There's been a significant uptick in hockey's popularity these past few years, and this momentum only continues to surge.
With each new year, we see the emergence of fresh hobbies, trends, and sports, with ice hockey undeniably being a standout.
A growing number of adults have been hitting the rinks, while a rising tide of youngsters are discovering the thrill of the game.
If you resonate with this new wave of enthusiasts, you might be thinking about buying your own pair of hockey skates or contemplating an upgrade.
Break-in Your New Hockey Skates At Home With PolyGlide Synthetic Ice
It’s Time for Your First Pair of Hockey Skates
While PolyGlide Ice is renowned for what you skate on, our customers frequently inquire about hockey skate recommendations.
The right pair of hockey skates can dramatically influence your game, boosting your agility, speeding up your dashes, and maximizing your on-ice effectiveness.
But the more you delve into the sport, the clearer it becomes that rental skates come with constraints.
Most rental skates are made of basic plastic or leather, suited primarily for casual play during public sessions.
Plus, there's no assurance you'll receive the same pair every visit.
For both budding young players and adults advancing in the sport, a superior pair of hockey skates is a necessity.
So, let's delve deeper into the world of hockey skates and review some of the top choices across various levels.
Understanding Hockey Skates
The quintessential hockey skate comprises two principal components: the boot and the blade.
While it may seem simple on the surface, each part is meticulously crafted to ensure hockey players can achieve top speeds, make sharp turns, and bring about sudden stops.
Hockey skate boots are designed to withstand the rough and tumble nature of the game.
The top-tier ones are fashioned from high-quality leather, often with multiple pieces sewn together to produce a resilient boot.
Leather, due to its durability and adaptability, can endure the dampness associated with rigorous skating sessions.
Nowadays, some boots are constructed using synthetic materials, tough plastics, or a fusion of leather and synthetic compounds.
Consequently, there's a broad spectrum in price points, with pure leather boots sitting at the premium end.
Hockey boots are devised to offer protection while maintaining lightness for those sudden dashes and quick maneuvers.
They possess padding around the ankles for enhanced support, and robust laces to ensure a snug fit.
Hockey boots also exhibit varying degrees of stiffness, with stiffer boots generally recommended for beginners.
The rigidity of the boot plays a pivotal role in your selection; an overly rigid boot can predispose to injuries.
The blades are where you truly connect with the ice.
These facilitate gliding, quick turns, and the rapid stops that are so essential in hockey.
The blade also offers traction and control, fundamental for the swift and agile play required in hockey.
A standard blade is a lengthy strip of tempered carbon or steel, occasionally finished with chrome.
It's anchored to the boot through two metal plates affixed to the sole (the heel and toe plates), secured by screws.
This metal blade is connected to the plates using two columns, termed stanchions.
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In hockey, the blades consist of distinct parts, including the stanchions extending to the runner and the long metal segment that interfaces with the ice.
Unlike figure skates, hockey blades don't have a toe pick. Instead, their design focuses on quick maneuverability and speed.
The runner isn't a monolithic metal piece; it showcases two honed edges with a concave hollow in between.
This hollow is instrumental, dictating the depth of the groove and the player's traction and control over the ice surface.
Selecting the apt hollow, considering the player's weight, expertise, and playing style, is paramount for peak performance.
Effectively, you're working with two edges:
● An inside edge: Aligning with the inner aspect of your foot.
● An outside edge: Facing outward from the foot.
Utilizing the edges on both skates, players can execute forward and backward movements, essentially harnessing eight distinct edges.
Choosing a blade with the perfect edge and hollow can substantially influence your grip, speed, and overall game performance.
Other vital considerations include style, color, and size.
Beginner Hockey Players: Transitioning from Rental Skates to Your First Pair
Renting skates can be a viable option for those just dipping their toes into the world of hockey.
But as you develop and refine your skills on the ice, the drawbacks of rental skates become more apparent.
The lack of control over the design, brand, and wear and tear of rented skates might limit your progression and overall experience.
To guide budding hockey enthusiasts, we've put together a list of beginner hockey skates, each priced under $200, ensuring a combination of comfort and performance for newcomers.
Additionally, these entry-level hockey skates are blade-inclusive, a feature typically reserved for more high-end models.
The Bauer Vapor series is renowned for its excellent fit and durability. The X2.7 model is perfect for newcomers, offering solid ankle support and a thermoformed ribbed tongue.This ensures comfort, while the stainless-steel blade provides a stable foundation for honing skills.
