Buying Figure Skates - A Complete Guide
Figure skating is always a fan favorite at the Winter Olympics, and it's no wonder. Triple axles, gravity-defying jumps, and graceful gliding are all enough to make even beginner ice skaters lace up a pair of ice skates and hit the rink.
However, you don't need to compete on the world stage to enjoy the benefits of ice skating. Ice skating offers a phenomenal all-body workout that helps develop balance, improves cardiovascular health, and an opportunity to engage in a fun, social activity that's great for all ages.
In this guide, we'll help answer your most pressing questions about buying your first (or next) pair of ice skates.
Different Skates for Different Skating Styles
Before rushing off to buy just any pair of ice skates, it's essential to know what type of ice skating suits your interests. Categories like recreational ice skates, ice hockey skates, and competitive figure skates all offer different benefits that influence skate performance.
Below, we'll discuss standard features of ice skates to help you determine which ice skates are right for you.
Anatomy of an Ice Skate
Although figure skates and ice hockey skates have a similar profile, each ice skate has unique boots and blades that impact the performance and function on the rink. Depending on your desired performance or skill level, you may have different preferences regarding the type of skate you wear.
Figure skates are notable for their high-cuff boots made of genuine or faux-leather materials. The boot includes a block heel that attaches to a 4mm thick curved chrome blade known as a 'rocker.' The rocker extends beyond the length of the foot and features a notched detail near the toe of the blade, known as the toe pick, which assists skaters when performing jumps and tricks.
Ice Hockey Skates
Ice hockey skates feature a stiff, straight boot designed for ankle support and to protect against contact from hockey pucks. Ice hockey boots are typically made out of a combination of materials including leather, molded plastic, and nylon giving it a hardshell exterior. The flat heeled boot attaches to a relatively shorter blade that measure 3 mm in width; the blade is flat in the center with a curved blade near the tips of the toes.
Which Ice Skate is Right for Me?
If recreational ice skating is more your speed, recreational ice skates with longer blades and softer boots can offer greater comfort and flexible support for long-term wear.
However, if fitness is your goal, the shorter blades on ice hockey skates will promote quick acceleration with short, fast strides that will be sure to get your heart rate pumping across the rink.
Frequently Asked Questions About Figure Skates:
As fun as skating can be, we understand that purchasing skates is an investment. We want to support your in your search to find the best pair of ice skates, which is why we've compiled some of your most frequently asked questions and tips to help you in your purchase journey.
Are Figure Skates Better for Beginners?
Your first time stepping out on to the ice can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Ultimately, you can learn on any type of skate, but you may have preferences depending on your own anatomy.
Figure skates can be easier to balance on because of length of the blade and flexibility of the boot. However, hockey skates can provide more stability for the ankles and can accommodate wider feet.
Which Ice Skates are Best for Figure Skating?
A properly fitting figure skate will make or break your skate experience. Although ice hockey skates can be used in recreational skating, these skates are designed for sport, so the blades are not suitable for maintaining speed or balance when performing advanced movements.
How Do I know My Figure Skate Size?
The best place to start is to try-on a pair of skates a half-size below your street shoes. From there, you can go up or down depending on fit.
Do Figure Skates Run Big or Small?
Typically, ice skates run a half-size small compared to regular street shoes. For children, it's important not to purchase skates more than a half-size up to ensure a correct fit. Although parents may be incline to purchase skates their kids feet can grow into, a skate that's too big can lead to injury if the foot and ankle don't fit properly.
It's important to note that figure skates run slightly narrow compared to hockey skates.
How Tight Should Figure Skates Be?
Ice skates should fit your feet snugly without being too tight. A good rule of thumb is to place your index finger behind the heel of your foot once the boot is on. The top half of your index should feel snug behind your heel without too much contact, which can cause blisters.
If you can easily fit your index finger behind the heel of your foot and touch the skate's insole, it's likely that your skate is too big.
How Much is A Good Pair of Figure Skates?
The price of ice kates can fluctuate significantly depending on performance capability. Quality beginner ice skates can range from $50-$75 in price while prices for intermediate and advanced skates can easily exceed $100.
Advanced or competitive figure skating boots can quickly balloon to $500 or more, without factoring in the cost of blades. However, these ice skates are typically reserved for athletes competing at a high level.
How Much Should I Spend On Figure Skates?
It's safe to budget $100 for a pair of skates. However, it's possible to find good recreational skates for $75 or less.
What is A Good Brand of Figure Skates?
Skates.com regularly carries quality ice skate brands like K2, Gam, Riedell, Jackson, and more. Check out our online inventory to see what brands we currently have in stock.
Where Can I Buy Figure Skates?
You can purchase ice skates on our website, Skates.com.
Find Your Next Pair of Skates on Skates.com
Eager to lace up your ice skates and hit the rink? At Skates.com, we offer several different categories of quality ice skates at an affordable price from the best brands on the market.