Owning the best figure skates should be your top priority if you want to excel on the ice.
Shopping for new figure skates can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to the world of figure skating and looking for the best figure skates for beginners. Getting the wrong skates could result in painful blisters forming, poor performance on the ice and even injury.
In order to find the best skates possible, you will need to think about what your current skill level is, how much you are skating, and the type of skating that you are doing. Your skates will also need to fit perfectly to give you the top performance.
Factors To Consider When Choosing Figure Skates
When you are searching for the best figure skates, you have to be sure that you are getting the right skates for your needs. This means that they should have the right amount of stiffness for your skating level and the right fit you need. You will also need to consider how often you skate.
The stiffness rating of figure skates refers to the level of support that you will get from your figure skates. The higher the stiffness rating means the stronger support that you will have from the skate. For beginner figure skates, a light stiffness rating is preferable in order to get the comfort needed when starting out. More advanced skaters will want a higher stiffness rating due to the amount of pressure and wear and tear they will put on the skates. They need the extra stiffness for protection of their ankles.
Your Skating Level:
Figure skates really vary depending on the level of skater that you are. The more often you skate, the more you will need to get from your best figure skates. Intermediate and advanced skaters will often want skates that have the boots and blades separate, allowing them to get a more customized feel. The preassembled skates are better for newer skaters who are just beginning to get a feel for their skills. Your blade length will also vary depending what you are comfortable with as your skills improve.
How Often You Skate:
The more you skate, the more durable skates that you will need. If you are only a casual or occasional skater, you will not need the same level of durability and stiffness that you would require if you were skating multiple times a week. Softer skates are more for casual and beginner figure skates.
Foot Length & Width:
Unfortunately, since the size of skates varies so much from brand to brand, there is not a sure way to know what size you are going to be. You should refer to a shoe chart for the skates that you are considering before you commit. You should not allow for extra room except in the case of children, and in that case no more than half a size bigger than the size you need.
Figure Skates Sizing
Sizing with figure skates can be tricky. Some brands of skates will fit the same as your street shoes while others will be a size under your current street shoe sizes.
Because the skates vary from brand to brand, you will want to consult with their size chart if you are shopping online. Once you get them, try them on before you get the blades sharpened in case they do not fit.
Remember that the thickness of your socks will also affect the size of your shoes. When sizing, lace the boots up tightly with the lace pressure at the top eyelets. It should be snug but not painful.
What Figure Skates Should Beginners Use
If you are just getting started and want to buy the best figure skates for beginners, you will need to make sure that the skates you are using are an appropriate choice in order for you to be successful on the ice. Your skates will need to fit you snugly, but not cause you injury or intense pain.
Beginning skaters should opt for a lighter stiffness rating. This is because beginners will not be doing any professional-level moves that require more stiffness, instead allowing the skater to be comfortable in their boots. Additionally, beginning skaters should go for the combination skates, where the blade and the boot are already attached together in a boot.
7 Best Figure Skates For 2018 Season
1. Jackson Ultima JS1290
2. Riedell 110 Opal
3. Mystique Jackson
4. Jackson Ultima GS180
5. Riedell 119 Emerald
6. Jackson Ultima DJ2190
For Advanced Skaters
7. Jackson Artiste Series
1. Jackson Ultima Excel Series Figure Ice Skates
Best Figure Skates Overall (Editor's Choice)
Jackson is well-known for making some of the top of the line figure skates that you can get and the Ultima Excel Series is no exception, and is our Editor’s choice for the best figure skates.
These skates are made with a leather upper, ideal for molding to your feet, as well as durability and maintenance. The polyurethane coating on them also makes them easy to clean. They do come as a package, with the boot and the blade already connected when you buy them, taking away the need to fit them after you purchase them.
With a softer topline, as well as the synthetic lining, these skates will give you the right amount of comfort once they have been broken in. They also offer extra ankle padding as well as a flex notch for better flexibility. They have a lighter stiffness rating of a level 5, which makes them ideal for beginner skaters. That being said, these skates will still feel very stiff when you get them.
