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Hockey Equipment Buying Guide – For Parents / Kids

Hockey Equipment Buying Guide – For Parents / Kids

One of the first things you’re going to have to do when taking up hockey is get the proper hockey equipment. Due to minor hockey rules children require more equipment than adults, so in this guide I am making a section for hockey equipment for kids, and a section for hockey equipment for adults.

Hockey Equipment Guide for Kids

Hockey Equipment list for childrenAll Hockey Equipment Required to play in a League

  • Hockey Equipment bagChild in full hockey equipment
  • Jock (or jill for girls)
  • Shin pads
  • Hockey socks
  • Hockey Pants
  • Skates
  • Shoulder Pads
  • Elbow Pads
  • Neck Guard
  • Helmet with full cage
  • Mouth Guard
  • Jersey for practice
  • Hockey stick

Other recommended accessories

  • Skate guards
  • Water Bottlehockey-water-bottle-pucks
  • Stick tape
  • Shin pad tape
  • Pucks
  • Stickhandling Ball

Hockey Equipment Details

Hockey Equipment Bag

Most kids prefer a hockey bag with wheels. The Grit bags are very popular

The bag is used to carry all the items listed above. There are different sizes available and also wheeled hockey bags and non-wheeled hockey bags.

Wheeled or Non-Wheeled

From my experience most kids prefer wheeled hockey bags – more specifically the GRIT wheeled hockey bag towers. These tower bags have sections to organize the equipment.

Older kids tend to prefer the non-wheeled hockey bags. Non-wheeled hockey bags take up less room and are easier to pack. Also most older kids with wheels on their bag will get teased for not being strong enough to carry their equipment.

Jock (or Jill)

hockey-jockA jock protects the important parts (female hockey players use Jills). There are a number of different jock styles available, the old style garter belt jock, and the newer style velcro shorts. When it comes to a garter style jock vs a velcro compression short most players use the Velcro. I personally prefer the velcro short style jocks as well.

Shin Pads

Shin pads will protect the legs from the top of the knees down to where the skates start. It’s important to have proper fitting shin pads so there are no gaps between the skates and the shin pads.

Hockey Sockshockey socks

These go over the shin pads and then attach to the jock either via the new style velcro or the old style garter belt. Most players also use clear hockey tape to help keep the socks up, and hold the shin pads in place.

Hockey Pants

hockey-pantsYes they are called hockey pants, even though they look more like shorts. The Pants protect from the knees up to the belly. It’s important to get proper fitting hockey pants so they are not sagging or falling off, but also not too small that they leave a gap between the shin pads and bottom of the pants.

Hockey Skates 

These are one of the most important parts of hockey equipment. A comfortable pair of skates is very important. Also make sure that the skates are properly sharpened before going on the ice for the first time. hockey skates for kidsI recommend buying skates at a shop and getting them properly fitted. Make sure skates are

  • The right size (width and length) they usually fit a size or 2 smaller than shoes
  • Comfortable
  • Heat molded to fit the childs foot (most shops do this before you leave)
  • Sharpened

Shoulder Pads

Shoulder pads for hockeyShoulder pads protect the shoulders, biceps, chest, and upper part of the back. Some players prefer bulky shoulder pads while others prefer shoulder pads that barely protect anything (better mobility). For younger players I recommend shoulder pads that offer good protection, but make sure they are not too big that it restricts the child from moving.

Elbow padsElbow pads for hockey

Elbow pads protect the elbows, as well as a bit of the forearm and triceps. The elbow pads are mainly for protection when the child falls, and also from slashes and hooks from other players.

Neck Guard

neck-guard-hockeyThe neck guard protects the neck from the very rare chance that a hockey stick or skate blade comes in contact with the throat.

Helmet with full cage

kids-hockey-helmetA helmet is also very important. I recommend spending some extra money to get a helmet that offers good protection, and most of all make sure the helmet fits properly. A full cage is also required to protect the face

Mouth Guard

A mouth guard is required to protect from dental damage and concussions. Mouth guards vary from about $10 to a few hundred dollars if you get them from the dentist. If you buy your mouth guard at the store you will need to boil it and then bite it so that it will fit your teeth.

Jersey for practicehockey practice jersey

A team will supply the player with a jersey, however it’s nice for a child to have their own practice jersey. This is a jersey they can wear when they are invited to play for fun with other players, or during practice (if a practice jersey is not supplied)

Hockey Stick

hockey sticksA hockey stick is another very important piece of equipment. A stick should be properly fitted with the right length, flex, and handedness.

Typically the dominant hand should be put on the top of the stick, so if a child is right hand they will shoot left, and if they are left handed they will shoot right. The dominant hand goes on top because the top hand does most of the movements during stickhandling.

For the length of the stick I recommend cutting the stick just below the chin while the child is on skates. This allows good movement of the stick, and encourages the child to get a bit lower with their hockey stance.

One by One or Starter Kit?

Buying every piece of equipment individually can be expensive, if you go this route you are looking at spending $300-$700. The better the equipment you buy the more you are going to spend. The good news is you can get hockey equipment starter kits at good prices

There are some starter kits available that make getting a kid started in hockey very affordable. In factPure Hockey has a youth hockey starter kit that is currently only $179.99!

The kit comes with a helmet, gloves, shoulder pads, a stick, elbow pads, pants, shin pads, a hockey bag and a pair of skates. It’s almost everything you need to start a child in hockey.

Hockey Equipment for Kids Question and Answer

Should you buy new or used hockey equipment?

buying used hockey equipmentThe problem with kids is that they are always growing. If you buy new hockey equipment for them every year or two it will get pretty expensive. The is no problem buying used hockey equipment, in fact I encourage it.

