When it comes to choosing which hockey skates to buy it can be quite overwhelming. With so many brands at all different prices knowing which is the best one is tricky.
What makes the research on hockey skates more complicated and confusing is that there is not enough data available to help you make a well-informed purchase. This is why we have come up with a complete and detailed guide on hockey skates.
In this post, we’re covering everything you need to know to choose the best hockey skates and help you understand how to make that decision.
Quick Answer: The Best Skates for Hockey
How To Choose Hockey Skates: A Buying Guide
What factors should you be paying attention to while buying your hockey skates? They’re not a cheap purchase so getting it right the first time is very important. Here at IceGators we’ve been helping players and parents know what to look for for years so here’s our guide to buying hockey skates.
Parts of a Hockey Skate
Before we dive into our reviews, we’ll first take a look at the anatomy of a hockey skate so you know what we’re talking about when we discus the different features that specific parts of the skate have.
Hockey skates are made up of three main parts:
- The boot
- The holder
- The blade (runner or steel)
Let’s start by looking at the boot and the individual parts that make it up
The Boot, as you probably already know, is the part of the skate that your foot sits in. It’s made up of lots of other parts, some of which are critical for hockey that you won’t find in other types of ice skates.
The Toe Box
The area at the front of the boot is called the Toe Box. This is the part of the skate that protects your toes and as a result is often well padded. An important thing to make sure of when buying hockey skates is how your toes fit in the toe box. If they’re too tight it will be uncomfortable and can cause blisters and long-term pain in your toes.
A tight toe box can also lead to severe injuries on a hard impact but a loose toe box will result in a lousy grip and lack of control on the ice.
The Quarter Package
The Quarter Package is the area of the boot that starts from just behind the toe box and runs through the mid-foot till your ankle. The quarter package is made from a thermo-moldable material so that skates can be baked and molded to fit your foot’s shape better. Though rigid, this area helps you get a good grip, move fast, and for better energy transfer.
The Heel Support is the back of your book and helps you to lock your foot in one place. It stops your foot from slipping from one place to another and ensures that you maintain the right balance and move around fast on the ice.
The Tongue is the area of the boot under the laces. Just like any other pair of shoes, it provides extra support, grip, and protection to top of your feet. The tongue is usually made of dense material to for comfort and protection.
The Liner is the material on the inner part of the boot. It has multiple roles but its primary function is it to help in absorbing moisture and keep your feet dry from sweat. It is made with water wicking material so it can efficiently help in moisture management. It also provides padding for added comfort and protection.
The Footbed (Insole
In layman’s terms, the Footbed on your skate is the insole at the bottom of the boot where your foot sits. It’s there to help get the best fit possible and and is often padded for extra comfort and give you good balance and grip when skating. They are replaceable so you can get a new one when they wear out.
The Ankle Support is the top of the back of the skate boot and as the name suggests, it provides padding and support to keep your ankle protected and comfortable. Little, or bad ankle padding may lead to bruises, blisters and also ankle pain.
The bottom of the boot that sits on top of the holder (which we’ll look at next) is the Outsole. It’s often made of rigid leather to be durable as most of the pressure lies on it.
Below the boot you have the Holder. As its name suggests, it’s the part of the skate that holds the blade. They’re often made out of plastic or a stronger composite material to ensure strength and durability. Depending on the brand and model, the holder can be different heights.
One thing to make sure of is to purchase a pair of skates where the holder and the blade are separate parts. This allows you to replace the blades if/when they wear out.
Blade (Runner or Steel)
The Blade, also known as a Runner or Steel, is the the metal part of the skate that connects with the ice. They are typically made out of stainless steel. You’ll need to keep the blades sharp and can sharpen them if they become worn out.
A Size Guide for Hockey Skates
An excellent fitting ice skate can make your game, and a poorly fitted one can break it. Bad fitting skates will result in blisters, injury, foot pain, and terrible performance on the ice so it’s really important to get it right.
When you wear skates that are too tight, your bones are cramped and under pressure, resulting in poor circulation, long-term leg pain, etc. A pair of hockey skates that fit you perfectly will help you to make swifter movements as you’ll have better control and balance in fast-paced games out on the rink.
Generally, the perfect fit for hockey skates is around 1 – 1.5 sizes smaller than your casual shoes. You want them to fit well and for there not to be much room.