With the mesh and vinyl combination tongue, your feet should be protected against lace bite, ensuring that you can skate on them for your whole workout or play without having too much trouble.
2. Riedell 110 Opal Recreational Skates
Best Figure Skates For Beginners
Beginning skaters still need to get the best figure skates possible. For newbies, the Riedell 110 Opal skates are an excellent choice. Ultimately, these are a no-frills beginner skate, giving you just what you need to get started in figure skating.
A popular choice, the 110 Opal skates are designed to be comfortable, which is especially important for new skaters who are just getting used to the feeling of being on the ice. They have a light stiffness rating of 20, ensuring that they will not be too hard on the ankles.
Even though they are not stiff, the 110 Opals still offer a lot of cushion to give you exactly what you need as a new skater. The split tongue is designed to make it easier to gain stability on the ice. Also a great added feature, the skates have a PVC sole unit which will help your feet stay dry.
The blade is nickel plated with a smooth edge. It also comes pre-sharpened, making it a little easier on new skaters who are just figuring out what they need to be doing. If you are looking for a skate to just get you started, the Opal is a good choice. These are the best figure skates for beginners but they will not grow with you.
3. Mystique Jackson Ultima JS1490
Best Figure Skates For Intermediate Skaters
Another great skate choice from Jackson, the Mystique Jackson Ultima is the best choice for intermediate skaters.
A step up in stiffness, these skates have excellent support. Even with the higher rating, there is a still a high level of flexibility and stability. The Mystique skates have extra padding in the foot and the tongue. The tongue itself is backed with foam and made up of vinyl and mesh to prevent lace bite while preventing your foot from getting overheated on such a sensitive area.
While the blades do come somewhat sharpened, they will need to be sharpened before you take them out on the ice. This means that you will need to make sure that the fit is perfect before getting them sharpened or you might not be able to return or exchange them for a better size. These skates do have a narrow width, so skaters with average width feet will need to order wide width in these.
These skates will take a little bit to break in because they are stiffer than some of the other skates on the market. Fortunately, the padding goes all the way through the skate, providing you with the protection and comfort that you need, so your feet will not be miserable while you break them in. Once broken in, they will fit you perfectly.
4. Jackson Ultima GS180 SoftSkate
The Jackson Ultima GS180 with SoftSkate technology are among the best figure skates that you can get on a budget. These figure skates are made to provide only the best comfort possible.
The fleece lining in these skates wraps your feet in comfort, something that you will not find in every pair of figure skates. There is also a padded covered tongue with a rolled padded collar, giving you not only comfort and support, but also extra warmth.
While these are good on a budget, these are not a good choice if you are going to be skating hard and often. They are not built to take a beating, but are a better choice for the casual or recreational skater who will not use them for hours every week.
Some figure skates can grow with you as your ability grows, but these are not those skates. If you are just getting into figure skating or are just skating once in a while, the Ultima SoftSkates are a great choice, but if you are planning on skating hard and often, you will need something more durable. The blade comes as a part of the boot and runs the risk of breaking off if it is put under too much pressure. If you are harder on skates, you might consider getting a set that has the boot and blade separate.
5. Riedell 119 Emerald Figure Skates
Good for both beginners and more experienced skaters alike, the Riedell 119 Emerald Figure Skates are versatile, durable, and comfortable.
With light support and double synthetic reinforcement, you will be able to wear these skates comfortably on the ice for as long as you want to skate. The tongue is leather reinforced, giving you the best protection possible against lace bite.
The stiffness rating on these skates is 25, which is still pretty light, but not as light as other skates, giving you a little bit of extra support for exploring new moves on the ice. They do break in quicker than other skates as well, so even if they are feeling a little snug or stiff in the beginning, it should not take too long to get them where they should be. The Achilles tendon collar is padded as well, ensuring that your feet stay as comfortable as possible.
