5 Things All hockey players should know about skates before buying
How to Buy Hockey Skates
Buying hockey skates can seem daunting, especially given that they range from 0 to upwards of 0. Since skates are built for different levels of expertise, you have to know your goal when it comes to skating; are you casually going to the rink or are you playing games of hockey regularly? How frequently and aggressively you plan to skate will determine the skates you need and how much you will spend.
Choosing the Right Fit
Go smaller than your shoe size.Skates are typically 1-1.5 sizes smaller than your street shoes. Female hockey players can buy junior/men’s-sized hockey skates but should be aware there’s about a 3-size difference between junior/men’s and women’s.
Be aware if you have high arches, wide, or narrow feet.This will help you find the right skate. Different brands will fit the parts of your foot (instep, heel, mid-foot, toe box) differently.
- Hockey skates are given a numerical sizing value along with a fit-type value of C, D, R, E, and EE in ascending order of narrowest to widest.
- Different skate models generally vary in fit in the following places: stance, instep, heel, mid-foot, toe box, and volume which refers to the main, 3-dimensional body of the foot.
Try on skates in person and record brands and fits you like.If your toes brush the toe-cap with a straight, standing posture, bend your knees, lean forward and send the heels to the back of the boot. If your toes no longer brush the toe-cap, they should be a good fit.
- Pencil test - undo the laces of your skates. Place a pencil across your foot three eyelets down. If you cannot touch both eyelets and are hitting your foot, the shoe is too shallow.
- Finger test - lace up your skates and lean forward. You should be able to fit only one finger between your heel and the skate.
Test the give of a skate.Grab it by the ankle and give it a squeeze. A skate with less ankle support will flare. A stiffer, more durable skate will not. If there’s a little resistance on the squeeze, they’re suitable for beginner hockey players. Anything that bends too easily will not have enough ankle support for hockey. Anything too hard will be for advanced players.
- Beginners don’t always need the stiffest skates because they’ll restrict motion and prevent you from developing the muscles for natural ankle support.
Consider inline skates.If the ice isn’t for you, inline skates follow the same fitting procedure but are generally sized closer to the skater’s actual shoe size. If you want to skate outside, look for a high durometer rating. For indoor courts, look for a lower durometer rating.
- Durometer ratings refer to wheels durability. High ratings are for rigorous outdoor skating. Low ratings refer to softer wheels with more grip for indoor or court skating.
Finding a Quality Skate
Choose a narrower skate if you want to skate fast.The slimmer the skate, the more aerodynamic. Lightweight skates with snug fits allow for better agility and control.
Choose a lower end skate if you plan on skating recreationally.Skates that are fit with a standard or wider shoe provide more comfort and are less likely to have unnecessary structural features like paddings or linings that cause the price to go up.
Choose higher end skates for longer wear and tear.Skates become more expensive the stiffer and more structurally sound they are because they are meant to last longer and survive impact from hockey pucks, sticks and aggressive skating styles.
Buying the Skate
Bring skate socks to the store.If you don’t own any, ask a sales rep if there are any you can try on with your skates. The thickness of the socks will alter the fit of the skates so it’s important to test both of them at the same time.
Ask a sales rep about skates that can be heat-fitted.Heat-molding reduces the break-in time and softens some of the harsh support structures to fit better to your feet. You can usually get this done at a rink or a professional shop.
Look at brands like Reebok, Bauer, CCM and Easton if you plan on skating regularly.They tend to be upwards of 0 but will suit your needs. Investing in more expensive, durable skates is a better long-term choice for beginners who skate often.
Go for skates under 0 if you’re looking at a casual skating regimen.There’s no need to spend upwards of 0 on skates that have a lot of padding, structure and durability if you don’t plan on playing much hockey or skating more than once a week.
Ask about refund policies should your skates not fit or work out for you.Some pain is normal when breaking in new skates. Repeated pain may be sign of a bad fit.
- If you find skates in store that suit your needs and feel great on your feet, do some online research to find sales or discounted prices before making a purchase. Chances are you can save some money.
Video: How to Select an Ice Hockey Skate
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