Skating is relatively easy to learn and motivates you to leave the warm house and get physically active even in the cold season. Whether alone, with friends in your free time or in a club - with the right skates, young and old can have lots of fun. With our big skate test 2021 we want to help you find the best skates for you. We have compared figure skating skates and ice hockey skates with each other and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages. This is the easiest way to make your purchase decision.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Summary
- 3 The Best skates: Our Choices
- 4 Buying and evaluation criteria for skates
- 5 Guide: Frequently asked questions about skates answered in detail
- 5.1 Who are skates suitable for?
- 5.2 How much do skates cost?
- 5.3 What types of skates are there and which are right for you?
- 5.4 What alternatives are there to ice skates?
- 5.5 How do I lace up my skates correctly?
- 5.6 How often do I have to sharpen the skates?
- 5.7 What do I have to keep in mind when caring for my skates?
- 5.8 What does "baking" skates mean?
- 5.9 Where can I dispose of my old skates?
- Skating is relatively easy to learn and, especially for recreational use, does not require any expensive equipment other than the appropriate shoes.
- There are two main types of skates: figure skates and ice hockey skates.
- Figure skating skates are suitable for any experience level, while for ice hockey skating you should already have some experience on the ice.
The Best skates: Our Choices
Buying and evaluation criteria for skates
In this section, we give you tips to help you decide on your future skates. The criteria you can use to compare the different types of skates include:
In the following paragraphs we will explain what you should look for in each of the points.
Whether you only go out on the ice a few times a year or you want to skate all year round, skating is no fun without the right fit. Your foot hurts when you skate and you run the risk of losing control of your boot and taking a painful fall. Just like normal shoes, skates must fit tightly but not pinch. To find the ideal fit, we recommend the following trick: When trying on skates, put on the socks you will be skating in. Once you have slipped into the boot, loosen the laces and all buckles and slide your toes all the way forward. A maximum of one finger should fit between the heel and the shoe. Also, if you get cold easily, wear only one pair of socks and use thermal insoles with an aluminium layer against the cold. It is generally advisable to order skates in one size larger than your normal shoe size. For skates, you need to consider not only your normal shoe size but also the width. Cheaper models usually have one size: R-Regular. A narrow foot is marked D, wider feet are marked EE. Sizes vary depending on the manufacturer, so take a look at the respective size chart before buying. If you want to buy skates for children, size-adjustable skates are a good option. These usually cover 3 to 4 sizes and can be used for several years. However, these are often only designed for recreational use and are therefore unsuitable if your child plays ice hockey in a club or wants to do figure skating. In addition, the ratio of shoe size to blade changes, which has a significant influence on the stability of the skates.
The length and shape of the blades in relation to the shoe determine stance and manoeuvrability. Long, straight runners provide a secure stance, short, slightly upwardly rounded runners enable fast, agile movements. The blades of figure skates are toothed, those of ice hockey skates are toothless. The toothing is not used for braking, but for a safe landing after the jump or during toe steps. As a rule, toothed blades have 3 to 4 teeth. To ensure that the blades glide safely over the ice and that the braking force is as high as possible, they must be ground. When you buy new skates, they are often not yet sharpened. It is essential to have your skates sharpened by a professional, as the sharpening plays a decisive role in ensuring safe footing, freedom of movement and manoeuvrability.
Material / Design
Skates come in many different colours and designs. Especially for children, there are also skates with popular motifs from films and series. Figure skates are made of artificial leather or real leather and tend to be narrow and elegant. Artificial leather skates are usually more comfortable, but less stable than real leather skates. These are less comfortable at first, but with more frequent wear, the material adapts better to the foot. This is especially advantageous for frequent, professional skating. Ice hockey skates are made of high-quality synthetic and special materials to offer particularly high protection against external stress. However, this protective cover makes them chunkier than figure skating skates. Buckles and lacing are not only a design decision, but also influence the fit and wearing comfort. Skates with many hooks and eyes for lacing take longer to put on, but the fit is often much better than with Velcro or clamp closures. A combination of lacing and additional fasteners ensures optimum safety.
Skates are available in different boot heights. Depending on the height, the ankle is given additional support and mobility is improved. If you prefer to skate fast, a low height is recommended. Speed skating boots where the boot ends directly above the ankle are only suitable for skating experts! If you are still a beginner and want to ensure a secure stance, a higher boot provides additional support.
