Best ice hockey skate

Hockey & Ice Skating

To determine if your skates need sharpening, run your fingernail along the width (not length) of the blade. You should feel two distinct edges; if you don’t, it’s time to sharpen.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which ice hockey skate is best?

Regardless of your skill level or top speed, to partake in ice hockey, one of the most fun and thrilling sports, you need a quality pair of skates. The proper pair makes a leisurely skate more comfortable and enjoyable and offers athletes the proper edge — literally and figuratively — to best the competition. Ice hockey skates need to be protective and durable, yet light and comfortable.

A top pick from Bauer is comfortable and quality-made from a trusted name in skates.

What to know before you buy ice hockey skates

Play level

It’s important to buy skates that match your level of play. You don’t want something that offers unnecessary features at an extra cost or a pair that hinders your optimal performance.

Recreational: These cater to younger, more casual and beginner players and are designed for comfort. They’re not meant to endure top speeds and hard pucks. They’re best used infrequently by those who skate during the winter, or by those who are expected to grow out of them eventually.

Performance: These are useful for those playing hockey regularly on a team or skating a few times a week. Adults starting off may want to choose these as they offer more weight support and durability than recreational skates.

Elite: Elite skates are made for advanced hockey players and skaters who play regularly on a competitive team. These offer more protection and feature better ventilation.

Fit

Narrow fit: Narrow fit skates better enhance speed, agility and control, with a shallow instep and a narrow heel opening up to a standard size toe.

Anatomical fit: Anatomical fit boots feature a standard instep, and both the heel and midsection fit snugly, offering power and control in your stride.

Comfort fit: Comfort fit are wider skates with a deep instep. They’re light, comfortable and help provide a natural glide.

Size

Finding the right skate size takes time and patience; many manufacturers use their own sizing chart, which can make finding the perfect fit tedious. You need a skate that’s not so big your foot moves inside (which can cause injury), but not so small that it can cause cramping and blisters. When trying skates on, wear the socks you’ll use in action, and remember that boots take time to break in.

What to look for in a quality ice hockey skate

Blade material

Most ice hockey skates feature steel blades. Advanced skaters opt for more expensive and durable stainless steel. For casual skaters, more affordable nickel-plated steel should suffice.

Blade profile

The profile of the blade is the extent to which it is curved and how much of the blade actually touches the ice. The higher the number, the flatter the blade, which offers more stability and control. Lower numbers denote more curved blades, allowing for increased maneuverability and agility.

Exchangeable runner

Skates for more advanced players often feature exchangeable runners, allowing you to switch out the blade if it’s worn out while keeping the boot portion. Recreational skates don’t typically have this option, as younger players outgrow the boot anyway.

How much you can expect to spend on ice hockey skates

Ice hockey skates vary widely in price, mainly due to play level. Recreational skates are less expensive (usually well under $100), while performance and elite skates can range from $100 to $300 or more. Exchangeable stainless steel blades raise the price.

Ice hockey skate FAQ

How do you take care of your hockey skates?

A. After use, wipe down the blade with a towel to remove ice and water. Cover the blade with a skate guard to protect its sharpness. Air out the boot to prevent odor and mold from forming. Store in a cool, dry place.

Q. How often do I need to sharpen my skates?

A. Generally, you want to sharpen your skates after every 12 hours of use, which varies depending on how frequently and intensely you play. Take note of how you perform when your skates are newly sharpened; some players prefer them extra sharp for game time.

What’s the best ice hockey skate to buy?

Top ice hockey skate

Bauer Senior Vapor X3.5 Hockey Skates

Bauer Senior Vapor X3.5 Hockey Skates

What you need to know: This is a new model of the high-quality series of recreational skates from a trusted company.

What you’ll love: Comfortable and form-fitting padding on the interior, it has a hard, protective boot for an enhanced ease of movement.

What you should consider: It is one of the more expensive options.

Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Top ice hockey skate for the money

American Athletic’s Ice Force 2.0 Hockey Skates

American Athletic’s Ice Force 2.0 Hockey Skates

What you need to know: This is the ideal pair for those seeking a casual skate or playing recreational hockey.

What you’ll love: A sturdy fit, durable blade and great price make these a solid bargain for those wanting a fun time on the ice.

What you should consider: They take time to break in and some users found them uncomfortable.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

American Athletic’s Soft Boot Women’s Hockey Skates

American Athletic’s Soft Boot Women’s Hockey Skates

What you need to know: These are a solid pick for female skaters and players building up their skill level and having fun on the ice.

What you’ll love: Eye-catching and comfortable, the stainless steel blade is sharp and long-lasting.

What you should consider: It is not recommended for competitive players.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Anthony Marcusa writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.