How to Buy Hockey Skates

You can’t underestimate the importance of skates. Your feet need to be one with the ice. You need speed, control and protection. Skates are the foundation that all other skills are built on… so don’t put your son or daughter behind the 8-ball, by messing this up.

I’ve put together a helpful guide for you. Don’t get fooled by flashy designs, it’s important to interpret the features and benefits, and narrow down the right pair for your kids game.

WHAT’S THEIR GAME?

Crosby, Hanson Brothers or shinny? It’s essential to know what type of player your son or daughter is in order to determine the skates they need.

If hockey is a big part of your life… Look for a stiff boot to give your player ultimate power transfer. Go with carbon-reinforced outsoles and steel bite pro heat-moulded or memory foam.

SKATE COMPONENTS

Boot: Comfort from custom fitting, protection from reinforced toe caps, and tough nylon for durability can improve your performance. For most players, the boot is the most important part of the skate. On top of fit, you need protection, comfort, durability and support.

Get the right protection

The only thing standing between your foot and a puck travelling 80 km/h is your skate. Look for features that offer protection. Tendon guards protect vulnerable areas of your ankles while reinforced toe caps prevent injury to your toes and forefoot.

Keep your feet dry

The big technology story in skate liners is moisture management. If your skate soaks up your sweat, it becomes heavy. Your feet will also stay wet leaving you prone to blisters and chafing. A liner engineered with moisture management properties will wick sweat away from your foot, transporting it to the outer surface of the liner. From there, the moisture evaporates leaving you dry in a lightweight skate.

Take the bite out of your laces

Lace bite is when the laces pinch your skin between the tongue and boot. To prevent it, look for a skate that has a non-slip tongue.

Durability for longer play

Top manufacturers engineer skates to withstand cuts, abrasions and the force of a slapshot. Look for tough materials like carbon reinforcements and Ballistic nylon.

Ankle support

Hockey skates are built to give you the ultimate in support. Memory foam inserts, reinforced nylon quarters and heel locks help to keep your feet stable and your ankles supported. Look for those features. This prevents loss of power.

Pro tip: Hardcore players should go with a stiff boot while active players should look for a moderately stiff boot. Recreational players should opt for pure comfort. Also, consider your weight. Heavier players generally benefit from a stiffer boot.

Outsole: To accelerate, turn and stop, you need a responsive but rigid platform. I’ll explain which materials to consider in a second. Think of the outsole as the platform the boot sits on. It contributes to the lightweight properties and responsiveness of the skate. It also acts as the blade-to-boot interface, giving you torsional rigidity and maximum energy transfer.

Some high end skates have a carbon or graphite reinforced outsole. It gives the skate its lightweight properties and maximum energy transfer that hardcore players thrive on. Other skates have outsoles with partial carbon or plastic reinforced outsoles.

Holder: The holder transfers energy from the boot to the runner to give you maximum power. Much like the outsole, the holder gives you the benefit of torsional stiffness and maximum energy transfer. It transfers energy in three ways:

By focusing the energy generated by the boot and the outsole directly to the runner.

By remaining torsionally rigid; therefore, storing and transferring the energy that the player has generated with his or her stride.

By being lightweight, reducing fatigue on the player.

Pro tip: Hardcore and active players should look for lightweight, stiff holders for improved energy transfer. Recreational players should look for a plastic holder for value.

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