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What Should I Consider When Buying Hockey Skates?

Skates for goaltenders have protective guards on the exterior.
With the wrong hockey skates, a player risks having problems with stability and mobility on the ice.
Hockey skates should feel tight with some pressure around the foot, at least before they are broken in properly.
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  • Written By: Diana Bocco
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 31 July 2014
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Hockey skates are one of the most important pieces of equipment for any hockey player. Buy the wrong ones, and you risk problems with stability and turning ability, not to mention lack of protection against hits and tripping. The most important consideration when choosing skates is fit. Unlike other footwear, hockey skates must fit snugly.

Hockey skates should not feel comfortably loose, but rather tight and somehow "short," with a noticeable pressure on the forefoot area. While this may sound painful, remember that the skates will stretch as they break in, but even if they don't, it's still possible to have them stretched for length at specialty shops. Skates that are too large, however, cannot be fixed and can result in blisters and even injuries. Another option is to buy a “soft boot," which consists of a hard outer shell with a soft lining. These types of hockey skates break in more quickly, since the inner lining can mold to the player's feet almost immediately.

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Prices for hockey skates increase in proportion to the level of hardness of the boot, which is indicated by a number. Number 1 skates can be found for about 150 US dollars (USD), while elite level hockey skates will cost in the ballpark of 500 USD. Hard skates are not recommended for people who weigh less than 180 pounds (82 kg), as it is unlikely they will be able to break them in appropriately. Buying the most expensive model is not necessarily the best choice for everybody, particularly children, who will grow out of the boots quickly, and beginners, who will not be spending a lot of time on the ice.

Because fitting is so important, buying hockey skates online is a great risk. Still, many people do, as it is difficult to beat online deals and clearance sales. You can ensure a proper fit by trying the skates on at a local shop before ordering them online.

Another important consideration when buying hockey skates is upkeep. Good shops offer free sharpenings and heat stretching. Since these skates are not sharpened until they are sold, and afterwards require resharpening every five hours of ice use, this can become a considerable expense if not included in the price of the skates.

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Discuss this Article

anon330463
Post 3

I have a rather serious question which could decide my future as a skater. I was considering a purchase of some high-end Bauer hockey skates, but due to my beanpole like frame I only weigh a measly 71 kilograms. Your guide does recommend that you weigh about 82 kilograms, which is 11 kilograms more. I am a very frequent skater and skate rather aggressively at times. Is the trouble with not weighing very much is that the skates can't be broken in properly?

animegal
Post 2

Do you think that hockey skates are a good option for girls that struggle with using figure skates?

I know that in general, the hockey skate blade is designed differently and doesn't have the toe pick that comes on figure skates.

Also, I have heard that hockey skates are a lot more comfortable than figure skates, and are great because the blade is actually lighter.

I just want to skate casually and not have to worry about being flipped by a toe pick. Does anyone have experience with using both kinds of skates? Do you think that one is really easier to use than the other?

Sara007
Post 1

When buying hockey skates for your family I would not recommend getting them at a big box store. Rather, you should head to a sports store that specializes in hockey equipment so that you can get the best fit possible.

These stores carry a wider variety of brands and you will have better luck finding a deal on quality skates. Sometimes you can even work in a discount if you are buying multiple pairs, it doesn't hurt to ask.

A lot of sports stores will also be able to help you better understand what else you'll need to pick up. Hockey skates are just one part of the package.

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