You should be able to place one finger inside the boot and heel of your foot. We do recommend lacing up the skates and try to walk wearing them for a bit.
Your Playing Style and Position
While choosing your next hockey skate, it’s essential to buy the one which fits your playing style. You can have the most advanced and expensive skate still not take full advantage of it if it doesn’t suit your playing style. There are three types of playing styles forward, defense, and aggressive. Let’s compare these playing styles for better understanding of what to look for.
Forward vs. Defense
The player playing in the forward position needs instantaneous and very skilled in cornering. Being in a forward position requires a lot of steering around your opponents and sneaking in goal shots.
Defense, on the other hand, doesn’t require a lot of maneuvering and speed. Your primary job as a defender is blocking and combating forwards from your opponent’s team. While the padding is super essential in ice hockey, it becomes a priority for players playing in defenders’ position as you will be getting hit a lot at high speed.
Aggressive vs. Reserved
Players who are very aggressive on the rink need to emphasize padding. Proper padding becomes extremely important if your playing style is fierce, as you are more likely to be in the middle of a fiery pit taking hits.
A more cautious or reserved skater would most likely be happy with the speed but does not need the same level of padding within the quarter package that an aggressive player would.
Unlike forwarding and defenders, goalies’ main job is to stop the puck from hitting the nets or defending the goalpost. Goalies are at more risk of injuries than other players as they face and block the puck rapidly.
Goalies have to wear much protective gear like a blocker, catcher, chest and arm protector, jockstrap, leg-pads, masks, pants/breezers, skates, and sticks.
Hockey Skate Accessories
There are a few other accessories you might want to consider when purchasing new hockey skates. These aren’t essential though.
Skate guards, as their name suggests, are used to protect the blades of your hockey skates from damage off the ice. It’s a small cover that slides over them to make sure they don’t get blunted and also to protect other items from being cut by them.
Ice skate blades are notoriously sharp and need to be for best performance out on the ice. The guards will keep them safe from surfaces like cement, wood, metal, or rock which can cause severe damage to the blade if you’re not careful.
As you can see in the image above, they slide of the blade and are held in place by an elastic loop so that you know they’re on even when they’re in your bag.
Laces are not the first thing that pops into anyone’s mind when they think of buying a good pair of skates. But what most people don’t realize is that having a good pair of laces is very important.
They come in various colors and sizes; the most crucial thing about laces is to get the right fit. You don’t want to tie them super tight or super loose.
There are two types of laces waxed and non-waxed; we recommend going for waxed Laces as they are comfortable and fast to put on compared to non-waxed ones.
Insoles are the area your foot rests on; having a right insole is crucial for your performance. We cannot emphasize enough how much good quality insole impacts your performance and safety.
Apart from protecting your foot, they also distribute the pressure across your foot. They provide a comfortable padded base for your foot, helping the swift movement, balance, and good energy transfer.
Your Insole should be looked after well after a game takes it outside to get rid of moisture. You should regularly check for possible tears or damage; you should not be saving money by wearing a damaged insole as it will cause issues.
Now that we’ve given you an overview of how to choose hockey skates, below we have tried to answer some of the other frequently asked questions.
Q. How Long Do Hockey Skates Last?
It’s hard to say exactly how long a pair of hockey skates will last as it depends on various factors. For example: How often do you play? What’s your playing style? The brand and quality of materials used.
That being said, after speaking to lots of players we’ve found that an average player playing 2 – 4 times a week should have skates that last around 5 years. That being said, the more you play, the less time they will last and pros have been known to wear them out in a season.
Q. How to Break in Your Skates?
Hockey skates are made from very hard, stiff materials and as a result will require breaking in before they feel comfortable. It’ll take a bit of work to make them feel better but if you’re wondering how to break in hockey skates there are a number of ways but the most popular one is to bake them using an oven. A lot of stores offer this service or you can do it at home very easily.
Q. How Do You Bake Hockey Skates?
As we just covered, baking your skates is a good way of molding them to give you a better, more comfortable fit. It helps to soften the materials and shape the boot to your feet. We’ve written up a guide to baking hockey skates here that you can follow for step by step instructions.
