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Thread: First pair of skates; Jackson Artiste VS Freestyle?

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    First pair of skates; Jackson Artiste VS Freestyle?

    Hi I'm a pretty new skater and I'm looking at getting my first pair of skates. About me: I'm eighteen, so I'm starting a bit late but I'd still like to give my all and try as hard as I can! I'm female, 173cm and ~60kg. I started attending lessons at my local rink around three weeks ago, lessons are 30 minutes once a week and then I spend another 30-60 minutes practicing. I started in Basic 1 because I've skated before casually with friends, but never done lessons before and now I'm in Novice 1. Also I really like the black boots as opposed to the white boots, so I think I'll end up ordering "mens" boots. (In doing that I'm aware the boot will be wider, sizing will be different, and I'll have to spend more money because they're slightly more expensive but I'm fine with that)

    I'm fairly sure I'm not growing anymore, so I'm not worried about growing out of my boots, so ideally I'd like to get a pair that will last me a decent amount of time. I live in Australia and the brand I seem to see popping up the most is Jackson. I've looked through their range and I'm sort of tossing up between the Artiste (~$380) or the Freestyle Fusion (~$540). How long would I be looking at using each of these boots? Is there a big difference between them? I think they have different heels and blades, and maybe cushioning? But I don't really know what all of that information means. Jackson seems to have a little chart of which skate they recommend for different skills and the Artiste is recommended for "bunny hops / edges / all turns" and the Freestyle Fusion is for "single jumps / all spins", I know that eventually I'll have to buy new skates if I want to keep progressing, but I'd rather not buy the Artistes now and the Freestyle Fusions in two months (if that makes sense?). But also I've seen names like Edea and Risport tossed around so I don't know if I should look into them or if they're at a higher level and I don't need to worry about them? I've looked at youtube videos and forums posts and under/overbooting seems to be something to keep in mind, so would the Freestyle Fusions be overbooting too much? Also I can't find many videos on them, unlike Mystiques and Artistes which have tons of comparison videos, so I don't know if I'm overlooking something obvious.

    I'd really appreciate any input on which skates you think would be better/if another brand has better value boots or if I'm overlooking something.

  2. #2
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    Our local fitter starts out adults who are your size, who think they would progress fast, in a freestyle. Make sure to try on a couple sizes and widths, the men’s vs the women’s as well as any of the other brands you can. Many other brands have boots that are similar level as freestyle - though as you are implying you have wide feet Jacksons may end up being best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jf12 View Post
    Our local fitter starts out adults who are your size, who think they would progress fast, in a freestyle. Make sure to try on a couple sizes and widths, the men’s vs the women’s as well as any of the other brands you can. Many other brands have boots that are similar level as freestyle - though as you are implying you have wide feet Jacksons may end up being best.
    I see! My local rink only has the white Jackson Mystiques in stock, and there aren't many ice skating stores in Australia, but thank you for the advice, I'll definitely try to look around.

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    I think you’ll be fine in the Freestyle. Overbooting is definitely worth paying attention to, but most of the skills ratings you see for boots are written with kids in mind, so it’s usually better for adults to boot up a bit anyway - and you’ll get more life out of the Freestyle than you will out of the Artiste, especially if you’re progressing really fast.

    I’m heavier than you (-90kg), but I started in the GAM Concept, which is very similar to the old Jackson Marquis and rated for singles like the Freestyle. I broke them down in a little under a year just doing crossovers and turns. I’m in the Jackson Debut now and up to waltz/mazurka/half-flip. They felt a little too stiff when I first got them, but after a few sessions they started to break in. The added support made a huge difference for stabilizing my three turns when I was first learning them!

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    If I risk it all, could you break my fall?~ bunnybarista's Avatar
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    I'd agree that the Freestyle would be better than the Artiste. I wore the Artiste when I started adult classes and while I didn't break them down, they clearly lacked the padding/support/stiffness to safely support jumps. If you are serious about skating, it's worth the extra money to invest in a better pair that will last you through many more levels.

  6. #6
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    Get the better skates. I started adult beginner classes last November. I'm about the same size as you. Started with Artistes but I broke them down really quickly and started having a lot of ankle problems, etc. I bought new skates after about 6 months of skating. I found once I started working on 3 turns, spins, Mohawks, edges, waltz jumps, etc is when I started having trouble.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bostonskaterguy86 View Post
    I think you’ll be fine in the Freestyle. Overbooting is definitely worth paying attention to, but most of the skills ratings you see for boots are written with kids in mind, so it’s usually better for adults to boot up a bit anyway - and you’ll get more life out of the Freestyle than you will out of the Artiste, especially if you’re progressing really fast.

