The density of knit in tights which defines the opaqueness of tights is measured by denier. The smaller the denier (10 denier), the finer the yarn and the thinner the tights. The larger the denier (80 denier) the thicker the yarn and the thicker the tights.
Lycra yarn is a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity. It is actually stronger and more durable than rubber.
Microfiber yarns are selected for specific characteristics such as softness, durability, absorption and wicking abilities.
Yarn is made from the bamboo plant through a manufacturing process where the plant is transformed chemically into fine filament denier yarn. Due to the chemical nature of this plant, no pesticides are used in growing this plant. As a result, this yarn has natural anti-microbial properties.
Matte vs. Shimmer
Shimmer figure skating tights were big in the 80's and early 90's. However, the trend has now gone to matte (no shine) tights. Shiny tights have a tendency to accentuate the natural folds and curves of legs and can be downright unflattering on some body shapes. Matte figure skating tights are a good choice for any skater.
Scott Hamilton best summarized skate clothes when he said, "The tighter, the better". Clothing should be stretchy and tight.
Competition Dresses are some of the most embellished figure skating dresses made. They are designed to get the attention of the judges and are often brightly colored and decorated with lots of crystals. A great competition figure skating dress will leave a lasting impression with the judges. It should fit like a bathing suit, tight but not uncomfortable. Most first time competitors make the mistake of buying a figure skating dress that is too big so they can grow into it. A dress that is too big makes the skater just look sloppy. Most skaters will typically change figure skating dresses with each new routine, so they don't have an opportunity to "grow into it" anyway.
Test Skating Dresses are worn during testing a skater’s skill level. This will determine the level a skater will skate at competitively. Figure skating test dresses are normally dark in color, less embellished and have long sleeves. During testing, judges do not want to be distracted by all the sparkle and color and the long sleeves accentuate the arm movements.
Practice Skating Dresses are more often plain spandex, lycra or velvet. They are the less expensive of figure skating dresses. Sometimes crystals can be added to practice ice skating dresses when they are used for competition practice ice skating. It is important for a figure skater to stand out among other competitors should a judge happen to watch practice ice.
Ice Skating Skirts are a figure skater's fashion expression for everyday practices. They can be worn with many types of tops and are perfect for the beginning toddler who needs frequent bathroom breaks.
Figure Skate Blade Guards
One of the most important basic figure skating accessories is skate guards/blade guards. They are a rubbery-plastic cover for your figure skating blades. Never step off the ice without putting on skate guards. That will keep the groove in the blades clear of dirt and grit and protect blades from nicks and dings. Never leave hard skate guards on figure skating blades when they are stored. They hold in the moisture and cause rusting.
Figure Skate Blade Soakers/Blade Covers
Figure Skate Soakers (also known as soft guards, blade covers etc.) are used to store skates. Sometimes moisture is missed when wiping off skates after use. Store figure skates with soakers on the blades to continue to wick away moisture from the figure skating blades and also to keep blades from accidentally getting knicked while being carried around.
Figure Skate Laces
There are typically only two kinds of figure skating laces available. The cotton blend and waxed. The type of figure skate laces you choose are really your preference. The cotton blend laces are included with your skates at purchase. However, some skaters feel that the cotton blend laces stretch or loosen while skating causing them to frequently re-tie them. Therefore, these skaters prefer the waxed figure skating laces.
If you have ever experienced a bad fall on the ice you know that it really hurts! Padded Shorts, Hip Pads and Knee Pads provide extra padding in case of a bad fall for the figure skater attempting difficult jumps for the first time. Most figure skaters who are beginning jumps may need the protective shorts, a pair of hip pads and a pair of knee pads as they have a tendency to fall in different directions. However, as a figure skater progresses, they will eventually use padding on only one side because falls become more directed toward the side which they prominently rotate.
Blister Sheets, Ankle Wraps, and Gel Disks are all items which help a figure skater eliminate spots where they develop irritation or blisters. These items are especially helpful when breaking in new figure skates.
Lace Bite Pads are for figure skaters who have tendon irritation across the top of their foot where they experience pressure from the tongue and laces.
The "Spinner" helps figure skaters to improve their balance, spinning technique and agility off the ice.
The most popular brand for figure skating tights is Mondor. They make several types of figure skating tights from heavy weight to shimmer. They wear and wash exceptionally well. Figure Skating Tights can be lightweight or heavy weight. Use heavy weight tights everyday for practice. They are warmer more durable while lightweight tights are the standard for competition skating because they match actual skin tone more closely.
Footless Figure Skating Tights allow the skater to wear socks and keep their legs warm while still wearing their favorite dress or skirt. Footless figure skating tights are also worn by competitive skaters who like to wear skates on their bare feet.
Footed Figure Skating Tights are recommended for all figure skaters, footed tights minimize friction in the skate which prevents blisters.
Over-The-Boot Figure Skating Tights cover the outside of the skate and hide the scrapes and scratches of extremely worn figure skates which judges frown upon during competition. Over the boot figure skating tights also give the illusion of longer legs and the appearance of a faster-looking spin.
New to figure skating and need equipment and accessories but not exactly sure what you need? There are many types of figure skates, figure skate dresses, tights, skirts and other ice skate apparel on the market. Kinzie's Closet has provided some basic figure skating information below to help make your choices easier including the difference between ice skating dresses, ice skates, figure skating blade guards and skate soakers.
Lets start with the Figure Skate Brands as this is the most important part of the equipment you need for figure skating.
Four factors to consider when purchasing your figure skating boot sare: your weight, how often you skate, your skating level and your foot size. To learn more about figure skates and figure skating brand differences, check out our "Truths About Figure Skates" Page.
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You should choose the tights that would best fit your skating needs. Thicker denier tights like Mondor's Naturals 3395, 3393 or Bamboo 3301, 3302 are good for practice because they are more durable and help keep you warm. Thinner denier tights like the Mondor Evolution 3337, 3338 or the Durable 3345 are good for competition and provide a finished look. The Bamboo tights are also good for people who have allergies to synthetic fibers.