Best Ice Skates for Beginners
When the weather begins to get cold, it's hard not to long for all of the best things that winter has to offer: hot chocolate, snowmen, and of course, ice skating.
Although many of us may be heading to an indoor ice rink year-round, it's hard to resist the urge to lace up a pair of ice skates and find the nearest outdoor rink to take in everything that the season has to offer.
However, if you've never ice skated, or if you're returning to the sport for the first time since childhood, ice skating may seem a little intimidating. But fear not!
In this article, we'll guide you through some of the most frequently asked questions by beginner ice skaters to help get you back on the ice.
Ice Skating for Beginners
First-time skaters have plenty of concerns when they first start ice skating, and rightfully so. Although Olympic figure skating and professional hockey players make skating seem like second nature, for beginners, it takes time, practice, and investment in gear.
Here are some frequently asked questions for first-time skaters.
What should one know when ice skating as a beginner?
The first consideration as a first-time ice skater is what type of skating you prefer. Figure skates and hockey skates offer different benefits meant to facilitate other types of ice skating.
Hockey skates are designed for playing hockey and intended to generate maximum speed. On the other hand, figure skates allow for more balance in the heel, which makes them well-suited for jumping once the figure skater's skill levels advance.
Which type of ice skates is best for beginners?
Are figure skates better for beginners?
For first-timers, hockey ice skates may be easier to learn on. In addition, hockey ice skates have super stiff boots, which offer more ankle support and ankle padding than figure skates. In addition, hockey skates offer greater maneuverability designed for quick acceleration.
Although hockey skates may be helpful for some first-time skaters, that doesn't mean you should avoid figure skating. Figure skates have longer stainless steel blades, which can help skaters develop their balance more quickly.
Although figure skate boots offer less support than hockey boots, they're much more pliable, which may be more beneficial when you start skating.
Is it easier to ice skate with figure skates or hockey skates?
Which ice skate is easier is relative. To avoid investing in a hobby that you may quickly retire due to improper gear, we recommend going to a local ice rink and rent both hockey skate and figure skate styles. Once you've tried both, you'll have an easier time determining the best ice skates for you.
Choosing the Best Ice Skates For You
Choosing the right skates is essential to consider before purchasing your first pair. Whether you prefer figure skating or are eager to show off your hockey skills, don't go into your first skate purchase blind.
Review these questions before taking the plunge to ensure you purchase the best ice skates for you:
How do beginners buy ice skates?
First, consider how you will be skating. Are you casual skating? Do you need speed? Or, is graceful dancing, jumps, and tricks more your thing? Or, are you looking to rough it up on the rink with ice hockey?
First, let's discuss the different types of skates to help you determine which are the right ice skates for you.
Recreational Ice Skates
Recreational ice skates come in both figure and hockey skate styles and offer more comfort and support than traditional styles.
Recreational ice skates are easier to slip on and off and have basic boots and blades that will help you develop your skills. However, they are not designed to withstand advanced jumps, tricks, or withstand high impacts.
Figure skates are designed to take an impact; they have a thicker blade for increased balance and allow the weight to distribute more evenly on the heel. In addition, figure skates have notches in the toe in the blade called toe picks used for jumps and spins.
Hockey Ice Skates
Hockey ice skates are used for hockey; however, they're also commonly used by casual ice skaters. Hockey ice skates have a smaller blade than figure skates with a 'rocker' design, making them easier to maneuver for quick turns.
Speed Ice Skates
Save speed ice skates for advanced ice skaters who have already mastered high speeds. Speed ice skates have a very long, thin blade meant to help glide quickly on the ice but can be challenging to balance and turn.
How do I choose the best entry-level ice skates?
Although there are many different types of skates, traditionally figure skate and hockey skate styles are the easiest for ice skates for beginners.
Regardless of what type of skate you prefer, choose a skate boot that fits snugly. Skate boots that are too big can cause injury if they don't offer enough support. However, skates shouldn't be too tight that they're painful or cannot accommodate socks.
Conversely, skate boots require a break-in period, but they shouldn't be so tight that they cause significant pain. Although you may want to avoid wearing thick socks, wearing comfortable, long socks that help wick away moisture can help insulate the foot and keep you warm while you're on the ice.
What are the best figure skates for beginners?
When it comes to figure skating, you may not want to jump into a traditional style figure skate. Instead, recreational skates are great ice skates for beginners. Recreational skates have more comfortable boots but still offer structure and support.
