Shopping in the Netherlands I originally went into the sports shop with the intention of looking at figure skates to buy as my first pair of ice skates. Having tried on Risport and Lake Placid figure skates in the past, and seeing as I was only buying the skates for recreational use, I tried on the Nike Skates in Utrecht's Perry Sport. These are more like Hockey Skates rather than figure skates - rounded blade and no toe pick, which can take a bit of getting used to if you're used to figure skates, but fit like a glove if you're a roller blader. I tried the correct size first time - usually a size larger than your shoe size. They are also available in less girly colours for Men and also in Youth sizes. These skates fit like any pair of Nike Trainers would - like a glove. The padded linings (not removeable, which is a pity) hug your feet and, if you're used to wearing skates, feel like the best pair of Nike's that you've ever worn. This means that you're able to put in more practice, as they are comfortable even for extended periods of time (believe me, when you're skating on a canal at -10C, you don't want to be standing still for long!). Though the laces are not conventional (you don't tie them, you pull them taught with a drawstring) and look rather delicate, they could easily be replaced further down the line if they happen to break. As for the blades, of course, they need to be sharpened before you use them or, I assure you, you'll be flat on your back within the hour. A note here - if you're a serious skater, or if your blades rust (which can happen within hours if you don't dry them off properly), I don't know how or if the blades on these skates could be replaced, as they appear to be a permanent fixture on the plastic base of the boot. The colour of the skates is probably not the best if you intend to skate on natural ice - I fell over and had a noticeable stripe of a
lgae down the side. But it washes off easily and then again, if you're careful, you needn't fall over. For comfort and looks, these skates are worth the purchase, and the price (around £90) will mean that you get your money's worth out of them. If you don't mind the price, then these are an ideal starter skate, getting you away from the shredded ankles that bulk-moulded hire boots will give you. As for how these skates are to the more serious skater, I'll leave that to other DooYooers, but you can be the envy of all the kids and parents alike that are wearing Bauer boots if you get yourself a pair of these!