Normally companies higher priced boots have lower ankle support. That's great for world class skaters with steel ankles but I'm not a world class skater. After trying the new Strut and Attitude boots last week I couldn't see how anything was going to work better for me then their higher cut Strut, especially Luigino's higher priced normally much lower cut boots. Well I was pleasantly surprised today. I first tried the Ultra Challenge expecting my ankles to last 5 minutes on them. Hmmm, why are my ankles lasting so long. Maybe I'm just having a good day.
I then took them off and put the Strut on expecting to see much more ankle support. Nope, the same amount of ankle support as the Ultra. That's weird, more expensive boots in most skate lines are normally lower cut. Not this time. I skated on the Strut for a bit and then went back to the Ultra. In my amazement the Ultra had just as much support as the Strut but a tad more comfort and performance. I never saw this coming. Last week the Strut blew me away and now the Ultra Challenge edged out the Strut? Trying boots for 15 years you have no idea how exciting this is for me. It's like experiencing skating all over again.
In the past you seemed to have to choose either comfort or performance in a boot but it seemed impossible to get both in one. I'm now seeing both comfort and performance in the new Strut and Ultra Challenge. I did try the Challenge but just like the Attitude being a bit lower cut then the Strut the Challenge had a bit less ankle support then the Ultra Challenge. If you like a bit less support in a boot (more ankle flexation) I would choose the Challenge or Attitude. If you want a bit more ankle support I would choose the Strut or Ultra Challenge.
I would say on a scale from 1 to 100 I would grade the Ultra Challenge as a 97 and the Strut as a 95. Now other boots I have tried rate in the 40's, 50's and 60's so even thought the Strut is rated a bit lower then the Ultra Challenge it's still right up there. Some other reasons on paper you may want to choose the Ultra Challenge over the Strut is the Ultra Challenge has Aquatech heat mold ability, it's made of carbon (the Strut is fiberglass), the Ultra has the new Nano buckle (lower profile and easier to disengage) and the Ultra Challenge has Kevlar in the mounting blocks to more ensure blocks won't be torn out.
There is also a 30 day money back guarantee on the Challenge and Ultra Challenge boots to allow you to try them before you make your decision. Yes you heard me right, you can try the the Challenge and Ultra Challenge boots for 30 days and get 100% of your money back (minus shipping) if you don't like them. That's unheard of in the speed skating industry. Now you can't skate on it and send it back for a size exchange so you do want to be sure you have the right size before you start your trial but that's still a killer deal. From what I've experienced on the Ultra Challenge I can see how we're able to make the 30 day money back offer as after you try them I can't imagine you sending them back (I know I'm not sending mine back).
Again I wear a Nike running shoe size 9.5 to 10 and in the Ultra Challenge and Challenge the size 11 fit me perfectly.
Give the new Strut or Ultra Challenge a try and experience speed skating all over again.