What To Look For When Buying SkatesPosted by Kevin Scaringi
Here's a quick guide on the main things to look for in your new pair of skates!
Skate fitting varies from person-to-person. Also, each manufacturer may have different sizing parameters for each of their skates. For example, a size 9 skate in Bauer may be a size 8.5 skate in CCM! Just because you know your skate size it does not mean that each one will fit the same. The basic rule when fitting hockey skates is to go 1.5 sizes down from your mens shoe size. Personally, I wear a size 10 Mens Shoe and a size 8 or 8.5 Ice Hockey Skate. The tighter the skate fits without hurting your feet, the better it is! You want the skate to fit as snug to your foot as possible so that way your foot does not shift at all during skating. The skate should feet like an extension of your foot, and any kind of shift of your feet within the boots can cause your stability on the ice to falter. If you want some more sizing tips, check our article on skate sizing tips!
Let's be honest, not everyone can afford to get into the newest, top-of-the-line ice hockey skate. Bypassing that $1,000 price tag isn't the hardest thing to do though. You can still get into a great, high-end skate for under $500! The key to buying hockey skates is knowing a good deal when you see it. In my opinion, the best time to buy skates is when they first go onto clearance. Keep an eye out for ads for a new skate coming out. That always means the old model will start to be discounted by at least 20-30%. Another great price point for skates is the model right above the middle of the line skate. The $400 price point skate will always have some of the best features from a top-of-the-line skate at a more reasonable price. Obviously, you won't get all of the bells and whistles from the $1,000 skate - like a full composite boot or interchangeable steel - but you will still get a high performance boot that will get the job done!
The fit style of your hockey skates essentially describes what kind of foot you have and what kind of skater you are. Some skates are going to be designed for people with wider feet and some skates will be designed to help you get the most out of each stride you take. The two hockey equipment giants, CCM and Bauer, each have their three lines of skates that are specifically tailored to each skating style and each foot style. Make sure you read our Bauer article and our CCM article that compares each of these skate fits so you can determine which one might be best for you!
Keeping your feet safe from fast moving pucks is one of the biggest responsibilities of an ice hockey skate. A good boot will provide protection in the toecap, along the sides of your feet, and on the tongue of the boot. Depending on your level of play and how fast shots are being taken, you may want to consider what levels of protection you might be needing out of your skates. Starting with the toe cap, it is common for most skates to use similar materials in this area. The biggest changes between a high end skate and a low end skate is the material that is used to line the toe cap on the inside of the boot. Protection isn't affected as much as comfort is. The quarter package and the tongue of the skate have the most drastic changes among the different price points. A lower end skate will offer a basic felt tongue, while a high end skate will offer more protection with additional padding and occasionally including composite inserts to help deflect pucks away. The quarter package, which essentially is the side of the skate boot varies the most between all of the models. Each boot may use a different material like harder nylon on a lower skate or a full composite section on a higher end skate. The composite materials used offer the most protection and will significantly reduce the chance of injury when taking a puck off of the foot compared to a lower end design.
The last thing to touch on is growing room, which mostly applies to children and young adults. Buying skates for a growing boy or girl is tough because it may be hard to constantly go out and buy the highest end skate for them when they may grow out of it within a year. We always recommend that you never size your child in a skate that is more than 1 size above their recommended skate size. If they are still growing and measure a size 3, do not go over a size 4! Anything more may cause blisters, calluses, and even bone spurts for the player. It is always better to get a lower end skate that will fit better every few years over getting a top of the line skate that may only fit properly for a short amount of time.
We hope this information helped and if you have any further questions, as always, feel free to reach out to us for more information. Thanks for reading, and we'll see you on the ice!