What type of skates do speed skaters use?

The type of skates speed skaters use are low cut skates. Low cut skates are used to allow the ankle to flex forward and back, and side to side. With a lower cut skate, the ankle can be wound up side to side to attain a higher speed then someone using a higher cut skate. In the link below you can see a video of someone getting an extreme outside edge on their skate:


Below is a picture showing someone standing on the outside edge of their low cut skate.
What type of skates do speed skaters use?
This skate angle could not be attained by a speed skater unless they were using a low cut boot. Going to the outside edge of the wheels would be considered the wind up phase. Your winding up your ankle by cricking it to the outside edge. Now on the release phase you flick the wound up ankle-skate to an inside edge. That movement alone will propel you forward.

With out low cut skates, this degree of the wind up and release of the skate is impossible. That's why speed skaters use low cut skates. Below is a video loop of a skater on a low cut skates. He's rolling to the outside edge of the skate (winding up) and then flicking it over (releasing it) to the inside edge to attain a higher top end speed. This wind up could not be accomplished by a skater using a higher cut skate.
What type of skates do speed skaters use 3?
The same goes for the front to back movement of the skate. Speed skaters drive their skates forward on every stroke to gain more forward ground. Unlike a non speed skater who pushes their feet back on each push, which literally pulls them backwards.

The further a speed skater can drive their skate forward on each stroke, the more forward progression they will make. Just like the side to side movement, the forward push only works with a lower cut skate.

There is also something called an eagle hawk, which speed skaters use at the finish line to try to edge out their competition (eagle hawk image below).
What type of skates do speed skaters use 2?
Same as with the side to side ankle movement, the eagle hawk could not be accomplished using a high cut boot. This is another reason why speed skaters use low cut skates.
Another difference between skates that speed skaters use, and the skates that recreational skaters use, are the use of clap blades-frames. In the Olympics the long track skaters use clap blades-frames. Clap blades-frames are not used on recreational skates.

On traditional skates the blade-frame is rigidly fixed to the boot. On clap skates the blade-frame is attached to the boot using a hinge at the front (clap skate image below). The hinge allows the blade-frame to remain in contact with the ice-ground longer. This distributes the energy of the push to the ice-ground more evenly creating more efficiency.
What type of skates do speed skaters use 2?
They started using clap blades-frames back in the 1900's. In the 1980's marathon skaters tried to use the clap skate in competitions. But it's use was prohibited by officials due to the increased risk of physical harm. It wasn't until the 1990's that they really caught on.

Once they did catch on, lots of world records were broken. In general, a 6% decrease in times was seen when using clap blades-frames. In the 90's some skaters said the clap skate should be illegal, and should be banned. But, clap blades were banned for short track speed skating.

Research in 2000 showed the speed gain from using the clap blade-frame is not because the calf muscle is more fully used. But because the point of rotation is moved from the tip of the blade, to the hinge, which helps the transfer of power to the ice.
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