    I’m heavier than you (-90kg), but I started in the GAM Concept, which is very similar to the old Jackson Marquis and rated for singles like the Freestyle. I broke them down in a little under a year just doing crossovers and turns. I’m in the Jackson Debut now and up to waltz/mazurka/half-flip. They felt a little too stiff when I first got them, but after a few sessions they started to break in. The added support made a huge difference for stabilizing my three turns when I was first learning them!
    Oh wow! If I could get almost a year out of my boots I think I'd be pretty pleased. Thank you so much for telling me about your experience, I hadn't heard of the GAM Concept, there are so many ice skate companies...


    Quote Originally Posted by adultskater18 View Post
    Get the better skates. I started adult beginner classes last November. I'm about the same size as you. Started with Artistes but I broke them down really quickly and started having a lot of ankle problems, etc. I bought new skates after about 6 months of skating. I found once I started working on 3 turns, spins, Mohawks, edges, waltz jumps, etc is when I started having trouble.
    Quote Originally Posted by bunnybarista View Post
    I'd agree that the Freestyle would be better than the Artiste. I wore the Artiste when I started adult classes and while I didn't break them down, they clearly lacked the padding/support/stiffness to safely support jumps. If you are serious about skating, it's worth the extra money to invest in a better pair that will last you through many more levels.
    Thank you both, I think I'm definitely leaning towards the Freestyle!

  8. #8
    Rinkside
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    The Freestyle fusion is a good beginner boot. The problem is it comes with already mounted Aspire XP blades and a lot of people hate(ed) them, I belong to that group of people as well :D definitely ask the fitter for options

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    Quote Originally Posted by energywithin22 View Post
    The Freestyle fusion is a good beginner boot. The problem is it comes with already mounted Aspire XP blades and a lot of people hate(ed) them, I belong to that group of people as well :D definitely ask the fitter for options
    Oh, really? I didn't realise that a blade could have that much impact, thank you so much, I'll definitely look into it

  10. #10
    Forever respecting the sport Ic3Rabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fareyell View Post
    Oh, really? I didn't realise that a blade could have that much impact, thank you so much, I'll definitely look into it
    The blade is EVERYTHING with figure skating. If your blade isn't right, it's worse than if your boot isn't right.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by fareyell View Post
    Oh, really? I didn't realise that a blade could have that much impact, thank you so much, I'll definitely look into it
    The blade definitely has a lot of impact. As for Aspire XPs, some people don't like them, but I've never had any problems with mine.

  12. #12
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    The skates I started on had the Ultima Mirage blade, which is kind of similar to the Aspire XP - they’re both part of Jackson’s beginner freestyle blade lineup. I upgraded to the MK Professional when I found an unbelievable deal on a pair from a shop that was going out of business. I noticed an almost immediate improvement in my turns and spins, and much less toe pick drag when I skated backwards. I think was mainly due to two things - the spin rocker is much more rounded and easy to find on the Professional, and it has a 7’ main rocker instead of an 8’ like all of Jackson’s beginner blades.

    (By way of explanation - the smaller main rocker on the Professional means the part of the blade you do most of your gliding on is rounder, which means it’s a bit easier to move your placement on the blade itself, whether that’s staying off your toe picks or rocking up to the spin rocker for a turn or a spin. Generally the 7’ rocker gives you more maneuverability while the 8’ rocker gives more stability and speed. Once you advance far enough with your skating skills, though, it becomes more a matter of preference.)

    That being said - it’s by no means impossible to learn proper spins and turns on a blade like the Aspire XP or the Mirage. Thousands of people do it. It’s just a bit easier on a nicer blade. Upgrading to the MK Pro helped me to learn proper blade placement during turns, spins and backwards skating, and now on the rare occasions when I wear my old skates (mostly on this one outdoor rink I go to occasionally that has terrible, terrible ice and even some cracks through to the cement), I can do pretty much all the same things I can do on my main skates (though I don’t dare to jump in my old boots, as they’re pretty broken down and not supportive enough. I stick to crossovers and turns).

