In 1995, I arrived in the U.S.A. for the first time, in Chicago, for my first taste of American racing. Downers Grove was one of the biggest and fastest races in the world, Chad Hedrick, Tony Muse, Danté Muse, and many more multiple World Champions stood on the start line... and me, LOL. It was a great race, but more like a baptism of fire for me. This trip lead me to David Simmons and his custom boots. Ever since then I have held Simmons boots in very high regard, and with good reason...
Dave has great understanding not only of speedskating, but of the anatomy and structure of the foot, and how the foot functions internally. This combined with being a bit of a "carbon fibre artist" means he makes some of the best boots in the world. Dave really listens to you when you are describing what you want the boot to do, and how you want it to feel. And he often has cunning design solutions for achieving his goal with your new boots. I have big feet and very high ankle bones and very high arches. This makes for
a challenging design in a boot.
Carefully does it.
Attention to detail every step of the way.
I've almost always had Simmons boots since 1995. In 2005 I strayed away, thinking "I'll just try something else" and I almost instantly wished I hadn't. I tried Junker which were good, but just not quite as supportive, stiff or comfortable. I tried Bont and didn't like them, they permanently
damaged my feet (even after they replaced the
boots, they were still terrible.). I tried some
Italian makes, but again, they were 'good', but
just not as supportive, stiff or comfortable as Dave's boots. By 2008 I was back on Dave's boots.
I moulded last November, and I will receive them next week. Yes, it takes 6 months. Dave is not shy of telling you that he has a 6 month waiting list. THAT is how popular his boots are, and it's not because they are cheap. It's because they are good.
Picture right: Dave mounts my foto on my custom 13.4" frame to see how it's gonna fit.
Picture below: Some very big feet
I know what you're thinking, "Ah, he's saying that because he's sponsored or get's free boots"... Well, no. I paid nearly full price for my boots, and I have done since 2001. This review comes from he heart, because I believe good boots make a difference, and I believe that simply "stiff, light, comfortable, controllable, responsive" is actually not simple to achieve; It takes knowledge, experience, know-how and a little bit of artist.
Don't get me wrong, these are not perfect.
No boot is perfect.
And there ARE other good boots out there; Cuncu, Mercargo, Marchese, Sierra, Pinnacle etc...
I just believe that the only ones to even come close to Simmons are Cuncu and Pinnacle. (I've never tried them myself, but from the reports I hear from my skating network, and looking in to the design-work and craftsmanship.) You can see the process of finishing the boots in pictures below... Now all I need to do is some training... anyone know a good coach?
Happy skating everyone.