Ice Hockey Skates
Ice hockey is a full-contact sport in which physical speed, acceleration and maneuverability are absolutely necessary. It is a fast-paced sport where the puck routinely travels at over 100 miles per hour. In order for the athletes to keep up with the pace of the game, it is essential for them to wear the proper equipment. Nothing is more important in this regard than the skates they use to move around the ice.
What are ice hockey skates used for?
Ice hockey skates are the connection between the player and the ice. They resemble a boot with a metal blade attached under the foot which glides across the ice. When playing ice hockey, it is important to have well-fitted skates that offer good support because of the physical nature of the sport. They allow players to move quickly along the ice without slipping. It is important to maintain a sharp edge on your skate's blade, to allow for proper and speedy movement on the ice.
The first modern ice hockey skate was invented in 1848 by EV Bushnell in Pennsylvania. This changed the way the game was played by allowing the player more speed, agility and power.
Things To Consider
When looking for a pair of skates, you'll want to consider the following:
- What size of hockey skate are you looking for?
- How much do you want to spend on hockey skates?
- Are you an experienced skater or are you a beginner?
- Do you want to be able to mold your skates to your feet?
Ice hockey skates are available in a wide range of styles and performance levels.
Entry-level skates are recommended for the occasional skater or those on a strict budget. These skates will have basic features without the more expensive, high-tech materials and are not recommended for use on a daily basis because of durability issues. The materials used are often soft and lacking in support for an avid skater.
Ice hockey skates for advanced players will be costly, but well worth the expense. High performance skates will provide great stability, fit, efficiency and speed while reducing fatigue. All of this is due to advanced technology and high-quality materials.
Advanced skates are available with heatable foam liners to provide a custom-like fit. These skates also have premium grade steel blade options to enhance gliding, and a trigger-release system that allows for quick blade changes. Advanced skates may also feature lightweight carbon and foam materials that are strong and stable, but still enhance speed.
The hockey skate boot can consist of a few different materials, each offering unique characteristics.
- Nylon: Nylon is used for the skate boot construction. This synthetic material provides durability and strength with little to no maintenance. The top-of-the-line skates often have boots constructed from ballistic nylon, which is a very strong nylon weave that was used by the military in the late 1960s.
- Plastic: Some hockey skates made for beginners and the occasional skater are molded from plastic. These skates offer a very hard outer shell that is less flexible and comfortable than the more expensive options, and will break down much quicker.
- Steel: The blade on the bottom of each skate is made of steel. The entry-level skates typically use stainless steel, while the upper level skates will have a higher level of steel, such as carbon steel or even titanium. These materials will be stronger and maintain their edge longer.
The two most recognizable brands on ice hockey skates are Bauer and CCM, but there are a few others that make high quality skates for all ages and competitive levels as well.
- Bauer: Bauer's Vapor line is considered their top speed performance skate due to its new Dynaflex and Accuflex Systems, which provides greater energy transfer through a more conforming boot. Bauer also offers the Supreme line, which focuses more on power and control while also emphasizing durability and stability.
- CCM: CCM's major lines of skates are the Jetspeed, Tacks and Ribcor lines. The Jetspeed line is all about speed and acceleration through the use of lightweight technology. The Tacks line caters to the athlete looking for power and durability. The Ribcor line focuses on improved agility and control.
- TRUE: TRUE is a newer hockey skate company that prides itself on fit and performance. TRUE's technology provides a custom-fit feel in a stock skate. Other lines of the TRUE brand are the TF7 and TF Pro.
There are a few things to consider before investing in a pair of ice hockey skates.
Entry-level skates will not have anywhere near the same quality as top-of-the-line models. The materials that cost more will, with proper maintenance, last longer. Ballistic nylon boots with carbon steel blades will maintain their form and stability for years with regular use.
Entry level skates can be purchased from $50 to about $140 and are typically made of some form of plastic. Mid-range skates are the next level offered and will cost between $150 and $400. These are stiffer than entry-level and offer more support. Top-tier skates will start around $400 with top-of-the-line models available for over $1000, made of lightweight composite with the best steel on the market.
Well-fitted skates will help to prevent pain, discomfort and injury while playing. Ice hockey skates come in a variety of fits and sizes that will usually be about 1 to 1.5 sizes down from one's regular shoe size. Most manufacturers will offer skates in four groups for sizing purposes (youth, junior, intermediate, and senior), as well as a few different fits relating to width and arch.
What are the most popular skates in the NHL?
The largest brand of skates used by NHL players is Bauer, with over 70% of the NHL players. The most popular Bauer skate worn is the Vapor 2X Pro, worn by 34% of all NHL players. The second most popular skate is Bauer's Supreme 2S Pro, 16.2% of NHL players. The third most worn skate is the Bauer Supreme Ulta Sonic, 12.3%. CCM is the other major brand used in the NHL, with 20% of the players using their skates.
How much do hockey skates cost?
Skates can cost anywhere from $50 to $1,000 depending on the materials used and the quality of manufacturing. Beginner skates can be purchased for less than $150. The skates made for the expert player will cost anywhere from $600 to over $1,000.
What are the different kinds of hockey skates?
There are skates made for the person that spends only a few days per year on the ice, as well as those that spend every day skating. There are also skates made for people on a budget as well as those who spare no expense. The differences between each of these skates, besides cost, are materials, craftsmanship and technology. That all being said, the two main types of ice hockey skates are recreational and performance.