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Speed skating is a high speed sport, and a helmet is absolutely
essential for anyone participating. Hockey helmets can be used by Short
Track skaters as they offer good impact protection, however, most skaters
however opt for a helmet espeically designed for speed skating. These
helmets are light and protective while providing good visibilty for the
skater when in skating position.
A neck protector is worn to keep the neck area protected from
a skate blade in a fall. Hockey neck guards are generally used. They must
be the bib type, to cover the neck and upper chest, and made out of kevlar
for cut resistance. Tucked under the skinsuit they stay in place well
and are comfortable to wear as long as the appropriate size for the skater
Goggles are necessary to protect your eyes from ice chips as well as the
Gloves are required to prevent cuts to the fingers and abrasions
to the hands when falling. The glove must be made of leather or cut resistant
nylon. Short Track skaters often place a hand on the ice inside the corner
to help them hold the corner. Bare skin on the ice would be friction burnt
and fingers would be susceptible to cuts if hit by a blade. Beginners
may be able to use utility gloves to protect their hands.
Shin guards, such as those used in soccer are used to protect the lower
leg from skate blades. The plastic type are popular and are usually just
slipped under the skinsuit and over the Shin, The snugness of the suit
holds them solidly in place.
Knee pads are used to protect the skater's knees in a fall. There are
many different models on the market and most skaters choose the model
that they feel offers the best comfort and protection. Trace makes a model
specifically for speed skating, having a double strap back with the middle
of the back open to allow the knee to bend more easily in skating position.
The proper size must be purchased for the skater so that it will stay
in position over the knee.
For practice, skaters need to wear long sleeved shirts and pants in order
to protect themselves in a fall, as well as to keep warm. A sweatshirt
or similar long shirt will work.
A skinsuit is used
while racing. It is usually made of spandex and snug fitting to help the
skater be as aerodynamic as possible, with nothing loose to pick up the
wind. The colors of the suit also let others know which club you skate
Skaters first starting out in the sport often use hockey skates until
they are sure that they like the sport and are going to stay in it. Those
who continue in the sport will need to purchase speed skates, where the
boot and the blade are purchased separately. The construction of the skate
is different depending on if you want to focus on short or long track
The short track boot is a heavier boot meant for stability and durability,
because the short-tracker takes tighter corners and thus has higher stress
placed on it. Long track skates are softer and lower cut to facilitate
The blade on a short track skate is thicker than a long track
skate blade, so that it can tight corners. Long track skaters also have
the option of clap skates, where the heel of the boot is not bound to
the skate. This type of mounting increases the amount of time the blade
is in contact with the ice, allowing for increased speed.