Figure skates vs. hockey skates: what’s the difference?

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Hockey and figure skates are only interchangeable for basic moves. They are designed differently for different purposes, with varying picks, blades, and shape. Figure skates have longer shapes and different weight balances, while hockey skates are made for speed. Blades also vary within the different groups of skates, with different designs for goalie, ice dancing, and freestyle skating. Ferrules are only found on figure skates and are used for jumps and spins.

Hockey skates and figure skates are only interchangeable for very basic starter moves like learning to balance, stop and stroke on skates. Other than that, these skates are designed very differently and are used for different purposes. Picks, blades, and shape vary greatly between figure and hockey skates.
Figure skates have a longer shape than hockey skates of the same size. Skates are designed differently for different weight balances. In figure skating, some moves require more weight at the heel while other moves require the weight to be balanced at the toe. Hockey skates are designed to fit the skater as comfortably as possible and are made for maximum speed.

Figure skate blades differ significantly from hockey skate blades. These blades protrude more from the skate, which can be dangerous when checking in hockey and could lead to injury. The blade on a hockey skate is not only shorter, but narrower and lighter. Whereas most figure skate blades are mounted directly to the boot and replacement blades can often be added, hockey skate blades are usually welded and the blades are usually not replaceable.

It’s important to note that blades also vary within the different groups of figure and hockey skates. For example, the blades on goalie skates are designed to move around the goal area and aren’t made for speed shots across a larger area like other hockey skates. Skates made for ice dancing come with safer and shorter blades. The curvature of the blade varies between different types of figure skates, and freestyle skates are completely different from dance skates.

Ferrules, or notches in the tip of skate blades near the toe, are another crucial part of skate design. These are only found on figure skates, where they are used for jumps and spins. These complex spike skates make them more difficult to master than basic hockey skates. It is possible to do some jumps with hockey skates, but usually the maximum lift and spin cannot be achieved without special blades. Freestyle figure skates have larger toes than regular skates due to the jumps performed in freestyle skating.

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