Before I started with the ice dance boots, I skated in low freestyle rec boots that have served me very well.
The blades are new Mirage blades, freshly sharpened. Unlike my old blades, these have a decent rocker.
So I went out to a local rink and spent an hour stroking, doing swing rolls, chasse's, crossovers and three turns. My friend the Big Guy came out to watch. The shortness of the shaft means I really have to get my blade placement on the ice right. Initially, I felt like I was skating without any support, although this was just a mental illusion due to the short shaft. These are new boots and it's like skating in bricks. After the first half hour, I began to feel at ease with the boot. Towards the end I felt fairly stable, and much more comfortable.
I don't know if my extension and toe point is actually better in these boots. I was more concerned with just getting the feel of them rather than doing any extensions requiring a high leg position. I didn't feel that comfortable yet. The Big Guy said I looked less stable than in my Competitors. Duh! These boots will require some adjustment in my technique.
Downside to the Finesse is the padded collar. I thought I would like this, but it actually rubs painfully on the back of my ankle when I extend the leg and point the toe. I now will just slide the Silipos tube around my ankle to protect it.
The new blades were great. After having to haul around for turns it was nice to be able to just turn with minimal effort. I tended to over turn, I was so used to my old blades and their intransigence.
My judgement's still out on the Finesse. These are new boots, and feel like concrete blocks. Although in Jackson's rating system, they're 'less stiff' than Competitors, they aren't 'less stiff' than 5 year old Competitors. Also, the lower shaft seems to make them more appropriate for experienced skaters. I dread to think what would have happened if I had started in these.
I'll have to report back after I've been skating in these for a couple of months, and after Dance Coach has made comments.
As for the Competitors? They're getting new blades. I'm thinking Wilson Majestic.