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SquareTrade 4-Year Appliance Protection Plan ($125-$150)
SquareTrade 4-Year Appliance Protection Plan ($125-$150)
Offered by SquareTrade
Price: $21.26

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good and Bad, September 14, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Note: I bought the $200 - $250 coverage plan for $49.99 in 2013. The coverage in the header automatically entered by Amazon is incorrect.

The Good

(a) I first had trouble registering the product online, but I then registered over the phone without a hitch.

(b) Processing a claim was hassle free. The product was a Danby dehumidifier. A couple of months after the manufacturer’s warranty expired, the unit failed (no longer collected water from the air). I called up the service center and explained the failure. The service rep checked the warranty records and the remedial action. I was issued a refund for the purchase price of the unit since repair would be more costly than the original purchase price. I received the refund 7 days after I filed my claim.

(c) I was not required to bring or ship the unit to a service center for inspection and diagnosis of the failed unit. I needed only to sign and return an affidavit attesting to the condition of the unit.

The Bad

The “4-year Appliance Protection Plan” does *not* provide the same coverage as a 4-year manufacturer’s warranty. The Protection Plan covers the unit up to 4 years **subject to a maximum coverage of the original purchase price of the unit**. In my case, since the unit was deemed unrepairable, I was refunded the original purchase price of the unit after 2+ yrs, and the Protection Plan was terminated. The remainder of the 4-yr term is not applied to a replacement unit. Note: If the unit is repairable, the Protection Plan may pay for subsequent repairs, but the cumulative cost of all repairs, past and present, is capped at the original purchase price . For example, assume the original purchase price is $250, and the first repair costs $150. If the unit requires a second repair a few months down the road, the Protection Plan will cover only a maximum of $100 for the second repair.

In comparison, I had previously purchased a different brand of dehumidifier with a 5-yr manufacturer’s warranty (since reduced to 1 yr). After 1 yr, the unit malfunctioned. I brought the unit to an authorized service center. The tech pronounced the unit unrepairable. The manufacturer’s service rep shipped me a replacement refurb unit, which was covered under warranty for the remainder of the original 5-yr warranty. Two years later, the second unit malfunctioned. I went through the same procedure as before, and the manufacturer’s service rep shipped me another replacement refurb unit, which was covered under warranty for the remainder of the original 5-yr warranty. So, I received repair or replacement for a full 5-yrs after original purchase.

Summary

Understand the limitations of this Protection Plan. Overall, it still worked out to be a worthwhile purchase under my circumstances. Under other circumstances, maybe not.


Pedag 129 Correct Step Straigtener, Tan Leather, Large (11L-10M)
Pedag 129 Correct Step Straigtener, Tan Leather, Large (11L-10M)
Price: $10.43
6 used & new from $9.95

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Also Useful for Figure Skating Boots, May 17, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have written reviews on correcting pronation in figure skating boots by using the Pedag Step or Balance arch support inserts. In my instance, I have further improved correction by adding in the Pedag Correct Step Straightener.

What They Are.

The Corrects are heel wedges designed to correct for pronation or supination. The primary correction is generated by a wedge that tapers across the lateral direction (across the width of the heel) to create a lateral wedge angle. The wedges are supplied in an asymmetrical pair. If you pronate, you install the wedges such that the higher side of each wedge is on the medial (inside) side of the boot and the lower side of the wedge is on the outside (lateral side) of the boot. Each wedge also tapers across the longitudinal direction: the back of the wedge is higher than the front of the wedge.

Each wedge comprises three layers. The top layer is a flat, U-shaped piece of leather, and the middle layer is a flat, U-shaped layer of foam rubber. The bottom layer is the actual wedge. It is not a uniform wedge, but shaped like a comma (“,”) that covers approximately half the area of the U; see photos supplied by Pedag. The wedge is fabricated from a firm rubber that has some resilience (about the consistency of a pencil eraser).

The leather is ~1.5 mm thick, and the foam rubber is ~ 1 mm thick. Towards the back of the wedge, the total height on the higher side is ~10 mm, and the total height on the lower side is ~8 mm. Measurements are in the uncompressed state.

My Application.

I wear Jackson Elite Suede figure skating boost. The boots have no arch supports, and the supplied footbeds (insoles) are fabricated from compressible foam that provide no support. I have fallen arches, and my blades tend to lean to an inside edge. Attaching the Step arch supports to the top of the footbeds greatly reduced the lean, but I still had problems with my edges. I have now added the Corrects, and my edge control is much better.

