The origin of skating remains unknown. A game played on ice named Ice Game was found in the historical records of the Song dynasty. According to The History of Song•Ceremonial Records, there was such a gamed played within the palace: watch blossom and play ice game in the backyard garden. The Ice Game is the ancient version of the modern skating. It is said our ancestors used to skate with sculls as ice skates, however, it is just a groundless guess. In the Qing dynasty, most ice skates were fitted with “blades” which were iron sheets attached to a board under the bottom, and there were ice skates with a single blade or twin blades at that time.
There are mainly three types of skating: figure skating, ice hockey and speed skating. Ice skates need to be fitted with blades specific to the type of skating activities. You need to know what type of skating activities you will engage in before choosing your ice skates. Different skating activities require different types of ice skate blades, so you need to know the features of each type of skating activities and ice skate blades.
1.Figure-skate blade is blade attached to ice skates used in the sport of figure skating. It has toe picks on the front of it which allows wearers to glide on ice as they walk on road. Motions of figure skating are challenging and require superior stability, so the quarters of figure skates are stiff and high to provide ankle support. The base of figure-skate blade is wide with a hollow in the middle, and the blade is obviously concave so that skaters can control their jumps, falls and spins. Figure skates are a preferred option for beginners.
2.Hockey-skate blade is smooth blade attached to ice skates used in ice hockey. Ice hockey is a sport activity involving high risks of physical injury and requires a high level of protection. Therefore, hockey skates feature stiff toe caps, low quarters and thick cuffs. Hockey-skate blade is short and obviously concave so that players can move and change their directions easily on ice.
3.Speed-skate blade is blade attached to ice skates used in speed skating, and usually longer than general blades (figure-skate blade and figure-skate blade). Speed skating features fast-speed moving, so speed-skate blade is long with a narrow and relatively flat base to increase the area in contact with ice and friction, and the lower quarters are designed to allow players to balance on their lower body part and reduce air resistance.
4.Modern speed-skate blade can be divided into blades for short track speed skating and long track speed skating. Compared with the latter, the former is shorter with a greater concavity and features a higher joint (a rigid part connecting the blade and the sole) to adapt to smaller turning radii of short track speed skating and many bends on the track.