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Iron Clad Components of Success

Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon with elements of chromium and nickel. And many boots are comprised of leather, wood, and glue with hooks made of steel. And the strength of steel is a commonality in both boots and blades needed for successful figure skating.


Recently, I picked up my new skates from Kevin Wu from Jackson boots. I was reminded that in all of the years I have been wearing these boots, I have never had to make any adjustments or return them because each pair has provided me with perfect comfort and a supported fit right from the start.


In my view, having an open and honest relationship between skater and boot fitter is imperative for skating success. As coaches, we often hear our athletes complain about their new boots. I always tell them, “There is no whining for two weeks! Most boots require an adjustment period to make them pain free so prepare to tough it out.”

Of course, if after two weeks the boots still hurt, we will contact your boot fitter for adjustments who can correct the issues or they can be sent back to the manufacturer for further refinements. Spoiler alert: After two weeks, 90% of boots feel great, in my experience.


Breaking in new boots has been my cycle annually since I began choreographing almost 30 years ago. Personally, I love the stiff feel of new boots and enjoy the rigors of breaking them in. We all have to do it so it is best if we just change our perception of what this process entails. Over the years, I have crafted a winning and efficient strategy for breaking in mine and my skaters’ boots, which works well.

For years, I had a wonderful relationship with Don Klingbeil and Klingbeil boots. Don always listened carefully to me and produced a custom boot that fit like glove and always served me well. When he sold his business, I was upset and even a bit desperate. What was I going to do?


Ta Da! Jackson boots came to the rescue. I am so grateful to Raj Misir and Kevin Wu for stepping right in and providing me with the most incredible boots, which I love and cherish. The point of this piece is to encourage each of you to forge a relationship with your boot maker so you can be lucky enough to have a wonderful experience like I have had with my Jackson boots for so many years past and anticipate for many years to come.


Your boots are a huge part of your component for success. So, talk to your boot maker and enjoy the journey.


The session is over and the Zamboni is coming out.

Auf Wiedersehen


© 2020 by Phillip Mills

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World & Olympic Figure Skating Choreographer