The Guide to Buying Ice Hockey Skates
Theoretically, hockey skates hold the power to fundamentally alter the outcome of your game. Thus, picking out the right pair of skates to fit all of your hockey needs is imperative. No one wants to let down their team because of a pair of bad skates. When purchasing your ice hockey skates there will be a lot to consider but first and foremost you must consider the fit. Properly fitting skates are vital, if the skate doesn’t fit – it is not the skate for you. Poor fitting skates will affect your game negatively and nothing can be done to avoid this. In order to make the difficult process of buying the right ice hockey skates easier for you, we have created a guide that consists of size and fitting suggestions as well as construction factors.
Hockey skates are constructed in three different parts – the boot, the runner, and the holder. The boot is where you insert your foot. The holder is the element which connects your runner to the main boot and the runner is the steel blade upon which you skate. Keep in mind that all holders and runners are not created equally. Higher end hockey skates will make sure the holder and runner components of the skate come in two separate parts as you purchase your pair of ice hockey skates. Lower end skates will manufacture the holder and runner to come as one part, this only applies to skates less than eighty dollars.
Higher end skates design the runner and holder in two separate parts so that players may replace the blade as it wears, without replacing the entire skate. Naturally, blades need to sharpened from time to time and after multiple sharpenings your blade will become smaller and eventually need to be replaced all together. Keep in mind that higher end skates will range in price anywhere between one hundred to nine hundred dollars. Hence, one would rather just replace the blade than the skate as a whole. Plus, replacing runners is rather easy! Just a few screws and the job is done. Blades should be replaced once a year but professionals will replace their blades every couple of weeks. However, if your skates cost you less than eight dollars than it is best to just replace the skates entirely after a year or so.
Boots are the main component of ice hockey skates. Brands are constantly working around the clock to update the body, technology, and durability in construction of the boot to make them lighter and responsively advanced to your every movement paired with an extreme amount of support. With that being said, skates are not drastically changing from one year to the next and they are most oftenly almost an identical version to the year before with just a few alterations to make the boot a better version than the last. Thus, it is important to keep in mind that if the advancement is not major than you can just purchase last years model of skates that is nearly identical to the current years for half the price. Most high end skates are manufactured from texalium glass, carbon composite, thermo-formable foam, and an anti-microbial hydrophobic lining ensuring that your skates are the best weight with comfortability, durability, and protection.
Overall your hockey skate boot is made up of a liner, ankle pad, heel support, footbed, quarter package, tongue, and outsole. The liner is the material on the inside of your boot. It is typically made of a durable padding and is responsible for the comfortability of your foot. The Ankle Padding is placed right above the boots liner. It is also made from a foam padding and provides support and comfort for your ankle. The cup located around your heel is the heel support which protects and secures your foot into the boot. The footbed is the padding on the boots inner bottom area. The Quarter Package is the boots outer shell that holds together all of the padding and support inside. It should be flexible yet supportive all at the same time. The boot’s tongue will enclose and cover the top of your boot/foot and basically looks identical to the tongue you find on regular sneakers. Lastly, the outsole is the hard underside of the boot where your holder will attach to the boot as well as the runner.
There are several elements to consider when sizing your skates! For starters, it is important to identify your foot type. Skates are labeled either C/N = Narrow Fit, D/R = Regular Fit, E/W = Wide Fit, or EE = Extra Wide Fit. The great part about choosing the fit of your skate’s boot is that it should fit similarly to your training shoes. For instance, if you fit Nikes easily then you will probably fit into regular sized D/R skates without a problem. In order to measure your feet you should start with the width of the front quarter of your foot, then measure the thickness or depth of your foot, and finish up with the width of your heel/ankle. Keep in mind that most ice hockey skates are sized one and a half sizes smaller than your average trainers. Thus, if you are usually a size 10 in your training shoes, you should be comfortable in a size 8.5 in adult skates. Senior skates are usually sized from a men’s size 7 and above while junior skates are typically sized from a boy’s size 2 and above, followed by youth skates sized smaller than a boy’s size 1.5 and below.
The Playing Level
Your level of play will heavily determine the price range of your skates. Casual skaters can get away with owning a lower end pair of skates while players who skate on a regular basis should consider either intermediate or higher end skates. Lower end skates are usually priced under one hundred and fifty dollars and are made for the occasional skater. Avoid this range of skates if you play hockey once a week or more! Intermediately priced skates range between two hundred and four hundred dollars. These skates are great for recreational skaters that play once or twice a week. These skates work for most adult and junior league players. High end skates will normally run you between four hundred and nine hundred dollars. These skates are designed for competitive players whom are constantly practicing and playing hockey on a daily basis.
Higher end skates are more expensive for a plethora of reasons including their lightweight material for optimal skating speeds, the materials high durability to last longer, the thermoformable foam padding to model to your foot offering premium support, along with better padding, protection, and support with necessary flexibility. The higher the skate is priced, the better the material they have been manufactured from. Players who are practicing and playing on a regular basis should be spending at least three hundred dollars on their ice hockey skates and move up from there as the playing becomes more competitive.
Your position in hockey will affect which type of ice hockey skates you need. An aggressive player will need a different pair of skates than the more reserved player and visa versa. This is not a judgement in your game but rather a nod towards your skating style. In order to help you decide what kind of player you are we have made a list of aggressive playing characteristics verses reserved playing characteristics. An aggressive player is constantly chasing the puck, super proactive, rarely stops moving, and holds a center or winger position with an athletic stance. A reserved player spends more time observing the play as it unfolds before jumping in the game, holds back from attacking, and does not always take an athletic stance. Once you have made the decision as to which type of player you are and considered the factors stated above – you will be ready to choose the correct pair of skates to adequately suit your hockey game!