Choosing Skates

In figure skating, skates are the most important piece of equipment. Purchasing appropriate skates to suit the level of skater and your budget is important.

For Beginning Skaters:

Beginners can start with hockey skates or figure skates, either are appropriate at the CanSkate level.

  • Before buying skates, check carefully for:
    • Proper fit
    • Firm ankle support
    • Good quality leather
    • Correct blade placement
  • For best results, avoid buying a larger size for the skater to grow into
  • Leather boots are preferable to vinyl
  • Moulded plastic skates are not recommended
  • Look for blades that are installed with screws instead of rivets so that the blade can be moved if necessary
  • If the blade if riveted, make sure it is straight and centered. The skate should look and remain balanced when placed upright on a flat surface and the skater should stand straight when wearing the skates. Ankles should never appear to fall over.

Skates for StarSkate and Competitive Skaters:

  • As the skater moves into StarSKate, it is appropriate to purchase better quality boots and blades.
  • At this level figure skating boots and blades are generally bought separately. Blades are screwed, not riveted onto the boot soles.
  • Mounting the blades is very critical and should be done only by an experienced person. Many coaches and skating stores are able to do this.
  • When trying on a new pair of skates, the skater should wear only one pair of tight fitting socks or tights (the same pair that will be worn when skating) and:
    • Partially lace boots through instep
    • Slide foot forward so toes can touch the front but are not cramped
    • Stand with weight equally distributed over both feet
    • Bend knees
    • The space at the back should be no more than a pencil width.
  • Once the skates are tied loosely over the toe and front of the boot and snugly over the andle and instep, the skates should fit snugly around the ankle and heel with some room for movement of toes.
  • When walking around off the ice, the skates should feel comfortable.
  • Make sure there is no looseness or creases in the boot
  • The tongue should be well padded and wide enough to cover the front of the ankle and stay in place.

Adapted from Figure Skating: What Every Parent Needs To Know complements of Skate Canada