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Why are Ladies figure skates White?

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by ryanbfan, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. ryanbfan

    ryanbfan Active Member

    I am doing a report on the color white. The report is on color psychology for a Color Fundamentals class. I picked white.

    So my question is, why are Ladies skates white? Is there any specific reason? I have googled this and all I get are results to buy skates, so any info would be great. :)
  2. SwingDancer

    SwingDancer Active Member

    The answer to that goes back to Sonia Henie (sp?) Sonia was the first to wear white boots, before that all skates for both Men and Women were black.
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  3. ryanbfan

    ryanbfan Active Member

    I knew Sonia started it, but other than that did she have a reason for it? Sorry I'm being so nit picky - I want a really good grade :D
  4. SwingDancer

    SwingDancer Active Member

    Sonia wanted to stand out, and thank to her considerablly wealthy family, she was able to. From costumes and outfits designed by her personal taylor.
  5. ryanbfan

    ryanbfan Active Member

    Thank you so much for your help :)
  6. ks777

    ks777 Well-Known Member

    Ladies skates should be pink!
  7. equatorial

    equatorial Well-Known Member

    Maroon for the ladiezzzzzzzzzz skates color!:soapbox:
  8. skatepixie

    skatepixie Well-Known Member

    That. I also heard that she wanted white to go with a white dress for The Swan. I don't know if that's just legend, though.
  9. Jot the Dot Dot

    Jot the Dot Dot Headstrong Buzzard

    The Kerrs should be plaid!
  10. BaileyCatts

    BaileyCatts Well-Known Member

    :shuffle: I liked Pasha's purple skates. :scream:
  11. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

    I like it the way it is : black for men and white for ladies. I think it is so classy. And I thought it was natural ! So thanks to Sonja Henie !
  12. Frau Muller

    Frau Muller #1 Dick Button Fan

    Sonja wore white for her skating version of Pavlova's Swan. The whiteness stuck.
  13. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Feb 18, 2011
  14. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    I too had heard the Sonja Henie story. First she started wearing beige to be different, then when others copied she switched to white.

    I can think of a practical reason. The leather underneath the polish is gray. I would think black and white would blend and cover gray best in addition to matching the most costumes.

    Elite skaters probably pay up to $1,000 for a pair of skates. So having them in different colors is not cost effective.

    Beige and soft pink are becoming popular for women because they blend with the tights and are also neutral colors.

    As far as cultural reasons, aren't light colors usually considered feminine and dark colors masculine? I suppose women are supposed to be delicate, soft, graceful, and men strong and forceful.

    I have seen pictures of John Curry in white skates. He was obsessed with the grace and flow of classical ballet. Some male skaters are uncomfortable with that and prefer skating as merely sport.
  15. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    According to an encyclopedia article (NOT Wiki), Sonja's skating version of Pavlova's "Dying Swan" was first seen in Milan, Italy in 1933. She was wearing white boots long before this, so it doesn't appear that The Swan played a role in her change of boot color.
  16. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

    According to her autobiography, Henie started the trend of short skirts because she (and her father) wanted the judges to be able to see her feet and legs while she skated. As she was still very young, she could get away with wearing short dresses, while the older women she competed against were all wearing the long skirts considered decorous at the time. The short dresses also allowed her to do more tricks than the women hampered by yards of heavy fabric.

    I thought I remembered reading that Henie favored white skates because she had tiny feet and the skates called attention to them. But I can't find that source now.
  17. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

    I just assumed white goes with everything. And if not wear boot covers, but puleeeezzzz stop pulling your tights over your boots.
  18. Yazmeen

    Yazmeen Well-Known Member

    Tights over boots is often a coach's preference; it is with mine. She likes the elongated look it creates for one's leg. Also, it is necessary in synchro and group skating as not all skates look alike and not all skaters can wear the same skate brand. Please remember too that some of us perform/compete in boots that are rather beaten up but still work well for us, so tights over boots hide that. You cannot cover all dings with polish! Also, some skaters just want to have different colored or funkier looking boots; however, white or beige are needed for competition/testing. The tight over boot helps here.

    I know a lot of fans hate the look, but many skater like me prefer to use it in performance situations.
  19. skatepixie

    skatepixie Well-Known Member

    It's also not a good use of time. Breaking in skates takes many hours, and sometimes hurts.