Q. Can You Sharpen the Blade on Your Skates?
The quick answer is yes, and you’ll need to do it fairly often. Over time, the blades on your hockey skates will begin to lose their sharpness and become blunter. As a result you’ll need to sharpen them from time to time. It’s important as it’ll make some of the more technical moves and maneuvers easier and help you grip the ice better.
Pro hockey players sharpen their skates before every game and practice; this is done to eliminate any nicks and bends in the skates. But, If you are a rookie, you should probably sharpen your skates twice a month or after using it for 15-20 hours.
Q. Can You Replace the Blade on Your Skates?
While you won’t need to replace your skates for around 5 years if you’re sharpening your blades regularly you’ll eventually need to replace them. That’s why it’s important to buy hockey skates that have separate blades and holders. You can buy replacement steels them from any good hockey retailer and they’re not too expensive.
Q. How Stiff Should Your Skates Be?
When it comes to stiffness, the general rule is stiffer the skate, the better it will be. Most pro skaters prefer more rigid skates as it gives them direct control, better grip, and a good transfer of motion and energy.
But if you are a beginner, we would recommend going for a softer pair of skates. It’s easier to learn on soft skates rather than a stiff one. Find the right balance between performance and comfort
Q. Should You Buy A Used Hockey Skate?
When it comes to hockey gear, skates are definitely on the high end when it comes to cost. It can be tempting to pick up a pair of second hand ones. We’d recommend against it though and you should always buy brand new skates.
When you buy second-hand skates, you go in without knowing about previous damages or restorations done. They also will be broken in to their previous owners feet and so won’t be nearly as comfortable.
Q. What Is the Most Popular Skate in the NHL?
The answer to this depends who you ask but from what we’ve seen the Bauer Vapor 2X Pro Senior Ice Hockey Skates are probably one of the most popular skates in the NHL. Bauer skates are used by over 50% of NHL players with the next most popular brand being CCM.
The Best Rated Hockey Skate Reviews
That’s it for our guide to buying hockey skates. We hope you found it helpful. Now we’re going to give you our hockey skate reviews of what we think are the best ones on the market today.
#1. Bauer Supreme 2S Pro Hockey Skates
In at number one has to be the Bauer Supreme 2S Pro hockey skate. They’re one of the most popular skates of all time having been used by many of the NHL’s elite players over the last few years since its release.
There’s a lot to love about the Bauer Supreme 2s Pro but one of our favorite things is the lightweight and durable quarter package. It’s made from 3-D lasted carbon Curv® composite with Total Edge Comfort padding. This means that you’ll have excellent control, stability and be able to generate loads of power with each stride you take out on the ice.
On the inside of the boot you’ve got Bauer’s Lock Fit Pro liner that is extremely comfortable and designed to soak up any sweat to make sure that your feet stay comfortable and dry. That coupled with memory foam ankle padding make it an extremely comfortable boot that also provides loads of protection.
Overall, The Bauer Supreme 2s Pro is easily one of the best skates for hockey on the market today and an easy recommendation for us to make that we know you’ll love. Get the best price below.
#2. CCM Super Tacks AS3 Skates
C.C.M. Super Tacks AS3 is one of the skates which gives you speed and comfort. It has a very significant moisture-wicking feature 360-degree support to your foot. Maintaining an utterly performance-oriented build, it is engineered with an RFM composite, making a lightweight layer under the boots. This helps in having a comfortable game and allows direct contact with the ice to ensure a seamless flow of energy through the skate.
Some of the critical advantages of C.C.M. Super Tacks AS3:
- Anatomical fit which gives a very supportive footbed which offers a firm lock to your foot
- One of the best things about C.C.M. Super Tacks AS# is that it comes with additional replaceable tongues. These tongues vary in thickness, which gives you a lot of options. This allows you to set the recoil you want at the front of your foot.
- Its runner is made of X.S. stainless steel, which ensures durability and long-term performance.
Much like the top AS3 Pro line of products, the CCM has a quick-release blade holder system, the Speedblade XS Holder. It is a spring-loaded system that works on a positive lock mechanism, making it extremely easy to change your runners. All you need to do is, roll the Bladelock dial till you feel pressure, then pop the blade out and replace it with a new one.
