If you are a beginner planning to buy yourself a new pair of skates then here are some basic tips to get you started:
1.) Sizing Factor
Hockey skates should be a size or two smaller than your regular shoes. Buying hockey skates that are the same size as your running or athletic shoes may result to injury such as blisters and sprains. Too much space for your foot to move about in a loose hockey skate means that there are more possibilities of a blister forming or inaccurate movements during games or practice sessions. This possibility of inaccurate movement can affect the game and the way that you play.
It is better to have snug fitting ice hockey sticks than loose ones. Bear in mind when fitting hockey skates that your toes need to be able to feel the front end of the skate while you are positive that your heel is backed up into the back part of the skate as well. It is important that you lace up the hockey skates before even trying to move about with them to see how they fit you. You should also try to stand with the hockey skates laced up and then try to bend your knees to a point where you are almost squatting. In this position, you can feel the toe area loosen up a bit. This may be the right skate size for you. The reason for this exercise is due to the fact that when one skates, the knees are usually bent hence the need to concentrate of this particular position to be comfortable.
A few tips to keep in mind:
a.) Never make the mistake of buying skates to grow into. This will put you in a risk of injury.
b.) To test the skates make sure your toes feel the front end of the skate while your heel is backed up into the back part of the skate
c.) Different brands have different sizing guidelines. So make sure to check them out before you go for the buy.
2.) Length and Width
Both the length and width of the hockey skate can affect its fit. Do not try to compensate the length for the width or vice versa. You should have the right length and the right width to have the right hockey skate size. Some people think that they can compensate a wider skate for feet that actually need a longer length. This will give you an inaccurate skate size and may cause serious injury.
3.) Radius of the Blade
Radius of the blade is the amount of blade that is in direct contact with the ice. If you are a beginner skater it is recommended that you go for a larger blade radius. A radius of 5 inches should be a good choice. A larger radius increases stability and aids easy maneuverability along the ice surface.
4.) Break-in period
Break-in period of a skate is the amount of time it takes for the padded lining of the skate to get molded and adjusted to the shape of your feet. How soon the break-in happens depends on a lot of factors like the quality of lining and body-weight of the player among others. A heavier person will generally have a faster break-in period than a light person. So if you have lighter body mass, try to go for skates with a softer lining.
5.) New or Used Skates?
Hockey skates are supposed to be stiff. This is something that you should be aware of before buying hockey skates. Some people might opt to buy the less expensive used hockey skates instead of the more expensive brand new ones. Bear in mind that used skates may have lost their stiffness factor which is essential for more powerful skating action and support for the legs, feet and ankles.
Some cheap hockey skates may be less stiff than the more expensive ones. Buying cheaper hockey skates is only beneficial for those who have not made up their minds regarding playing hockey or not or for children who outgrow a skate easily within a year.
6.) Your Budget
A good pair of skates would cost you anything around $100 to $650. It is recommended not to buy expensive skates for your first pair. Until you play in a league you won't know what position you are playing or what kind of skate with best accommodate it. Consider the first pair of skates as skates used for practice and introduction to the sport.
Good luck and play hard!