If you try to place the Corrects on top of the footbeds along with the Steps, they will partially overlap; and you will need to trim the Corrects. To avoid trimming, I placed the Corrects directly in the boots, and placed the footbeds and Steps on top of them. This configuration worked well: The Corrects are held firmly in place, and the foam footbeds smoothen the transition between the Corrects on the bottom and the Steps on the top.

Pluses.

(a) The leather and the firm rubber are the same materials used in the Step. They are sturdy materials.

(b) No gels are used. The support is firm, and the wedge retains its shape.

(c) There is no heel cup to interfere with the heel cup in the boot.

(d) The overall height is low enough that it does not interfere with the fit of the boot.

Minuses.

(a) The foam rubber tears easily. I remove the footbeds and wedges after each skating session to allow the boots, footbeds, and wedges to dry. To do so, I need to grab the Steps and Corrects and pull on them. I’ve used the Steps for several months now. The leather has not torn and has not separated from the firm rubber; the construction is robust. With the Corrects, the foam rubber tore in a couple of places the first time I removed the wedges. You have to be very careful how and where you grab the wedges and how you pull on them to remove them from the boots. Tears can be repaired with tacky glue. Since the foam rubber is thin (~1 mm), it doesn’t provide much cushioning anyway; so, I would recommend that Pedag remove the foam rubber layer and use the same robust construction that it uses in the Step. This minus is the main reason I deducted 2 stars.

(b) The Corrects are supplied only in asymmetric sets (pairs). If you need correction for only one foot, you are stuck with a useless wedge. Asymmetric units should be sold individually. Fortunately, for me, I use both wedges.

(c) The Corrects are supplied with only one wedge angle. It’s then a matter of luck whether the wedge angle is suitable for your feet. A choice of three wedge angles (shallow, medium, and steep, for example) would allow better fit for a variety of feet.

(d) I didn’t need adhesive to attach the Corrects to the insoles. But if you do, Pedag uses a small circle of double-sided adhesive tape. Similar tape is used on the Steps, and I found that the tape comes off too easily. For the Steps, I used Velcro tape. Not sure whether Velcro would work on the Corrects: I have a feeling the foam rubber would tear if you used Velcro tape and then tried to remove the Corrects.


Zenith Gripper: The Digital Fitness Gripper
Zenith Gripper: The Digital Fitness Gripper
Price: $25.95 - $29.95

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Design; First Rate Manufacturing, April 28, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I first posted the following review on July 9, 2014. Recently, Amazon changed the ASIN (product code) for this unit, and my review disappeared from this listing.

___________________________________________________________

(a) These are pricey, so be sure you know what you are getting into before ordering.

(b) First a few words about my background, needs, and expectations. I'm not a body builder; I'm a wimp. I spend most of my day in front of the computer. Way too many co-workers have been coming down with carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis, and I'm getting worried. I'm not interested in developing an iron-fisted grip, in being able to strangle an assailant with one hand. I'm interested primarily in maintaining flexibility and secondarily in increasing flexibility and increasing strength. For that I need a gripper that I can do multiple reps of full-stroke squeezes. I'm not interested in grippers designed for a single squeeze-and-hold. Thanks to helpful reviews, I steered clear of the ironman grippers with rough knurled metal handles that will tear your skin or build up callusses. I also stayed away from cheap plastic handles that snap.

(c) These units are obviously pricey to produce. The handles are machined from solid aluminum. The machining is first rate. The handles are torpedo-shaped with well-rounded edges. They have a satin finish with just the right purchase (surface texture to keep them from being slippery). Each handle has a single finger groove, which also keeps your hands from slipping. The brand name is engraved in the finger groove and the model number is engraved on the butts of the handles. The engraving is also finished so as not to leave any sharp edges or burrs. This level of attention is pricey.

(d) I have a medium hand (Men's 7-1/2 glove size), and the fit of the handles is perfect. If you have large hands, you may have a problem wrapping four fingers around one handle. If you have short fingers, you may have problems spanning both handles. But for me, the fit is spot on.

(e) These are variable resistance units: The closer you squeeze the handles together, the greater the resistance; so keep that in mind if you want to do full-stroke reps.

(f) I first bought the weakest model (Agility). It has very little resistance until fully squeezed. Right off the bat, I could easily do 20 reps with each hand, and squeeze and hold for 30 sec; no problems.

(g) So then I ordered the next two models (Trainer and No. 1). There is a big jump here. I can close the Trainer only about half-way, and the No. 1 only about a quarter-way. I would recommend that the manufacturer either increase the resistance on the Agility or add a unit in between the Agility and the Trainer. I'll see how long it takes for me to build up enough strength to do reps with the Trainer. I personally don't see myself needing anything stronger than a No. 1 ever. One reviewer said he fully squeezed a No. 3 right from the start. Strong dude.

