There is a lot to consider when purchasing hockey skates. It is a difficult process and we want to make it easier for you. That’s why the team at Honest Hockey has put together the internet’s ultimate review list of ice hockey skates.

Our list includes skates of all price ranges and budgets, not just the most expensive.

Typically, hockey skates under $400 are usually best suited for intermediate and beginner players playing a few times a week, while the $400-$900 price point will be advanced and pro level skates that have the most advanced features and technology available more suited to players constantly practicing and pushing their skates in every game.

 

SHORT ON TIME?  Here are our picks.

Best Overall Senior Skates

BAUER VAPOR HYPERLITE

For the most elite hockey player who needs the latest tech and most advanced performance and safety features, the BAUER VAPOR HYPERLITE are the best OVERALL hockey skates available today. These skates are worn by many top NHL players.


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Best Mid Range Skates

CCM SUPER TACKS AS3

The skates with the best mix of VALUE AND FEATURES are the CCM SUPER TACKS AS3 hockey skates. Great performance and safety in these mid-range skates.

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Best Budget-Friendly Skates

BAUER SUPREME 3S

After much review, these hockey skates are our pick for the best BUDGET FRIENDLY hockey skates. They take a lot of what is great about the skates above and won't break the bank.

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For full reviews, keep reading below…


1. Bauer Supreme Ultrasonic Hockey Skates

bauer supreme ultrasonic review

Overview

The brand new Bauer Supreme Ultrasonic Hockey Skates are made to fit comfortably no matter the size and shape of your feet. These top-notch skates bring added stability and power to your game. The company’s Performance Fit System means they’re ideal for low, medium and high profile feet.

The stiff, durable composite boots feature a carbon outsole wrapping over the quarter packages to help provide maximum energy transfer with every stride you take. The stiffness of the boots enables uninhibited range of motion while the reinforced-felt tongue, tendon guard and Flex Facing result in enhanced mobility while your feet stay firmly locked in place.  

The Tuuk Edge Holder and stainless steel blades have been designed for superb edge retention and bite as well as consistency. In addition, balance, agility and stability are second to none with this elite level skate.

The Bauer Supreme Ultrasonic Hockey Skates are in the upper-level price range and designed for serious players. They’re also quite light as a size 9 skate weighs just 949 grams with sizes 4 to 12 being available for narrow, standard and wide feet.

Key Features: Carbon Curv Composite Boot – Asymmetrical Toe Cap – Unibody Technology, LS TI Runners with Quad Profile.

Click here to see our Bauer Supreme vs. Vapor vs. Nexus comparison!

What People are Saying

“The new fit system works perfectly for my feet.  2S really killed my feet but these are the most comfortable skates I’ve worn to date.  Very lightweight.  Tendon guard it a bit weird at first but you get used to it quickly.  They’re designed to flex with your body for better energy transfer, and I honestly feel faster. ”

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2. Bauer Supreme 3S Hockey Skates

Bauer Supreme 3S review

Overview

The Supreme 3S Skates by Bauer are also new and geared toward power and speed. The boots are constructed with lightweight flex composite for the right amount of support and stiffness which results in an explosive transfer of energy while skating. They’re designed to be game-ready with an anatomically-correct fit for all sizes and shapes of feet.

Protection is provided with the thick, high-grade foam ankle padding which moulds around your feet. The padding is also covered with a hydrophobic microfiber material to wick away moisture, ensuring your feet remain dry, cool, and in place at all times during the heat of action.

The LightSpeed Edge Holders by Tuuk means you can quickly exchange the blades in a matter of seconds when necessary to make sure you don’t miss a shift. Also, the top-quality steel blades create more contact with the ice for the ultimate in speed, agility and balance. 

The popular Bauer Supreme 3S Skates are in the mid-price range with the size 9 skate weighing 888 grams. They’re designed for all widths of feet and can be found from size 4 to 12. 

Key Features: Flex Composite Boot, TUUK Lightspeed Edge Holder, AeroFoam Ankle Padding, LS1+ Runners with Quad Profile

What People are Saying

“The new Bauer 3S are great skates ! Absolutely love them, skated two times so far and no complaints !”

