Your guide to choosing the right ice skates

December 16, 2014

Looking for ice skates for either you or the family? Hoping to find the perfect pair? Here is what you need to know about picking the right skates.

Your guide to choosing the right ice skates

Skates for every style and skill level

  • Recreational skates: Casual skates are more affordable and less complex in design. They can look like hockey or figure skates. Comfort is the most important consideration when buying recreational skates.
  • Figure skates: Figure skates help you spin and jump with comfort and precision. They are lightweight and feature extra support. They have longer blades that extend past the front and back of the boot and feature a toe pick on the front.
  • Ice hockey skates: Designed for hockey players, hockey skates are often made from a combination of leather and synthetic materials for maximum protection and manoeuvrability.
  • Goalie skates: Goalie skates are similar to hockey skates but have flatter blades and allow more ankle movement. These skates are for dedicated goalies since they offer more protection and flexibility.
  • Speed skates: If you want speed above all else, get a pair of speed skates. These skates are all function and little fashion, keeping your feet firmly in place for maximum control and power.

What to consider when picking the right skates

  • Boot: The skate boot should be comfortable for the type of skating you do, whether it’s durability in a hockey skate or support in a figure skate.
  • Holder: Less expensive skates rivet the boot directly to the blade, which can make blade replacement or realignment almost impossible. Most skates have a separate blade holder made from hardened plastic that keeps the blade firmly in place.
  • Blade: Hockey skate blades are shorter and curved for increased speed and manoeuvrability. Speed and figure skate blades are flatter and longer. With all blades, look for carbon steel for maximum strength. Narrower blades are faster but less stable, making wider blades a better choice for beginners.
  • Toe pick: The toe pick on figure skates depends on your skill level: beginners need smaller toe picks while experts have larger toe picks for more technical manoeuvres.
  • Foot size: Ice skate sizes don’t necessarily match up with shoe sizes, so try on a few different pairs to determine the best fit. Kids’ skates should have some growing room but still feel snug. Another option is to look for adjustable skates that can change sizes to match growing feet. Skates are also available in narrow, regular or wide width.
  • Socks: Always wear socks that are appropriate for the sport, and try to wear them when you go skate shopping for a better fit.

Breaking them in

It's important to remember that skates, like shoes, can take a few sessions to break in. Don’t worry if you feel a bit of discomfort the first couple of times you hit the ice while your feet get accustomed to them.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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