(h) You can save some money by ordering a set of 3 direct from the manufacturer. Check shipping charges carefully, though; they are high. But do that only if you've tried out someone else's units to make sure they fit and to determine what strength levels you should order.

Update (9/1/2014): I have been exercising with these units twice a day with the following regimen for each hand: Agility (20 full-stroke reps handles down, 20 full-stroke reps handles up); Trainer (10 increasing partial strokes handles down,10 increasing partial strokes handles up); No. 1 (5 increasing partial strokes handles down, 5 increasing partial strokes handles up). I can now (with effort, but without pain) complete full-stroke reps with the Trainer (10 with handles down, 10 with handles up, on right hand and on left hand). I can close the No. 1 about half-way now, 5 times in a row.

Update (11/27/2014): With the Trainer, I can now complete 20 full-stoke reps handles down and 20 full-stroke reps handles up, both right and left hands. With the No. 1, I can still close it only about half way (10 partial reps handles down, 10 partial reps handles up, both right and left hands).


H&R Block Tax Software Deluxe + State 2014 Win [Download]
H&R Block Tax Software Deluxe + State 2014 Win [Download]
Price: $39.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Handle Two States Well, April 21, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Well, taxes are done, and I’d like to share my first-time experience with H & R Deluxe with One State. I had previously used Turbotax Deluxe with One State for over 20 yrs (since it was distributed on floppy disks). Over the years, the price of Turbotax has shot up, and the software has become bloated. And this year, Turbotax pulled a faux pas extraordinaire that caused many loyal users like myself to desert to alternatives.

I bought the PC download version of H & R Deluxe with One State from Amazon for $29.99. A good price. Installation went without a hitch (I’m running Windows 7 Home). Importing the 2013 Turbotax returns also went without a hitch. The user interface is similar to the Turbotax user interface before Turbotax introduced the GPS interface. For me that’s good news, because I consider the GPS interface to be bloated. I prepared a federal and a NY state return for my daughter. NY requires electronic filing if you use major tax prep software. And NY requires that there be no fee for electronic filing. I electronically filed my daughter’s federal and NY state returns without a hitch. The software includes 5 federal electronic filings without additional fees; state electronic filings normally cost $19.95 each, but the software properly recognized that there is no charge for a NY state electronic filing. If I needed to file only a single state return, I would rate this product a 5. As a side note, H & R has far fewer updates than Turbotax; not sure whether that’s good or bad.

I downgraded the rating to a 3, however, for the way the product handles (or, rather, mishandles) filings with two state returns. First off, the software to prepare an additional state return costs a whopping $39.95 each; and that does not include electronic filing. But this was the first year in which I had to file both a NJ (resident) and a NY (non-resident) state return. And I figured it would be worth the extra cost to have software coordinate the returns. Unfortunately, the numbers came out bizarre. I ended up wading through the NJ and NY state websites for detailed instructions. The NY instructions were confusing. Fortunately, the NJ instructions had a clear explanation of the NJ forms and of how to deal with NY tax. I needed to manually override some numbers in the NJ forms.

I decided to electronically file all the returns. The federal filing went without a hitch. The NY filing produced an error message that I needed to file by paper because of my particular filing scenario. When I printed out the paper return, there was also a warning page stating that I was required to file electronically. I mailed in the paper return with a note stating that I had tried to file electronically but it was rejected. Keeping my fingers crossed. I don’t hold H & R responsible for the issues with NY state electronic filing. The NJ filing also produced an error message that I needed to file by paper because I had manually overridden some entries. I do hold H & R responsible for the issues with NJ state electronic filing, because if the software had crunched the numbers properly, I wouldn’t have needed to manually override entries.

One minor gripe concerning paper filing of state returns. Depending on your particular circumstances, you may need to include copies of certain federal forms with the state return. With Turbotax, when you print the forms required for state filing, any required federal forms are automatically included. With H & R, when you print the forms required for state filing, you get a checklist indicating that additional federal forms need to be printed. You then need to manually select and print the required federal forms.

Note: I don’t know whether Turbotax handles two state returns any better; as I mentioned, this was the first year I had to do that. But I saw similar complaints in their reviews.