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3. Bauer Vapor 3X Hockey Skates

bauer vapor 3x review

Overview

These new two-piece skates by Bauer are ideal for players on a budget who are still looking for quality fit, protection, agility and performance. The lightweight 3D Flex composite boots are heat moldable and provide the right amount of stiffness and support needed. They boast internal memory foams, 40-ounce felt tongues, moisture-managing liners, asymmetrical toes and foam ankle, collar and footbed padding.

The LS Balance stainless steel runners are made for stability and come with Tuuk LightSpeed Edge holders with a quick-release trigger system. They have unwaxed laces with Digi Comp outsoles and TPR plastic midsoles as well as moisture-wicking liners.

The Bauer Vapor 3X skates come in different profiles, widths and sizes with the size nine model 851 grams each. These are ideal for price-conscious players who are looking for plenty of value as the skates are typically found in the low to mid price range.

Key Features: Significant weight reduction – 6.5% lighter, Asymmetrical toe cap, 40oz Felt tongue, Hydrophobic liner, Full composite boot

What People are Saying

“My sons fit profile when from a fit 3 to a fit 1 in less than a year (pre teen). He LOVES his new vapors and his skating stride has noticeably lengthened. The skates are a step up from the CCM ribkor74 that he was using. Much stiffer quarter package. Skate has a good amount of higher end features and has good interior support. We upgraded the foot beds to super feet since the include ones are typical unsupported foam. All in all a very good middle of the line skate for not a lot of money. Definitely Recommended..”

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4. CCM Super Tacks AS3 Pro Skates

CCM AS3 Pro review

Overview

These one-piece, rigid-boot skates by CCM are designed for agility and speed as the one-piece technology is lighter and more efficient when it comes to energy transfer while skating. In addition, the boots are made to fit the natural shape of your feet better.

The CCM SuperTacks come with replaceable flex tongues for top-grade comfort and protection and allow you to customize the fit to your liking. The tongues can be quickly changed with three different styles available to choose from for the perfect fit.

The thick foams used in the construction process means the boots hug the feet naturally while  increasing comfort while the extra padding in the ankles help prevent irritation. The quick-release SpeedBlade XS Holders enable you to easily change blades when needed and the mechanical dial makes sure the blades won’t pop out due to impact.

These new CCM skates are available in sizes 3 to 12 with the size 9 model weighing 897 grams. They’re aimed competitive players and can be found in the mid to high-price range.

Key Features: MonoFrame One-Piece Boot, Pro Carbon Composite, SpeedBlade XS Tongue System, SpeedBlade XS Holder.

CCM vs Bauer skates? Click here to see our comparison

What People are Saying

“At first sight you are impressed with how good they look. The quality of materials stand out. Next thing is the weight, these puppies are incredibly light. The boot is very stiff as advertised which is taking some adapting for me but so far I love it. I chose not to bake them and break em in the old fashioned way and even without baking they were exceptionally comfortable the first time. They added some good pep to my step. k highly recommend them, of course I would study your foot first and make sure the shape of these is right for you. I have a narrow heel and a semi-wide forefoot, the foot bed is very accommodating for that.”

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5. CCM Super Tacks AS3 Skates

ccm super tacks as3 review

 

Overview

Another fine pair of top-level, one-piece boot skates by CCM are the Supertacks AS3 which offer plenty of speed, agility, protection and comfort. This lightweight model provides excellent energy transfer and comes with replaceable TriTech Flex tongues. The heat-moldable boots hug the feet naturally and boast plush smart-foam padding throughout in the collars and ankles.

The RocketFrame composite outsoles are incorporated directly into the boots while the anatomical fit wraps completely around your feet. The boots also feature injected and reinforced tendon guards. The stainless steel runners can easily and quickly be replaces thanks to the mechanical dial release system on the SpeedBlade XS holders.

The abrasion-resistant CCM Supertacks AS3 skates have a medium volume fit profile, unwaxed laces, moisture-wicking liners and come in several sizes and widths. The size nine skate tips the scales at only 897 grams and they can typically be found in the mid to high price range.

