The best ice hockey skates

Hockey & Ice Skating

If you’re just starting out, everyone is awkward when they get out onto the ice for the first time, no matter which skates they purchase. Choose the best skates for you and have patience.

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

Which ice hockey skate is best?

Ice hockey is a great sport to watch and play, but it’s not always easy to get started because it requires so much equipment. And trying to figure out which products to buy can be overwhelming for a newcomer.  

Choices may vary depending on your needs, but a top pick for the best ice hockey skate is the Bauer Vapor 3x Skates.

What to know before you buy ice hockey skates

Play level

You not only want to consider how frequently you will use the skates when buying, but also consider the level you’re participating at since skates were designed with these considerations in mind.  

  • Recreational: If you’re young, just starting out or a casual player, you want to look for recreational skates. They are less expensive and more comfortable but not ideal for elite performers. These are the best skates to purchase if you’re learning. 
  • Performance: These skates are more supportive and have a stiffer boot than the recreational skates. They also last a little longer because they have exchangeable runners that allow you to replace the blades. 
  • Elite: If you play more than three times a week, you should be in the market for an elite skate. They provide more protection and are more durable, which is also why they are more expensive. Many elite skates are heat moldable and have one-piece boots. The better material also means they dry out quicker between uses. 

Fit type

  • Tapered: These skates are more narrow and shallow than other models. This is the most popular model but definitely not ideal for those with wider feet. 
  • Contoured: These models are a little wider than the tapered fit but still have a firm heel that will provide a tight fit. 
  • Classic: These traditional skates are the widest of the three options. They have a flexible boot and a deeper heel but are not ideal for those with narrow feet. 

Size

Sizing can be tricky because sizes can vary between brands, but a good rule of thumb is to pick a skate that is one-and-a-half sizes smaller than your shoe size. You don’t want your skates to be uncomfortable, but if you pick a skate that is even slightly too big for your foot, you risk injury. 

If you’re also in the market for sticks, take a look at the buying guide for the best ice hockey sticks on BestReviews. 

What to look for in hockey skates

Blade material 

Stainless steel blades are the best quality and the most durable, but if you’re just starting out, they may be unnecessary and expensive. Newcomers purchasing recreational skates can save money with lower-grade steel blades. 

Blade profile

How curved your blade is will determine how much of the blade comes in contact with the ice. Smaller blade profiles (around 7 feet) allow for more speed and maneuverability than larger blade profiles (around 13 feet), which provide more stability but less mobility and speed. 

Runners

The runner is the steel portion of the skate that is attached below the boot. Higher quality and elite skates have exchangeable runners and blades, while most recreational skates have fixed runners and blades, which is one reason why they don’t typically last as long. 

Laces

You have two choices when it comes to laces: waxed or unwaxed. Waxed laces are preferred by experienced players because they make for a tighter fit, while unwaxed laces are ideal for newcomers because they make it easier to get the skates on and off. 

How much you can expect to spend on ice hockey skates?

Skate size and quality determine price. Recreational skates for kids can be found for under $40, while more elite skates can go up to $900, but you can still find good quality skates in the $200 range.  

Best ice hockey skates FAQ 

How often should I sharpen my ice hockey skate blade?

A. This depends on the type of blade. While some like their blades extra sharp and sharpen them after every use, others will go substantially longer without sharpening their blades. The general rule is to sharpen blades after every 12 hours of skating time.

How long does a pair of ice hockey skates last? 

A. Skates can last up to eight years, depending on the frequency of use, how you care for them and the quality of skates purchased. 

What are the best ice hockey skates to buy?

Top ice hockey skates

Bauer Vapor 3x Skates

Bauer Vapor 3x Skates
What you need to know: Made by a trusted industry brand, these well-made skates are ideal for top-level competition. 

What you’ll love: These lightweight skates come with a full composite boot, hydrophobic liner, felt tongue and an asymmetrical toe cap to help ensure excellent balance, fit and comfort. 

What you should consider: These are not skates for beginners and are made more for experienced or elite players.  

Where to buy: Dick’s Sporting Goods

Top ice hockey skates for the money

American Ice Force 2.0 Hockey Skate

American Ice Force 2.0 Hockey Skate

What you need to know: Engineered for agility and optimal power, this ice hockey skate is perfect for beginner and intermediate skaters.

What you’ll love:  This budget-conscious skate offers a stainless steel blade, sidewall PVC injection molds and a breathable inner liner. These skates are ultra-durable for the spills, hits, and crashes that a young or beginner hockey player could endure while learning the ropes.

What you should consider: Customers have felt the skates tend to run on the smaller side and suggest going up one size. 

Where to buy: Amazon

Worth checking out

American Athletic Shoe Co.bWomen’s American Soft Boot Hockey Skate

American Athletic Shoe Co.bWomen’s American Soft Boot Hockey Skate

What you need to know: This is a great women’s recreational skate for non-competitive ice hockey. The extra padding provides warmth and comfort, while the multi-layer boot provides additional support. 

What you’ll love: These are fashionable and specifically designed for women. They’re inexpensive and great for a beginner who is just starting out. 

What you should consider: Some customers have found these skates uncomfortable and the sizing to be off compared to other skates. 

Where to buy: Amazon

 

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

 

Ryan Dempsey 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.