Best Ice Hockey Skates for Beginners

Best Ice Hockey Skates for Beginners

What’s the big deal about ice hockey skates? You’d think it was pretty simple – you just need a boot with a blade on them. The fact is that it’s not quite as simple as all that. As sportswear has evolved over the last few years, so too have hockey skates.

This means that there’s a vast array of choices available and this can make it difficult for beginners when all you want to do is start skating. With that in mind, we decided to create this guide to the best skates for beginners.

We’ll go through how much you should spend, how to get the perfect fit and a good few options that you should consider along the way.

How Much Should I Spend on Skates?

You can get a pair of skates for under $100, or you can splurge and buy a pair for about a $1,000. How much should you consider spending? Let’s have a look at what you’ll get at each price point to help you decide.

Here’s What You’ll Get at Different Price Points

  • Low-end models – up to $250: These are the cheapest option available. They can’t be customized and usually should not be baked either. These are a good option if you’re not sure yet if you want to take this sport further, but they are not the comfiest.
  • Mid-range models – from $300 to $500: These include a gel interior that will mold to the contours of your feet. They are comfier than the previous lot. If you want to bake them, you’ll need to check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if it’s possible to do so.
  • High-end models from $700 to $1,000: If you’re serious about ice hockey, or are a competitive player, this is the way to go. These are the most customizable shoes of the lot and will stand up well to being baked.

What Fit Should I Get?

Getting the right fit is essential for play. You don’t need a skate that is roomy and bulky. Ideally, it should fit snugly so that your foot movements are mirrored as nearly as possible. That means that you want to make sure that there’s a space between the big toe and the end.

When we say snug, we don’t mean so tight that they cut off your circulation. When you try them on, you want them to feel relatively comfortable but not loose at all.

If you’re buying for a younger player, there is a tendency to think that they should have a little extra room in them for when the feet get bigger. This is a bad move. Rather buy a cheaper set of skates that you’ll replace later. Loose skates make the user more unsteady and can lead to injuries on the ice.

Support

The next thing to consider is how much support the skates give you. You should be able to move your ankle freely but should still provide support for it. They should also support the arches and sides of your feet.

Comfort

There is always a breaking in period with new shoes. That said, the skates that you select should be basically comfortable from the outset. Look for features like padded inserts and arch supports. These help to cushion the inside of the foot and improve the comfort.

Make sure to put the skates on and see how they feel. They won’t be entirely comfortable, but they shouldn’t hurt your feet either.

Protection

A hockey puck is an extremely hard bit of rubber. During a game, that rubber gets bashed around a lot. As a result, that means that it’s usually moving pretty fast. Since your feet could end up directly in the firing line, you need some decent padding to keep them protected.

Of course, it’s not just the puck that you need protection from. Hockey is a rough sport. Someone could slam into you skate’s first, or your feet might be on the wrong side of a hockey stick. There are a lot of ways that you can be injured while playing, so your feet need to be protected.

Lacing

You might not think that the lacing makes a difference, but it does. It’s going to impact how snugly the shoes fit and how effective the support they offer is. The main question when it comes to lacing patterns, though, is whether you plan to take off your skates during breaks in the game.

If so, you’ll need to stick to a lacing style that is simple and easy to use. Velcro here is not a good idea – you’ll never quite get the best fit.

Blade

Blades have come a long way over the last few years. Whereas before you were stuck with heavy metal blades, you can now find lightweight alloys and even hard-plastic blades. The rule with blades is simple – get the one that makes the most amount of contact when you’re skating.

If you want to be able to accelerate fast or stop on a dime, it’s essential that the blade is in full contact with the ice.

Weight

The last three decades have seen drastic changes to the materials used to craft sportswear. Skates are no exception to this rule. We’ve moved from heavy skates that give you an extra workout while wearing them to light-weight skates that barely feel— as though they aren’t there. Using special material like carbon fibers helps maintain the strength required, but also keeps the weight down.

That said, you’ll also need to consider what position you’ll be playing before picking your set. Lighter skates tend to offer less protection overall. That might be a tradeoff that a forward is willing to make because they need to get out ahead of the pack.

A defender, on the other hand, is going to be blocking pucks and hits and so might prefer the extra protection afforded by a heavier set.

Style

Technically, style shouldn’t come into it all that much. After all, as a sportsperson, you want to prioritize performance. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between the two. You can find a great-looking pair of skates that still performs beautifully.

Even so, if it is a toss-up between an ugly but comfortable pair and a stylish but uncomfortable pair, resign yourself to wearing ugly footwear.

