Like most beginners, I was intending to start out with rental skates, thinking I’d buy my own at the end of my first Learn to Skate class. Especially since the skate rental fee is built into the cost of the classes. Seems like the smart, and economical, thing to do.

So it was an unexpected decision to buy skates yesterday, at the end of my very first session on the ice. It was a painful first hour, which was to be expected since ice skating is hard, yo, but part of the problem, I suspected, were the rental boots. They looked new (they were the soft skate type that look sort of like snowboarding boots, made of a stiff synthetic material instead of leather) and the size felt correct, but the fit was all wrong for my foot. Essential bones and muscles were being crammed too tight, and it was hurting both the surface of the skin (felt abrasive) and the bones (squeezed together).

I decided it was better to find skates that fit and not damage my feet, since they’re kind of important in the skating process, after all. At the rink’s pro shop I tried on several pairs of Jackson skates. They had a few models in stock and the employee suggested the Freestyle, which are heat moldable and might fit best. But the manager said that punching out the part that hurt should solve my issue, and that was a much cheaper option, so I went with the Artiste skates, which ran me about $135 instead of a hundred bucks more. Thankfully everything felt right after they were punched out, and the pain is gone, so I’m feeling good about the choice to buy. At this point it wasn’t really an option to go with rentals, if the pain was going to keep distracting me from actually skating.

New skates mean I’m pot-committed now. Not that I wasn’t before, but the goal gets a little bit more real once money has been poured into it.