#3. Bauer Vapor 2x Pro Ice Hockey Skates
Bauer Vapor 2X Pro hockey skate is the perfect skates for players at advanced levels. It is a durable, lightweight, advanced performing skates suitable for regular players who play more than four times a week.
Some of the best performing Bauer Vapor 2X Pro hockey skate is as follows:
- Dynaflex System for the impeccable performance.
- Aero Foam Pro padding makes a perfect place to rest your foot and move around fast, comfortably.
- Lock-Fit Pro liner for an imperishable durable skate.
- Tuuk Lightspeed Edge holder, which gives stable, firm, and tight grip.
- Tuuk LS5 runner, which provides it with a long-lasting, sturdy life.
If you are looking for durable skates that can sustain your aggressive, fast-paced game four times a week, Bauer Vapor 2X Pro is the skates you should go for. It gives you super comfortable padding and excellent moisture-wicking and keeps your foot protected.
#4. Bauer Vapor 1x Ice Hockey Skates
The Bauer Vapor 1X is one of the most technically advanced skates present in the market. It is cognitive, responsive, and ensures the protection of your foot.
Its asymmetrical design makes the boot wrap around your foot, giving you robust control, the right balance, and a faster transfer of energy. Vapor 1 X also gives you the option to switch damaged blades quickly and easily.
- Tuuk LightSpeed Edge for trigger-quick blade replacement.
- Carbon composite, vented Outsole for dry, breathable support.
- 3-D Lasted Curv Composite quarter package for lightweight, rigid support.
- FlexLock Pro tongue with the thermoformable composite center for custom impact protection.
- LockFit dual-zone liner with Anaform ankle pads for comfort and stability.
The Bauer Vapor 1x is the perfect blend of stiff yet lightweight feel. It has a pretty practical design, wherein it concentrates on better base support and energy transfer. It also provides ample locked-in stability to reduce any abrasions.
#5. CCM Jetspeed FT470 Ice Hockey Skates
Jetspeed FT470 is for the players who play weekly and looking for a comfortable fit and comfort.
It comes with a SpeedBlade Xchange System holder, making it super convenient and easy to change damaged blades. Its blade comes with a durable edge for enhanced performance, giving regular players good support and leverage.
C.C.M. is equipped with smooth contour pads, which provide an even, multi-density foam for soft and comfortable padding.
- A low-profile fit for skaters with low-volume dimensions.
- Rocketframe composite for high-level material.
- SpeedBlade XS holder for a fast blade-release system.
- SpeedBlade XS Stainless runner for a long-lasting edge.
- Smooth Contour pads for enhanced comfort.
- Multi-density memory foam for a customized feel.
- H.D. micro-fiber for good resistance to wear.
Although the FT470 is a budget skate, it is perfect for players with low-volume feet. It uses a unique MetaFrame technology, which takes care of the fit and firm shape, while the Rocketframe composite material ensures a premium-grade robust construction.
Not to mention the super smooth contour pads, which offer supreme comfort around the ankles while also providing a personalized fit.
#6. Bauer Vapor X2.9 Hockey Skates
Vapor X2.9 is better for players who play around three times a week and want an equilibrium of performance and comfort. It also has a 3D Tech Mesh quarter package, which gives optimal support and thermoformability gives you a perfect fit for swift skating and the right balance.
Vapor X2.9 also has a combination of Aero foam padding, which makes your foot very comfortable, protects from injuries, and provides personalized comfort.
- 3D Lasted Tech Mesh quarter gives you firm support and grip.
- Comfort Edge and Aero Foam keeps your foot protected and gives extra soft padding.
- Form-Fit+ footbed for padding and comfort.
- Tuuk Lightspeed EDGE holder, which gives you better striding.
This pair of hockey skates offer premium comfort because it comes with a Bauer Form+Fit footbed and a hydrophobic microfiber liner. The liner helps in moisture management and provides support to the foot, and the Form+Fit footbed makes it great on ice without causing any discomfort to the foot in the boot.
#7. CCM Tacks 9090 Hockey Skates
If you prefer the traditional two-piece making of the boot, then C.C.M. Tacks 9090 is the one for you. They embody every specification of a high-end AS1 skate and give you the same experience without breaking your bank.
- SpeedBlade 4.0 holder and SpeedBlade Black runners provide stiffness and durability.
- High-quality outsole for smooth and firm transfer of energy.