Recreational figure skates typically feature a boot made from synthetic material and a PVC outsole. Although recreational ice skates are great for getting started, the materials are unlikely to hold up against major wear and tear when used by more advanced skaters.
What are good beginner hockey ice skates?
Typically, hockey ice skates or recreational figure skates are best for beginners. Beginner ice skates have a more flexible boot which doesn't require molding the foot. As you advance, however, you may want to consider buying hockey skates that require foot molding to improve comfort and provide greater control.
Also, beginner ice skates don't require stiff, composite materials used by advanced skaters, they're also much more affordable when you're getting started.
What are the best beginner ice skates for adults?
Ultimately, that's up to you! Both men and women can wear figure or hockey ice skates, so choose the best ice skates that most fit your style.
However, entry-level ice skates are usually made of synthetic materials and have less stiff boots, making them great ice skates for beginners.
Which skates are best for beginners kids?
Buying beginner ice skates for kids may seem complicated, but it doesn't have to be!
There are two main approaches to purchasing skates for kids: purchase well-fitting skates and upgrade as your child's foot grows, or buy adjustable skates which have room to adapt to children's growing feet.
It's important to note that sizing is crucial. Both figure skates and ice hockey skates need to fit snug. Although parents may feel inclined to purchase skates with room to grow, poor-fitting skates can be more challenging to learn on and cause painful blisters and foot cramping, which may deter children from pursuing a new hobby. If you're concerned about having to regularly purchase new, well-fitting skates, then consider buying adjustable ice skates for kids beginner skates.
How to Get Started Ice Skating
If you're beginning your journey on ice skates, you may be a little wary of injury. Although it's natural to have a few bumps and bruises along the way, you can successfully learn how to ice skate at any age.
Here are some questions to keep in mind:
Is ice skating dangerous for beginners?
No sport is without its hazards, and skating on ice is the same. When beginners are first starting, one of their biggest fears is falling. Although falling is likely to occur when you're first learning, there are techniques you can use to make falls less severe.
First, if you feel like you're about to fall, bend your knees. Bending your knees helps to limit the distance compared to falling standing up.
Next, avoid the reaction to catch yourself with your arms; catching your fall with rigid straight arms increases the risk for injury. If you can, try to fall on your side to avoid painful injuries to your tailbone.
And finally, when you feel like you're about to fall, tuck your chin to your chest, which will help prevent head injury from falling backward.
How do you start ice skating for beginners?
If you're familiar with inline skating, then good news! You can learn ice skating by applying the same mechanics as inline skating. However, if you've never used inline skates before and want to get started ice skating, try these tips:
Once you've put on your ice skates, use a wall or ledge (or a friend!) to begin to stand up on your ice skates. Because you're balancing on ice skate's stainless steel blades, your center of gravity may feel off compared to when you're standing on your feet.
To counter this, keep your torso upright with your knees bent and sink into your hips with your feet parallel. Although you may want to look at the ground to see what you're doing, looking up will help keep your chest above your hips so that your balance is more aligned.
Once you feel comfortable upright, get into V position. With your toes pointed slightly outward and heels closer together, you'll form a V shape.
Next, if your right foot is dominant, step with your right slightly forward and out from your starting position. Then, do the same with your left foot in the opposite direction.
To practice the 'push,' keep your knees bent, body upright with your shoulders slightly in front of your hips, and hinge your hips slightly back with your feet in a v shape shoulder-width apart.
Like inline skating, pick up and push your front leg lightly, or dominant leg, out to glide forward. Then, do the same with the back leg in the opposite direction to start gliding continuously. Keep pushing one leg after the other while maintaining a slight bend to your knees for more balance and power.
Also, avoid picking your foot too far off the ground to avoid losing your balance. If you do start to lose your balance try not to fall forward to catch yourself with your wrists because this can cause injury. Instead, bend your knees and try to fall on your side with bent elbows to minimize impact with your wrist.
Before you know it, you'll be gliding across the ice!
What type of ice skates are easiest to learn on?
The best ice skates to learn on are whichever are most comfortable to you. The basic mechanics of using figure skates versus ice hockey skates are very similar. However, the main difference is the structure and support of the skate boot and the size of the blade.
Before making a purchase, you may want to try renting both figure and ice hockey skates at your local ice rink to determine where your preference lies.
