Hockey players need to consider their skates as part of their feet. Skates are by far the most important piece of hockey equipment you can buy. Because they are so important, it is vital that you buy the right skate for your style of play, and that you size them properly.
.Determining your skate size
Hockey skates are comprised of two basic parts: the boot and the blade.
.Skate blades are made of steel and have a concave (hollowed out) shape
.An important factor in performance is blade radius, or the amount of the skate blade that is actually in contact with the ice
.The radius is measured by placing the blades together, bottom to bottom, and holding them up to the light. The length where the blade edges make contact is the radius.
.If you are a beginning skater you will want a radius of about five inches. This increases your ability to propel yourself along the ice while providing stability.
.A radius of 3-4 inches helps in cutting and turning
.Forwards prefer blades with a shorter radius to help with maneuverability
.Defensemen look for longer radius blades for extra stability
.Players can also grind their blades to sharpen the edges and create a double edge for extra contact with the ice
.The deeper the grind, the more maneuverable
.Goalie blades have a less hollow grind and a larger radius
.Most skates are manufactured with a combination of leather and synthetic materials for durability, performance, and comfort. The exact mixture of these components, with names like Kevlar? and graphite, depends on the quality of the skate and the cost.
.Hard plastic boots offer better protection against pucks and provide more support for your ankles
.Goalie skates are similar in construction to regular hockey skates but are designed differently with a wider blade and lower boot with more ankle and foot protection
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Determining your skate size
.Choosing the proper size for your hockey skates is different than choosing the size for a pair of sneakers
.Hockey skates need to be tighter for more stability and less abrasion when skating
.Remember to measure yourself wearing thick hockey socks
.Do not buy larger sizes for children to grow into. This hinders their ability to learn how to skate and could hurt their feet and ankles.
.In order to determine the skate you need, you must first determine your shoe size (see Determine Your Shoe Size)
Once you have determined your athletic shoe size you can figure out what size skates you will need depending on the brand of the skate. See our Hockey Skate Sizing guide for a list of brands and their individual sizing guidelines.