If you are new to Winnipeg, or just trying to pick up one of the city’s most favorite winter activity, we are here to help you understand how to choose ice-skates.
One of the most important things to understand before we dive into the world of ice-skates, is that the ice-based activity matters. Even before we mention your skill level, the specific activity you wish to pick up will determine the type of skates you’ll need to get.
The Differences Between Types of Skates
If you’ve already decided on the ice activity you plan to pick, or looking for suggestions, we’ll point out the important differences between the different types of ice-skates you can find.
Dancing, jumping, spinning, and turning – These are the main activities figure skaters do. Although these are not typical ice-skating maneuvers a beginner will make, it is important to understand their features.
The figure skates consist of a leather (or synthetic leather) boots that firmly wrap and snuggle the foot, while allowing movement.
Another important characteristic of figure skates are the toe picks at the front of the blade. Those picks allow figure skaters to stop or jump easier, and help completing complex maneuvers on the ice. The blade itself is longer than the one used in hockey skates (see below) and extends beyond the back of the boot. The blade is almost completely straight and is not curved as hockey skates’ blade.
Ice Hockey Skates
Ice hockey skates are ideal for ice hockey players, but are also great for recreational ice skating and can even suite a beginner.
Ice hockey skates have a stiff shell boot which protects your feet from hits and provides great support to the foot, heel, and ankle.
The stiffness of the outer shell, with the higher comfort of the inner lining of the boot makes the boot itself a great solution for beginners and hockey players alike.
The ice hockey skates’ blades are shorter and more curved than the ones mounted on figure skates. They also lack the front toe pick, so beginners can trust that they will not accidentally get stuck in the ice with a wrong move.
So, What’s Best for Beginners?
It seems that every type of ice-skates has some advantages that can benefit beginner ice skaters. The longer straighter blade of figure-skates might aid beginners’ stability and the front toe pick can help you push yourself from a starting position.
On the other hand, the great support that ice hockey skates provide are sometimes crucial for beginners who struggle standing and gliding on the ice.
Since there are types of ice-skates that their blade can be separated from the boot, we suggest a hybrid of figure-skates’ blade coupled with the boot of ice-hockey skates.
If this option is off the table, then we highly recommend starting with ice-hockey skates that will provide better support for novice gliders.
How to Determine Ice-Skate Size?
Ice-skates sizes are smaller than your shoe size and are generally smaller by 1-1.5 size. Although this is normally correct, it is best that you measure your foot and understand your correct size.
Please compare your shoe size with the following table to determine your ice-skates size:
Another factor that is important in ice-skates and is overlooked while shoe sopping, is the width of the foot. Ice-skates come in different widths as well, and this factor will determine how snuggly the boot will fit.
To measure your foot place a measuring tape on the ground and stretch it from a wall.
Place the back of your foot at the wall and measure the length of the foot from the heel to the longest toe.
After you write down this measurement, you’ll need to measure the ball of your foot. Measure it at its widest point and write down this measurement as well.
Now, divide the length of your foot by its width to get a ratio.
Consult the following table with your ratio to determine the correct width for your ice-skates:
Ice Skates for Kids
A great option for ice-skates for kids that are still growing are adjustable ice-skates.
Theses skates can grow and adjust through 4, and sometimes 5 sizes. Since brand new ice skates aren’t cheap, this might be a great solution for kids who has just started skating, and will probably need a larger size by the following season.
Final Advice – Rent Before You Buy
If you are new to the sport of ice-skating, we highly recommend that you rent some skates and try those out at the rink. Maybe this is not the sport for you, and maybe you will not even like it. So before committing to an investment such as buying new skates, you should try and see if you enjoy the activity.