- C.C.M. Tacks skates are double stitched all around, which makes it very durable.
- TriTech Flex tongue gives you a very comfortable experience, fast movement.
- It comes with an embossed lace-bite guard, which protects you against hard impacts in the rink.
- Total-Dri liner for moisture management.
- Smooth Contour collars keep your ankles safe from abrasion.
- It has DuraZone patches, which provide an extra layer of protection against the shin guard.
A must-mention for this product is the Total Dri-liner feature. It wicks away any moisture to ensure a dry and comfortable feel, but its unique texture offers optimum stability and power maintenance. Frankly, the CCM Tacks 9090 is one of the most well-built skates for a pro or elite player.
#8. Bauer Supreme 3S Ice Hockey Skates
Supreme 3S Skate is an ideal fit for skillful players looking for a comfortable pair to enhance their game. It is equipped with a 3D Lasted Flex Composite boot, making it a very lightweight skate, making it easier to move around fast and flex. It’s Pro T.P.U.
The outsole gives the skillful player desired stiffness, stability, and strong stride.
- Supreme 3S is designed to maximize acceleration; when you start striding, the design moves the force more towards the front, which gives the initial boost.
- It has a 48-ounce tongue comprised of the metatarsal, which gives forward flex and comfort.
- Bauer Supreme 3S has a flex rating of 70, which promises good stability and support.
Not only are the skates offered with optimal stability and comfort, but it also comes with Bauer Power Profile. The Bauer power profile has a 4-zone blade shape uniquely spread across the skates for improved performance.
#9. Bauer Vapor X2.7 Ice Hockey Skates
Bauer Vapor X2.7 is an ideal skate for regular players looking for a reliable, comfortable pair of skates, improving their rink performance. Let’s take a look at some of the features of Vapor X2.7:
- It has a quarter made of one-piece 3D Polycarb, which makes it extra flexible.
- It has memory foam, which gives a very comfortable experience and firm support.
- Microfiber liner for adequate comfort.
- Tuuk Lightspeed EDGE holder present in it gives you extra leverage in striding.
- The Bauer Vapor X2.7 hockey skates are an excellent option for the weekly player who is looking for good comfort and performance at an incredible value.
Talking of comfort, the Bauer Vapor X2.7 combines a unique blend of microfiber liner and memory foam padding for the inside of the boot. While the liner offers superior comfort and support throughout the hockey skate, the memory foam ensures a snug fit at the ankle area.
The top of the skate comes with an injected metatarsal guard, which provides optimal comfort and offers superior flexibility, thus increasing the agility on the ice.
#10. Bauer Supreme S27 Skates
Supreme S27 is made for skaters with intermediate skill level, ideal for a recreational player. Someone who is not a regular player. It is a good performing durable skate that won’t break your bank. It has the Tuuk Edge feature, which is loved by the NHL.
Players as it gives a quick runner system, and you can swipe out damaged steel in seconds. Some of the salient features of Bauer Supreme S27 Skates are as follows.
- Its hydrophobic microfiber lining and memory foam padding make it very comfortable, protecting you from unexpected injuries.
- It has Tuuk stainless steel, which makes it durable and long-lasting.
- Its quarter package is based on 3D Trueform tech P.U. which gives a steady and customizable fit.
While the Supreme S27 comprises thick memory foam pads on the ankles, it also incorporates Bauer’s Form-Fit EVA on the footbed, which is a mid-density foam and provides optimum comfort to your feet.
Moreover, this skate pair is exceptionally lightweight while offering a medium volume fit, standard height, and ample width in the heels, rear, and front feet.
So Which Hockey Skates Should You Buy?
We hope that helps make a little bit more sense of how to choose your hockey skates and which ones are the best. Just remember to look for a lightweight, strong and durable skate from a reputable brand you should be fine. Again, make sure that you get one that can be themomolded so you can bake it to ensure a perfect fit.
If you’re still on the fence about which hockey skate to go for we’d suggest going for the Bauer Supreme S2 Pro hockey skates. The combination of the high-quality, stiff composite boot, extremely comfortable memory foam padding, ultra lightweight design and amazing 5 star reviews from thousands of customers all point to it being the best on the market. It’s an easy recommendation for us to make and to get the best price just click the button below.