Key Features: One-piece RFM MonoFrame, Anatomical fit, Total Dri Pro Liner, DuraZone Abrasion Protection, Asymmetrical TriTech Tongue, Speedblade XS blade holder, XS Stainless steel runner.

What people are saying

“Purchased these after skating in Bauer Supremes for the last four years. Head and shoulders above the Supremes in terms of comfort and feel on the ice. The one piece boot is phenomenal.

Hard to describe but you’re not standing on them. Your standing in them which translates to a much better “feel” for the ice and your edges.

They are VERY stiff but not uncomfortable in any way. Comfort padding at the top serves it purpose for sure.

The steel is fine but a quick upgrade is very easy to make if you desire.

First rate for sure.”

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6. CCM JetSpeed FT4 Pro Hockey Skates

ccm ft4 pro review

Overview

The new CCM JetSpeed FT4 Pro hockey skates are made for top performance, comfort and speed. They feature the company’s RocketFrame composite one-piece boot design and newly-designed 3D Fit system. These lightweight skates boast asymmetrical toe caps, replaceable Metatomic tongues and TotalDri+ liners for protection, moisture-wicking and durability.

They also feature heat-molded ADPT memory-foam ankle pads with unwaxed laces, composite midsoles, and reinforced, injected tendon guards. Comfort foam padding can be found throughout the skates as well as ultra-light footbeds. The removable steel black runners are made with high-grade stainless steel and finished with carbon chrome while the holders have a tool-less dial release mechanism.

The CCM Jetspeed F4T Pro skates skates are available in various sizes, profiles and widths with the size nine model weighing just 899 grams each. They offer ultimate comfort and protection and can be found in the higher price range.

Key Features: One Piece Boot Speed quarter package, TotalDri Pro+ liner, Interchangeable tongue, Asymmetrical toe cap, Step Blacksteel with carbon coated technology, Lightweight composite midsole.

What People are Saying

“My son loves theses skates, he says they are lightweight and very comfortable.”

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7. Bauer Vapor 3X Pro Skates

bauer vapor 3x pro review

 

Overview

If you’re looking for agility, fit, comfort, speed and protection on the ice then you may be interested in the new lightweight two-piece Bauer 3X Pro skates. The come with responsive, durable and heat-moldable Curv Composite boots with a one-piece injected lacing system for better lateral support. The outsoles feature flexible Pro TPU material for improved strides, turns, starts and stops while the tendons and ankles are fully protected.

The skates come with flexible 48-ounce Pro Tongues for enhanced energy transfer and range of motion. They feature moisture-wicking HydroLite liners and AeroFoam+ padding in all key areas for incredible feel and fit as well as asymmetrical toe caps. The Vapor 3x Pro comes with Tuuk LightSpeed Edge holders, with a fast-releasing trigger system to change the high-grade steel blades.

The Bauer Vapor 3X Pro skates can be found in different profiles, sizes and widths with the size nine boot weighing in at 890 grams. They’re aimed at serious players and come in the higher price range.

Key Features: Removable runners, Improved flex profile, Aerolite foam tongue, Hyperflex outsole with rigid composite, Asymmetrical toe cap, AeroFoam Pro interior padding 

What People are Saying

“I tried on every skate model known to man, settled on the 3x pro. What a great decision. Great fit, minimal break in time. Took a few skates to get used to the blades and forward skate stature. Clear upgrade of old Supremes. Strongly recommend. A bit pricey, but it is what it is. They’re very well built, should last a long time.”

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8. CCM RibCor 100k Pro Skates

ccm ribcor 100k review

Overview

The CCM RibCor 100K Pro skates provide players with maximum maximize range of motion and agility without sacrificing comfort and protection. They come with a lightweight one-piece boot design for top-notch energy transfer with flexible injected plastic tendon guards, FlexMotion tongues, asymmetrical toe caps and foam padding. The company’s high-grade Step Steel Black runners are coated with a carbon nanoparticle substance for unsurpassed bite, glide and edge retention. They can also be easily replaced with a tool-less dial release system.

The skates are built for quickness and speed while the tongues are interchangeable with a simple clip system for customization. The tough RocketFrame composite material is as durable as it gets and the skates are heat moldable to fit snugly to the unique shape of your feet.

