Hockey Skate Buyer’s Guide

Whether you’re a veteran on the ice or new to the sport of ice hockey, buying the right skates can make all the difference. Your skates are the most important pieces of hockey equipment you will buy, so it’s important to make an informed purchase. In this guide, we’ll break down some of the most important aspects to consider when buying new skates.

Sizing and Comfort

Hockey skates

Comfort is the most important thing to keep in mind when selecting a new pair of skates. Part of being comfortable is how the skates fit on your feet. They should fit snugly around your feet to reduce the movement of your foot within the skate. And when it comes to skate sizing, keep in mind that your skate size isn’t necessarily going to be the same as your shoe size. As far as what leads to a skate being comfortable or not, the most important parts are the boot width, footbeds, stiffness, lacing, and holders and runners.

Boot width 

Skate boots come in five primary width sizes. These are C, D, R, E, and EE in ascending order from narrowest to widest. Each size has a difference of about 2/10 of an inch between them, with D being considered the standard width.


Footbeds are removable insoles for your skates. You can think of them as being the same as insoles for your shoes. Some people have more arched feet while others have flatter feet. Your footbeds will be tailored specifically to the shape of your foot to provide maximum comfort and support.

Boot Stiffness

When it comes to boot stiffness, there is a give and take. On one hand, stiffer boots will provide more stability on the ice, which is always a positive. But on the other, the stiffer the boot is, the longer it will take to break in.

Boot Lacing

The lacing of your boot may not be something that immediately jumps out as vital, but it is. Because your boot should have a snug fit, the ability for a boot to be laced up tightly and stay that way is important. Some boots will have what is known as a “bite bar” that serves to lock the laces in place so they don’t loosen while you’re on the ice.

Another aspect of boot lacing is whether your laces are waxed or unwaxed. Waxed laces are more expensive, but they are better at staying tight while you are on the ice. Unwaxed laces will absorb water from the ice, which causes them to expand and loosen over time.

Holders and Runners

skate blade sharpening

Holders are the piece that connects the runner to the bottom of the boot. The runner is the blade on which you skate. Usually, the holder and runner are combined into a single construction. However, sometimes the two can be separated so that the blade can be replaced without replacing the runner as well. Holders and runners are important for comfort because they are your contact point with the ice. The hardness of the metal the runner is made of, the blade depth, and the blade profile will all affect how the skate feels.

Price and Materials

Generally speaking, the higher the price, the better the skates will be. But, most players don’t require top-of-the-line skates, so you don’t need to worry about buying the most expensive ones you find. Instead, you should first determine your spending limit and then look for skates that are priced within that range. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that since your skates are the most important pieces of hockey equipment you will buy, it may be worth spending a bit more to get a pair that are comfortable and meet all of your needs.

You may be wondering what exactly you get by paying a higher price for skates. More expensive skates are often constructed out of lighter, stronger, and more comfortable materials. By reducing the weight of the skates without compromising their structural integrity, higher performance levels can be achieved.

Level of Play

skate blade sharpening

The final thing to consider when purchasing a new pair of skates is your level of play. Good skates are more important to have the more frequently you play or the higher level you play at. If you’re just starting out, there’s no need to purchase high-end skates. And if you play at the lower levels, while good skates are still helpful, they’re not as helpful as they would be at the higher levels. The more developed your skating skills are, the more you’ll be able to notice the difference between skate quality.


When picking out new skates, your number one priority should be to find a pair that’s comfortable to wear. If your skates aren’t comfortable, your feet are going to hurt and your play will suffer. The price of and materials used to make skates will have an effect on the comfort. However, you should be able to find reasonably comfortable skates within your price range. And lastly, keep your level and frequency of play in mind. There’s no need to spend an arm and a leg to get high-quality skates if you’re not going to use them all that often.

Shinny USA

Once you have a pair of skates (and all your other hockey gear) why not put them to use by joining Shinny USA? We host pickup hockey games for adults most mornings of the week. Contact us today to learn more about signing up, play times, and rink locations.