There are several other design features in the Tempest boot to optimize efficiency over a long skate as well. The overall shape is narrower than most others in the Rollerblade lineup, which decreases lateral foot movement inside the boot and enhances power transfer to the wheels. Energy is also conserved with the asymmetric lacing system, which shifts the weakest (open) section of the upper to the side of the foot, leaving a solid piece of leather directly over the medial midfoot area that experiences the most tension during push-off, thus limiting excess stretching of the boot.
A Velcro power strap over the top of the midfoot helps to keep the midfoot area even more secure, and the ratchet cuff buckle at the top of the cuff can be adjusted to your comfort as well.
On the inside of the boot, Rollerblade uses a lining material called Precision 5-Star Fit, along with memory foam that gradually adapts to your foot shape for a customized fit. (Before you ask: yes, I appreciate the irony that any sort of foam and cushioning is normally anathema for my feet - but with skates, it makes a big difference. I don’t think I’m eager to try a five-fingered skate anytime soon.) Comfort is further enhanced by small front vents built into the toe bumper area to provide some ventilation and keep your foot a bit cooler while moving forward.
Cuff height of the Tempest is lower than Rollerblade’s standard boot height. This will initially make them feel unstable if you’re used to standard boots, but will eventually serve to strengthen your ankles and lower leg musculature – and that’s something a minimalist runner loves. Range of motion is further enhanced by a v-cut notch at the top of the cuff, and a dynamic construction where the entire cuff shifts slightly forward like a pair of ski boots.
Oh, one more thing: in case you’re wondering how to stop these things, the Tempest 100 does come with a brake, which you can install on either heel. It’s definitely a must-have if you’re moving across intersections or weaving through pedestrians at the Wharf, and for fitness skating it’s kind of a no-brainer to attach it. For urban skating, maybe not so much – which is where I’ll continue the Rollerblade series in another month or so. Until then, we’ll wrap up our overview of the Tempest by discussing who would benefit from it the most.
From top to bottom, the Tempest is built for speed, and most suitable for long aerobic workouts without a whole lot of variation in skate technique or terrain. And because the low profile and increased range of motion cause some initial instability, the Tempest may not be the best choice for a newbie skater.
However, there’s a well-known bike-shopping rule of thumb that says you should buy the highest-performance bike you can afford, and with dedicated riding your skills will eventually become suitable for the bike. I think there’s an element of that axiom in purchasing inline skates as well – and on that note, the Tempest would be a great choice for someone with basic skating experience who is looking to further develop his overall strength and skill through a consistent workout regimen. It’s got a wonderful combination of high comfort and high performance that will allow you to perform workouts of any length, intensity, and eventually skill level – in other words, it will allow you to skate to your heart’s (and legs’) content.
The Rollerblade Tempest 100 retails for as well as other online vendors.
*Product provided by Rollerblade
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