Whether you have an aspiring figure skater or a mini hockey star on your hands, you’ll need to learn a bit about ice skates before they dive into any rink-oriented sport. There are a plethora of factors to look over when purchasing and some simple facts about the gear that you’ll want to stay up to date on as well.
When looking at ice skates you must consider its parts and what you’re actually looking at and looking for. For example, the interior should be well-padded and comfortable. The exterior should be protective and slightly stiff. And finally, support for the foot and ankle is an absolute must to prevent injury while the blade should be graded for the specific needs of its wearer.
Parts of the Ice Skate
As we mentioned previously, an ice skate has a few main parts. The interior, exterior, and its blade just as a review. But let’s quickly break that down even further.
This is essentially where the magic happens. Made from carbon steel (most of the time) blades must be durable with a cut as well as sharpening dependent on the needs of the skater (including age, weight, skill, sport, etc).
Blades are curved and have what’s known as a “hollow.” The depth of this hollow also depends on the sport and varying factors – which are all a part of the sharpening process.
This is where comfortability comes into question. The interior should be comfortable, warm, and well-supported. There should be reinforcements on the ankle to support and keep safe during speed, jumps, and tricks.
Normally, this portion of the skate is made from leather or synthetic materials. You may even want to look into heel support, especially for those involved in hockey or figure skating.
How Important is Quality?
Quality definitely matters, especially within the first stages of training for a particular sport. But in the beginning, it’s okay to seek out comfort first before shelling out the rest of your budget. What does a “good” ice skate look like though?
Here are some features to look for:
- Moisture-wicking lining
- Stainless steel blade
- Added heel support
- Heat-moldable linings
- Leather exterior
- Hinged angles
Just like with any shoe, especially for growing feet, it’s imperative that you get the right size. Thankfully, there are adjustable designs made for kids’ feet. These are for leisure and learning skating though. Once gameplay or competition is on the table, you’ll need to invest in more traditional models.
Should There Be Room For Growth?
Unlike sneakers or everyday shoes, room for growth is not needed. In fact, it’s recommended that you steer clear from buying skates too big because of safety concerns. Agility is crucial to ice skating, no matter what kind the focus is, and if your heel is going up and down with too much space those turns and jumps won’t be an easy fit. Firmness in size is the goal here.
Pro Tip: Try on skates with the socks intended to be worn while wearing them.
Finding the right skate depends on several factors. What sport are you going to play? How long have you been skating? How old are you? What’s your height and weight? All of these variables come into play when shopping around for the perfect model.
Lake Placid Adjustable Ice Skates | $31.99+
Sizing: Small Junior (10-13), Medium (1-4), Large (5-8)
Color Options: Black/White
When considering buying ice skates for your child, you may be torn on where to look first. For beginners and those just testing the waters, so to speak, ice hockey skates are a good route to take. They’re the best for learning how to be on the ice and for those that want a rush of some speed.
These skates should be easy to lace up and slip off. They should also be made from comfortable, softer synthetic materials.
Sizing: Toddler, Youth, & Adult sizing available
Color Options: Black, Navy, White, & Pink
When it comes to hockey, you’ll be looking for a design that does well with speed and has the ability to perform sharp terms. Your athlete will want something supportive for the foot as well. Keep in mind here that the blade is shorter and made for speed and agility.
Hockey players’ ankles should be incredibly snug and the fit should be resistant to a lot of pressure. The designs are oftentimes lighter than a figure skate because of the need for speed.
For Figure Skating
Sizing: 1 – 13 in Girls
Color Options: White
When it comes to figure skating, considerations include designs able to allow for tight jumps, spins, sharp turns, speed, and other tricks. These skates will include toe picks in the front of the blade used for “setting off” as well as pirouettes – they’re also known for being quite tricky on beginners’ feet.
These are the skates that are preferably made of leather – needed for its flexibility. The blade should also be very sharp for its necessity of accuracy.