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Hockey players need to consider their skates as part of their feet. Skates are by far the most important piece of hockey equipment you can buy. Because they are so important, it is vital that you buy the right skate for your style of play, and that you size them properly.
Hockey skates are comprised of two basic parts: the boot and the blade.
Most skates are manufactured with a combination of leather and synthetic materials for durability, performance, and comfort. The exact mixture of these components, with names like Kevlar® and graphite, depends on the quality of the skate and the cost.
Hard plastic boots offer better protection against pucks and provide more support for your ankles
Goalie skates are similar in construction to regular hockey skates but are designed differently with a wider blade and lower boot with more ankle and foot protection
Skate blades are made of steel and have a concave (hollowed out) shape
An important factor in performance is blade radius, or the amount of the skate blade that is actually in contact with the ice
The radius is measured by placing the blades together, bottom to bottom, and holding them up to the light. The length where the blade edges make contact is the radius.
If you are a beginning skater you will want a radius of about five inches. This increases your ability to propel yourself along the ice while providing stability.
A radius of 3-4 inches helps in cutting and turning
Forwards prefer blades with a shorter radius to help with maneuverability
Defensemen look for longer radius blades for extra stability
Players can also grind their blades to sharpen the edges and create a double edge for extra contact with the ice
The deeper the grind, the more maneuverable
Goalie blades have a less hollow grind and a larger radius