I didn’t want to like Antiks. I tend to like the idea of a well-known, historic, local bootmaker getting dibs on my foot-leather. Riedell had my back, despite the fact that I’d been struggling with their 126 boot for the last few months. I blamed that on a sizing mishap. Apparently, I’d started with boots that were a size too large—something, it seemed, that had happened to most of my fresh-meat teammates with their first pairs of skates.
So lately, those same teammates had been ponying up big cash for these pretty new Antik packages. I was regularly seeing new Antik photos on Facebook. I kept thinking, “What’s this upstart company trying to do—steal market share? Gosh, all they needed to do was start putting out pretty boots, and we all swoon?”
Meanwhile, I started trying on skates to find not only the right size, but the right shape for my narrow-heeled foot. I rolled my eyes when the shopkeeper mentioned the Antiks. I wanted Riedells, thank you. I’d even try Vanilla just to appear magnanimous. Somewhere in the conversation he dropped the fact that Riedell was actually the company being commissioned to put out the Antik boots, and that their packages came with Riedell plates.
So I began my two-month quest of driving back and forth between two skate shops whenever they had the right sizing in. Tried Vanillas first, to get the magnanimity out of the way; too wide for my feet. I wanted to love the 965s (Neat padding! Pretty flap!); found they couldn’t keep my heel in. I thought the ankle-locking mechanism on the 595s would be my life-saver; squeezed my Achilles tendon, with painfully hard leather all-around. 811s? Comfy but hella-expensive for the features!
Just when I was about to give up, the skateguy brought out the Antiks. No, really, just try them, yeah they’re popular, blabbity blah. Just try them to “see how they feel.”
My favorite player had once described 187 kneepads as like, “falling on kitties.” Putting on Antik boots was like slipping my cold feet under my kitties in the morning. Familiar. Soft. Just right. The padded tongue was a bit tricky to lace up, but once laced, my instep no longer felt the pressure points I’d felt in all other boots I’d tried. I looked up the skateguy, and I couldn’t help myself from saying, “Wow. These are comfy.”
As he went into some monologue about how people “don’t go back” when they’ve tried the Antik boot, I was too busy skating around the shop to listen to him. My ankle was locked back comfortably, and I noticed I could do some variable lacing at the top levels to allow for more or less ankle flexion around turns.
Sizing-wise, I needed to go with a half-size lower than my Riedell counterparts. While I wasn’t happy with the need to take Heartless wheels with the package, I happily bought my MG-2s with Revenge plates and gumball toestops.
I’d heard there would be this break-in period with any new skate. I don’t remember what it was like with my first pair; I’m assuming I was too busy keeping myself upright to notice. But with these, I stood up in the toestops, started gingerly stroking the ground, and felt pretty good. My little toes were a wee bit pinched, but I assumed the moldable toebox would widen to allow for fit. After two hours, the pain was minimal, and there were no blisters. Switched out the Heartless wheels for my own Tilebiters, and viola! I felt like I could fly. I do believe I actually burst into song while my teammates laughed at me. These skates were terrific from Moment One.
…And did I mention they’re pretty?