When should you start learning figure skating?
Figure skating is an activity that can begin at a very young age. Some parents start teaching their children to ice skate as young as two years old; others wait until their child develops more.
Those who learn to skate early may benefit from having less fear of falling or getting injured compared to waiting until adulthood.
Can adults learn to ice skate?
Of course! Beginner adults can as quickly learn how to ice skate as children. But, of course, if you have previous injuries, consider those before stepping onto the ice rink.
The Cost of Ice Skates
One benefit of ice skates for beginners is that they're much less costly than advanced or professional ice skates. If you're not sure if you're eager to develop a hobby into a full-time obsession, you can still get enjoyment out of cheap ice skates.
Here's a quick rundown of the typical cost of ice skates for beginners:
How much do beginner figure skates cost?
Beginner figure skaters don't need to buy top-of-the-line figure skates to get enjoyment out of them. Recreational figure skates are usually the cheapest ice skates when you're first starting, and good skates typically range between $45 and $150.
How much do beginner ice hockey skates cost?
Unlike figure skates, beginner hockey skates have a slightly elevated price point compared to beginner figure skates. It's common to find adult recreational ice hockey skates in the $100-$150 range.
Ice Skating Gear for Beginners
Knowing what gear you need can make it easier for you to find the right ice skates. Choosing ice skates is often about preference, including how you plan to use them, the frequency of wear, and skill level.
Serious figure skaters have different requirements than beginners, especially regarding material construction.
Learn what factors you should take into consideration when purchasing your first pair of ice skates.
Which ice skates are most comfortable?
Finding comfortable skates is a common concern for beginners. Typically, skates run smaller than street shoes, which is necessary to ensure a snug fit, offering more support with wear and tear.
Most beginners find that hockey skates are more comfortable because they offer a wider toe and better ankle support. Many skates also provide memory foam padding to help adjust to the shape of your foot.
What shoes do ice skaters use?
Your skating level will likely determine the best skates for you. Serious figure skaters will choose skate boots based on their level of competition.
For example, figure skaters performing triple or quad jumps will want a stiff leather boot with maximum foot and ankle support. Also, as skaters advance, boots and blades are usually purchased separately to create a custom fit.
What are the best ice skating shoes for beginners?
Ice shoes, often referred to as boots, fix atop the blade. A boot made of synthetic materials is perfectly acceptable because beginner ice skaters aren't performing advanced jumps or spins. In addition, vinyl boot skates are typically much more affordable than leather boots, which are great for starting for beginners.
What is a soft boot ice skate?
Soft boots, also known as fleece boots, are lined with a fleece material to help insulate the feet and keep them warm. However, if you plan to attempt jumps or spins, avoid fleece boots because they offer limited to foot and ankle support.
Do beginner ice skates need to be sharpened?
Yes, before taking to the ice, you will want to make sure that your skates are sharpened. Manufacturers send unsharpened skates to limit damage and injury before use. Make sure to go to a trained specialist to sharpen the stainless steel blade.
What should I wear when first ice skating?
Recreational skating is a great activity performed outdoors during the winter or at indoor ice rinks year-round. However, skating indoor versus outdoor can influence what you wear.
First and foremost, you'll want to ensure that you're wearing comfortable socks that will keep your feet dry. Next, make sure that you're wearing pants or leggings. Although shorts or dresses may seem more fashionable, even indoor rinks get cold.
Instead, consider wearing layers that you can easily take off as your body gets warm. Long sleeve shirts, sweaters, and jackets are great for indoor and outdoor wear. Also, consider wearing a hat, gloves, and scarves to prevent yourself from getting too cold.
What gear do you need for ice skating?
Figure skating gear is pretty simple: all you need are comfortable, warm clothes, a pair of ice skates, and optional protective gear like a helmet, knee pads, or elbow pads.
Compared to inline skating on pavement or sidewalks, ice is typically more forgiving to skin abrasions. Therefore, as you develop your skills on the ice, you may no longer feel the need to wear protective gear.
Time to Hit the Ice!
Ice skating is a thrilling sport that offers excellent physical benefits. Regular skating can increase strength, endurance and improve cardiovascular health. By investing in your first pair of skates, you're investing in your physical health and future memories with your friends and family.
When the weather gets cold this winter, gather your loved ones for a great social activity that's fun for the whole family.