|Typical ankle injury resulting from boots that are too stiff.|
VH Speed Skating conducted research and testing to not only provide the most moldable boot on the market for comfort and performance, but also took a critical look at injury prevention. VH is the only company to ask:
How can we improve upon this?
The stiffness of the boot ankle area was designed around skill development, but also had a significant role to play with regards to the VH innovation in injury prevention.
The medical research which guided the VH boot design was a study conducted by former Canadian Team Short Track Team member and World Record Holder Dr. Andrew Quinn. His study reviewed injuries in our sport, which concluded that ankle injuries where at a frequency to be classified as an epidemic.
VH Speed Skating responded to this research by combining both skill development and ankle injury prevention into all aspects of the VH boot. The most noticeable improvement being the optimized stiffness of the ankle area. Through the VH speed testing the boot stiffness was found to allow for elite performances while providing optimal support.
The Evolution of the Speed Skating Boot
The evolution of speed skating equipment started in the early 80’s with the very innovative composite based boot by Canadian, Raymond Laberge. This boot had the ability to adjust the blade offset as needed, but the composite did not go above the ankle area resulting in inadequate ankle support. During the late 80’s custom boot manufacturers implemented the use of composite materials into the upper of the boot (up to an inch above the ankle bones), which then started the competition of who could make the stiffest boot. Stock skates followed soon after with the unnecessary stiffening of the upper boot part. This stiffening competition eventually resulted in boots that are too stiff, and injuries ensued - as can be witnessed in the ankle injury video above