Ice skates, in one form or
another, have been helping people glide across frozen lakes, rivers,
ponds, creeks, and rinks since as far back as 3000 B.C. Now, I doubt
that the original ice skates made of animal bones and leather were used
by ancient man to play hockey or perform triple axles, but the basic
principle of using a strong, sharp object, attached to the feet, to
propel oneself over ice remains the same even today. Thankfully though,
our methods, materials, techniques, and uses have evolved just a bit.
Modern ice skates use a strong, sharp metal
blade, attached to a comfortable and stiff boot, instead of bone and
leather. Ice skaters use their legs, ankles, and feet to propel
themselves across the ice, similar to the motion of roller skating or
roller blading. Although the motion is simple, when you add sport or
style to it, it starts to get complicated.
The latest ice skates are technological
achievements in engineering, metallurgy, and design of the highest
order, although to the untrained eye, they may all seem to look the
same. Admittedly, most modern ice skates do have a similar general
construction (blade, boot, laces, etc.). The devil, as the say, is in
the details, which is why figure skates and ice hockey skates can range
anywhere from $30 to over $300.