|For the last year I've been skating on a pair of Miller
Fitness Pro boots, and I have to say that overall these
are the best skates I have ever used. Just so you'll
know what I'm comparing them to, I've skated on K2 Extreme
Speed skates (the ones with the plastic shell which ratchets
around your ankle) and the Bont Hustler. I skated on each
of those for about a year too, so I'm comparing broken-in
boots with broken-in boots, which is the only fair
way to compare boots. I also tape my feet when I skate,
but I taped exactly the same way with all the boots I used.
I've used both the Mogema and Eagle Hawk frames on the
Miller and Bont boots.
I do a lot of skating of all kinds:
- I do distance skating, including the Lake Merced Loop.
- I do street skating including the Friday Night Skate.
- I do slalom on Sundays in Golden Gate Park.
- I'm an avid Roller
Soccer player and I specialize in playing goalie. I do
power slides and kick the ball hard.
- I occasionally do stairs, and frequently do curbs and
- I occasionally dance on my skates.
- I am sometimes on my skates for 10 hours in a single
All these kinds of skating put different demands on a skating
boot, and frankly I'm surprised at how well my Miller boots
handle all these circumstances! But, they're great. I
wouldn't trade them for a free pair of any other boots on
What I Like Best about my Miller Boots
My Miller Boots are a perfect compromise between a low-cut
racing boot and a recreational/fitness boot. The cuf
rises above the pointy ankle bone and there is a sturdy
velcro closure right at the top of the boot, so it does
provide some ankle support (compared to lower-cut boots,
such as the Miller Criterium, the Simmons and the Viking
boots). By the way, I also skated on a Viking boot, but
only for about a month. They didn't work for me. My
technique isn't good enough for me to take advantage of
that ultra low cut boot.
The velcro closure is about an inch wide and it distributes
the force on the ankle across its width. This is much better
than one or two laces in the same position, which you find
on the Bont Hustler. I found that those laces on the
Bont Hustler focused the forces on a smaller area, which
leads to injury or pain. More experienced skaters leave
the upper laces loose, but I found I needed the support so
I kept them tighter. I do the same on my Miller boot and
I have never felt pain in that region.
The boot design and construction itself is certainly the
most important reason I like the Miller Fitness Pro skates.
First, the shell is made of carbon-fibre in a super-strong
resin. It looks like black fiberglass. The boot shape was
developed by Mike Miller using computer analysis on a large
sample of feet. In other words, Miller skates are shaped
like most people's feet. Don't laugh -- it is absolutely
critical! Everyone's feet are a different shape. My Bont
Hustlers weren't wide enough around the toes. Neither were
my K2 Extreme Speed boots. When you get a wider version of
the boot, the whole boot is wider, including the heel. This
isn't the way it should necessarily work. You shouldn't have
to have a loose heel just to get your toes not to be crushed.
The Miller boots have a wider area for the toes than most
other boots, without having a sloppy heel. In fact, the
heel is remarkable because it holds your foot down really
Many people get blisters on their heels
because of poor technique. It comes from heel lift
which is a result of pushing with your toes. It is exacerbated
on hills. Unless you've worked on your technique, you
probably do this. I do unless I'm really thinking about it.
The Miller boot doesn't prevent heel-lift, and if you push
with your toes you may still get blisters on your heels;
however, the Miller boot does snugly hold your heel so if
you aren't pushing with your toes your boots stay firmly
in contact with your entire foot. Your heel doesn't swim
around. Your foot shape might be different and you might
need an extra narrow boot, or maybe a great big heel.
But for most people, the Miller Boot is a really good
Probaly the second most important aspect of a boot's design
is the tongue. The Miller tongue is an integral part of
the boot. It grips your foot from the top. It contains
stiff, heat-formable plastic to make it a more substantial
component of the boot. The tongues on the other boots
I used were nowhere nearly as effective. The top the the
tongue is much wider than the rest, so it nicely dovetails
with the cuff of the boot.
I had to heat-mold my Miller boots for the ultimate good
fit. I also had to heat mold my Bont Hustlers. My K2
Extreme Speed boots didn't really support heat molding
very well, and they were particularly bad because the
plastic cuff would cut into my ankles, even through my socks
and tape! I've spoken with several people who gave up
their K2 Extreme Speed boots because of the same problem.
Heat molding the Miller Boot is about the same as Heat
Molding a Bont Hustler, but more of the boot is moldable
around he heel area. I actually exchanged email with
Bont when I owned those skate to ask about the heel. They
said that the heel area was "semi-moldable." The heel area
is moldable with the Miller. The thing is, it is difficult
to change the shape of a compound curve like a heel.
These days many brands of speedskates come with lace covers.
Some people look for lace covers as an identifying feature
of speedskates. My Bont Hustlers didn't have them, but
both the Miller and K2 speedskates do. I like them because
they reduce wind resistance and keep the laces cleaner and
protect them better. Plus, they look way-cool.
How My Miller Boots Work for Me
The kinds of skating that I do is quite varied. If I were
like many oyther people I'd have one pair of skates for
distance, one for dancing, one for hockey or roller soccer,
and maybe evenone for street skating. I just use my Miller
boots for all these purposes.
- Any speedskate that fits well will help you with
distance skating. I like the Miller boots because they
are comfortable for even very long skates.
- I do street skating including the Friday Night Skate.
Longer frames are a great benefit for street skating. It
makes all bumps and road defects seem less important. Shorter
frames are more likely to trip you up on obstacles. Quad
skates are the worst because a crack and suck up your two
front wheels and send you flying! By contrast, long frames
are like having long skis -- very stable even at high speed.
I like the Miller boots because the footbed isn't as hard
as my Bont Hustler footbed was, so less force from bumps
reaches my feet.
- To do the
slalom on long frames requires turning on your heels, not
by leaning. Turning on your heals means lifting your toes
up and setting them down in a new direction. It's kind
of the opposite of heel lift. You need a boot that doesn't
let your heel swim or it will rub when you do this. The
Miller Boots are great for the slalom!
Soccer is by far the most demanding thing I do on skates.
It has the same kind of quick starts and stops as roller
hockey, but you have to actually kick the ball with your
boots. The longer frame means I have almost a whole wheel
sticking out in front of my boot. Sometimes I kick with
that wheel, but accuracy is a challenge. So I usually
kick with the side or top of my boot.
The Miller boot
is durable and stiff so it delivers a lot of energy to
the ball. A plastic shell boot gives somewhat when you
kick so you lose a little energy. But the most demanding
aspect for the boots is the frequent cuts and changes of
direction. Speedskates are not known for being able to
do this, but my Millers do just fine!
I play with people
who skate on 4-wheel hockey or recreational skates. I've
never felt my skates were a disadvantage, and frequenly
the long frame gives me an advantage of reaching the ball
a toe-length in front of someone else. The Miller boots
give me enough support to let me make the quick turns,
do a power slide or stop a shot on goal. In the goal, the
extra length makes a big difference. You've got to have
a speedskate boot to accommodate a long frame. I can't
imaging using any kind of low-cut boot for roller soccer,
so the Miller is ideal.
- For stairs and jumps you need a solid frame and boot.
You've got to have a stable boot for stairs or you'll lose
it and bounce down on your head or butt. For jumps you don't
want to twist an ankle when you land. It requires
having a boot with no wiggle room, but still allows a high
degree of control.
- Dancing is always a challenge on skates with long
frames. Any maneuver on your toes causes serious heel lift
issues. The positive lock the Miller boot has on your
heel helps here.
How to Reach Miller Sports
You can find Miller Boots at Karim
Cycle in Berkeley.
You can also contact