Warranty

Your skates will take a lot of abuse during a game. That’s why it’s important to know that they’re not just going to fall apart at the seams after a few rough games. Check whether or not the manufacturer offers a warranty.

If they’re not confident enough in their product to offer some kind of guarantee, why should you take the chance that they’re not going to hold up?

Which Brand Should I Go For?

There are a lot of good brands out there. We’ve highlighted our favorite models from our two favorite brands – CCM and Bauer. They both offer high-quality products that aren’t exorbitantly priced.

Bauer Vapor X500 Ice Hockey Skates (Senior)

Overview

The X500 is not one of the cheapest options out there, but it has a lot of useful features. This makes it our top pick when it comes to value for money.

It features a quick release blade system that makes blade changes a breeze. The outsole is stiffer than most, which is perfect for improved energy transfer. You’ll feel more powerful on the ice in these as a result.

The shell is thermoformable. This means that you can bake these and so reduce the time it takes to break them in. The tongue provides protection that you won’t have seen before from this company. It is filled with high-density foam for maximum protection.

The inside is lined with a lining that wicks away extra moisture. There are also heel pads on the inside for extra comfort.

Pros

  • High quality
  • Well-established brand
  • Comfy
  • Features the company’s three-fit system
  • Can be baked
  • Durable
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • The price point is a little higher
  • It’s not the most stylish skate out there
  • Some users believe that the heel is a little tight

CCM Tacks 9050 Ice Hockey Skates – Senior

Overview

Tacks are well-suited to beginners. They are reasonably priced and perform well. They have a heavier tongue to provide additional protection and can be baked to get the perfect fit. The company has taken lessons learned with previous models and applied them here.

They also feature a fixed blade. This, in addition to the lightweight construction and stiffer outsole, makes them ideal for someone just starting. The outsole is made of plastic and offers improved energy transfer.

The tongue is foam-injected to improve comfort and provide added protection. The microfiber liner is thickly padded to give you even more comfort and support.

These will give you a taste of what a more professional set can do, without the hefty price tag.

Pros

  • Great quality
  • Good price
  • Can be baked
  • Stiff enough to improve energy transfer
  • Nice amount of padding for extra comfort
  • Durable

Cons

  • The blade is fixed

Bauer Supreme S160 Ice Hockey Skates

Overview

S160 skates have been designed for peak performance. If you’re looking for skates that offer you explosive power, this is the pair for you. They are highly stable, thanks to the PU quarter panel. They’re also extremely responsive thanks to the clear-injected outsole.

They’re comfortable thanks to the padding and the microfiber liner. The liner does help to wick moisture away from the feet.

The tongue is made from foam-injected felt for a more comfortable fit and extra protection. The metatarsal guard is made from foam for added comfort without sacrificing support.

Pros

  • Good price
  • Comfortable
  • High quality
  • Well-established brand
  • Durable
  • Offer a higher level of performance

Cons

  • We’d be wary of baking these

CCM Jetspeed Ft365 Ice Hockey Skates

Overview

We loved the look of these skates. Now, granted, looks aren’t everything, so let’s move on to performance and rate it there. This is a skate designed for speed. So, if you’re a forward, this is probably the model that you want to look into.

It is lightweight, and the fit can be customized to allow you the perfect fit. You have an injected construction that features a composite skin. The body can be baked.

The microfiber liner is designed to give you an extra layer of padding so that your feet don’t get rubbed raw. The tongue offers an additional layer of comfort and protection.

Pros

  • Great quality
  • Can be baked
  • Impressive improvement in energy transfer
  • Nice amount of padding for extra comfort
  • Durable
  • Built for speed

Cons

  • The blade is fixed
  • The price is a little higher than others on the list

CCM Ribcor 64k Ice Hockey Skates

Overview

Ribcor skates are a little pricier, but if you’re serious about hockey, that little bit of extra money is well-spent. This range has been designed using feedback from pro players and offers a taste of what a professional skate can do.

The energy transfer in this model is impressive. The body is structurally supportive but also flexible for added comfort.

The heel lock design has been built into the skate. This was done so that the pump present in previous models could be done away with.

The microfiber lining has been designed to take a lot of punishment. It will keep your feet dry and comfortable and will not tear or break anytime soon.

The tongue rounds off the impressive features that this model offers and enhances the comfort even more.

Pros

  • Great quality
  • Impressive in energy transfer
  • Durable liner that’s highly effective at wicking away moisture
  • Durable
  • Based on feedback from pros
  • Offers a similar experience to that you’d get from a much more expensive model

Cons

  • The price is a little higher than others on the list

Bauer Nexus N2700 Ice Hockey Skates

Overview

Nexus skates can be used as an entry-level model but will also prove an excellent choice for intermediate players. As a result, this is the type of skate that can grow with you as your game improves. It boasts a lot of features that are common in high-end shoes at a fraction of the price.

