Don't be a cheapskate when buying your hockey skates

Don't be a cheapskate when buying your hockey skates
Photo by Hedavid / Wikipedia & Creative Commons

You tried ice skating and decided that you like it. Great! Now it is time to buy your own hockey skates.

Next to my helmet and face mask -- which protect my brains and good looks, respectively -- my ice skates are the most important equipment that I own. In fact, the two things you should never cut corners with are head protection and hockey skates.

You should get your own skates as soon as possible for two reasons:

  1. It is silly to continuously spend money on rentals if you know you are going to buy skates. Put those rental fees (around $3 per session; up to $10 per session for outdoor venues like Millennium Park) towards something you can keep.
  2. The sooner you own your own skates, the sooner you can start breaking them in -- and the sooner they will feel like a pair of comfy slippers. Well, slippers with razor-sharp metal blades on the bottom.

You don't need to spend $700 on a pair of skates, but you should not buy the cheapest pair, either.This sounds like common sense, but your skates should be comfortable and fit you well. Don't buy skates that are too big or too small because you got a great deal on them. Skates that are too loose will cause blisters. Skates that are too tight will hurt your feet.

If your skates are comfortable, you can concentrate on other things, like the puck.

If your skates are comfortable, you can think about the puck instead of your aching feet.

Here are a few more tips for buying hockey skates:

  • Men: Skate sizes run one size smaller than U.S. shoe sizes. So, if you wear size 11 shoes like me, then you should get size 10 hockey skates. Be sure to base this off your normal shoe size, and not brands that run a bit big or a bit small.
  • Women: You probably need to get skates that are two sizes smaller than your shoe size. So, if you wear a size 8 shoe, you would probably wear a size 6 skate.
  • Do not buy your first pair of skates over the internet. Online shopping is great if you know exactly what you want and don't need to try things on. Like shoes, different brands of skates will fit you differently.
  • Go to a pro shop that specializes in hockey and try on as many pairs of skates as you want. Shops like Gunzo's and Total Hockey employ people who know hockey. With big box stores that sell goods for all sports, you are unlikely to find someone who can help you find the perfect pair of skates.
  • Certain brands and models of skates bought from a hockey shop can be "baked" -- that is, heated up in a special oven and molded to your feet to speed up break-in and give you a more comfortable, tailor-made fit to your foot.
  • Basically, seeking out the best deal is not the best idea here. Get skates that are comfortable, and you will get many years of enjoyment out of them.

Did you read all those points? Nah, I didn't think so. So, here is a helpful, 2-minute video about fitting skates, courtesy of Total Hockey.

Filed under: Equipment

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