How to Buy Hockey Skates

Few coaches will debate the importance of skating in the overall skill of an ice hockey or inline hockey player. Buying hockey skates that fit your experience level, foot and skating style only enhances your skating skill. Here's how to buy hockey skates for either sport.


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    Determine your size of hockey skate. They can vary by brand, but typically will be 1 size to a size and a half smaller than your shoe size, depending on the brand. Your toes should barely touch the toe cap.
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    Try on several brands of hockey skates to assess the comfort. This will also help you determine whether you need a standard width or wide skate. Standard width skates are usually denoted with a "D," and wide skates are marked as "EE." Some brands and models run wider and deeper than others.
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    Base your budget on how long you think you're going to play. If you're trying out hockey for the first time, buy a pair of skates that are around $100. These won't last as long. But if you know you're going to be playing for a while you can pay between $200 and $800 for a pair of skates that will last you a good number of years. Look for brands like Reebok, Bauer, CCM, and Easton.
    • More expensive skates are lighter weight, have a more durable construction, and greater ankle support and padding.
    • Competitive players look for high-end hockey skates with thermo-formable foam padding that can be heated to create a customized fit.
    • Look at the construction of the plastic holder and metal runner (blade) on ice hockey skates. A 1-piece design is less expensive and suitable for a child or introductory player. A 2-piece design costs more but allows just the plastic holder to be replaced if it breaks, which can happen from impact by a high-velocity puck.
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    If you're buying inline hockey skates, look at the following steps:
    • Except for really small sizes, inline skates come with 4 wheels. The wheels may all be the same size or have slightly larger wheels in the back.
    • You'll want harder wheels (a higher durometer rating) if you are using the inline hockey skates outdoors. Outdoor wheels are more durable but have less grip. A durometer rating of 72A, 74A or 76A are for indoor use only. A durometer rating of 78A or 80A can be used indoors or outdoors. A durometer rating of 82A or 84A are for outdoor use.
    • Look at the bearing rating. A higher rating, such as ABEC 7, is more expensive but makes it easier to skate, because the wheels rotate with less effort.


  • Before you use your higher-end skates you can take them to your rink's pro shop to get them baked. Baking your skates takes about twenty minutes and it will give you a more customized fit and takes away some of the breaking-in time. Most pro shops won't charge too much for this, but only some skates can be baked.
  • After identifying the brand, model and size of hockey skate you want to buy, see if you can find an older model online. Often the only change is in the colors, and you have find significant savings by buying last year's model or a model from even a few years ago.
  • Also ask at your pro shop for your skates to be sharpened. They will usually charge more for a first-time sharpening and less for each subsequent time. Most players like their skates to be sharpened at 12 inch (1.3 cm), but you can ask the workers what other options you have.


  • Don't buy hockey skates that are too big. You'll get blisters on your feet and the lack of ankle stability will make it difficult to skate.
  • Don't wear more than one pair of socks and don't use a very thick material or you will get blisters.

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Categories: Ice Hockey