Finding the right hockey skates can be a challenge for all hockey players given the vast range of options available to you.
For beginners, it is tougher as you’re less likely to know the specific components of a skate or the options provided by leading brands.
In this article, we’re here to help. We will present helpful information that will support you in the buying process.
We will discuss, hockey skate materials, styles, cost and sizing among many things to help you choose the right hockey skates for a beginner.
Reading this article will go a long way to help you choose the right hockey skates. We also recommend looking at our product reviews, many of which are tailored for beginner hockey players.
Hockey Skate Construction
Before getting on to some tips for choosing the right hockey skates for beginners, it is helpful to outline the parts of a hockey skate so you are aware. This will also help you understand product reviews better.
Typically, hockey skates are made with synthetic materials such as performance plastics, while dense plastics are used to provide sturdiness at the bottom of the skate.
As the price of skates increases, you will notice the materials used are more advanced to boost comfort, durability, protection and weight.
Elite hockey skates will include high-tech materials to provide a lightweight feel and snug fit with a robustness that can handle aggressive play.
Although made from more affordable materials, beginner skates will have the same basic design as elite skates but may be heavier or less robust.
The various parts of a hockey skate come together to protect different parts of the ankle and foot. In basic terms, skates are a boot attached to a blade.
However, having a grasp of the various components that are used make the boot will help when selecting your preferred skate. The blade is a combination of a holder and runner.
The anatomy of a hockey skate is outlined below.
Quarter package – Main section of the skate boot extending from the toe cap to heel and around the back and sides up to your ankle. Quarter packages come in one or two-piece designs.
Tendon guard – Protecting the Achilles tendon, the guard stretches from the heel to the back of the ankle.
Boot tongue – Designed to provide extra comfort, warmth and protection, the tongue is normally lined to create a snug feel.
Boot liner – Located in the boot interior, includes padding placed in locations to protect your foot and ankle and ensure a close fit.
Footbed – Also known as the insole, the component is removable and is designed to provide arch support for your feet and edge control.
Outsole – The sturdy bottom piece of the boot, this is where the blade holder and runner attach to.
Holder – Attached to the outsole to keep the blade in place.
Runner – The skate comes as a single unit with some premium skates offering a two-piece.
Choosing Hockey Skates For Beginners
Selecting the best hockey skates for beginners requires the consideration of a few factors including the skate price, fit and your style of play.
Many beginners will likely have been inspired to take to the ice by watching the NHL.
While it’s great they love the sport and want to give it a go, we do recommend that you don’t buy beginner ice skates based on visual appeal or whether the favorite NHL player wears them.
Skates may look great but if they are very uncomfortable they may put off a beginner skater rather than encourage them.
Also, if you’re inspired by a NHL player’s skates, these will be top premium-range skates costing more than $1,000.
Great beginner skates can be found for much less. You should focus on the best fit and skates that suit your playing style.
The price of hockey skates can range significantly. Entry-level skates for youth players are available for around $50, while elite-level skates will stretch to $1,000 and beyond.
In between the extremes, there are great value skates available which offer good comfort and fit.
Hockey skates tend to be 1 to 1.5 sizes smaller than regular shoe sizes. Depending on the specific shape of your foot, some players will go further and use skates that are 2 to 2.5 sizes smaller than the regular shoe size.
The unique foot shape is very important when selecting hockey skates. Is your foot narrow, wide, flat, or high-arched? Do you have narrow or thick ankles? Hockey skates are constructed with all these factors in mind.
Many skate ranges have different fits for each foot length, such as Bauer’s three performance fit options. You can also look for details on the toe box and footbed as other indications of the perfect size and fit.
Style Of Play
Beyond considering your foot size and shape, knowing your hockey position and style of play can also influence which skate style is most suitable.
For example, players who play with finesse by making considered turns and movements will require a different skate option compared to power skaters who look to maximize their stride energy.
Thankfully, most of the leading brands have developed product ranges with these styles in mind. For example, Bauer’s Vapor range is focused on agile and fast skaters such as wingers.
The Bauer Supreme range is more focused on defensive players by offering robustness, stability and power.
Looking at CCM’s offering, the Ribcor and JetSpeed lines focus on boosting acceleration and agility, while the Tacks line focuses on power players.
Although beginners may not know which playing style they are when purchasing their first skates, it is something to consider.
The priority though remains comfort and feel as this will boost your confidence to develop a strong skating and hockey technique.
Buying For Beginner Kids
Young beginner hockey players don’t need premium range hockey skates, you’ll simply waste your money.
Elite skates have high-level performance attributes to maximize energy transfer and be lightweight, these features are not important for young hockey beginners.
Beginners are in the stage of learning the skating technique so don’t need to benefit from the precision of high-end skates.
Instead, focus on what fits well and look for skates in the range of $50 to $200 and you will find great value.
Also, it is easy to upgrade your skates so better to start with an entry-level option before looking at skates with better performance features.
We also recommend you buy skates that are a good fit at the time of purchase and are not ‘grow into’ skates.
Skates with a poor fit can inhibit performance and may cause injury. Poor performance and injury will ruin the enjoyment of the game for your child.
Goalie Vs Player Skates
Beginner players may already know if they want to be an outfield player or a goalie. There are some key differences between the two.
Goalie skates have better motion range by having smaller boots and longer and thicker blades.
To protect against tough shots, goalie skates also have a cowling which wraps around the boot. These features are specific to the goalie position and no outfield skate is an adequate substitute.
Hockey Vs Figure Skates
If you’re a beginner, don’t be confused between hockey and figure skates. Each has unique features that are catered to their respective sports.
Figure skates tend to have heavier and longer blades fitted with a toe pick at the front. This enables figure skaters to perform the pivots and jumps.
Figure skate boots are typically constructed with a malleable leather material which differs from the hard plastic on hockey skates.
Hockey skates are more lightweight compared to figure skates due to the smaller blade. Hockey skates are also designed more for speed, power and acceleration.
Don’t substitute hockey skates for figure skates as they are not designed for the robust actions and movements of a hockey game.
If, however, you are a beginner and simply want to learn ice skating, then figure skates or recreational skates could be a good, affordable choice.
However, as soon as you start learning hockey skills and movements, we recommend you purchase hockey skates.
Hopefully, this article has given you all the essential information you need to help you choose the right hockey skates for beginners.
Firstly, knowing the parts of a hockey skate is useful so that you can understand the different performance features when reading product reviews.
Our advice is that you should focus on comfort and price as the key indicators for purchasing beginner hockey skates.
Comfort is crucial as it will reduce the risk of injury and allow a beginner player to feel confident on the ice.
In terms of price, you don’t need to break the bank, there are plenty of quality, affordable hockey skates which will fit beginners well.
We have also listed some factors to consider when purchasing hockey skates for beginners such as sizing, cost and playing style which will also guide you to a great value purchase.
Hey there, my name is Shawn 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.