    The good news is that the Fusion sole on the Freestyle is perfectly capable of handling a blade swap, so if you decide to go with the Aspire XP for now, you can always upgrade later. Or if you want to buy boot and blade separately now - you could also consider the Jackson Entré, which is a brand new boot in their lineup that’s roughly the same support level as the Freestyle, and is sold without a blade so you can choose one yourself.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bostonskaterguy86 View Post

    The good news is that the Fusion sole on the Freestyle is perfectly capable of handling a blade swap, so if you decide to go with the Aspire XP for now, you can always upgrade later. Or if you want to buy boot and blade separately now - you could also consider the Jackson Entré, which is a brand new boot in their lineup that’s roughly the same support level as the Freestyle, and is sold without a blade so you can choose one yourself.
    I think the Entre is a good suggestion, but since it's brand new I doubt it would be easily available in Australia. If the OP can find it and get some advice on better beginner blades it would be a good choice. The Freestyle is probably easier to find, the XP blade will get them started, and then a move to the MK Pro or Coronation Ace would be in order.

    I haven't seen much discussion on here about freestyle blades below the MK Pro or Coronation Ace level. MK has 2 on their site, Flight and Galaxy, but I can only find the latter for sale anywhere (oddly, for MK anyway, they are both 8' main rockers). Wilson doesn't make an entry level blade anymore it seems. The Aspire XP is Ultimas beginner blade (one of our tech thinks this IS a good beginner FS blade) they also have the Protege, but I've never heard anything about that one. Eclipse has the Cosmos and Volant. I hope someone who has some experience with these might chime in.

    The Freestyle with the XP blade will take you pretty far, and if what's important now is to just get out there on the ice, the exotica of blades will be there when you're ready to move up.

    Oh, since I'm typing about blades anyway, MK has a new Pro coming out, the Pro Light. Looks similar to the Revs, but doesn't seem to have the carbon chassis.

  14. #14
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    I just want to but in here with a comment on the skate color. I recommend finding a boot/blade combination based on fit first. You can always get a black boot cover! And even have fun later switching it up. My two skaters love doing this!

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    I'd go straight to the Debut Fusion and buy a good blade. A Coronation Ace or MK Pro. I like Eclipse's Aurora which is also similar to the CA.

    Don't waste your time and money on the Artiste.

    The Aspire XP on the Freestyles is awful.

    But if you need to save the money and the Debut plus a $200 blade is too much, get the Freestyle and upgrade the blade later. (This will end up costing you the same as going with the Debut and net you a lower quality boot, so I don't recommend it unless you just can't spend more than the $300ish for the Freestyle.)

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bostonskaterguy86 View Post
    The skates I started on had the Ultima Mirage blade, which is kind of similar to the Aspire XP - they’re both part of Jackson’s beginner freestyle blade lineup. I upgraded to the MK Professional when I found an unbelievable deal on a pair from a shop that was going out of business. I noticed an almost immediate improvement in my turns and spins, and much less toe pick drag when I skated backwards. I think was mainly due to two things - the spin rocker is much more rounded and easy to find on the Professional, and it has a 7’ main rocker instead of an 8’ like all of Jackson’s beginner blades.

    (By way of explanation - the smaller main rocker on the Professional means the part of the blade you do most of your gliding on is rounder, which means it’s a bit easier to move your placement on the blade itself, whether that’s staying off your toe picks or rocking up to the spin rocker for a turn or a spin. Generally the 7’ rocker gives you more maneuverability while the 8’ rocker gives more stability and speed. Once you advance far enough with your skating skills, though, it becomes more a matter of preference.)

    That being said - it’s by no means impossible to learn proper spins and turns on a blade like the Aspire XP or the Mirage. Thousands of people do it. It’s just a bit easier on a nicer blade. Upgrading to the MK Pro helped me to learn proper blade placement during turns, spins and backwards skating, and now on the rare occasions when I wear my old skates (mostly on this one outdoor rink I go to occasionally that has terrible, terrible ice and even some cracks through to the cement), I can do pretty much all the same things I can do on my main skates (though I don’t dare to jump in my old boots, as they’re pretty broken down and not supportive enough. I stick to crossovers and turns).

    The good news is that the Fusion sole on the Freestyle is perfectly capable of handling a blade swap, so if you decide to go with the Aspire XP for now, you can always upgrade later. Or if you want to buy boot and blade separately now - you could also consider the Jackson Entré, which is a brand new boot in their lineup that’s roughly the same support level as the Freestyle, and is sold without a blade so you can choose one yourself.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sibelius View Post
    I think the Entre is a good suggestion, but since it's brand new I doubt it would be easily available in Australia. If the OP can find it and get some advice on better beginner blades it would be a good choice. The Freestyle is probably easier to find, the XP blade will get them started, and then a move to the MK Pro or Coronation Ace would be in order.

