How To Choose the Right Hockey Skates

An essential part of your hockey gear is your skates. The right skates can take your game to another level, propelling you along the ice with ease. On the other hand, the wrong skates can leave you tumbling on the ice with plenty of blisters afterward. To help make sure this doesn’t happen, below we’ll outline everything you need to know to find the right hockey skates.

Finding the Right Hockey Skate Size

Choosing the right hockey skates
Image by Matthew Sichkaruk is licensed with Unsplash License

There are two basic methods you can use to find the right hockey skates. These are:

The Easy Method for Sizing Hockey Skates

The easiest way to find your hockey skate size is by taking your current shoe size. In general, if you’re an adult, you’ll want hockey skates that are about 1.5 sizes down. So, if you wear a size 10 shoe, look for a size 8.5 skate. Dress shoe size tends to be a little more accurate, so go off of this size if you have dress shoes.

For children, go down about 1 size instead. Unless you’re looking to get skates that your child can grow into, in which case you can go down about 0.5 in size. Just be sure the skates still have a snug fit.

The Foot Tracing Method

For a more accurate sizing method, you can trace your foot. To do this, you’ll need a blank piece of paper, a pencil, and a ruler/measuring tape. Start by placing your foot on the piece of paper. If you wear hockey socks, put those on, otherwise place your bare foot. Then trace the outline of your foot with the pencil, keeping the pencil perpendicular to the page as you go.

Once you have an outline of your foot, grab your measuring tool and measure from your heel to the furthest point on your toes. Then measure the width of your foot, from the widest point of your forefoot. After you have the length and the width, divide the length by the width to get your foot width ratio. If you’d like, you can then repeat these steps with your other foot so that you have an accurate measurement for both.

With your length and width measurements, you can now use a hockey skate size chart to help you select the right skates.

Hockey Skate Size Charts

Hockey skate sizing chart
Skate WidthSkate Fit
CNarrow
DStandard
RWider than D
EWide
EEWidest

How To Tell If Your Hockey Skates Fit Properly

Ensuring proper fit is crucial for hockey skates to enhance performance and prevent injuries. First, focus on the toes; there should be a snug fit without excessive pressure. Aim for a quarter to a half-inch of space between your longest toe and the skate’s toe cap. Check the width by ensuring minimal side-to-side movement and a secure heel lock. The heel should sit firmly against the back without lifting during movement.

A good way to test if your hockey skates fit properly for junior players is with the finger test. Loosen up the laces so that you can push your foot to the front of the skates, with the toes just brushing the end of the skate. Then slide to the edge of your seat and look down the back of your skates.

From here, you should be able to slide one finger down the back of your skates along the Achilles heel. If more fingers can fit, your skates are too loose. If you can’t fit one finger, they’re too tight. One finger is the ideal fit, as this allows room for growth without decreasing skating ability or creating blisters.

For adult players, you want a tighter fit. Push your heel to the back of the skate, then tie them as normal. When you stand up straight, your toes should just brush the end of the skates. Then, when you adopt a skating stance by bending your knee, your toes should no longer touch the front.

Pay attention to the arch and ankle support; your foot should feel cradled but not squeezed. Finally, when you walk/skate, you shouldn’t feel your heel lifting. Heel movement is a sign of a bad fit and could result in discomfort, a decrease in performance, or even injury.

Most Popular Hockey Skate Brands

If you’re new to buying hockey skates, your best bet is likely to go with one of the popular brands. Choosing a popular brand will give you plenty of options to explore, making it easier to find the right hockey skates for your situation. The most popular hockey skate brands are:

Bauer

Bauer, a prominent brand in the hockey equipment industry, is known for producing high-quality hockey skates. One notable series is the Bauer Vapor, Supreme, and Nexus lines, each catering to different player preferences and playing styles. The Bauer Vapor skates are designed for agility and quickness, featuring a tapered fit for players who prioritize speed. The Supreme line emphasizes power and stability, with a more anatomical fit.

On the other hand, the Nexus series provides a classic fit, offering a bit more room for comfort. Bauer integrates cutting-edge technologies into their skates, such as the LS Pulse steel for enhanced durability and the TUUK blade holder for optimal performance. Utilizing lightweight materials and innovative design, Bauer hockey skates consistently strive to provide players with a combination of comfort, performance, and durability.

CCM

CCM, a reputable brand in the hockey equipment industry, is well-regarded for its innovative and high-performance hockey skates. There are various lines available from CCM, including the Jetspeed, Tacks, and Ribcor series, each tailored to different player preferences. The Jetspeed line is known for its emphasis on speed and agility, featuring a contoured fit. Tacks skates focus on power and stability, providing a anatomical fit for maximum energy transfer. The Ribcor series combines a flexible boot and a high level of customization, catering to players who value agility and a personalized fit. CCM integrates technologies like the Speedblade XS holder for quick blade changes and the TotalDri Pro+ liner for moisture management.

Easton

Easton was once a popular hockey equipment brand, but they were bought by Bauer in 2016. However, you may be able to find some Easton equipment available in stores or online. Easton offered affordable skates which were great for youth and recreational players, making it worthwhile to seek them out if you fall under these categories. Just be careful that any used skates you buy are still in good condition.

Graf

Graf, a Swiss brand with a strong tradition in hockey equipment, has been recognized for producing high-quality hockey skates. Graf’s hockey skates are known for their craftsmanship and attention to detail. The company emphasizes a customizable fit, offering a variety of models to suit different player preferences. Explore Graf skates if you want something that’s specifically tuned to your body and playing style.

One of Graf’s notable features is the use of a heat-molding process, allowing players to achieve a personalized fit by molding the skates to the shape of their feet. This enhances comfort and responsiveness on the ice. Graf skates also typically incorporate advanced materials for durability and performance.

Maintaining Your Hockey Skates

Finally, once you have the right hockey skates, it’s important to keep them in good shape. Start by regularly inspecting the blades for nicks or dullness. Sharpen your hockey skates as needed, using a reputable skate sharpening service or a sharpening tool if you’re skilled. Wipe the blades with a dry cloth after each use to prevent rust.

Clean the boot’s exterior with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris, and allow them to air dry. Avoid exposing skates to extreme temperatures or direct sunlight. If the skates have a removable footbed, take it out to air and prevent odor. Loosen the laces and open the tongue after use to facilitate drying and to maintain the boot’s shape.

Inspect the rivets and eyelets for any signs of damage, and tighten or replace them if necessary. If your skates have a removable runner or blade, periodically check and tighten the screws.

Lastly, store your skates in a cool, dry place. Consider using blade guards when walking off-ice to protect the blades and avoid unnecessary wear. Regular maintenance not only prolongs the life of your hockey skates but also ensures they provide the best possible performance on the ice.