Skates are perhaps the most important item in a hockey player’s equipment, and as such it’s vital to choose them carefully. Whether you are looking for the best ice hockey skates for a beginner or experienced player, you need to learn about your options so that you can avoid discomfort and blisters and improve your playing technique.
It’s essential to keep in mind that there is no such thing as the best pair of ice hockey skates, but instead, it all comes down to what pair is best for you. Below you will find a list of 10 of the best ice hockey skates on the market, so choose the right one for your needs by considering your level and age.
Table of contents
- Buying Guide
- Jackson Ultima Softec Sport Ice Skates
- American Athletic Shoe Boy’s Ice Force Hockey Skates
- Bauer Senior Vapor X400 Ice Hockey Skates
- Bauer Senior Vapor X300 Skate
- WIZARD 400 Adjustable Youth Hockey Skates
- American Athletic Shoe Senior Cougar Soft Boot Hockey Skates
- K2 Skate Men’s F.I.T. Ice Skate
- American Ice Force 2.0 Hockey Skate
- Bauer Lil Angel Champ Skates
- Bauer Junior Supreme 140 Skate
What to Look for When Buying Hockey Skates
Some of the crucial elements to consider when shopping for ice hockey skates are sizing, your level of experience with the game, your style of play, the type of fit you prefer and the material the skates are made from. If you are a new player, it’s a good idea to do for a middle of the like skate that is not too stiff, but which offers you enough support for getting the hang of the game comfortably.
You should also pay attention to different technical specifications of the skates, including their weight and the possibility to replace the skate blades as needed.
What Type of Skates Do I Need?
The type of player you are on the ice should determine the style of skates you buy. Players who are more aggressive would benefit from skates designed in a way that allows you to bend your knee deeper. Skates that feature a forward pitch at the ankles work well for aggressive players. If you want to be able to be more on your toes, you may opt for a pair of ice hockey skates that come with a pitch in the blade holder. Players who prefer to play more defensively will benefit from a pair of skates with a more traditional fit.
Another factor that determines the type of skates you need is your level of experience on the ice. This is because boots come in various degrees of stiffness, with the stiffest ones only being suitable for advanced players. Those who are only starting need flexible or moderately stiff boots because they are more permissive when it comes to making mistakes on the ice. As a rule of thumb, stiffer boots are more expensive because they are often suitable for professional players, increasing on-ice maneuverability and ankle stability.
You might be tempted to purchase your ice hockey skates in your shoe size, but this is never a good idea. Because skates need to fit more snugly, a proper fit is often one or two sizes smaller than street shoes. This is true for both adults and juniors.
A good place to start when shopping for hockey skates is to start with the size of a comfortable pair of sneakers you own and take 1.5 to 2 sizes off that.
A good rule of thumb recommended by professionals is to be able to (barely) fit one finger but not more than that between the heel and the skate when you’re in the standard hockey stance (standing up, leaning forward and bending your knees). If you can fit more than one finger, the skates are not snug enough for you.
Choosing the correct size for children and juniors who are still growing is often a bit trickier, but in this situation, a one-finger gap should be fine.
The width of the skates is another important factor to consider when it comes to skate fitting. This differs from one manufacturer to another, but the main choices are narrow, regular, wide, and extra-wide skates. The choice depends on the type of fit you prefer for your skates, as some players like the skates to feel more relaxed, whereas others prefer an overall snug fit. Skate widths are represented through letters, with D being considered the standard and EE the widest. In between, you have R and E widths, whereas C is the narrowest cut available.
Ice hockey skates are usually made from hardened plastic, faux leather, and nylon. Choosing between them is a matter of personal preference, but you should also make sure the pair you opt for provides you with a good balance of flexibility and comfort. The material has an impact on your movements, with hardened plastic being less permissive than faux leather and nylon, for example.
The quality of the blade is one of the main differentiating factors between cheap and top-quality ice hockey skates. Quality blades are easier to sharpen regularly, and they last longer than cheap models. They also usually offer a better balance on ice. Quality hockey skates have an exterior that is built to be durable, so it’s important to look for blades that are easy to replace because the boot is very likely to outlive them. If you opt for boots with non-replaceable blades, you may end up having to buy a new pair of skates after just a couple of years of use.
Hockey Skates Accessories
From laces to skate guards, there are lots of accessories available for ice hockey skates to improve your experience. Cloth blade covers come in handy when storing or transporting your skates, whereas waxed laces help keep the laces tight. Other accessories include skate insoles that allow you to customize the fit of the skates, and drying racks that let you air all your hockey equipment, including your skates.
How to Care for Hockey Skates
Taking good care of your ice hockey skates means that you can extend their lifespan while also looking after the wellbeing of your feet. Here are some important tips for keeping the skates and the blades in tip-top condition.
- Wipe the boots inside out to avoid mold, mildew, and bacteria.
