old skates hanging on a ladder

So it’s time: Time to buy new ice skates! Whether it’s a new pair because you wore out your old pair or this is your first pair ever, buying your own ice skates requires you to consider some things before taking the plunge.

Keep reading for a list of questions you’ll want to ask yourself before buying new ice skates. Just like with any sporting good, you’ll want to think about how you’ll be using the skates.

Did you know whether you turn to the ice for slamming pucks or practicing your double axel, a personal ice rink from KwikRink Synthetic Ice can fulfill all your needs? It’s the perfect place to break in your new ice skates! 

What will your ice skates’ primary use be?

One of the most important things to consider before buying your own ice skates is their purpose.

What do you plan to do in the ice skates? 

Are you a hockey player or a figure skater? Maybe you’re a speed skater?

No matter what your favorite ice-based activity is, you’ll want to purchase a pair of skates that work best for your needs.

Now, let’s look at some of the differences between these different kinds of ice skates.

figure skates have toe pic

Figure Skates

Think about how a figure skater moves on the ice: jumping, gliding, spinning, stretching, turning. A figure skater needs a pair of skates that allow for a wide range of motion.

For this reason, figure skates need to be very flexible. Yet they also need to hug the foot and ankle snugly. 

They are often made of leather because it allows movement and a tight fit. However, some figure skates for beginners might be made out of vinyl or other materials.

It’s also essential for figure skate blades to be very sharp. Figure skaters need to make quick turns. Accuracy is crucial in figure skating, where tenths of a point may determine competition winners.

Ice skates designed for figure skating feature toe picks at the front. These toe picks (or small teeth) allow the skater to jump and spin with more control.

For example, toe picks are used to stop a spin, and as a take-off or landing point for jumps. However, for beginners, they can be easy to trip over.

new hockey skates

Ice Hockey Skates

Hockey players have different priorities from figure skaters — and they have the different ice skates to match.

Ice hockey skates usually fit slightly more loosely on the foot than figure skates do. They are often more streamlined — lighter, narrower, and flatter — so they don’t interfere with the gameplay.

Ice hockey skates don’t have a toe pick like figure skates, and their blades are narrower, too. However, they give the foot a little more support because their blades are rounded at the back and front of the foot.

This curved blade on ice hockey skates helps the skater increase speed, agility, and maneuverability whether the skater is moving backward or forward. 

new speed skates

Speed Skates

It’s no surprise that speed skates prioritize speed! Moving across the ice as quickly as possible is the primary goal, so of course, you need a pair of skates that provide little resistance and helps propel you forward.

And that’s precisely how speed skates are designed. They feature long, thin blades that extend beyond the boot of each skate.

In fact, on some speed skates, the blade only attaches to a hinge mechanism at the boot’s front! This detachment keeps the blade from digging down into the ice and creating friction (the enemy of speed).

Needless to say, speed skates aren’t for beginners! You should only buy speed skates if you know you specifically want to race on the ice.

7 Tips for Buying Your Own Ice Skates

Okay, so now that you know a little more about the different kinds of ice skates, here are seven tips for buying your own pair.

  1. Consider the skates’ primary use (ice hockey, figure skating, speed skating, recreational, etc.). This detail is the most important because it narrows down what type of ice skate you need to purchase.
  2. Consider your skill and experience level. Some ice skates are better-suited to advanced skaters, while others work best for beginners. As your skill level progresses, you can try different skates. 
  3. Consider how often you’ll use the skates. If you simply need a pair of skates to wear on the rink a few times a year for fun, you probably don’t need to invest a lot of money. On the other hand, if you’re a figure skater competing at the national level and skating hours every day, you won’t mind investing a little more.
  4. Think about your foot size. Is your foot finished growing? If not (or if you’re buying skates for a child who’s still growing like a weed!), it might be best to stick to inexpensive options for now. Once your foot is at its forever-size, you can invest in a better pair if you want.
  5. Do some research on different brands. If you’re going to invest hundreds of dollars, it’s worth researching the best pair for you and your circumstances. Read reviews. Ask coaches or other athletes in your sport. Remember that some dealers earn a commission from specific brands, so you might not be able to trust the salesperson’s recommendation.
  6. Go for the Goldilocks fit. The skates should fit snugly, but you don’t want them to be too tight or too loose. They really do need to fit “just right.” Your ankles should feel supported, but they need a little flexibility, also. 
  7. Rent till you’re ready to buy. If you’re new to skating or not prepared to inject your new hobby with a cash infusion yet, simply keep renting. Until you get to more advanced levels, rental skates won’t hinder your general progress.

Got your new skates and ready to take them for a spin on the ice? KwikRink Synthetic Ice can help you create the perfect synthetic ice rink you can use year-round. Whether you need a regulation-size hockey rink or just enough ice to enjoy skating with your family, we’ll work together to create a customized plan for your personal synthetic ice rink.