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Understanding the basic differences of the various types of ice hockey skates and figure skates and matching them to your skating needs can be difficult. Here are a few basic tips we stick to:
Hockey Skate Construction - There are three separate but equally important parts of an ice hockey skate: the boot, the holder and the runner. Generally every manufacturer uses the same three piece configuration of a boot, the holder and the runner but these components may vary by brand.
Holders and Runners - Available in both single and two piece units, holders and runners are the lower part of the skate; the Runner is what most people call the blade, while the holder connects the runner to the underside of the boot. While Easton and CCM make their own and Tuuk holders and runners can be found on Bauer hockey skates, all brands have them.
Skate Boots - The skate boot has evolved over time and has been the subject of many technological advancements. Basic ice hockey skates are constructed from leather and hard plastic, while more advanced models use materials like texalium glass, carbon composite, thermo-formable foam and hydrophobic liners. A good ice hockey boot should be light, protect your feet, support your ankles and be durable.
Selecting Hockey Skates: Where To Start
Once you have a general idea of the characteristics that are most important to you, start by focusing on the basics: intended use and sizing.
Intended Use - While all level of skaters should focus on protection, support and comfort, beginner skaters should focus on an adjustable skate and/or a recreational skate while developing more advanced skills. Advanced or highly competitive figure skaters and hockey players should pay close attention to a more detailed skate with specialized features as seen on higher end skates.
Sizing - Proper sizing is critical. Unfortunately the size and fit of each manufacturer’s ice skates vary, but you can save time by identifying the tendencies of each brand and then focusing on only those that fit you well. The four critical areas of fit including: the toe box, midfoot, instep and heel.
Tips for Finding Ice Hockey Skates
It can be easy to get confused by the many different materials, designs found in today’s skates, but these quick selection tips can help to overcome some of the confusion:
Find the brand that fits - Start by identifying which brand fits best and which features you like keeping in mind special technologies such as Dry Flow™ and Curv® in Bauer skates.
Assess level of competition - Recreational skates are adequate for beginners; high-tech features typically benefit advanced skaters the most.