- Use a leather protector for the boots to prevent moisture buildup (for skates with a leather exterior only).
- Wear blade guards at all times when not on ice to avoid chipping your blades.
- Wipe the blades dry after removing them and taking the guards off.
- Have the blades sharpened by a professional technician.
There is a pair of ice hockey skates for every level of experience and age, so take a look at our selection below to find the best one for you.
Jackson Ultima Softec Sport Ice Skates
The best hockey skates
The Jackson Ultima Softec Sport Ice Skates are a top choice because they blend comfort and precision in a way few boots do. These stylish skates are designed for the recreational skater and offer incredible support thanks to the durable nylon quarter package.
|Jackson Ultima Softec Sport Ice Skates||Nylon||Beginner/Intermediate||View on Amazon|
|American Athletic Shoe Boy’s Ice Force Hockey Skates||Nylon||Beginner||View on Amazon|
|Bauer Senior Vapor X400 Ice Hockey Skates||Tech nylon with X-rib structure||Semi-pro||View on Amazon|
|Bauer Senior Vapor X300 Skate||Synthetic||Beginner/Intermediate||View on Amazon|
|WIZARD 400 Adjustable Youth Hockey Skates||Synthetic||Beginner/Recreational||View on Amazon|
|American Athletic Shoe Senior Cougar Soft Boot Hockey Skates||Nylon||Advanced Recreational||View on Amazon|
|K2 Skate Men’s F.I.T. Ice Skate||Nylon||Beginner/Intermediate||View on Amazon|
|American Ice Force 2.0 Hockey Skate||Synthetic Multilayered||Beginner/Intermediate||View on Amazon|
|Bauer Lil Angel Champ Skates||Nylon||Beginner||View on Amazon|
|Bauer Junior Supreme 140 Skate||Nylon||Beginner||View on Amazon|
A pair of ice skates that look traditional while also offering enhanced performance, the Jackson Ultima Softec Sport Ice Skates feature a lightweight construction that makes them ideal for beginners and intermediate users. The feet support is excellent thanks to the nylon exterior of the boot, whereas the 3M Thinsulate liner keeps your feet warm and dry thanks to its moisture-wicking capability.
The synthetic outsole of the Jackson Ultima Softec Sport Ice Skates works great at reducing the weight of the skates, so you can feel comfortable on ice, while also making them easy to transport to and from practice. The leisure blade that features a stainless-steel runner is not replaceable, but it glides smoothly on ice.
The level of comfort of these skates is enhanced by the tongue with cushy foam padding that also brings in extra warmth.
- Lightweight design
- Warm nylon exterior
- Moisture-wicking properties
- Blade not replaceable
- Not always true to size
- Need breaking-in
An ideal choice for those who are looking for a pair of ice hockey skates for recreational use, the American Athletic Shoe Boy’s Ice Force Hockey Skates sport a traditional design that works well for both indoor and outdoor hockey games. The multi-layered construction of these skates provides good ankle support, and the excess padding included enhances the stability of the ankle.
Many hockey skates can be rather difficult to break in, but the American Athletic Shoe Boy’s Ice Force Hockey Skates will only take you a couple of hours to get used to. Moreover, the moisture-resistant Cambrelle lining improves the overall comfort of the skates while also keeping your feet warm and dry.
These skates are an excellent choice for juniors who need a pair of inexpensive, yet comfortable skates. Their performance edge carbon steel blade is not replaceable, but it is very sharp for precision on ice.
- Sizing is true to shoe size
- Suitable for beginners
- Moisture-resistant lining
- Not suitable for adults
- Fit is a bit tight
- Non-replaceable blade.
Featuring a standard V-fit profile, the Bauer Senior Vapor X400 Ice Hockey Skates are a lightweight option for semi-pro players, but also for those who are not very experienced yet but want to perfect their technique while being completely comfortable. Because these skates offer one of the best experiences for entry-level players in terms of flexibility and moisture absorption, they allow you to give the game your undivided attention.
The embossed heel and ankle support of the Bauer Senior Vapor X400 skates make them comfortable enough to wear for hours on end, whereas the two-piece felt tongue cushions your ankle. The tapered vapor fir of the skates offers structural support, allowing you to accelerate and change direction faster.
When it comes to blades, the Bauer Senior Vapor X400 sport a super stainless-steel runner that is replaceable and easy to sharpen.
- Suitable for semi-pro players
- Excellent performance
- Replaceable blade
- Not suitable for beginners
- Narrow forefoot
Comfort and durability are two of the reasons the Bauer Senior Vapor X300 Skate are a good choice for beginner and intermediate players. This pair can be baked, which is one of the best ways to make sure you get a good fit. The Bauer Senior Vapor X300 works well for those who don’t have a lot of experience and can use a pair of skates that are comfortable but may be somewhat lacking when it comes to agility.
Suitable for both rink and pond ice hockey, these skates are not suitable for pro-level, but they are indeed highly comfortable for longer periods of time thanks to their cushioned tongue and flexible synthetic exterior.