CCM's Jetspeed FT390, a favorite in hockey, is crafted for newcomers. It features a durable shell, comfortable liner for snug fit, and an agility-focused blade, aiding beginners in finding balance and speed on the ice.
The Easton Synergy EQ3 skate, ideal for beginners, offers affordability and performance. Its ergonomic design promotes natural foot positioning, a moisture-wicking liner for dryness, and a stainless-steel blade for quick maneuvers, boosting confidence in new players.
As you nurture your talents and contemplate a future upgrade, these beginner skates will serve as an ideal stepping stone in your hockey journey.
Intermediate Hockey Players: Advancing to High-Performance Skates
The Bauer Supreme S22 ice skates blend comfort and performance with a flexible 3D Poly Carb quarter and soft boot design, complemented by a 30oz felt tongue and LS PRO II holder for enhanced stability and a roomier toe cap for additional comfort.
The CCM Ribcor 100K is perfect for advanced players needing agility and power for rapid cuts and precision shots. Its FlexFrame Technology adapts to strides, offering anatomical fit, immediate comfort, and protection against high-velocity impacts.
The CCM Super Tacks AS3 ice hockey skates, in sleek black, are engineered for peak performance, featuring design elements that ensure direct energy transfer and a snug, comfortable fit. These skates combine advanced technology and style to provide superior support and efficiency on the ice..
Advanced Hockey Players: Elite Hockey Skates
For top-tier hockey players, skates are an extension of their feet, and utmost precision in fitting and performance is crucial.
At this advanced level, many players might buy boots and blades (holders and runners) separately, ensuring the best fit and performance tailored to their playstyle.
Bauer's Vapor 2X Pro, a top choice for advanced players, offers lightweight design and unmatched motion with its Dynaflex system. Features like the asymmetrical toe cap and breathable materials support tight turns and comfort during long ice sessions.
CCM's Super Tacks AS3 Pro, favored in the NHL, features a MonoFrame 360 one-piece boot for direct energy transfer, boosting speed and responsiveness. Advanced players value its moisture-wicking technology and DuraZone abrasion protection for comfort and durability
The JETSPEED FT670 Ice Hockey Skates offer exceptional speed and control with a one-piece boot, HD microfibre lining, asymmetrical felt tongue, and Speedblade XS system for peak performance and durability on the ice.
Blade choices for intermediate to advanced hockey skates
Hockey skate blades can vary in price, typically ranging from $50 to $300. Some top hockey blade brands include:
This blade is recognized for its strength and durability, being crafted from premium-grade steel. Its polished finish reduces friction and enhances glide on the ice.
CCM's XS Stainless Steel Runner stands out with its oxidized finish, improving edge life and reducing corrosion. The quick-release system also allows for swift blade changes, catering to players who demand flexibility during games.
The CCM Super Tacks AS3 ice skate runners, featuring the Flex Force Advantage, offer both health and performance benefits, enhancing skater agility and endurance. These durable runners, coated with Black Diamond DLC on stainless steel blades for double edge longevity, are specifically designed for compatibility with the CCM SPEEDBLADE XS holder and come as a pair.
Finding the Perfect Fitting Hockey Skates
Selecting the right hockey skates can be a daunting task given the many options available.
Key factors to consider include:
Size and Comfort: Hockey skates are designed with various styles and dimensions, and they sometimes cater to different foot shapes.
Even if two skates are labeled the same size, they might not provide an identical fit.
Different manufacturers have unique size charts and measurement guidelines to help you choose the most comfortable skate.
It's advisable to measure your feet accurately, either at home or in-store, to avoid sizing issues.
Skates that are either too large or too small can lead to discomfort, reduced performance, and even painful blisters.
Your comfort is paramount, and the right size will significantly enhance your skating experience.
Cost: How much are you willing to invest?
Beginners might want to set a budget of up to $200 for skates.
This allows newcomers to experience the sport without a hefty initial investment.
On the other hand, advanced players might look into premium or custom-fitted skates, which could run upwards of $1000.
Stiffness: The rigidity of a hockey skate boot plays a pivotal role in the support it offers during gameplay.
While boots come with varying stiffness levels, those designed for professional or competitive use are typically stiffer to handle aggressive moves and sudden turns.
It's crucial to align the stiffness of your skate with your skill level, weight, strength, and playing style.
Getting skates that are too stiff (commonly referred to as 'overbooting') for one's skill level can result in foot discomfort, potential injuries, and an overall diminished skating experience.
