Skating on synthetic ice has been a fantastic experience for our customers.
With synthetic ice, you can acquire panels cut and designed to your specifications.
That means you can skate almost anywhere and, more importantly, anytime during the year.
Of course, like peanut butter and jelly, synthetic ice won’t work without ice skates.
So it’s about time we answer a question that we get all the time; how do you buy skates for synthetic ice?
We’ve gone to many lengths to ensure that our synthetic ice feels as close to the real thing.
For the uninitiated, synthetic ice are panels made of polyethylene sheets
These tiles were initially introduced for large-scale ice rinks.
Now, you can get custom-made panels that interlock for your home.
PolyGlide’s Synthetic Ice, in particular, has gone through changes to make the skating experience feel like natural ice.
Wherever you decide to set up your rink, you’ll want an excellent skating experience.
These tips for buying your skates will help you make the best out of your ice.
Tips for Buying Ice Skates
Yes, you’ll need your metal skates for your synthetic ice.
If you’re buying your first skates or upgrading some old ones, you’ll need to think about a few things:
What’s your flavor?
The first thing that you should consider is the skate’s primary use.
If you’re starting in ice skating, this means you have to choose between figure skates or ice hockey skates.
These skates differ in style, blades, and fit for the wearer according to their purpose.
Figure skates are generally very flexible to support the wide range of movements (think spinning, gliding, jumping, stretching, and turning).
Figure skates are usually made of leather which gives a tight fit yet allows quick movements.
The blades are also exceptionally sharp.
This quality enables the figure skaters to make quick turns and accurate movements.
They also have toe picks that look like tiny teeth.
This feature allows you to have more control of the skate when you jump or spin.
Ice hockey skates
Ice hockey skates are typically lighter, narrower, and flatter compared to figure skates.
These qualities are necessary so they won’t hurt your game.
Compared to figure skates, hockey skates have a stiffer boot to protect your foot in a high-contact sport like hockey.
The blades of ice hockey skates don’t have toe picks. Instead, they are narrower and rounded at the front and back, making them quite curved.
This curved design gives the player increased speed, agility, and maneuverability.
Skating is a great hobby and a great way to stay fit! So you may need recreational skates instead.
Recreational ice skates are usually cheaper, with a balance between protection and style.
Most are lightweight with extra ventilation.
These skates are simple, reliable, and last a long time if you’re occasionally skating.
Consider your experience level.
Next is your skill and experience level. Ice skates are also designed to suit your skills.
There are entry-level skates, intermediate and advanced skaters.
So as your level progresses, you’ll realize the need to buy a new one.
This type of skates has synthetic outers and linings, a PVC sole, and a basic blade.
It’s best for occasional skating or if you are starting to learn how to skate.
If you wish to try figure skating, entry-level skates may not be able to support your movements.
Intermediate and Advanced
If you’ve progressed to this level already, you may check out the products of some top manufacturers like Bauer, Risport, Riedell, and K2.
These companies have invested in research and development to ensure that their skates will perform as excellently as their wearer.
Recreational skates are designed for fun and occasional ice skating.
They have a simplified lacing pattern to make it quick and easy for the owner to wear and remove.
These skates work for those who have improved their skills, but it’s not built for jumps and spins.
Know the correct size and fit for you.
Next, think about the size and fit.
Your skates must fit well. If you or your kids hit the ice, you’ll be there for a while.
The last thing you’d want is a pair of skates that are too big, or worse, too small. Poor-fitting skates cause blisters and can make the experience less than desirable.
Unlike conventional shoes, where you have to worry about the length (size) of the shoe, skates have a couple more dimensions to consider:
- Your skate size is your starting point. Your shoe size and your skate aren’t the same measurements. Skate sizes are measured about one and a half (1.5) units smaller than regular shoe sizes. So if you wear a size 10, your skate size is 9.5. For kids, it’s one size smaller.
- Skates also come with skate width as a measurement. The width helps with a proper fit from the instep. Skate widths come from Narrow To Extra-wide, allowing the skates to stay snug during turns and stops.
- Skates also fit by volume. This is the overall shape and cuts of the boot. The volume determines the space you’ll have at the heel and specific performance measures native to that brand. Volume comes in High, Medium, and Low, particularly with hockey skates. These measurements allow skates to be versatile. For instance, you can get a Medium volume skate with a width that’s ‘Extra-wide.’
The skates’ size and fit are necessary for you to have absolute control of the blades, especially if you are a figure skater who jumps and spins.
Finding your true size can be difficult, especially if you’re buying online.
Luckily, you can trace your foot on a sheet of paper to get the right length and width according to the brand’s style guide.
When you do get a pair or get to try them on, loosen the laces or buckles, then push your foot forward, there should be enough space to insert a finger behind your heel.
It is also best to wear the socks you’re planning to use for ice skating when trying on and buying ice skates.
There are ice skates that are already adjustable for kids - allowing parents to lengthen the boot as the kid grows.
Adjustable models can expand to 3 or 4 sizes, which is best and practical if the child is still growing.
Consider how often you’ll use the skates.
If you’re trying out ice skating or might go on the rink just a few times, then you should not invest in an expensive skate. Regular, recreational ones will do.
If you are a professional figure skater or hockey player, then you’ll most likely wear the skates for hours every day.
In this case, you need to invest in a durable, high-performance skate.
Research different brands.
If you’re investing in a skate for long-term, extensive use, make sure to do some research first.
Go through the different brands and study the various models that suit your needs and preferences.
Look for reviews from actual users. You can even ask coaches and other athletes in your sport for recommendations.
Consider renting first.
On the flip side, if you’re trying out ice skating as a new hobby or simply not prepared to spend on skates, think about renting a pair.
Rental skates can help you try out different fits and brands until you reach more advanced levels. Brands like Riedell have a great online rental program.
Skating Tips on Synthetic Ice
When you get your fresh pair of skates, you’ll be eager to hit your synthetic ice rink. Here are some tips to help you get the best out of the experience.
Keep your blades nice and sharp.
Before hitting the ice, have your skate blades sharpened which will do wonders for your performance.
Depending on the intensity of your movements, aim for a specific Radius Of Hollow or ROH.
Ice skate blades have two edges with a curved hollow between them.
The depth of the hollow determines factors like glide and speed.
A ⅝ ROH shallow sharpening helps you specifically with gliding.
However, if you are still losing an edge frequently, you may try a deeper ½” sharpening to keep the hollow longer.
Having a sharpening machine at home is a recommended investment.
Invest in a second pair of skates.
If you switch from synthetic ice to natural ice or vice versa, invest in a second pair of skates dedicated to synthetic ice training.
This will save some time sharpening your skates every time you want (or have) to skate on natural ice.
Having an alternative pair of skates will also lengthen the lifespan of the blades of both.
Heat your blades.
Next is to heat your skate blades.
Set aside at least 2 to 5 minutes to warm up the steel before stepping on any synthetic ice.
Warmed-up steel will have better interaction with the surface and prevent skidding.
This step is also helpful to activate the embedded lubricant.
Clean your synthetic ice
Eventually, your synthetic ice will produce shavings.
The new ridges made from your blades improve the performance of the skates, but excess shavings do the opposite.
For the best experience, clean your synthetic ice panels with warm soapy water with a mop or cloth.
Finding the right skates can make skating on your synthetic ice rink a fantastic experience.
Make sure to focus on fit and get a pair of skates that’s perfect for your skating level.
If you can visit a local shop, test multiple fits.
If that’s not possible, measure your foot at home and make sure there’s a return policy in place.
You’ll love skating on synthetic ice, and it will be even better with the perfect pair of skates.