A&R Sports TuffTerrys Hockey Blade Covers
A&R Sports TuffTerrys Hockey Blade Covers
Price: $4.41 - $25.66

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Upgraded Design Works Well, March 29, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Many decades ago, these units were simply called “blade covers”; these days, they are more commonly referred to as “soakers”. The main purpose of blade covers is to keep the sharp edges of the blades from getting dinged up during storage (such as in an equipment bag) and to keep the sharp edges of the blades from cutting up other items (such as the equipment bag). A secondary purpose is to keep the blades from rusting. Blade covers are fabricated from materials that wick away moisture from the blades to the outsides of the blade covers. Most blade covers are made from terry cloth. These blade covers are made with terry cloth reinforced with two polypropylene strips: one strip along the bottom inside, and one longer strip along the bottom outside and part of the front and back ends outside.

I was first concerned that the polypropylene would trap water against the blades and cause the blades to rust. Some Internet research on polypropylene indicates that there are specially treated grades of polypropylene mesh designed to wick away moisture. I tested these blade covers by dripping water on the inside polypropylene strip, and the water did wick away to the terry cloth.

Some people use soakers to dry off the blades when they get off the ice. I recommend using a separate towel to dry off the blades before putting on the blade covers. To maximize the lifetime of the blades and blade covers, here’s what I do. When I get off the ice, I first wipe the slush off the boots and blades with a first microfiber wipe, and then dry off the boots and blades with a second microfiber wipe. I then put on a first set of blade covers. When I get home, I remove the first set of blade covers, dry off the boots and blades again with a third microfiber wipe, and then put on a second set of blade covers.

I use these on figure skates. To prolong the life of a blade cover, it’s best to use two hands when putting on a blade cover. Grab each end with a separate hand, stretch the blade cover such that it’s longer than the blade, put the blade cover over the blade, and then slowly release. Many people tend to use one hand: they hook the blade cover over the picks, stretch the blade cover over the blade, and then snap the blade cover over the back end. You run a risk of tearing the blade cover this way. Similarly, when taking off a blade cover, use two hands to stretch the blade cover before taking it off the blade. I skate 5 times/week. I’ve used the same two pairs for 3 months now, and they are holding up well. No tears, no holes, no sign of wear. I’ll provide an update after longer use. UPDATE: May 31, 2016. A year+ later, still using the same two pairs; no tears, no holes, no sign of wear.

These blade covers come in a great variety of colors and patterns, so buy two of different colors or patterns. Note that the price varies by $4 or so depending on the color and pattern and the phase of the moon at Amazon headquarters. Unless you’re extremely picky, scroll through the prices and buy the ones with the lowest price. Note: A&R also makes plain terry covers without the reinforcement strips. The list price of the reinforced covers is higher than the list price of the plain covers, but the selling price on Amazon of the reinforced covers is often less than the selling price of the plain covers (again, depending on color, pattern, and the phase of the moon).

Even though these blade covers are reinforced with polypropylene strips, you should never walk on them. You still need to buy rigid or semi-rigid blade guards that are designed to be walked on. Do not store your blades with the blade guards on, however; blade guards trap moisture and cause the blades to rust. That’s why you need separate blade covers and blade guards. Two different purposes.


No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Design; First-Rate Manufacturing, February 20, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I first posted the following review on July 9, 2014. Recently, Amazon changed the ASIN (product code) for this unit, and my review disappeared from this listing.

___________________________________________________________

(a) These are pricey, so be sure you know what you are getting into before ordering.

(b) First a few words about my background, needs, and expectations. I'm not a body builder; I'm a wimp. I spend most of my day in front of the computer. Way too many co-workers have been coming down with carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis, and I'm getting worried. I'm not interested in developing an iron-fisted grip, in being able to strangle an assailant with one hand. I'm interested primarily in maintaining flexibility and secondarily in increasing flexibility and increasing strength. For that I need a gripper that I can do multiple reps of full-stroke squeezes. I'm not interested in grippers designed for a single squeeze-and-hold. Thanks to helpful reviews, I steered clear of the ironman grippers with rough knurled metal handles that will tear your skin or build up callusses. I also stayed away from cheap plastic handles that snap.

(c) These units are obviously pricey to produce. The handles are machined from solid aluminum. The machining is first rate. The handles are torpedo-shaped with well-rounded edges. They have a satin finish with just the right purchase (surface texture to keep them from being slippery). Each handle has a single finger groove, which also keeps your hands from slipping. The brand name is engraved in the finger groove and the model number is engraved on the butts of the handles. The engraving is also finished so as not to leave any sharp edges or burrs. This level of attention is pricey.

(d) I have a medium hand (Men's 7-1/2 glove size), and the fit of the handles is perfect. If you have large hands, you may have a problem wrapping four fingers around one handle. If you have short fingers, you may have problems spanning both handles. But for me, the fit is spot on.

