Choosing the right hockey skates is crucial for stability, turning ability, and protection. Fit is the most important consideration, with a snug and tight fit being necessary. Soft boots adjust quickly, while harder boots cost more and require breaking in. Online purchases are risky, and maintenance is important. Prices range from $150 to $500, and good shops offer free sharpening and hot stretching.
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 bumps and trips. The most important consideration when choosing skates is fit. Unlike other footwear, hockey skates need to fit snugly.
Hockey skates shouldn’t feel comfortably loose, but rather tight and somewhat “short,” with a lot of pressure on the forefoot area. While this may seem painful, remember that skates will stretch when they break, but even if they don’t, it’s still possible to have them stretched for length at specialty stores. Skates that are too big, however, cannot be repaired and can lead to blisters and even injuries. Another option is to purchase a “soft boot,” which consists of a hard outer shell with a soft lining. These types of hockey skates break down more quickly, as the inner lining can adjust to the player’s feet almost immediately.
Prices for hockey skates increase in proportion to the hardness level of the boot, which is denoted by a number. Number 1 skates can be found for around 150 US dollars (USD), while elite-level hockey skates will cost in the ballpark of 500 USD. Rigid skates are not recommended for people weighing less than 180 pounds (82 kg), as they’re unlikely to be able to break them in properly. Buying the most expensive model isn’t necessarily the best choice for everyone, especially kids, who will get out of their boots quickly, and beginners, who won’t be spending much time on the ice.
Because fit is so important, buying hockey skates online is a big risk. However, many people do, as online deals and clearance sales are hard to beat. You can ensure a proper fit by trying on the skates at a local store before ordering them online.
Another important consideration when buying hockey skates is maintenance. Good shops offer free sharpening and hot stretching. Since these skates are not sharpened until they are sold, and then require re-sharpening after every five hours of ice use, this can become a considerable expense if not included in the price of the skates.