The blades on the Emerald skates do come pre-sharpened, but you can always have them professionally done as well if you would like a little finer edge. Size-wise, these skates run a full-size smaller than your street shoe size, so you will need to make sure that you verify sizing through the size chart before determining what is right for you.
6. Jackson Ultima Freestyle Series
Best Figure Skates For Advanced Skates
The Jackson Ultima Freestyle Series is a great choice for skaters who are just starting to practice and master jumps and spins. They offer the right amount of durability and stiffness that you would need as you progress in your skills.
The blade and boot do come together with the Freestyle Series, but they can easily come apart so you can switch the blade to something a little higher quality. The one that comes with the boot is not the best blade that you can get, but it will be ok to start with.
With the contoured backstrap, soft topline, and flex notch, you will find these skates to be more comfortable than other skates made by Jackson. The stiffness rating on these skates is 25, which is not as high as you could get with other advanced skates, but if you are just getting into the more complicated moves on the ice, they will be a great place to start.
You also have the ability to heat mold these skates to give yourself a more perfect fit quicker than breaking them in more gradually over time. They will take a while to break in otherwise.
7. Jackson Ultima Artiste Series
The final skates that we will take a look at are the Jackson Ultima Artiste Series. Another great choice from Jackson, the Artiste series is for more intermediate skaters who are advancing their skills.
These skates come with a flex notch that adds in a lot more flexibility the boot, allowing you to move more easily on the ice without losing any of the support that will keep your ankle safe. The PVC outsole is stylized to be durable while still being easy to clean and take care of.
The mesh comfort tongue will keep the top of your foot adequately comfortable as well as protected. The foam backed leather on the tongue also gives you some extra padding which will protect against lace bite if it becomes a concern.
The Artiste Series does not break in quickly. They will take a long while to mold properly to your feet, which will mean that you will not have the comfort that you would hope for with your skates. However, you will still get the stiffness that you require to be able to try harder moves on the ice.
The high quality chrome blade that comes with the skates will be great to start on as well. It should give you the strength and stability that you need, once you have had it sharpened.
Boot-Blade Figure Skates Package vs Separately
For beginning skaters, the boot and the blade normally come as one set, with the blade already attached to the boot and ready to go right onto the ice. More advanced skaters, however, usually opt to have the boot and the blade come separately.
The advantage of this is that you can get the best boot for your feet while still getting the best blade. Unfortunately, what is best for you will not always come on the same skate. If they are separate, you can try to attach the blade yourself, but if you are new to it, ask a professional for help.
New Boots May Hurt
Because of the many layers that go into making figure skates, they do not break in quickly. To make matters trickier, the more advanced the skater, the stiffer the skates are going to be when you start out. For that reason, new boots may hurt for a little while as they break in.
There is a difference in pain levels, however. If your feet are feeling bruised and injured from the skates, it might be more than a breaking-in situation. Your skates should feel tight, snug, and a little uncomfortable, but they should not be hurting your feet.
Normally, it can take two weeks up to a month to break in a new pair of skates, so if they are feeling snug at first, you just need to give them time.
When it comes to buying the best figure skates that you can get, you will need to think about exactly what you need to get from your skates. Your skill level and the amount that you are skating are the two most important factors. The more challenging the moves that you are going to be trying out, the stiffer the boots need to be.
If you are just getting started, remember that your boots will need to be broken in before you will get the right fit. Do not be discouraged if they are not comfortable right away.
Our research shows that the Jackson Ultima Excel Series is the best choice for beginning skaters. If you are more of an advanced beginner, you might need something with a higher stiffness level.
Bottom line – your skates need to fit well in order serve you well, but you cannot just buy any skate. Make sure they meet all of your needs before you commit to one pair over another.
Hey there, my name is Tomas and I’m a semi-professional hockey player. I’m also the founder and chief editor here at Hockey Pursuits. I love playing hockey and helping players improve their game and that’s why I decided to start this blog. And just so you know I’m a big Vancouver Canucks fan!