Here's the short review of the Seba FRX boot (long review below):
I tried the SEBA FRX boot and found it to be the most fun, most comfortable skate I've skated on in the last 10 years. My skating passion has been rejuvenated and will be skating more this summer then in the past 10 summers. I will be skating exclusively on this FRX boot. On a scale from1 to 10 I now grade all my past skating boots as a 2 and this new FRX boot as a 10. If your having trouble with blisters, loosing your double push, pronating on your low cut boot with big wheels or feel like skating is becoming more like work then fun, give this FRX boot a try as soon as possible so you can start enjoying your skating summer.
Here's the long review of the Seba FRX boot:
I haven't done a review in a while because I haven't been excited about anything to review. Well now I'm excited. I got to try a Seba FRX boot. Thinking I was going to put it on, not be able to bend my ankle anywhere, skate on it for 10 minutes and change back to my low cut boot. That didn't turn out to be the case. Because of the hinge in the upper cuff I was able to get an extreme knee bend. This was already unlike the higher cuff boots of old in which the upper cuff moved nowhere. The stability was incredible without loosing what I would like to see in a speed skate stroke. I ended up skating the rest of the day (2 hours) on the FRX boot. There was no need to go back to get my lower cut boot. In fact I kinda dreaded thinking about having to go back to the instable lower cut boot after skating on that comfortable, felt like my foot was floating on air, stable, but didn't restrict my skate stroke boot.
Now I had my 5x80 frame on the FRX boot for this trial. But, seeing how stable the FRX boot was over my lower cut boot I then started questioning what a 100mm, 110mm or even a 125mm wheel would feel like under this stable FRX boot. Is this what I need to be able to skate outdoor distance on the larger diameter wheels? I'm sure it's not a secret that I haven't enjoyed skating on the larger diameter wheels for outdoor distance on lower cut boots. My form simply fails to quickly for distance skating on a low cut boot with the bigger wheels. And from what I see out there I'm not the only one. I see people pronating from the first step of the day to the last step of the day the majority of the time.
If they only knew how much more fun they could be having using proper form by simply moving to a smaller wheel or to a higher cut boot. So I know it's not just me having trouble with big wheels on low cut boots and distance skating. I'm just one of the few honest enough to say I do. Now if you can skate with proper form, being able to hit the outside edge from the start to the finish of your skate then there's no question you should be on a low cut boot with big wheels. But not everyone depending on the body they were born into, their fitness level and their age can skate distance at race pace and hold an outside edge on a low cut boot with big wheels.
Now the question is, will the FRX boot have enough stability to skate on the big wheels for distance skating without loosing the double push and outside edge. Well a week after the the first skate on the boot with the 5x80 frame I put a 3x110 9.75" frame on the FRX boot. I know, that's an extremely short frame, but with the stability of the FRX boot, a shorter frame is now controllable. I was checking to see if 110mm wheels would be to much leverage on the ankle, and this 110mm frame would be enough to tell me. It took me 10 minutes to get used to the short 9.75" frame length but once I did it was the most fun skating I had had in years. I hammered a huge looping double push, huge outside edge, from the start to the finish of the 2 hour skate. Because of the shorter frame I was able to steer quickly into and out of the double push, and do it endlessly. There is no way I could have done that on my low cut boot with 110mm wheels for 2 hours much less 10 minutes. Again, I will not skate on a wheel size larger then I can handle where I loose my double push and outside edge before the end of the skate. So, the FRX boot allowed me to huge double push on 110mm wheels for 2 hours straight. This was a first for me. The reason for this review is, if your starting to pronate before the end of your distance and still want to use your big wheels this boot may be what your looking for.
Frames I tried:
I went on to try a 5x80 12.8", 3x110 9.75", 4x90 11.5", 4x100 12.0" and 4x110 13.2" against each other. I tried them on a short 3 minute course just to get an idea of what I was going to be looking at. The times below are in minutes and seconds.
5x80 12.8" - 2:50
3x110 9.75" - 2:55
4x90 11.5" - 2:50
3x110 11.5" - 2:50
4x100 12.0" - 2:50
4x110 13.2" - 2:60
The only reason I tried the shorter 3 wheel frames is because the FRX boot came with a Seba 4x80 9.5" frame. Never thinking of trying such a short frame on my low cut boot due to lack stability I thought I would give the 4x80 9.5" a try on the higher cut more stable FRX boot. To my amazement the 4x80 9.5" frame was actually skateable. If that was all I had to skate on for the day, on the higher cut FRX boot, I would have had a great time.