The elite CCM RibCor 100K Pro skates come in different 3D widths, profiles and sizes with the size nine skates weighing in at 939 grams apiece. They have unwaxed laces and moisture-managing liners and can be typically found in the upper price level as they’re designed for serious players.

Key Features: One-Piece Boot Flex, NHL-caliber lightweight composite, TOTALDRI Comfort, ADPT Memory Foam, Flexmotion Tongue, Lightweight Composite Midsole, Asymmetrical Toe Cap, Speedblade XS Holder, Step Blacksteel Runner.

What People are Saying

“The forward flexion of an elite one piece boot is a game changer. My previously AS-1 Super Tacks were way too stiff to fully utilize their potential performance. Where as the RibCor 100K’s perform more like a Ferrari than a 70s Muscle Car that are the Super Tacks..”

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9. Bauer Vapor Hyperlite Hockey Skates

bauer vapor hyperlite review

Overview

The new Vapor HyperLite skates by Bauer are made to enhance your agility and quickness on the ice while still taking care of protection and comfort. The HyperFlex outsoles are built with rigid composite materials in the front with flexible dual-injected materials in the rear to maximize blade contact, torsional flex and energy transfer. The lightweight skates feature Bauer’s AeroLite system and moldable, felt-less tongues to reduce weight without giving up protection.

The heat-moldable skates incorporate durable carbon Curv Composite boots and come with LS CarbonLite steel runners with carbon composite uppers and release-mechanism holders. They come in a 3D Lasted two-piece design with injected-plastic tendon guards, carbon fibre midsoles, unwaxed laces, foam ankle, footbed and collar padding as well as moisture-wicking liners.

The Bauer Vapor Hyperlite skates come in different profiles, sizes and widths with the size nine CarbonLite boot weighing only 849 grams. These skates are ideal for competitive hockey players and can be found in the upper price bracket.

Key Features: One-Piece 3D Polycarb – Plush Microfibre Liner – Tick memory Foam Ankle Padding – Form Fit Footbed – Injected TPR Outsole – TUUK Lightspeed edge Holder and Runners.

What People are Saying

“Switched to Vapors at the 2x Pro’s and decided to upgrade to the Hyperlites when they came out. In short, I absolutely love them. Only took 2-3 skates to have them fully broken in, and while the aerolite tongue is definitely different, I think it provides a little more support and protection than the older felt style. Waiting to get the carbon runners back from profiling and I’ll be the best D leaguer in America..”

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10. TRUE TF9 Hockey SkatesTRUE TF9 review

Overview

One-piece lightweight composite skates are quite popular these days and the TF9 model by True is also new to the market. These skates feature a one-piece shell which is designed to mould and wrap around your feet better than two-piece traditional skates. They are built with top-grade thermoplastic and carbon fibre for comfort, protection and powerful transfer of energy.  

The ankle pads are made with dual-layer, multi-density foam and the the low-profile, anatomical felt tongues help form a total customized feel and fit and soon as you place the skates on your feet. The insert foot bed system below the feet means the boots can accommodate all types of arch types.

The hydrofoam liners help reduce odour and sweat while keeping your feet fresh, dry and comfortable while the flexible tendon guards are replaceable. The blades are made of premium-grade stainless steel which sit in spring-loaded holders.  

These True TF9 Skates are available in sizes 3 to 11 with the 9D model weighing 945 grams. They’re aimed at competitive players and can be found in the mid-price range.  

Key Features: Co-Molded One-Piece Boot – True Shell Technology – HydroFoam Liner – Personalized Fit Insole System – Anatomical Tongue

What People are Saying

“Overall, I thought the Bauer Vapors were by far the best hockey skates I’ve ever had, but this is a similar feel but without the pressure point around the tendon guard. The TF9 seems much more durable and slightly stiffer, so maybe a bit more energy transfer.  These TF9 skates are pretty comfortable out of the box.  They’re new, but I’m very impressed after my first skate. TRUE may have nailed it.”