Easy to use / 2-in-1
Most skates are suitable for pure use on the ice. However, some skates can be converted into inline skates and vice versa. This has both advantages and disadvantages. The 2-in-1 skates are a little more expensive than pure skates, but you save space in your wardrobe. Since the shoes can be used all year round, the inner lining is not always optimal. In summer, you can quickly sweat in the inline skates, and in winter, the skates may not be sufficiently lined.
Guide: Frequently asked questions about skates answered in detail
Who are skates suitable for?
- Skating is literally child's play and therefore suitable for the whole family. (Image source: Unsplash / Irena Carpaccio)
Many cities also have ice rinks that are often open throughout the winter season. If you don't have a lake nearby or the winter weather is rather mild, you can also go ice skating regardless of the weather. You already have practice on inline skates? If so, you may be able to get into skating more quickly than others and enjoy your hobby in summer as well as in winter.
How much do skates cost?
|Figure skates||From approx. 20 € (for children from approx. 15 €)|
|Ice hockey skates||From approx. 30 € (for children from approx. 25 €)|
The price depends on the manufacturer, size or age group and material. The design and whether it is a new purchase or second-hand also play a role. If you have never skated before, a visit to an ice rink is recommended. There you can usually try out different types of skates on loan and find out what kind of skate works best for you.
What types of skates are there and which are right for you?
|Figure skating skates||Suitable for beginners of all ages, need to be sharpened less often||Risk of tripping due to toothed blades, less protection|
|Ice hockey skates||Agile skating, fast acceleration||Rather unsuitable for adult beginners, not designed for longer distances|
You want to know more about the different types of skates? Here you will find a short overview.
What alternatives are there to ice skates?
|Skates||From about 10 €|
|Inline skates||From about 40 € (for children from about 20 €)|
An alternative to skates are so-called gliding skates. These have either one or two blades the width of a cross-country ski and the approximate length of your shoe. With the help of straps, you can attach them to your normal street shoes. They are often cheaper than skates, easy to transport and you don't have to change your shoes to go on the ice. However, they are primarily suitable for children and young people and are rarely available in sizes over 42. Also, the speed of movement is quite low and tricks are not possible. This makes skating relatively safe, but can quickly lead to boredom. In summer, inline skates are a good alternative to ice skates because the movements are almost the same. You can also use 2-in-1 skates, where you can replace the blades with wheels.
How do I lace up my skates correctly?
- Lower foot area: tight, but not too tight lacing
- Ankle: tight lacing
- Above the ankle: loose lacing
To ensure that you can easily bend your knees while skating, leave about one to two finger widths of space between your leg and the tongue of the shoe. Finally, tie a double knot and a loop so that the laces do not come loose while you are skating.
How often do I have to sharpen the skates?
- Frequency of use
- Care of the blades
- Type of skates
There is no prescribed or recommended frequency, although at least once a year is recommended. In general, if the skates feel dull or if familiar movements are no longer successful, it is time for sharpening. In any case, have your skates sharpened by a professional. This is usually possible at skating rinks or skate and sports shops. The price is usually between 5 and 12 euros.
What do I have to keep in mind when caring for my skates?
What does "baking" skates mean?
- Open your skates as wide as possible and leave at least the top eyelet open. This will make it easier for you to slip into your skates.
- Preheat your oven to 80-90°C and then turn it off.
- Put the skates in the oven. Let them bake for about 5 to 8 minutes, depending on how hard they are.
- Put the skates on sitting down and lace them up at the sides.
- Sit with the skates on for 20 to 30 minutes. Do not walk around or put your weight on the skates.
- Take the skates off and let them cool down for at least 24 hours.
Baking is especially important for mid- to high-end skate models. These are often made of harder material and need to be baked to make them more comfortable to wear and to fit your foot perfectly.
Where can I dispose of my old skates?
- Discarded skates as a decorative item are another way to preserve them for a longer period of time. (Image source: Unsplash / Terry Matthews)
When they are no longer usable, dispose of the skates in the household waste. It's best to wrap the blades in an old rag to prevent damage. Recycling centres do not usually accept skates.
Image source: 123rf / 50220589