Short track 101: Equipment

From the blades to the helmet, what short track skaters use to beat the pack (Imagn)

Blades

Modified to maintain high speed and control in turns. Short track blades are extremely sharp and are bent in at an arc that mirrors the direction of the turn. They are also placed off-center to the left so the boot does not touch the ice when the skater leans into the turn.

Boots

Short track boots lace higher up the ankle than traditional skates and are constructed from fiberglass, graphite and Kevlar, using customized foot molds to help stabilize the foot and ankle around the corners. Socks are rarely worn.

Gloves

Cut-resistant gloves are worn to protect skaters’ hands from blades. Short track speed skaters may touch the ice with their hands for stability in the turns, therefore their gloves have hard plastic balls on the fingertips to slide along the ice.

Helmet

A hard shell made of plastic to prevent potential head injuries resulting from crashes with competitors, ice or sidewalls. Fastens under the chin.

Protective Wear

Skaters wear knee, shin and sometimes neck guards made of Kevlar for protection against other skaters’ blades.

Skin Suit

Made of a synthetic material molded to the body shape. It is the same suit that long track speed skaters wear, but without the aerodynamic hood and thumb loops.

Track Markers

Seven plastic markers are placed around the oval, setting the curve. Skating inside the markers results in disqualification.