Arch Rivals


No this isn't about the St. Louis derby league. Right now I wanna talk about feet.

Gross right? But it turns out that I'm not a unique and special snowflake. You see when I first got into derby, my first piece of gear was my skates, pair of Vanilla boots. The downside of these skates, was that my feet would slide around if I didn't cinch them down like a vise. Now I could skate with out getting blisters. In 20 minutes my arches started to cramp. So I'd loosen up my laces. Only to start to get another blister by the end of the skating session or derby practice.

On and on this would go, tighten, loosen, massage foot repeat throughout practice. One day, someone told me that I should get some Riedells, and I did. Then it started again. So I go some Bonts. However there wasn't enough ankle support AND the arch pain came back. Again. Now I'm in some Antiks.

Simple solution

Somehow I got the bright idea to just lace from halfway up the tongue to the end. Actually that's a bit of a fib. I didn't get the bright idea to do that. Simply that my vanity to use red waxed laces I already had instead of the ones that came with the boot. Instead of starting from the bottom, the first hole where you go straight across then start lacing, diagonally, I started about 5 holes up. I left it kind of loose and only cinch it at the ankle. Of course my boot fits fairly snug so i don't have much wriggle room to cause blisters, I have the perfect ankle support and my foot isn't locked down causing pain in my arch.

What would drive me to write a blog post about painful arches? Well, maybe it'll help another skater with the same issue. Often times I've heard a skater complain or go off track because of foot pain. But I never asked what specifically whether the pain was the ball, heel, blister, arch, toes, hang nail. It could be anything really. However one night while trying a new track, Nawty Dee (of Yellow Rose Derby Girls) mentioned that her feet were hurting, specifically her arches, and as we were speaking that the pain was starting to shoot up her shins. I showed her my boots and how they were laced. When she skated off track, I showed her a variation on what I had done with my laces.


The next night after about 20 minutes of warmups I skated by Nawty and asked how her arches were feeling. My style lacing worked for me, but mostly after getting tired of spending money on new skate boots to "magically" solve my problem. Nawty said that she's feeling pretty good, 'cept her shins were starting to act up.

After warmups I got the new girls who still didn't have gear but were watching the practice, and were in workout clothes, to follow me to a small spot and did some off skates exercises.  I missed out of the endurance portion of practice but I got my skates back on and joined in on the fun.

Now after the fact Rosie the RibHitter (of 2011 Team Argentina) informed me that they did over 125 laps, plus "chase the rabbit" and a push drill that I call the "choo-choo train" (last skater pushes the line for a lap races to the front and the new last skater continues). After the practice was over I went by Nawty again and asked her about her arches. She said "This is the first time I've never had to go off track after 20 minutes and stretch or take off my skates and massage my foot" and her shins didn't act up as bad. She thanked me and told me that I should spread the good word, not the good word, but how to relace your boots to avoid arch pain

thanks to  riotousgrowls on reddit for another lacing idea. Use two laces on your boots regularly from the bottom to about halfway, and from the top down to meet midway and tie a bow. Essentially you'll have two bows just over your arches.  I didn't mention it in the blog, but Nawty and I both use wax laces. The wax holds better against the eyelets for the laces and doesn't loosen while skating. In other words your laces will stay nearly as tight as you cinch them. Whereas non-wax laces (normal laces) tend to slip and loosen (that's how your laces become untied if you don't double knot/bow)

About The Author

DOB: 7/3/1979
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