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11. Bauer Supreme S37 Skates

Bauer Supreme S37 Skates

Overview

The Bauer Supreme S37 Skates are ideal for competitive players who are looking for good value for their money. They feature flex composite boots, with plush internal-memory foams for extreme comfort and protection. The outsoles and midsoles boast plastic TPU for a great combination of flexibility, support and power. 

There’s even more protection for the top of your feet with the reinforced 40-ounce felt tongues which come with built-in lace-bite guards. In addition, your feet stay cool, dry and ventilated due to the hydrophobic liners which eliminate moisture. 

The skates come with tendon guards and unwaxed laces while the Tuuk blade holders have the quick-release system for fast and easy replacement of the stainless steel blades. 

The Bauer Supreme S37 Hockey Skates can be found in the low to mid-price range with sizes 4 to 12 being available with the size 9 skate weighing 885 grams

Key Features: Flex Composite Boot – TUUK LightSpeed Edge Holder – 3D Injection Construction – Hydrophobic Microfibre Liner – Lightweight Memory Foam Ankle Padding.

What people are saying

“This skate out of the box is sharp, Very comfortable even without a bake, and extremely lightweight. I broke down a lot of differences in material and this boot should perform much like pro stock. I play 1 game a week and stick and puck 3-5 times a week.  I will submit another review after some time on ice.  Overall this is great price for the build quality.”

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12. CCM Jetspeed FT4 Hockey Skates

ccm jetspeed ft4 review

Overview

Players looking for good value at an affordable price are attracted to the CCM Jetspeed FT4 skates as they supply elite-level protection and performance. The lightweight one-piece boot design is ideal for fit and speed and comes with CCM’s 3D Skate Fit system for maximum energy transfer as well as asymmetrical toe caps.

These popular composite, abrasion-resistant skates come with removable foam TriTech XS tongues for ultimate forward flexion and protection while the TotalDri liners are great at wicking away moisture all game long. In addition, they boast ADPT memory foam ankle pads which mold around your feet when heated. The stainless Step Steel runners provide superb edge retention, improved glide and custom radius options and are easy to change with a tool-less dial mechanism.

The CCM Jetspeed FT4 skates are available in different profiles, sizes and widths with the size nine skates weighing 921 grams each. They include unwaxed laces, reinforced tendon guards, tough plastic midsoles and can be found in the mid to high price range.

Key Features: One Piece Boot Speed quarter package, TotalDri liner, Interchangeable tongue, Asymmetrical toe cap, Step Steel runner, Lightweight composite midsole.

What people are saying

“The CCM ft4 skates broke in with no problems. Did not hurt in anyway. These are excellent skates for the money. They look good and handle very nice on the ice. Totally recommend!”.”

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Best Hockey Skate Accessories for 2021

SUPERFEET - Carbon Hockey Insoles

Unrivaled edge control, exceptional energy transfer and better acceleration on the ice with SUPERFEET CARBON Pro Hockey insoles. Designed for tight turns, crossovers, quick starts and hard stops. A genuine game changer

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DryGuy DX Forced Air Dryer

The DryGuy DX Forced Air Dryer can a variety of garments and sports equipment. From soaked hockey skates and gloves to sweaty ski or hunting boots. Dries garments in 1 to 2 hours.

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GEARHALO Sports Deodorizer Pods

Stop the stink! GearHalo pods are a dry solution that combat the root causes of Sport Stink in all your gear. Non -toxic and used by the pros.

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Elite Hockey Pro - Skate Guards

Protect your blades off the ice with the Elite Hockey Pro-Skate Guards. These hockey skate blade covers keep water off your blades thanks to VCI water-resistant treatment. The bottoms have rubber traction that grips the ground for secure walking.

See on Amazon
Best Hockey Laces - Unwaxed

ELITE HOCKEY LACES

Elite Hockey® unwaxed wide cotton hockey skate laces. Includes one pair in box. Molded plastic tips make lacing easier, Lightweight. Assorted Colors and Lengths to choose from. Traditional feel, constructed with durability in mind.

See on Amazon

 


If you’re looking for our lists of the best:

Junior Hockey Skates, you can see those here.

Youth Hockey Skates, you can see those here.

Goalie Hockey Skates, you can see those here.