- Suitable for heat molding
- Comfortable tongue
- Ideal for beginner and intermediate players
- Blades need sharpening before first use
- Only available in full sizes
- Narrow fit
Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, the WIZARD 400 Adjustable Youth Hockey Skates are an excellent choice for beginners. They are different from other types of ice hockey skates for youth in that their sizing can be adjusted at the push of a button. The skates are available in small and medium sizes, which are both adjustable. To adjust the sizing, all you need to do is use the lever provided and rotate it into the perfect position. The WIZARD 400 Adjustable Youth Hockey Skates work well for hockey lessons, recreational ice skating and public sessions. Their stainless-steel blade needs to be sharpened before first use. A padded felt tongue and reinforced ankle support make thee skates comfortable, a feeling that is enhanced by the deluxe comfort padding.
- Adjustable sizing
- Padded tongue
- Reinforced ankle support
- Blades need sharpening before first use
- Some beginners may find them stiff
- Hard to break-in
An ideal choice for intermediate skaters, the American Athletic Shoe Senior Cougar Hockey Skates feature a thick foam padding for extra warmth and comfort, as well as a velcro strap to provide support. The sharpened blade comes ready for immediate use, so you don’t have to worry about sharpening it before going on the ice for the first time. These skates work well for recreational hockey players, and their sizing runs true to size according to many reviewers who tested them. The American Athletic Shoe Senior Cougar have a multilayered construction that provides enhanced ankle stability as well as a carbon steel runner to improve your playing technique.
The moisture-resistant lining of these skates is another advantage, as they keep your feet warm and dry even for prolonged periods of time.
- Comfortable foam padding
- Multilayered boot construction
- Velcro straps for perfect fit
- Blades are a bit thin
- Fit is sometimes loose
- Laces not durable
Featuring an award-winning Softboot design, the K2 Skate Men’s F.I.T. Ice Skates have received lots of praise for the level of comfort they provide on ice. Ideal for skating around the rink or on the pond, these boots offer good support for the ankles, while their stainless-steel blade is sharp enough to keep you gliding on ice.
The water repellent materials the K2 Skate Men’s F.I.T. Ice Skate is made of keep your feet warm and dry, while the Enhanced Stability Cuff provides an excellent level of support. Thanks to the injected locked stainless-steel blade, these recreational ice skates make it very easy to skate in circles.
The K2 Skate Men’s F.I.T. Ice Skate come with sharpened blades so you can take them out for a spin straight from the box.
- Blades come sharpened
- Good ankle support
- Water repellent
- Not ideal for pro players
- Lacing slightly flimsy
- Loose fitting
An excellent choice for beginner to intermediate skating, the American Ice Force 2.0 Hockey Skate come complete with a performance edge carbon steel blade that offers a good degree of precision. These skates work well for both indoor and outdoor skating, so you can use them on the rink or for backyard hockey.
The overall feeling of the American Ice Force 2.0 Hockey Skate is a sturdy one, and you can bake them to achieve a perfect fit. These skates are an excellent choice for those who are looking for an affordable pair to use recreationally.
The American Ice Force 2.0 Hockey Skate have a nylon blade holder, and you need to sharpen the blade before first use.
- Multilayered boot
- Comes with nylon blade holder
- Performance edge carbon steel blade
- Can feel a bit tight
- Not suitable for pro users
- Blade needs sharpening for first use
One of the best choices on the market for children who are only getting started in hockey, the Bauer Lil Angel Champ Skates feature a comfortable inner liner that keeps feet warm even when your little one spends a couple of hours on ice.
Being able to put on and take of equipment is essential when it comes to sports for kids, and these skates have a single ratchet bucket system that makes it easy for little ones to handle them themselves. The nylon interior keeps feet comfortable and these skates don’t need a lot of time to be broken in, according to numerous reviewers.
When it comes to sizing, the Bauer Lil Angel Champ Skates are relatively true to size, but like with any other model intended for children, you are safe to purchase slightly bigger skates to accommodate future growth.
- Easy to put on and off
- Nylon interior for warmth
- Firm boots
- Slightly heavy
- Blades need sharpening
- Not always true to size
Especially molded to offer juniors a good mix of performance and comfort on ice, the Bauer Junior Supreme 140 Skate are also affordable, which makes them ideal for beginners. Equipped with a microfiber liner and a premium nylon quarter, these skates do a good job at keeping feet warm, and they fit snugly, according to reviewers.
Even though the Bauer Junior Supreme 140 Skate are recommended for juniors, they are also a good choice for women who have trouble with fitting in the women’s department. The TPR outsole of these ice hockey skates is resistant and the blades are made from stainless steel that requires sharpening before first use.
- Suitable for indoor and outdoor skating
- Optimal mold shape
- Not durable
- Blades need sharpening
- Blades are not replaceable