The upper is plush enough to be comfortable but stiff enough to provide optimal support. This model fits securely and boasts great energy transfer properties.

These use Bauer’s three-fit system so you can get it nice and snug. The footbed is made from EVA foam that will mold itself to the contours of your foot over time.

The microfiber lining and the memory foam in the ankle pads help to keep your feet dry and comfortable. The insole features metatarsal support for additional stability.

The construction is good, and this model will stand a lot of abuse.

Pros

  • Good price
  • Comfortable
  • Three-fit system
  • High quality
  • Well-established brand
  • Durable
  • Offers a higher level of performance
  • Can grow with you as your skills improve
  • Edge holder makes changing out blades quick and easy

Cons

  • We’d be wary of baking these

CCM Jetspeed FT370 Ice Hockey Skates

Overview

This skate is also slightly more expensive, but that’s because it’s got some high-level features built into it. It’s designed for optimizing performance and features a quarter package that has been upgraded.

This model offers a good deal of comfort and performance that you’ll love. The upper is stiff to provide improved energy transfer. This effect is enhanced by the blade holder that has been used.

This is 4mm taller to allow for a better turning radius for aggressive players.

The tongue is comfortable and provides added protection. The microfiber liner will help keep your feet nice and dry. The boot collars have been designed to extend the useable lifespan of the liner.

The ankle padding is made of memory foam for amazing comfort.

Pros

  • Great quality
  • Impressive in energy transfer
  • Durable liner that’s highly effective at wicking away moisture
  • Durable
  • Can be baked
  • Based on feedback from pros
  • Good-looking skates
  • Offers a similar experience to that you’d get from a much more expensive model

Cons

  • The price is a little higher than others on the list

Which Size of Skates Should I Buy?

If possible, go into a store and try a few pairs on. The salesperson will often be willing to give you advice on the best fit. If you’d rather buy online, that’s fine – just make sure that you measure your foot correctly beforehand.

You’ll need to make sure that the skates you’re considering are wide enough for your feet to fit into them. When in doubt, you can always message the seller online with these measurements and ask them to help you find the right size for you.

Generally speaking, when you’re trying them on, wear your regular skate socks. You’re after a snug fit with the socks on. As they can be thicker than normal socks, make sure that you wear them when out looking.

The Benefits of Baking Your Skates

Baking your skates is a quick and relatively painless way to break them in. The skates are heated in a low-heat oven. This makes the materials they are made out of more malleable. It only takes a few minutes, and you put them on as soon as they are out.

Your foot will then make an imprint in the sole, and your skates will instantly be more comfortable. The primary benefits are that you get a perfect fit and that your shoes are broken in with as little trouble as possible.

If you prefer to break them in without baking them, it will take around about six uncomfortable sessions on the ice to do so. With this method, you are likely to feel more comfortable in them straight away.

The process to follow when baking them is pretty simple:

  • First, make sure that your skates can be baked.
  • Preheat your oven to 180°F or 80°C.
  • While you’re waiting for that to heat up, lay your skates on a flat baking sheet. They should be completely flat. You can put your skating socks on when you’re done with that.
  • Now switch the oven off and wait a minute or two.
  • You may now put the skates in. Place them in the center of the oven so that they’re not very close to either of the element.
  • Leave them in for no more than four minutes.
  • As soon as you take them out, put them on your feet and lace up. You can then stand for a minute or so or sit down. It’s important not to bend your knees or apply extra strain to the eyelets. The warmth will make them looser than usual.
  • Now it’s just a waiting game. Keep the skates on for at least fifteen minutes. They should be completely cool before you remove them.
  • Set them aside for twenty-four hours so that the adhesive has time to cure again.
  • That’s it – enjoy skating with your comfortable new skates.

Final Notes

When it comes to buying skates, we’d recommend getting the best pair that you can afford. If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to high-end models, though, you can still get some great skates at a lower price point.

The models that we’ve discussed above all feature low-end prices with high-end features and performance. You get a feeling for what a professional skate feels like without having to sell a kidney.

Overall, we stuck to two brands here because these are the ones we believe are the best. Any of the models listed above should last you well.

The key is to get the perfect fit. This means starting with a skate that feels reasonably comfortable. If the skates can handle it, baking them can help to get them into a more malleable state. From there, you just need to slip them onto your feet so that an imprint can be made.

We hope that you’ve found this article useful and would love to hear what you thought about it. Hit us up in the comments and let us know.

matthewmarley

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