Also Check Out:  Best Gifts for Hockey Players


 

 

The Construction of Hockey Skates
Diagram of hockey skates: boot, holder, and runner

hockey skates are made up of 3 different parts. You have the boot, the runner, and the holder. As you can see on the right side, the boot is the part you put your foot in.

The holder is what connects your runner to the boot, and then the runner is the steel blade on the bottom!

Let’s dive a little bit more into each part and how they differ from skate to skate.

Holders and Runners

For most hockey skates you’d be looking to buy, you’d want the holder and the runner to be two separate parts. For lower end skates, they come as one part. This would be for skates that cost below $80.

The reason you want them to be two separate parts and why higher end skates have it this way, is so that you can replace the blade without replacing the whole skate. As you use your skates more, you’ll eventually need them sharpened. After sharpening them a bunch of times, your blade will become smaller and will need to be replaced.

If you’re buying blades for less than $80, then it’s probably better to just get new hockey skates, especially if you’ve had them for a year or so. However, if you’re looking for more elite skates in the $150 to $900 range, you’d much rather just replace your skate blades then the entire skate.

It’s pretty easy to replace your runners. Brands like Easton, CCM, and Reebok have visible screws, while Bauer and others have the screws below the heel beneath the sole.

Most players are ok replacing their blades every year or so. Professionals replace their blades every few weeks, but they are having them sharpened before every game and are skating possibly twice every day. For most of us, we don’t wear down our blades that fast.

Hockey Skate Boots

Boots are one of the pieces of equipment that brands are constantly working to update. They’re always looking to see if they can make the boots lighter and more responsive to your movements without losing the support that a good boot requires.

However, skates do not change drastically one year to the next. Very often manufacturers will market a nearly identical boot on the next iteration of a skate. Take, for example, the Bauer MX3 and 1S Supreme skates. While the tendon guard was changed to improve flexibility on the 1S, the boot construction remained largely the same. In this case, if you can find the previous version (MX3) you would be paying a fraction of the price for almost the same skate.

It is important to note the fit may change between skate generations, but with companies adopting the three fit model (Bauer and CCM specifically), it is unlikely the shape will change dramatically.

Some of the materials companies are using to pull off these new and improved boots are carbon composite, texalium glass, anti-microbial hydrophobic lining, and thermo-formable foam. While that last sentence may make you feel like you need an engineering degree to pick out a pair of skates, don’t worry! What we really need to take into account is the overall weight, comfort, protection, and durability.

We take all of this into account and break it down simply into the list below to make your buying decision as easy as possible.

While we broke down a skate above, we need to continue the breakdown and look specifically at what makes up a boot. (Remember, if you just want to see the list, you can jump to that here.)

Here is what makes up a hockey skate:

1. Liner – This is the material inside of your boot. It is the padding and also is responsible for providing a comfortable fit.

2. Ankle Padding – Above the liner in the boot. It’s made of foam and offers comfort and support for your ankles

3. Heel Support – Cup around your heel, protecting and securing your foot while in the boot

4. Footbed – Padding on the inside of your boot on the bottom part

5. Quarter Package – Boot shell. It holds all the padding and support inside of it. It needs to be flexible and offer support at the same time.

6. Tongue – Covers the top of your boot, and is like a tongue you would have in your regular shoes

7. Outsole – Hard underside of your skate boot. This is where the holder is attached

Hockey Skate Sizing – How to Size Your Skates

There are a lot of things to consider when sizing your skates. We get into them more below, so if you don’t know what skate size you should be getting or what brand, you’ll have a really good idea of it below.

Identifying Your Foot Type

The first step is to identify what type of foot you have. Are they long and narrow? Short and wide? Really hairy? Ok… that last one doesn’t matter as much. But you get the idea. Let’s take a quick look at how skates are labeled for sizing.

  • C / N = Narrow Fit
  • D/ R = Regular Fit
  • E / W = Wide Fit
  • EE = Extra Wide Fit

The good thing about trying to figure out your foot type is that you can basically use what you know about how your tennis shoes fit you and apply that to your skates. If you fit well into normal tennis shoes, or especially Nikes, then you should fit well into regularly sized skates (D/R).

