What is a skate radius? Why should I care? These are questions that I got asked a lot while working at Total / Pure Hockey. To put it simply, a radius is how rockered your steel is or the curve of your steel. The more rounded the steel the more you can maneuver but will cut down on glide. The more flat your skate blade is, the more you can glide but will be harder to maneuver.
What is a standard radius / profile?
A standard radius that comes on most skates is 9’ or 10’. However, if you buy stock steel, it’s usually a little off. Most aftermarket steel can come in at a 9’ or a bit flatter with the intention of being profiled.
Why profile skates?
A profile can make a big difference. If you feel like you want to turn better, sharper, a 7’ radius might work well for you. If you want more stability and glide then maybe an 11’ or 13’ radius. There are also special machines that can do all sorts of profiles to match what you would like under your feet. A profile can help you feel more comfortable on your edges.
*A quick side note about profiles. Yes, they are great and can really help. However, if you just casually play or don’t play at the highest of levels, and you notice you’re clipping the front or back of the blades on pivots and turns or would like just slightly more rocker, you can ask your pro shop to take a little off the toe and heel of the blade. Some call it a 3 part sharpening and some call it a 4 part sharpening.
What are some of the different profiles?
The most common profiles are your basic radiuses…7’, 9’, 11’, and 13’, there is also 28’ for goalies. However, there are several other types of profiles out there. They require special machines. These machines are automatic skate sharpening machines from two different companies, ProSharp out of Sweeden and Cag One out of Canada.
ProSharp out of Sweden does several styles. Their machine offers a dual profile where you could have something like a 9ft radius in the front and a 10ft radius in the back. They also have a Zuperior profile which divides the blade into 1/3s and thus allowing for a profile that could be 7 in the front 9 in the middle and 11 in the rear. The most interesting profile is the Quad Zero which as the name suggests, takes the blade and breaks it into 4 pieces and allowing for 4 different radiuses.
There is also the Cag One machine out of Canada. While this brand isn’t as popular as the ProSharp, they offer a wider variety of dual profiles. They offer more dual profiles than the ProSharp. The Cag One machine’s profiler puts more emphasis on the middle of the blade and how much contact there is under what they call your glide zone.
What profile is right for me?
To be honest, it’s all up to you. Some folks never profile their skates. Almost all pros do. If you have never had a profile done before, it might be a safe bet to try a standard 9′ one. Profiling can take away a lot of steel, so it’s best to start with a new set of blades each time to ensure you’re getting the full benefit of the profile. Higher-end players will benefit from profiles and may even want to try a multiple part profile based on their playing style.
Profiles can really add to your game because it makes you feel more comfortable on your skates. If you have never tried a profile before, you could be missing out.