Now if I tried to put a 4x80 9.5" frame on my low cut boot I would have fell and busted my butt due to the instability of the lower cut boot. So due to the extreme stability of the higher cut FRX boot I was now going to be able to skate on shorter length frames but feel like the same stability as a longer frame on a lower cut boot. So back to the time trials. I enjoyed the 5x80 frame. I enjoyed the 3x110 9.75" frame (but being so short it was a bit unstable). I enjoyed the 4x90 11.5" frame. I enjoyed the 3x110 11.5" frame. I enjoyed the 4x100 12.0" frame.
Now the 4x110 13.2" frame surprised me. Thinking it was going to be the fastest and most fun it turned out to be the slowest and least fun. I like to double push. If a wheel height or frame length hampers my double push my fun is gone. So the 110mm wheel height of the 4x110 frame was not messing me up as the fun level, time and double push was just fine on the 3x110 11.5" frame. So it had to be the 4x110 13.2" frame length causing the problem.
Doing the double push, I push a little in, and push a little out, rather then a classic long outside push. If you have 2 people, one you have stand more upright with a little knee bend and the other stand with a deep knee bend, who will last the longest before they give out. Obviously, the more upright person will last the longest. The muscle of the more bent knee person is using more oxygen to hold them at that lower position. I can feel oxygen deprivation come on sooner, the lower the knee position I'm in. I like to stand more upright and get a little push in and a little push out rather then having to be lower to get that 1 long push to the outside.
So I had no problem standing more upright on the 5x80 12.8", 3x110 9.75", 4x90 11.5", 3x110 11.5" and 4x100 12.0" frames. It was the 4x110 13.2" frame that gave me the trouble. Obviously, when you double push you have to cross your skates in back and run the risk of clipping wheels when crossing. The longer the frames and the bigger the wheels the more chance of clipping wheels and going down. With the 4x110 frame I had to get really low to clear the wheels to be able to do the double push which messed up my double push, messed up my timing, oxygen deprivation started sooner and the fun was greatly decreased.
Back to the 5x80, 3x110, 4x90 and 4x100 frames. I could stand more upright, the timing was there, double push was effortless and endless, the fun was back. Again, with the greater stability of the higher cut FRX boot, it allows you to run shorter frames and still feel stable. With the shorter frame now being stable on the FRX boot you can stand more upright, waste less oxygen, not have to worry about double push wheel clipping. This seemingly allows you to double push (outside edge) endlessly.
The boot comes with laces but I used no laces at all in the boot. I use the lower velcro strap that pulls my foot back and down in the boot and the upper buckle on the top of the cuff. I barely tighten the upper buckle. I don't use the buckle mechanism on the top of the boot. I pull up on the strap holder side and the strap will pull right out of the strap holder. Then the top of the boot opens up fully. I don't use the buckle side of the upper strap at all. These are so easy to get in and out of, it's literally 5 seconds to get in or out of a boot. Part of the work I was talking about was on my low cut boots it's a chore to get in and out of the boots. Unlace the laces 4 eyelets down, struggle to get your foot in, relace the boot, now my legs are starting to cramp, get the cramp worked out, continue tieing the boot, now start on the next boot. The FRX boot goes on like a slipper. No laces, I slip my foot in (2 seconds) and 3 seconds to do the lower velcro and upper buckle. Done. And if I have to get out of the boot on the trail for an emergency, I can be out out in 10 seconds to help someone. If I had my low cut boots on they would die before I got to them. Needless to say, taking 10 seconds to be ready to skate is a plus.
I wear a size 9.5 Nike running shoe and tried a size 10 and 11 in this FRX boot. Both sizes fit me but the size 10 was firm (not uncomfortable) and the size 11 was not firm (you could say loose). In the time trials they both came back with the same times. But, I liked the roomier size 11 boot better. It seemed to allow my foot to spread out more which gave me better edge control and stability. The boot was noticeably loose but with the higher ankle support, stability was not an issue. I've found while building custom boots years ago, the higher the cuff got the looser the lower end of the boot needed to be. So with this cuff height being high I can see why I liked the loose toe and heel of the bigger size 11 boot. The size 11 boot was much more fun to skate on over the size 10 for my size 9.5 Nike running shoe size. Now if you were skating cones, bombing hills or using them for other applications you may need a tighter fit.
The FRX boot compared to my low cut boot:
So from the day I did the first FRX boot test (a month ago) I had not looked back at my lower cut boot. I figured it was time to test the FRX boot against my low cut boot. Now the low cut boot I'm currently in is my favorite low cut boot after trying low cut boots on for the past 20 years. Each 5 years or so boots will get better from the prior 5 years. So the late 90's boots were better then the early 90's boots and the early 2000's boots were better then the late 90's boots and so on up to 2015. So I've been through allot of low cut boots to get to my favorite low cut boot I'm currently in.
