While most youth players skate with the skate blade the way it is right out of the box, more advanced players tend to get their blades profiled. What do we mean by profiled? Skate profiling is an essential aspect of hockey skate (blade) customization that can significantly impact your performance on the ice by shaping your blade to the exact style of play, and skating posture, aligned with the attributes needed for your position.
The term "profiling" is a term used to describe the shape of an ice skate blade or how much the blade is in contact with the ice. It is also referred to as a blade's "rocker."
As illustrated in the image to the right, you see the skate blade is raised at both ends with the middle of the blade flat, similar to how the bottom of a rocking looks, hence the name rocker.
Shorter profiles (less blade on the ice) are better for maneuverability and agility (think forwards that need to be agile and turn on a dime to shake defenders). In contrast, more extended profiles (more blade on the ice) tend to provide more stability and power (think defenders that need stability and powerful strides).
The challenge is finding the right profile for you and your game.
When choosing a profile, remember there are four blade zones where profiling can help your game; acceleration, transitions, speed, and stability. Bauer's graphic (see below) highlights these zones and where they correspond on the blade.
The four-blade zones, which correspond to the graphic above breakdown as follows:
1, Acceleration Zone
This part of the blade is under your toes. You use it during your first three strides from a standing position. This zone is optimized to help you generate momentum quickly.
2. Transition Zone
This part of the steel runner is under the ball of the foot. You use it when moving from acceleration to top speed, changing direction, front to back, or exploding out of tight turns. This zone improves pivoting and supports agility motions for quick on-ice adjustments.
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3. Speed Zone
This is the largest zone, from under the foot's arch to the heel. This zone has more ice contact, which you use to get to top speed. It also helps you abruptly stop when pushing through the arch of your foot. This zone is engineered to maximize power through the length of the stride to enhance top speed.
4. Stability Zone
This blade zone is under the heel and helps with overall balance. This zone is built to stabilize and control yourself at the blade's heel, helping improve your balance.
The length and manipulation of these zones lead to these different profile types that can benefit players with different positional skating needs.
The most common skate profiles used are Zuperior, Ellipse, and Quad.
Zuperior Profile - This profile is best for skaters who rely on quickness and agility. Players that use this profile want acceleration, top speed, and maneuverability. Think of someone that uses quickness, pinpoint turns, and agility to their advantage.
Ellipse Profile - This profile encourages use of the entire blade, giving you a seamless feel from toe to heel and back. The Ellipse delivers greater blade contact through each zone and maximizes the skater’s ability. Based on your skating mechanics, this profile is a natural balance point between power and agility.
Quad Profile - This profile is best for a long powerful stride that pushes into the ice. It uses the specific radius in all four skating zones for maximum support without wasting power.
The biggest takeaway here is getting your skates profiled will help your skating. Speaking from personal experience, I skated with the out-of-the-box profile on my skates forever. One day out of curiosity, I switched to see what all the fuss was about and became a believer.
My game is about acceleration, agility, and edgework, which aligns with the Zuperior profile. I was skeptical I would see much difference. However, it only took one skate, and I was hooked. Everything I could do well on the out-of-the-box profile was increased significantly by my Zuperior profile.
That said, you may believe a specific profile fits your playing style. It makes sense in the offseason to try a few different profiles (I did) on the ice to see which one truly feels best for you.
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