Blade: In hockey, the blade significantly impacts speed, stability, and maneuverability.
Factors such as the blade's material, length, and profile shape play into this.
While many hockey skates come with pre-mounted blades, specialized skate shops can provide blade replacements or upgrades as needed.
Design: Aesthetics do play a role in personal preferences.
Everyone has their favored colors, materials, and design elements.
But in a sport like hockey, function should always precede form.
While it's okay to have a stylish skate, performance and comfort should always be the priority.
Should You Buy Used Hockey Skates?
We understand that as you advance in the sport of hockey, the prices of quality skates can skyrocket.
This can sometimes discourage players from continuing or participating in higher-level matches due to the escalating costs of gear.
So, should you consider purchasing used hockey skates?
There are multiple online platforms and local stores where you can find pre-owned skates at a fraction of the cost of new ones.
However, buying used skates does come with its own set of challenges.
It's a gamble.
There's often uncertainty regarding the duration and intensity of use by the previous owner.
The skate's stiffness might not align with your current skill level.
Some skates might show excessive wear and tear, increasing the risk of injuries.
Moreover, used skates typically have a shorter lifespan compared to new ones, which means you might find yourself in the market for another pair sooner than expected.
Visible signs of heavy wear, such as pronounced creases, especially around the ankle area, indicate that the skate has seen extensive use and may not have much life left in it.
If you decide to buy used hockey skates, ensure you're purchasing from a trusted source.
Ideally, start with beginner or intermediate level skates, as these can be replaced more readily as you progress in the sport.
Maintaining and Caring for Hockey Skates
Regardless of whether you're a rookie, an intermediate player, or a seasoned pro, taking care of your hockey skates is essential.
Hockey skates are an investment that goes beyond mere monetary value.
By maintaining them, you won't find yourself prematurely replacing your skates because they've lost their aesthetic appeal or, more crucially, their performance has diminished.
Maintenance can generally be split into two categories: blade care and boot care.
Regular usage means that skate blades are susceptible to rust and quick dulling due to neglect.
Here's how to keep them in top shape:
Sharpen your blades: A sharp blade greatly affects your performance on ice.
On average, blades should be sharpened after every 15-20 hours of ice time, but this can vary based on usage frequency.
Always turn to professionals for sharpening as hockey skates need specific attention.
Consider a Skate Sharpener: Over time, you might find it beneficial to own a skate sharpener.
Modern devices are designed to help achieve the perfect edge for your skates.
Keep them Dry: Post-game or practice, your skates will be damp from the ice, which can lead to rust.
Always have a thick microfiber cloth on hand to dry your blades thoroughly.
Invest in soakers: Simply drying might not be enough.
Blade soakers, made of absorbent material, cover your blade, drawing out residual moisture, especially when stored in a bag. Remember, they aren't blade guards; don't walk with them on.
Use Skate Guards: To prevent your blades from accumulating dust, nicks, or scratches during non-playing times, always use blade guards when walking off the ice. Here's one to consider: Some top-notch options to consider include Supergard Ice Skate Guards.
Hockey boots are crafted using varied materials and, with proper care, can last longer than you'd expect:
- Dry Them Out: After you're off the ice, a dry boot is pivotal for longevity. The same cloth you use for your blades can be utilized for the boot exterior and interior.
- Air Them Out: Post-wiping, let your skates air dry to prevent mold growth or dry rot.
- Waterproofing: Consider using a waterproof sealant specially designed for hockey skates to prevent moisture damage.
- Tend to Scuffs: Regularly clean and polish any scuffs or marks to keep your skates looking sharp.
- Regular Checks: Periodically inspect your boots for loose parts, damaged eyelets, or worn-out laces.
Like any sports equipment, hockey skates will show signs of wear over time. However, with diligent care, you can significantly extend their lifespan.
It’s Time to Hit the Ice
Ice hockey is an exhilarating and thrilling sport.
The more you play, the more invested you become in improving, whether you're playing in casual pickup games or in a league.
Every time you step onto the ice with a new pair of hockey skates, it's an invigorating feeling.
Transitioning from rental or used skates to your personal pair is a significant leap, as the right skates can profoundly impact your game.
This holds true for both intermediate and seasoned players.
Your perfect pair of hockey skates is waiting out there; all it takes is some patience and knowledge about the features best suited for your playing style and skill level.
With this guide in hand, we trust you'll find the best hockey skates suitable for both indoor rinks and outdoor ponds.