No piece of hockey equipment is as critical to performance as hockey skates. A hockey skate that is not fitted properly can damage the skate, negatively impact performance, and more importantly, create discomfort for the player. The skate needs to fit properly in order to provide maximum stability as well as strong ankle support.
While children are growing, so are their feet. For youth hockey players, it’s important to buy a skate that can provide for a little bit of growth while not being so big that it fits too loosely. A good rule of thumb is a finger width behind the heal of the foot while your child is wearing the skate. Any more than that and the skate will be too loose. More than that will not allow for much growth.
Adult skates should fit as snug as possible to create a mold of the foot. Therefore there should not be much “wiggle room.” Once you are wearing your skate, kick your heal to move it snugly to the back of the boot. Your toes should barely touch the tip of the boot.
While lacing, be sure your skate is sitting flat on the ground. Start tightening the laces firmly from the bottom-up. Once your skate is fully laced and tied, walk around on the skates to make sure it is a snug but comfortable fit. It takes a few times on the ice to break in hockey skates. To speed this up, see if your local rink or hockey shop can “bake” your skates to speed up the process of breaking-in your skates.
Ice skates have been in existence for centuries. In ancient Scandinavia, early ice skates were fashioned out of animal bones. Around 200 A.D., the first ice skate with a metal blade was used. As time progressed, ice skates were strapped to the bottom of a shoe and a person could move across the ice using poles.
It wasn't until the late 1800's when the traditional "blade & boot" skates were invented which greatly enhanced the skaters ability to move across the ice.
Modern hockey skates consist of that "blade & boot" structure with the boot being made of plastic and other synthetic materials. The boot is attached to a blade holder which holds the blade in place.
The blade is made of either lightweight steel or aluminum. The blade is slightly curved from toe to heal while the blade has a small concave cut through the length of the blade. The purpose of this is to allow the skate to cut into the ice therefore allowing the skater better control and agility. The depth of the cut varies depending on a skaters need and preference. A deeper cut will result in greater control but less speed. A shallow cut will result in less control but greater speed.
The quality of materials vary greatly for hockey skates. As a result, the cost of hockey skates can also vary greatly. Whether you are a recreational skater or a professional hockey player, finding the right hockey skate is one of the most important factors in maximizing your skating experience.