not brazed together, your sweeping generalization is not valid. As mentioned by at least one other poster, there were problems with the Ultima Matrix I, which was designed to have removable, interchangeable runners. Jackson dropped that design. The current Ultima Matrix II is no longer designed to accommodate removable, interchangeable runners, but still uses screw fasteners. The Eclipse Quantum uses screw fasteners. The Wilson and MK Revolution models use some sort of separate fasteners (don't know the details). The Paramounts and Eclipse Titanium models do not use separate fasteners. Given that elite champions are performing quads on blades with non-brazed assemblies, it's evident that your sweeping generalization is not valid. As often is the case, the devil is in the details.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lachesis View Post

    I tried out a pair of the new Jackson Freestyles from my local pro shop first--the person who fitted me insisted that my current skates were the right size, so I tried them in that size. Turns out, I really should not have listened to him--not only were they too big, in trying to tie them tight enough to mimic the correct size, the laces ripped open my left hand in three different places.

    I measured myself at home, and according to the size chart, I was actually a full size smaller. When I went back in to the pro shop to explain the situation, he had me try out that smaller size--in a Riedell. It actually really well, though because I have a wider toe box and narrower heels (the reason I went with Jacksons in the first place!), I had to try them out in a wide size.

    He might just be traumatized from having me bring the skates back with evidence that they really were too big, but since I tried on and liked the size of the Riedells, he's really pushing for me to buy the Riedell 225 Motion. I'm sympathetic to his point that I've struggled in finding a boot that feels good, and since I know the Riedell in that size and width does, I should go with that. That said, I went with the Jackson Freestyle for a lot of good reasons (the cushy interior! the wide toe box and narrow heel! the decent pre-attached blade!), and I'm worried about switching.

    Here's what I would love some thoughts on:

    1. Stiffness: I'm still learning single jumps, beginning spins, and some of the harder turns. When I put the Freestyles on, I was OVERWHELMED by how stiff they were--it felt like I was trying to splint my ankle in comparison to my worn in, plastic skates. (And I would have kept the plastic skates through all of my single jumps, if the fit wasn't getting so irritating!) The Freestyles are only a 45 in stiffness, though, while the 225 Motion is 70. I'm worried I won't be able to bend my knees or lace them properly. That said, I hate buying anything for my feet, and I would love to learn an axel some day (a genuinely possible goal), so if buying a better boot is a smart long-term strategy, I'm interested.

    2. Sizing: the pro shop guy insists that the Jackson and Riedell sizes match up really closely, but I'm not as inclined to trust him now (sadly, I can't just go somewhere else, because this is the only pro shop in town, and I do want to support him since he may end up eating the cost of the Freestyles that didn't work out for me). According to their size charts, they're very close (within 1/8"-2/8"), but I've heard that Jacksons run a little bigger, so if anyone knows about that. Similarly--I was wearing the Riedell in Wide, which according to the Kinsie's Closet chart, is about the same as a Jackson width C, but I've heard that Jackson's run wide in the toe box.

    3. Blade: If I do end up going with the Riedell, should I upgrade from the default Eclipse Astra blade? I don't know a ton about blades, but the Aspire XP that's on the Freestyles has a larger pick and seems to have a better "reputation" as a blade.
    There are a couple of key points in your post that aren't clear to me.

    Stiffness. Note that there is no industry wide standard for boot stiffness. So, e.g., a Jackson stiffness of 50 is not necessarily the same as a Riedell stiffness of 50. Also, for a given brand, it's not clear how much stiffer, e.g., a 70 is than a 50. You mentioned that you actually tried on the models of Jackson and Riedell that you are comparing. So rather than worrying about stiffness ratings, why don't you just go by how they feel?

    Size. As I understand it, your first pair of Jackson was too big. You went for a smaller size; but instead of offering you a smaller size of Jackson to try on, your tech had you try on a smaller size of Riedell. Why? Just because he had the smaller size of Riedell in stock, but not the Jackson? If so, that's not a good reason. Also, are the Jackson Freestyle the new, recently introduced model? It is synthetic, instead of leather. It is also formed on the Elite last, which is stock split width, with the heel one width narrower than the toe. Sounds like what you're looking for.

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    Thank you! This is so helpful. I actually couldn't try on the Riedell Motion, because they didn't have the right size/model combination in stock for me, so I ended up trying on the Diamond. When the fitter suggested I just go with Riedell, since I knew that size fit, I told him I would only consider going with Riedell if I could get a boot that was as comfortable as the Freestyle, which is how we landed on the Motion.

    The Freestyle that I tried IS the new model! It's great to know that it's a split width (and this, um, kind of feels like the kind of thing that the fitter should have been able to tell me...), and it makes me think that I should order the B/C size. My coach was impressed by how stiff and light it was, and I think it could be a good, long term skate, if I can ever get one that fits.

    (Related: I think part of this is probably my fault, since this is the second fitter--I bought my old skates in another town--who I've had a hard time getting to take me seriously. Both of them have seemed really out of step when what I've read online, and have been HORRIFIED that I would do outside research before buying skates. Maybe I just come across as an easy mark? I'm happy to spend on a quality product, and I could probably have been upsold to a more expensive Jackson boot, but I just want something that fits.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lachesis View Post
    I actually couldn't try on the Riedell Motion, because they didn't have the right size/model combination in stock for me, so I ended up trying on the Diamond. When the fitter suggested I just go with Riedell, since I knew that size fit, I told him I would only consider going with Riedell if I could get a boot that was as comfortable as the Freestyle, which is how we landed on the Motion.
    I will tell you from our own experience with different boots within the Riedell range:

    My skater wore Riedell instructional boots for a while (Stride and Edge). These are meant for figure skating and for doing jumps. Because my skater enjoys skating in outdoor rinks, I always buy a used pair of skates OR a low-level recreational skate to use for this purpose. My skater tried on the Diamond and Emerald in the same size that we had of the Edge and DID NOT like the fit or find it comparable. Because the Motion is going to be way more padded than the Diamond, you may find that you can't judge the comfort or fit of the Motion from the Diamond. Really, I think you need to try on the Motions before you commit to them. If you think you are going with the Jackson, then its not an issue, but I don't like the idea of buying something you can't try on.

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