    I haven't seen much discussion on here about freestyle blades below the MK Pro or Coronation Ace level. MK has 2 on their site, Flight and Galaxy, but I can only find the latter for sale anywhere (oddly, for MK anyway, they are both 8' main rockers). Wilson doesn't make an entry level blade anymore it seems. The Aspire XP is Ultimas beginner blade (one of our tech thinks this IS a good beginner FS blade) they also have the Protege, but I've never heard anything about that one. Eclipse has the Cosmos and Volant. I hope someone who has some experience with these might chime in.

    The Freestyle with the XP blade will take you pretty far, and if what's important now is to just get out there on the ice, the exotica of blades will be there when you're ready to move up.

    Oh, since I'm typing about blades anyway, MK has a new Pro coming out, the Pro Light. Looks similar to the Revs, but doesn't seem to have the carbon chassis.
    Thank you both for being so informative! Its such a wide world of information and I'm only just getting into skating, so I really appreciate you guys helping me out. I had a look at websites I can easily order from and I can't find the Entré, but if I can change the blade on the Freestyle when I need/want to, then that sounds good to me. I've only got experience on rental skates at the moment, so hopefully any upgrade is going to feel like a major improvement! I'll definitely keep the difference with rocker blades in mind for a few months down the track or whenever I'm next looking for an upgrade. (I would not have thought 1' would make that much of a difference!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunshine247 View Post
    I just want to but in here with a comment on the skate color. I recommend finding a boot/blade combination based on fit first. You can always get a black boot cover! And even have fun later switching it up. My two skaters love doing this!
    That's a really good point! I'll keep that in mind ^^

    Quote Originally Posted by Nimyue View Post
    I'd go straight to the Debut Fusion and buy a good blade. A Coronation Ace or MK Pro. I like Eclipse's Aurora which is also similar to the CA.

    Don't waste your time and money on the Artiste.

    The Aspire XP on the Freestyles is awful.

    But if you need to save the money and the Debut plus a $200 blade is too much, get the Freestyle and upgrade the blade later. (This will end up costing you the same as going with the Debut and net you a lower quality boot, so I don't recommend it unless you just can't spend more than the $300ish for the Freestyle.)
    You make a very convincing point but I guess since its my first pair of skates I'd rather get a set that's already put together. I can find a place in Australia stocking the Coronation Ace so I would probably be able to order that in future if I get to a stage where the Aspire XP isn't cutting it anymore, but I guess I'd worry about accidentally ordering something wrong or putting them together wrong and not having a pair of usable skates. Thank you for the blade and boot recommendations, I didn't even realise that getting them separately could still be a reasonable price! (I assumed they'd all be super high-end and expensive!)

  17. #17
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    You make a very convincing point but I guess since its my first pair of skates I'd rather get a set that's already put together. I can find a place in Australia stocking the Coronation Ace so I would probably be able to order that in future if I get to a stage where the Aspire XP isn't cutting it anymore, but I guess I'd worry about accidentally ordering something wrong or putting them together wrong and not having a pair of usable skates. Thank you for the blade and boot recommendations, I didn't even realise that getting them separately could still be a reasonable price! (I assumed they'd all be super high-end and expensive!)
    It's not that difficult to order the correct blade. I'd definitely recommend ordering with a fitter as they will guarantee the blade size is correct.

    However you can go here: https://www.kinziescloset.com/jackso...ing-chart.html

    Most of the way down is a boot to blade size chart. The Debut Fusion Sole column on the far right is the one you want. For example if you want a size 6 Debut, then the blade you need to order is 9 1/2 inches.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nimyue View Post
    It's not that difficult to order the correct blade. I'd definitely recommend ordering with a fitter as they will guarantee the blade size is correct.

    However you can go here: https://www.kinziescloset.com/jackso...ing-chart.html

    Most of the way down is a boot to blade size chart. The Debut Fusion Sole column on the far right is the one you want. For example if you want a size 6 Debut, then the blade you need to order is 9 1/2 inches.
    Jackson has a new blade size chart. I'm not sure the KC one is current. It has to do with whether you have "Jackson" stamped on the bottom of the sole.

    http://www.jacksonultimaskate.com/st...ackson2019.pdf

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