If regular sized tennis shoes hurt your feet, or you tend to prefer how Adidas fits over Nike, you’ll probably want a slightly wider fit (E/W).

When analyzing your feet, you’ll want to measure:

  • Width of the front quarter of your feet (Where they’d be in a toe box)
  • Thickness/depth of your feet
  • Width of your ankles/heels

Below, we have a chart of the most popular brands and how they typically fit. Our chart takes into account the below factors we are about to walk through, so we’ll go over it after you’ve gotten to check those out.

Since we are focusing on senior ice hockey skates, you’ll most likely have a shoe size of above 7 in men. Most hockey skates are sized 1.5 sizes smaller than typical tennis shoes. So if your size 10 tennis shoes fit you well, you’ll be most comfortable in a size 8.5 senior skates.

If you are shopping for someone whose feet are still growing, I’d recommend only going 1 size down so the skates last a little longer.

Here’s a quick breakdown of shoe size to what you should be looking for in skates:

  • Senior Skates = Men’s Shoe size of 7 and above
  • Junior Skates = Boy’s Shoe size of 2 to 6.5
  • Youth = Smaller than Boy’s 1.5

Below we have a few tests you can use to determine if your skate is the right fit for you.

Deciding Your Level of Play

First, you’ll want to decide your level of play. Are you competing competitively or playing in rec league where you mostly just play once a week? Maybe you are looking for skates for general ice skating and every once and a while playing some pickup.

If you are reading this far into how to select the right hockey skates, I would most likely assume you are looking for skates to use on a regular basis. If this is true, you’ll want to avoid lower end skates.

Let’s break down the typical pricing for skates so you can get an idea of what kind of quality and value you get for what pricing.

1. Low End Skates – These skates are below $150 and are made for casual use. If you plan on playing hockey regularly (about once a week), then I would recommend avoiding skates in this range unless there is a sale or you are buying used.

2. Intermediate Priced Skates – Between $250 and $400. You’ll find skates in this range on the list (with higher end ones too). If you are playing recreationally, once a week or so, these will be the skates you want. You can always go for higher priced skates if you want since they will be higher quality, but these skates should be fine for most players. These are the skates I recommend for children since they can grow out of skates so quickly.

3. Top of the Line Skates – Between $400 and $Beyond. These skates are for competitive players. If you’re practicing most days and training for the next level, then you may want to look in this range for skates. Here are some of the reasons why higher end skates are so much more expensive

  • They are made of lighter weight material. This is to maximize your speed on the ice
  • Higher durability. If you’re spending above $400 on a skate, it is going to last you longer than the average priced ones
  • Thermo-formable foam padding. This type of padding allows skates to be “baked” so they can fit your foot better, offering better support
  • Better support for your ankles, and increased stiffness while still allowing flexibility
  • Better padding and protection

As you can tell, higher priced skates cost more because they are the ones made with the best material and more work is put into each boot.

If you are a new player looking for skates and plan on playing regularly, the $150 to $300 pricing should be where you look. You can get some great skates in there, and then always move up if you end up playing more competitive hockey.

What Kind of Player are You?

This is something most sports don’t have to deal with. In basketball, you can buy whatever shoes you want without worrying about your position. Similarly, in soccer.

However, in hockey, this is something we need to consider.

The question you need to ask yourself, is “Am I a more aggressive or reserved player?”

This isn’t a judgment on you as a player, but more about how you go about your game. Here are some ideas to help you understand what kind of player you are:

Aggressive

  • Always chasing the puck
  • Proactive, constantly moving
  • Play more center or winger
  • In an aggressive/athletic stance more often than not

Reserved

  • Spend more time watching the play develop
  • Hang back from attacks (playing move defensive)
  • Not always in an athletic stance

Once you’ve decided which type of player fits you best, you are ready to choose which type of skate is best for you!

Let’s use this table to help you decide.