(e) These are variable resistance units: The closer you squeeze the handles together, the greater the resistance; so keep that in mind if you want to do full-stroke reps.

(f) I first bought the weakest model (Agility). It has very little resistance until fully squeezed. Right off the bat, I could easily do 20 reps with each hand, and squeeze and hold for 30 sec; no problems.

(g) So then I ordered the next two models (Trainer and No. 1). There is a big jump here. I can close the Trainer only about half-way, and the No. 1 only about a quarter-way. I would recommend that the manufacturer either increase the resistance on the Agility or add a unit in between the Agility and the Trainer. I'll see how long it takes for me to build up enough strength to do reps with the Trainer. I personally don't see myself needing anything stronger than a No. 1 ever. One reviewer said he fully squeezed a No. 3 right from the start. Strong dude.

(h) You can save some money by ordering a set of 3 direct from the manufacturer. Check shipping charges carefully, though; they are high. But do that only if you've tried out someone else's units to make sure they fit and to determine what strength levels you should order.

Update (9/1/2014): I have been exercising with these units twice a day with the following regimen for each hand: Agility (20 full-stroke reps handles down, 20 full-stroke reps handles up); Trainer (10 increasing partial strokes handles down,10 increasing partial strokes handles up); No. 1 (5 increasing partial strokes handles down, 5 increasing partial strokes handles up). I can now (with effort, but without pain) complete full-stroke reps with the Trainer (10 with handles down, 10 with handles up, on right hand and on left hand). I can close the No. 1 about half-way now, 5 times in a row.

Update (11/27/2014): With the Trainer, I can now complete 20 full-stoke reps handles down and 20 full-stroke reps handles up, both right and left hands. With the No. 1, I can still close it only about half way (10 partial reps handles down, 10 partial reps handles up, both right and left hands).


Pedag 165 Balance Leather, Self Adhesive Arch Support, Flatfoot Wedge, Large (W9-12, M6-9/EU 39-42)
Pedag 165 Balance Leather, Self Adhesive Arch Support, Flatfoot Wedge, Large (W9-12, M6-9/EU 39-42)
Price: $12.74

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a Try for Figure Skates, February 12, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My review concerns an application for which these inserts were not specifically designed for. But for some people, they may be an effective, and relatively inexpensive, solution. This review also covers three Pedag products that I bought. I'm posting the same review under the three separate Pedag products.

I have flat feet. For my everyday shoes, I have a pair of prescription full-length orthotics. I figure skate, and my orthotics are not suitable for use with figure skating boots. In figure skating, flat feet create a major problem because your ankles fall over to the inside edges of the blades, and you have poor edge control. Some boots (such as my old Riedell Royals) have a substantial built-in arch support; others (such as my new Jackson Elites) have no built-in arch support at all.

Orthotics for regular shoes usually depend on a heel cup to maintain proper alignment of the orthotic to the foot. These can't be used in figure skating boots, however, because a figure skating boot has a built-in narrow heel cup to grasp the heel of the foot firmly, essential in figure skating. The heel cup of the orthotic would interfere with the heel cup of the figure skating boot. A full-length orthotic usually also doesn't work, because the toe box of most figure skating boots is tightly fitted, and a full-length orthotic would cause toe cramping. So the Pedag "Step" and "Balance" arch support inserts are worth a try. They are local arch supports only. No heel cup and no extra cushioning in the toe area. It's difficult to know in advance whether any over-the-counter solution will work. Each foot and each boot are different. So you simply need to try them out. The Pedag price point (~$10 -13) allowed me to do that.

The Step is sold as a symmetrical pair (the left-foot insert and the right-foot insert are identical). The Balance is sold as an asymmetrical pair (the left-foot insert and the right-foot insert are different). Buying the Balance may be a problem if your left foot and right foot need different degrees of correction. See further comment below. The Balance has a considerably lower height than the Step.

These inserts are fabricated from rubber, and the top is covered with leather. They have a good combination of resiliency and rigidity. Foam and gel are too mushy for figure skating use. And rigid plastic, metal, or carbon shells will dig into your foot and cause pain if the fit is not spot-on (which is unlikely for an over-the-counter product).

The Step is sold in a choice of two colors: tan and black. I'm sure Pedag did marketing research and decided there was a market need for two colors, but I don't see why. There is a another difference between the tan and the black models, besides the obvious difference in color. The tan leather is noticeably thicker than the black leather. I wrote to Pedag customer support. A customer rep named Rose (who also tracks these Amazon reviews) told me that the tan leather is sheepskin. Sheepskin doesn't take dye well, so the black leather is pigskin. Since pigskin is stronger than sheepskin, the pigskin can be made thinner, but be just as durable as the thicker sheepskin. So there you have that interesting tidbit.

