Most people without the proper knowledge might assume that when picking a hockey skate, they should pick up the same size as they wear in tennis shoes. This is simply not correct. Buying tennis shoes and hockey skates are two entirely different things. When shopping for tennis shoes, many people pay attention only to the size, brand, and look. As hockey skates will be used for a great deal more than walking down the street, shopping for skates is a much more involved process.
The Importance of the Right Size Hockey Skate
While it is important to pick the right size tennis shoe, if they are simply worn for everyday use, there is more leeway in what type of shoe you can get. If you are choosing some for working out or another type of strenuous activity, you need to look for more support, comfort, etc.
It is the same with hockey skates. Your skates will be what supports your feet and body while moving on the ice. Without the right support or right fit, you could find yourself facing blisters, falls, a decrease in performance, or even serious injuries.
Though the size of the skate is an important factor, it is just one part. Still, it’s important to start in the right direction before refining your search to more specific guidelines. Hockey skate sizes are generally going to be 1 – 2 sizes under your regular tennis shoe size. The following are the basic size groups:
- Youth- these sizes are generally for kids eight years old and under
- Junior- for kids between the ages of eight and twelve
- Senior- typically for adults and kids ages 13 and up
What You Need to Look for In a Hockey Skate:
Once you have found the correct size, you need to refine your search. Each size has fit types that help cater to your particular foot. These fit types are geared to help you find the following:
- Support- both heel and arch support
- The correct overall fit
Without these, your skate can cause great pain and affect your performance. To prevent this, you need to know what the keys are to a good-fitting skate.
The Keys to Finding a Good-fitting Hockey Skate:
- Correct forefoot width
- Correct heel depth
- Correct volume for your foot
The width of your forefoot is important when choosing a skate. If you have a wider forefoot, trying to squeeze into a narrow one is going to cause a lot of pain. Likewise, having a narrow forefoot in a wider size means you are not getting the support you need. The correct width for your foot is appropriate to prevent discomfort and injuries.
The shape/depth of your heel is also an important factor. Your skate should fit around your heel like a glove- a comfortable yet snug glove. If it does not, there will most likely be a lot of rubbing against your heel causing blisters and discomfort.
Volume is about the overall dimensions you need for your skate. A larger or wider foot will require a high volume while narrow feet will need low volume. Standard size feet will need medium volume.
When you have a good knowledge about your forefoot width, heel depth, and foot volume, you can begin to look more closely at the different fit types.
Tapered fits are made for users with a slightly narrow forefoot, a narrow heel, and an overall low foot volume.
Contoured is made for those with more of a standard shape forefoot, standard heel size, and an overall medium foot volume.
Classic, or traditional, sizes are made for those who have a wider forefoot, a deep heel, and an overall high foot volume.
To get an idea of how each of these looks, visit this website. Just like trying on a shoe in a shoe store, you can also walk around in the boot of the shoe to make sure it feels right before purchasing.
How Your Skate Should Feel When It’s On
When sliding into your skate, before you tie the laces, your toes should be touching the end of the skate- not jammed against, just touching. As you continue to lace up the skate, you’ll find your heel and toes moving back so that there is space for your toes.
Your forefoot should not be squished into the shoe at all. There should be enough space for your foot to lie with your toes spaced properly. Toes should never be jam-packed on top of one another or too close for comfort.
The boot of your skate should fit snugly and comfortably around your heel. When you walk, your heel should not come up at all. It should remain grounded inside of the skate.
The idea of the skate is to be able to move comfortably in them. They are providing you with supported mobility. Before purchasing the skates, you should make sure that they are just stiff enough. If they are too stiff, your mobility will be decreased. If they are not stiff enough, you will not receive the right amount of support. Be sure when you squat or lean that they do not bow out too much but that they still budge enough for you to commit these actions comfortably.
Some Final Words
- Remember that buying hockey skates should rely on much more than just a fad or fashion trend. Picking skates because someone else picked them can be hazardous to your health. Be sure you only pick skates according to how they fit and support you, not someone else.
- Many people like to shop online for the time and convenience it offers. This can be a mistake when buying hockey skates if the correct preparations are not made. Before purchasing online, go to a nearby skate shop or sporting goods store. Try on the different fits there. You might even find it helpful to get a salesperson involved to help you find the right fit and size. If you still feel the desire to purchase online, at least you will know what exactly you should be shopping for. Don’t do it blindly as this purchase could affect you in many ways.
- If you have the right fit skate but find that you are not quite getting your desired arch support, you can purchase insoles separately. Extra support in your arches will help reduce the risk of injuries and discomfort while enhancing your performance.