Each boot I used in the last 20 years got progressively better. So the boot I tested against the FRX boot was my favorite boot of the last 20 years combining comfort and speed as the deciding factor. I again did the short 3 minute test course multiple times with both the FRX, and low cut boot. I used the frame I was used to on my low cut boot for the test which is the 5x80 12.8" frame. So I put the 5x80 frame on the FRX boot and low cut boot and did the test. The times were consistent test after test. I couldn't believe what I saw. 3:20 for my low cut boot and 2:30 for the FRX high cut boot. What? Did I screw up on the timing? No, I did the test multiple times going back and fourth. That's a ridiculous difference in times.
So the incredible fun I was having on the FRX boot was equating to incredible speed. On the start of the test with the FRX, being so stable, I was able to run like I was in my running shoes to get up to speed. In the few corners on the course, I was able to cross over with abandon due to the incredible stability of the FRX boot, which I could not do with the lower cut boot. On the straights I was able to double push crazily with the FRX boot because of it's stability that I couldn't do with the lower cut boot. So, I'm going to say because of the FRX stability everything was faster and just as important more fun then the lower cut boot.
Now if it was my job to skate and I was being paid to skate in a low cut boot I could do it. If I was being paid to skate I would now have all day to strengthen my ankles and do the drills. Skating is not my job, I work in an office 8 hours a day and do paperwork at night and weekends like most non paid skaters out there. There is also being born with world class ability which I and most were not. Do low cut boots with 100mm and 110mm wheels have a place out there? Absolutely they do, but not for most people with 9 to 5 jobs and those not born with world class ability. The key to lower cut boots and big wheels is outside edge ankle strength. When I don't have time to skate or weather is not permitting I'm on the treadmill or stationary bike.
So my quads are always strong but that does not train my outside edge ankle muscles. Training outside edge ankle muscles I can only do while skating on my low cut boots. And I have to skate every other day for weeks and months to get proficient. And not skip a week or weeks at a time or I'm starting over. When I was in my 30's I could do that, now that I'm in my 50's I have more responsibility and don't have the time to do that anymore. So with the higher cut FRX boot I don't have to train my outside edge muscles. The boot stabilizes the ankle in that direction. So at any time I can step directly from a month of treadmill and bike trainer strong quads and hammer outside edge and double push proficiently on the higher cut FRX boot.
4x110mm frame on the FRX boot:
As far as me putting the 195mm 4x110 frame on the FRX boot for the test. The FRX boot has a 165mm mount on it. It does not have a 195mm mount on it. There is a 195mm dimple in the heel area of the FRX boot but it's not drilled or tapped to accept a bolt. To test the 4x110 frame, I drilled the boot 195mm dimple, slipped a t-nut in from the inside to create a 195mm mount on the boot. I also had to use aluminum washers as stand off's as the wheels would run into the boot by quite a bit which only thick aluminum spacers would accomplish. Then I had to use longer screws due to the spacers-washers. Needless to say I would not suggest doing this unless your mechanically inclined because of the amount of moving parts used. And the importance of the frame staying firmly underneath you at 30 miles per hour. I'm glad the test showed a degradation of speed and fun with the 4x110 frames so I wouldn't have to worry about trying to fit it onto the boot. Now the Luigino Striker 4x90 and 3x110 frames fit directly on to the FRX boot with no alterations. These are the frames I'm suggesting to put on the FRX boot.
FRX boot only:
If you already have a 165mm mount frame laying around you can get an FRX Boot for only $159.00 and put the frame you already have on it. Do give us a call before you order to make sure the frames you have will fit. Remember, with the incredible stability of the FRX boot you can now run a shorter frame and be completely stable unlike your lower cut instable boots. Again, if you are hammering your outside edge endlessly on your low cut boot with big wheels you do not need to try this higher cut boot. But, I believe, more then like to admit are not hammering their outside edge endlessly with their low cut boots on big wheels. If your not going to be honest with yourself your not going to find out what your missing.
Owner of Seba:
Sebastien Laffargue, the namesake of the SEBA brand, is a freestyle skater that did not like any of the higher cut boots on the market. So he decided to design a new boot from the ground up. Is that why this Seba FRX boot is working so well, and different from other boots on the market? I wouldn't be surprised. I've seen more then one "unhappy skater" design his own boots in the last 20 years and blow away the large skate company's. All I can say is, this new boot design has rejuvenated my excitement in skating.