I first bought the Step and the Balance in tan. I wear a US 9D men's street shoe. Following the Pedag size charts, I bought the large size. I later bought the Step in black, in the extra-large size. I really didn't want the black, but Amazon was out of stock in tan, extra-large. My left foot has some semblance of an arch; my right arch is completely fallen.

The major flaw in the Pedag inserts is their method of attachment. They come with a double-sided adhesive film stuck onto the bottom rubber surface. The adhesive film is covered with a liner sheet. The adhesive is very weak and does not adhere well to the rubber. Unless you remove the liner very carefully, you will also pull the film off the rubber; the film then sticks tightly to itself and is useless. But no matter, the adhesive won't hold well to an insole anyway and doesn't allow for repositioning.

My solution is Velcro tape. Velcro tape comes in two mating portions: a soft, felt-like portion and a hard, bristle-like portion. I covered a portion of the insole with the soft portion. I removed the adhesive film from the insert and covered the rubber surface with the hard portion. The Velcro allowed me to move the insert around to find the best position. But it also holds the insert firmly in place. If you share the same inserts among different pairs of boots or shoes, Velcro is also the way to go. Just trace the outline of the insert on the insole, so you know what the proper position is the next time you use them. The soft portion of Velcro on the insole does not interfere with normal wear should you choose not to use the insert.

My results:

(a) With the Riedell Royals, the Step was too high and caused pain in my arches. A working solution is no insert in my left boot and a Balance in my right boot. So I now have a left insert that is useless to me. Note to Pedag: You might want to consider selling the Balance as individual left and right inserts.

(b) With the Jackson Elites, the Balance was too low, and my ankles flopped over into the inside edges. The Step is very effective. The extra-large turned out to be a better fit than the large. I position the insert in my right boot to give more lift than in my left boot. I've skated about a dozen times now with this configuration and am happy with my edge control. I'll provide an update after extended use.


Pedag Step 16647 Symmetrical Self Adhesive Arch Support Inserts, Tan Leather, Large
Pedag Step 16647 Symmetrical Self Adhesive Arch Support Inserts, Tan Leather, Large
Price: $10.40
5 used & new from $9.78

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a Try for Figure Skates, February 12, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My review concerns an application for which these inserts were not specifically designed for. But for some people, they may be an effective, and relatively inexpensive, solution. This review also covers three Pedag products that I bought. I'm posting the same review under the three separate Pedag products.

I have flat feet. For my everyday shoes, I have a pair of prescription full-length orthotics. I figure skate, and my orthotics are not suitable for use with figure skating boots. In figure skating, flat feet create a major problem because your ankles fall over to the inside edges of the blades, and you have poor edge control. Some boots (such as my old Riedell Royals) have a substantial built-in arch support; others (such as my new Jackson Elites) have no built-in arch support at all.

Orthotics for regular shoes usually depend on a heel cup to maintain proper alignment of the orthotic to the foot. These can't be used in figure skating boots, however, because a figure skating boot has a built-in narrow heel cup to grasp the heel of the foot firmly, essential in figure skating. The heel cup of the orthotic would interfere with the heel cup of the figure skating boot. A full-length orthotic usually also doesn't work, because the toe box of most figure skating boots is tightly fitted, and a full-length orthotic would cause toe cramping. So the Pedag "Step" and "Balance" arch support inserts are worth a try. They are local arch supports only. No heel cup and no extra cushioning in the toe area. It's difficult to know in advance whether any over-the-counter solution will work. Each foot and each boot are different. So you simply need to try them out. The Pedag price point (~$10 -13) allowed me to do that.

The Step is sold as a symmetrical pair (the left-foot insert and the right-foot insert are identical). The Balance is sold as an asymmetrical pair (the left-foot insert and the right-foot insert are different). Buying the Balance may be a problem if your left foot and right foot need different degrees of correction. See further comment below. The Balance has a considerably lower height than the Step.

These inserts are fabricated from rubber, and the top is covered with leather. They have a good combination of resiliency and rigidity. Foam and gel are too mushy for figure skating use. And rigid plastic, metal, or carbon shells will dig into your foot and cause pain if the fit is not spot-on (which is unlikely for an over-the-counter product).