    I personally think white skates are pretty, and I don't like boot covers and over-the-boot tights.

    I hate it, personally. I can understand for syncro, I guess, but otherwise I think it actually doesn't elongate the leg, but instead makes the ankle look lumpy and fat. This is even more the case with thinner girls -- it's holy giant feet batman! It doesn't bother me as much when it's actually the skate and it's obvious, but with the over-the-boot tights it just looks clunky as heck and makes no sense to me.

    And polish and cleaning works wonders, especially if you do it a lot. I used to clean and polish my skates weekly or every other week when I competed. I paid for my custom skates myself as a high school student, and I got a bit obsessive, I guess? Coaches that weren't mine would always ask me if I got new skates and I was like, "well, two years ago, I just polish them." And I used to skate five days a week, too.
  20. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins Well-Known Member

    Clean, shiny skates are more appealing to my eye. Someone once described the OTB look as "having hooves." ITA

    I despise the way I look in OTB tights, which I had the joy of seeing this year for the first time. Not a good look for me or my skates - you could see them through the tights, like I was wearing curtains! In fairness, some brands/styles look better than others. My kids like the soft Mondor ones with clips more than the pullover-styles.

    As a reformed Queen of Boot Rot, I keep our skates in good condition regularly and never let them look like they've been in a war zone. The kids' skates usually sell at skate swaps pretty quickly as a result. I get a comment about "New skates?" at every coaching conference. I usually just say "aren't they beautiful?" and let it go, lol.

    However, many skaters feel that damaged skates are a badge of honor showing that they're better/skate more/do difficult things. To each his own.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2011
  21. skatepixie

    skatepixie Well-Known Member

    Am I the only one who feels like Mondors shred in one wear? *shrug*

    As for the badge of honor, I much prefer "look what I can do, and without a hair out of place or a smudge on my boots." :lol::cool:
  22. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins Well-Known Member

    Don't ask me how, but we made it through the synchro season on one pair of tights each.

    There's a trick: put packing tape over the skate hooks before you pull down the tights.
  23. Yazmeen

    Yazmeen Well-Known Member

    I keep my skates in great condition, actually (Klingbeil customs, had since 2002, still very solid). My coach likes OTB for performances, so do I, although I've done both OTB and in boot. To each, her own!
  24. Dave of the North

    Dave of the North Well-Known Member

    In the book, "The Golden Age of Canadian Figure Skating" (by David Young) Cecil Smith said she wore white skating boots at the 1930 World Figure Skating Championships, and that Sonja Henie started wearing them 3 months later. (Sonja was first that year, and Cecil was second). Apparently at the time, only professional skaters wore white boots.

    ETA: the amateur skaters wore black or tan boots before this. There is a picture in the book of Sonja at the 1928 Olympics. Her boots were probably tan in that picture.

    David Young would have interviewed Cecil (Smith) Hedstrom for this book. Interesting factoid: Cecil Smith and Osborne Colson were first cousins. Caveat - the book has lots of errors...
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2011
  25. Civic

    Civic New Member

    While the vast majority of female skaters wear white boots, a few don't. Oksana (a.k.a. "Pasha") Grishuk wore boots the color of blueberry yogurt during the 1997-98 season. Every once in a great while, you see a female skater with flesh-colored (i.e. pale tan or beige) skating boots.
  26. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    There was a question on Stephen Fry's QI show about colours for boys and girls. And indeed many years ago apparently that is what the colours were generally for boys and girls. Eventually it turned around the other way.

    However looking at the colours of shirts that guys wear to my workplace on casual day, it has never changed.
  27. skatepixie

    skatepixie Well-Known Member

    Oh I was refering to footed tights. I never owned a pair of OTB tights. Neither my coach nor I were fans.
  28. Polymer Bob

    Polymer Bob New Member

    It's like a wedding. The groom wears black and the bride wears white.
  29. burntBREAD

    burntBREAD Active Member

    Am I the only one who thought, at first glance, that this thread said, "Why are ladies figure skateRs white?" I was like, "WHAAT?!" until looking closer...:lol:
  30. Spartacus

    Spartacus Active Member

    Speaking of skates, I'm SO thrilled to see Mao's not pulling her tights over her boots at 4CC!!!! I don't think they realize when they do that, it makes them look like they have cankles! hehe!