Brand / ModelPlayer TypeInstepHeelMid-FootToe Box
Easton StealthAggressiveSlightly ShallowRegularSlightly NarrowSlightly Narrow
Easton MakoAggressiveRegularSlightly NarrowSlightly NarrowRegular
CMM TacksTraditionalRegularSnugSnugSlightly Narrow
CCM RBZTraditionalDeepWideWideWide
RibCorTraditionalRegularSlightly NarrowRegularRegular
ReebokTraditionalSlightly DeepRegularReuglarSlightly Wide
Bauer NexusTraditionalDeepRegularVery WideVery Wide
Bauer SupremeTraditonalRegularSnugSnugSlightly Wide
Bauer VaporAggressiveSlightly NarrowRegularRegularRegular

Tests to Check the Fit of Your Skate

OK, so you’ve decided what type of skate you should be looking for. Great! First, let’s look at how to test the fit of your skate!

Thanks to Ice Warehouse for making a good video.

We have a few tests that we like to recommend when testing out the fit of your skate.

The Squeeze Test

The squeeze test is unnecessary if you are buying off of the list we’ve put together below since we know these skates are the right stiffness. But if you are curious as to how stiff good skates should be, this test is a good one to do.

To do the squeeze test, hold the skate by the back/heel of the boot with the toe facing away from you. Squeeze the skates like you are trying to touch the insides of the boot together. If the skates fold all the way in easily, they won’t offer you enough support while playing hockey.

You want your skates to be hard to push together so they can protect you while you doing tight turns, stopping on a dime, and doing crossovers.

The Pencil Test

To do the pencil test, put on your skates, but don’t tie them up. Pull the tongue forward and put a pencil between your foot and where the tongue is pulled out at, about 3 eyelets down from the top.

If the pencil touches your foot but is not touching both the eyelets on the right and left side of the tongue, then the boot is too shallow. You want the pencil to lie flat without moving around.

The Finger Test

This time, you’ll want to lace your skates fully up like you’re about to go play. Then get into an athletic stance like you’re playing. Reach to your heel and see how much of a gap there is between the back of your ankle/heel and the boot. If you can slide more than one finger all the way down there, then the skates are too loose.

For children who are growing quickly, a 1 figure gap is fine. If your feet aren’t growing, go for a tighter fit.

The Toe Brush Test

This time, with your skates still fully laced, stand straight up. Your toes should be just barely touching the front of your skates. Then when you get into an athletic stance, your heel should be firmly against the back of the skate and your toes shouldn’t be touching the front anymore.

How to Break in Your Skates

When you get a new pair of skates, you’ll want to break them in before you get into a game. It’s common for new skates to hurt the first couple times you skate on them. If they hurt after you’ve skated on them five times, then you probably have a poor fit.

One of the best ways to break your hockey skates in is to “bake” them. We mentioned that above with the higher end hockey skates, how they have boots that if you heat them up, they can be molded to fit your unique feet. Here’s a good video by Ice Warehouse on how to bake your skates at home:

Thanks to Ice Warehouse for making a good video.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can hockey skates be too stiff?

Yes. Less experienced skaters are less likely to handle stiffness and will feel uncomfortable and unable to skate properly.

What is the most popular skate in the NHL?

Bauer is the most common brand of skates used in the NHL with skates like the Vapor 2X Pro Skates, Vapor X2.7 hockey skates and Vapor 1X Senior Skates.

Are expensive senior hockey skates worth it?

Performance-wise mid-range to professional skates wouldn’t make a huge difference, not for a while at least. However, in the long run, more expensive skates will show less wear and tear and will not decrease the performance level, whereas low-end skates won’t hold up as good after days and days of hard practice.

Keeping Your Blades Sharp

If you want detailed information on how to maintain and sharpen your skates, click here.

Sparx Skate Sharpener
Use code: HONEST and save $25!
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See our full review of the Sparx Skate sharpener here

Conclusion

Thanks for making it all the way through our list! A lot of time and energy goes into getting you the best information available when it comes to hockey gear.

We hope you found some skates that are a good fit for you both performance and price-wise. Feel free to leave your comments or questions below. We value your input here at Honest Hockey and we strive to read and respond to all of your comments.

Ian Editor
Lead Writer , Honest Hockey
Honest Hockey is a website dedicated to bringing you the best information and resources to improve your hockey game. We are dedicated to bringing you the highest quality hockey gear reviews and industry news so that you’re up to date and know which equipment is best for your goals.
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