The Step is sold in a choice of two colors: tan and black. I'm sure Pedag did marketing research and decided there was a market need for two colors, but I don't see why. There is a another difference between the tan and the black models, besides the obvious difference in color. The tan leather is noticeably thicker than the black leather. I wrote to Pedag customer support. A customer rep named Rose (who also tracks these Amazon reviews) told me that the tan leather is sheepskin. Sheepskin doesn't take dye well, so the black leather is pigskin. Since pigskin is stronger than sheepskin, the pigskin can be made thinner, but be just as durable as the thicker sheepskin. So there you have that interesting tidbit.

I first bought the Step and the Balance in tan. I wear a US 9D men's street shoe. Following the Pedag size charts, I bought the large size. I later bought the Step in black, in the extra-large size. I really didn't want the black, but Amazon was out of stock in tan, extra-large. My left foot has some semblance of an arch; my right arch is completely fallen.

The major flaw in the Pedag inserts is their method of attachment (my reason for knocking off one star). They come with a double-sided adhesive film stuck onto the bottom rubber surface. The adhesive film is covered with a liner sheet. The adhesive is very weak and does not adhere well to the rubber. Unless you remove the liner very carefully, you will also pull the film off the rubber; the film then sticks tightly to itself and is useless. But no matter, the adhesive won't hold well to an insole anyway and doesn't allow for repositioning.

My solution is Velcro tape. Velcro tape comes in two mating portions: a soft, felt-like portion and a hard, bristle-like portion. I covered a portion of the insole with the soft portion. I removed the adhesive film from the insert and covered the rubber surface with the hard portion. The Velcro allowed me to move the insert around to find the best position. But it also holds the insert firmly in place. If you share the same inserts among different pairs of boots or shoes, Velcro is also the way to go. Just trace the outline of the insert on the insole, so you know what the proper position is the next time you use them. The soft portion of Velcro on the insole does not interfere with normal wear should you choose not to use the insert.

My results:

(a) With the Riedell Royals, the Step was too high and caused pain in my arches. A working solution is no insert in my left boot and a Balance in my right boot. So I now have a left insert that is useless to me. Note to Pedag: You might want to consider selling the Balance as individual left and right inserts.

(b) With the Jackson Elites, the Balance was too low, and my ankles flopped over into the inside edges. The Step is very effective. The extra-large turned out to be a better fit than the large. I position the insert in my right boot to give more lift than in my left boot. I've skated about a dozen times now with this configuration and am happy with my edge control. I'll provide an update after extended use.


Pedag Step 166475 Symmetrical Self Adhesive Arch Support Inserts, Black Leather, Extra Large
Pedag Step 166475 Symmetrical Self Adhesive Arch Support Inserts, Black Leather, Extra Large
Price: $10.32
4 used & new from $5.30

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a Try for Figure Skates, February 12, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My review concerns an application for which these inserts were not specifically designed for. But for some people, they may be an effective, and relatively inexpensive, solution. This review also covers three Pedag products that I bought. I'm posting the same review under the three separate Pedag products.

I have flat feet. For my everyday shoes, I have a pair of prescription full-length orthotics. I figure skate, and my orthotics are not suitable for use with figure skating boots. In figure skating, flat feet create a major problem because your ankles fall over to the inside edges of the blades, and you have poor edge control. Some boots (such as my old Riedell Royals) have a substantial built-in arch support; others (such as my new Jackson Elites) have no built-in arch support at all.

Orthotics for regular shoes usually depend on a heel cup to maintain proper alignment of the orthotic to the foot. These can't be used in figure skating boots, however, because a figure skating boot has a built-in narrow heel cup to grasp the heel of the foot firmly, essential in figure skating. The heel cup of the orthotic would interfere with the heel cup of the figure skating boot. A full-length orthotic usually also doesn't work, because the toe box of most figure skating boots is tightly fitted, and a full-length orthotic would cause toe cramping. So the Pedag "Step" and "Balance" arch support inserts are worth a try. They are local arch supports only. No heel cup and no extra cushioning in the toe area. It's difficult to know in advance whether any over-the-counter solution will work. Each foot and each boot are different. So you simply need to try them out. The Pedag price point (~$10 -13) allowed me to do that.

The Step is sold as a symmetrical pair (the left-foot insert and the right-foot insert are identical). The Balance is sold as an asymmetrical pair (the left-foot insert and the right-foot insert are different). Buying the Balance may be a problem if your left foot and right foot need different degrees of correction. See further comment below. The Balance has a considerably lower height than the Step.

These inserts are fabricated from rubber, and the top is covered with leather. They have a good combination of resiliency and rigidity. Foam and gel are too mushy for figure skating use. And rigid plastic, metal, or carbon shells will dig into your foot and cause pain if the fit is not spot-on (which is unlikely for an over-the-counter product).

