How to Select a Good Pair of Ice Skates

Two Methods:Beginners: Basic Skills SkatersIntermediate:Jumping at All Levels

Ice skates are an expensive part of your sport, so it is very important to learn how to buy the best ones for you so that you will get the most out of them. Before purchasing ice skates, it's a really good idea to rent skates. That way, if you discover skating is not what you really want to do, you haven't spent too much.

Method 1
Beginners: Basic Skills Skaters

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    Realize that blades and boots are sold separately.
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    Choose the right boots. For beginners, it is not necessary to have a boot with a lot of padding on the tongue or extra hooks. Three hooks should be enough.
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    Ensure that the blade does not have a large toe pick. It is sufficient to have about 3 or 4 picks.
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    Have the boot fitted properly. Check that the heel of the boot fits firmly around your ankle. Your ankle will direct your foot in the curving and turning when you learn this. The boot should also fit firmly from heel to toe.
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    Take time to break in your new boots. This can be hard work and they won't feel very comfortable at first. The answer to this is to break them in in short bursts and build up. Even wearing them around the house or watching TV (with guards on) helps to break them in faster.

Method 2
Intermediate:Jumping at All Levels

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    Make sure that there is ample support around the ankle. The skate boot must also prevent most lateral movement. Keep in mind that it should still allow flexing and pointing of the foot as well as bend in the ankle. The front of the boot should be roomy enough so that you can wiggle your toes but should still be snug around the instep and the heel.
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    Select the blades according to need. Blades come in many varieties:
    • Dance blades are shorter on the heel end.
    • Advanced freestyle blades have large, intricate, intense picks.
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    Have the blades fitted correctly to your boot. Blades are screwed on, so make sure that you check the screws are securely intact. The blades must sit securely under the physical center of the boot. This is very important because it ensures that the blades will run true across the ice without pulling. Check out the consequences of different fitting:
    • Blades set too far in - the feet will fall outward
    • Blades set too far out - the feet will fall inward
    • Blades correctly centered - feet stand upright naturally

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    Have the blades sharpened. It is very important that the blades are sharpened. Have them sharpened by someone who specialized in figure skating, not hockey. You will know when to have them sharpened when they start feeling 'slippery' on the ice or you fall out of turns.
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    Get the skates waterproofed. When you first purchase your skates, the shop will either apply a waterproof coat for you or they will tell you to do it yourself. This will keep the sole waterproofed so that it doesn't absorb the water and break down and rot.
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    Make sure to purchase guards. While walking around the rink, it is essential to always wear guards. They come in many different colors and combinations to suit your personality and they protect the blades from undue pressure. They are usually made from plastic.
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    Keep skates dry after use. As soon as you step off the ice to take off your skates, use an old towel to wipe the water from the boots and blades. Put a "soaker" over the blade to protect it. This will ensure that your skates last.


  • Whoever is fitting your skates will ask you if it hurts your foot anywhere. Do not be shy and hold back telling the person. You will only regret being shy if you feel pain later. Even if it's the slightest pressure, ask for it to be punched out.
  • Girls and women usually wear white boots and boys and men usually wear black boots. There are many other colors on the market but usually these are not suitable for professional training purposes.
  • If you have a private coach, make absolutely sure that they have checked and approved your skates. Even if you don't have a private coach, make sure someone like a good friend (who is more advanced than you) or just a qualified coach that you don't know, says okay. Just tell anyone at the rink, "I'm on this jump _______, are these skates okay for me?". You need someone's opinion. This is 100% true, but my friend was buying a pair of skates, but she didn't have a private coach. So she went ahead and bought a pair of $600 skates because she thought they all were the same. She didn't realize how HUGE the toe pick was (she was a real beginner). So she wasted her money just because she didn't ask anyone. The people at the shop you buy your skates at will also know. Just be sure you don't fall into the same trap my friend did!
  • To store the skates, wipe off the ice/water from the boot AND blade immediately after stepping off the ice. "Soakers" are covers made of terrycloth or some other soft material that protect the blade and soak up the last of the water.
  • Boots usually run 1 1/2 sizes smaller than sneakers. Make sure you have them properly fitted by somebody who knows ice skates well.
  • When you buy your skates, wear tights or whatever you would normally wear inside your skates.
  • Make sure before you buy it to ask your private coach or any coach.


  • If you're buying used skates, make sure they still have good enough support for your ankle.
  • If you're suspicious of any orthopedic peculiarities, consult a podiatrist. If you do in fact need orthotics, you will most likely need to wear them in your skate. Some boots are made to fit orthotics, so ask somebody at your skate shop if they know anything about that.
  • Always remember to change skates sometimes or something bad could happen.

Article Info

Categories: Ice and Figure Skating