Friday, January 23, 2009

How to Buy Hockey Skates

Your skates are your most important, most expensive piece of hockey equipment you will own. To get the most out of your time on the ice, take the time find the best skates for your feet, and and your skating ability.

The first thing you learn about Hockey Skates is that the sizes are not the same as your shoe size. Hockey skates will often fit 1, or even 2 sizes less than your shoe size. It's not uncommon for someone who wears a size 9 shoe to where a size 8 skate. As each manufacture has slightly different sizes. Let your pro shop know your shoe size, and he will bring you out the closest skate size for each make of skate. You still may have to move up or down a half-size, but you shouldn't be too far off.
Bring the socks you plan to wear on the ice with you to try on skates. If you don't wear socks when you play, bring a thin nylon sock, like a dress sock. Nobody wants to buy a new pair of skates once somebody else's bare foot has been in it.

While skating 'commando' may give you a better feel for the ice (it seem to work for Bobby Orr), keep in mind your skates will wear out faster as more bacteria infested sweat will be absorbed into the boot. Be sure to air them out after every game.
How to Try on Hockey skates
  • Once your foot is in the skate, kick back on your heel to lock your heel into the back of the skate.

  • Lace up the skates as if you were going on the ice. Your big toe should barely touch to front of the skate. If your toes are jammed into the front of the skate, try a larger size.

  • Stand up and bend at your ankles and knees. Your toes should pull back completely away from the front of the skate. If they are still touching, you likely need to go up a half-size.

  • The skate should feel snug on all sides. Having consistent contact around your entire foot will give you greater control, and a more immediate response from your foot, to the boot, to the blade, to the ice.

  • Walk around a bit to make sure your heel stays locked in, and there are no uncomfortable pressure points on either foot.

  • If your skate feels too tight on the sides, but your toe is just grazing the front of the skate, try a wider skate, like a 'D' in the same size, rather than moving up a size.
Skating Ability
Within a line of any brand of skates, the top of line will be the stiffest skate designed for elite players. If you're just learning to skate, or even if you're an intermediate skater, buying the most expensive skate will not improve your skating. Most manufactures carry a full range of models at various price points and stiffness that will match your skating ability.
Don't just buy a particular model or brand because that's what your favorite NHL Player wears. Pros get their skate boots custom made, so even if you buy the same model, it's not the same skate.

Buy the skate with the best fit for your foot and your skating ability.

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