The Step is sold in a choice of two colors: tan and black. I'm sure Pedag did marketing research and decided there was a market need for two colors, but I don't see why. There is a another difference between the tan and the black models, besides the obvious difference in color. The tan leather is noticeably thicker than the black leather. I wrote to Pedag customer support. A customer rep named Rose (who also tracks these Amazon reviews) told me that the tan leather is sheepskin. Sheepskin doesn't take dye well, so the black leather is pigskin. Since pigskin is stronger than sheepskin, the pigskin can be made thinner, but be just as durable as the thicker sheepskin. So there you have that interesting tidbit.

I first bought the Step and the Balance in tan. I wear a US 9D men's street shoe. Following the Pedag size charts, I bought the large size. I later bought the Step in black, in the extra-large size. I really didn't want the black, but Amazon was out of stock in tan, extra-large. My left foot has some semblance of an arch; my right arch is completely fallen.

The major flaw in the Pedag inserts is their method of attachment (my reason for knocking off one star). They come with a double-sided adhesive film stuck onto the bottom rubber surface. The adhesive film is covered with a liner sheet. The adhesive is very weak and does not adhere well to the rubber. Unless you remove the liner very carefully, you will also pull the film off the rubber; the film then sticks tightly to itself and is useless. But no matter, the adhesive won't hold well to an insole anyway and doesn't allow for repositioning.

My solution is Velcro tape. Velcro tape comes in two mating portions: a soft, felt-like portion and a hard, bristle-like portion. I covered a portion of the insole with the soft portion. I removed the adhesive film from the insert and covered the rubber surface with the hard portion. The Velcro allowed me to move the insert around to find the best position. But it also holds the insert firmly in place. If you share the same inserts among different pairs of boots or shoes, Velcro is also the way to go. Just trace the outline of the insert on the insole, so you know what the proper position is the next time you use them. The soft portion of Velcro on the insole does not interfere with normal wear should you choose not to use the insert.

My results:

(a) With the Riedell Royals, the Step was too high and caused pain in my arches. A working solution is no insert in my left boot and a Balance in my right boot. So I now have a left insert that is useless to me. Note to Pedag: You might want to consider selling the Balance as individual left and right inserts.

(b) With the Jackson Elites, the Balance was too low, and my ankles flopped over into the inside edges. The Step is very effective. The extra-large turned out to be a better fit than the large. I position the insert in my right boot to give more lift than in my left boot. I've skated about a dozen times now with this configuration and am happy with my edge control. I'll provide an update after extended use.


Quickie Microfiber Towel, 24-Pack
Quickie Microfiber Towel, 24-Pack
Offered by TerraTownShops
Price: $14.87
25 used & new from $13.22

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Skates, February 11, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought these for a specific purpose: for drying off my figure skating boots and blades. Up to now I've used a genuine leather chamois skin. Chamois needs a long break-in period: at first, it's stiff and not too absorbent when bone dry. I've used the same piece for some 20 years now, it's torn and tattered, and deserving of a proper burial. My latest boots are suede, and I figured I'd try out a microfiber wipe with some nap to help dry off the suede better. My major concern was whether the microfiber wipe would tear too easily when I wipe down the blades and picks.

I'm happy to report that these wipes are great for drying off figure skates. They are nominally 14 inches square, thin, and flexible, just right for this purpose. I practice spinning a lot and consequently build up a lot of slush on the blades, some of which get onto the suede boots. The wipes have enough nap to clean off the suede effectively. At the same time they are thin enough to wipe down all the contours and crevices of the blade. They are soft and soak up water effectively even when the wipes are initially bone dry (unlike some super-sponge wipes that need to be wetted first).

Two words of caution. (1) With a chamois, I can just shake the slush off and continue wiping. But slush clings tightly to these wipes and don't shake off readily. So I use two: a first one for wiping off the slush, and a second one for final drying. I skate 5 times/week and have been using the same two wipes for about 2 months now. They hold up well. [Update: June 4, 2016. A year and 4 months have passed since my original review. I'm still using the same two wipes. No holes; no tears.] (2) These cling to Velcro. If you have gear with Velcro straps, keep these wipes away from the Velcro. Not a problem with chamois.

I do wish that the pack had a multi-colored assortment instead of all blue, so I can more easily track which wipe I use. But $10/pack of 24 is a good buy. I've seen a "total hockey shammy" microfiber wipe specifically marketed for drying off ice skates; it sells for $8 for *one* wipe.


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