Most hockey equipment for kids has only been used for one or two seasons and is perfectly fine. The trick is to find used hockey equipment that fits your child properly. Do not sacrifice protection or comfort to save a few dollars.

I recommend good skates and a good helmet and then build the rest of the equipment from there. Also getting a new jock is recommended.

Where to find used hockey equipment

  • Stores like recycled sports and play it again sports
  • Online on sites like Kijiji, Craigslist, Ebay, or a local classified website (you might be able to find a full set)
  • In your arena (look for fliers) or even check the lost and found
  • Ask parents of older hockey players

hockey equipment onlineShould you buy Hockey Equipment Online or in Stores?

There are good deals to be had online through stores like Hockey Monkey and Total Hockey, you can get brand new equipment at great prices, but remember you need to know if it will fit properly.

I recommended new hockey players go to a store and try things on first. That way you will have an idea of what fits you well and what doesn’t. You will get an idea of your sizes, and what brands you like. Then you can look around online and use the information from trying on in the store to possibly buy online.

I recommend buying your skates and helmet in the store so you get a proper fit.

How much will a full set of Hockey Equipment cost for a Child

A new set of hockey equipment can cost from $300 – $700+

hockey equipment kitA full set will vary in price, if you are buying new you will spend about $300-$500 to get your child on the ice. You can save by buying used equipment and looking for sales

A basic new starter kit of protective equipment for a youth hockey player will cost about $100, this kit will include a bag, shin pads, elbow pads, chest protector, gloves and pants. Then the major costs will be skates and a helmet.

Skates alone can cost up to $500 for kids, but there is no need to start with the most expensive pair of skates.

A used set of hockey equipment will cost from $50 – $200

If you are very frugal you could likely get everything for your child for about $50. At $50 you would need to get some freebies and hand me downs from other hockey families, or find a great deal on a used set online.

Do I need to buy all the Hockey Equipment at once?

If you just want your child to try hockey you don’t have to buy anything. Most minor hockey associations will have hockey equipment on hand that your child can wear for a few ice sessions to see if they like the sport. If your child likes it then you can work on buying equipment

If your child will not be playing in a league then all you need is skates, a helmet, a stick and whatever protective equipment you think is necessary. The bare minimum will allow your child to play outdoor hockey (if you live in an area where that is an option), attend public skating, and attend stick and puck sessions (known as pick up hockey or shinny in Canada).

Beginners guide to Hockey Sticks

Beginners guide to Hockey Sticks

Credit to:

When you’re a hockey player, your stick is like your best friend! In this hockey stick guide we will get you better acquainted with your soon to be best friend!

beginners guide hockey stick

 

 

Hockey sticks, like skates, are considered to be one of the most important and personal pieces of equipment for players. Although the average player may have possession of the puck for as little as two minutes a game (with mens league hockey, probably even less), it’s essential they use the right stick for accurate passing, shooting, stick-handling, and checking (you need to make every second with the puck count!). The sizing process is crucial when trying to decide the right height, weight, and hockey stick lie for your body. Sticks that are a little too long can easily be shortened and you can also extend the length of a stick’s shaft if needed. The flex of the stick and the style of curve also need to be considered.

Types of Hockey Sticks

types-of-hockey-sticks
There are several types of sticks to choose from since they’re made out of a variety of materials. These include aluminum, graphite, Kevlar, titanium, and good old wood. There are also custom-made models as well as one and two-piece sticks on the market. The two-piece sticks enable you to change the blades.

Wood

wood-hockey-sticks
Wooden hockey sticks are typically the least expensive and allow you to easily modify them by sanding the blade and/or cutting the shaft to size. This means you can customize the stick for comfortability. On the down side, they tend to splinter or break easier. They’re also stiffer and heavier than other types of sticks and the wood can warp or bend with extended use.

Composite
composite-hockey-sticks-informtation
Almost every serious hockey player uses a composite stick these days. You can find them in one and two-piece models. This allows players to use wooden or composite bladed with lighter shafts. Composite sticks are also more flexible than their wooden counterparts. Most players prefer one-piece sticks, but they can be expensive and they can also break once in awhile. They’re basically used to shoot the puck harder rather than for longevity, but many newer models are extremely strong and could last recreational players for two or three years.

Types of Composite Sticks:

Fiberglass
These are typically wooden sticks that are reinforced for strength by a fiberglass coating or wrapping. You can modify them like a wooden stick, but they’re the heaviest and weakest of composite hockey sticks.

Aluminum

Aluminum sticks were the first non-wood hockey sticks to become popular. The shafts are constructed with aluminum while replaceable composite or wood blades are inserted into the shaft. The sticks are less expensive, lighter and stronger than fiberglass and wood, but not as light as Kevlar and graphite. (Aluminum sticks are hard to find)

Graphite
Graphite sticks are quite popular as the material can be used to coat or reinforce wooden sticks and can be combined with Kevlar to create a shaft. Also, an entire one-piece stick can be made of graphite. These sticks are nice and light, but cost more than aluminum, wood, and fiberglass models. However, they’re not as expensive as titanium and Kevlar. Typically most composite sticks are made of Graphite, or Graphite blend.

Kevlar
This material can also be combined with another material such as carbon to create a stick or used on its own. They’re relatively expensive, but one of the lightest and strongest available.

Titanium
Titanium sticks are a lot like Kevlar models, but the material usually isn’t combined with anything else.

Reinforced

colt-gen-2-stick-coupon-code

Colt Hockey has taken a Graphite stick, and dipped it in nano steel to reinforce the bottom half of the stick. Interested? Check out their site, and use coupon code HOWTOHOCKEY to save $20.

Hockey stick Length, Lie, Weight, Curve and Flex

Stick Height
The length and weight of your stick is a personal decision. Some players prefer shorter and lighter shafts so they can stickhandle in cramped quarters and release their shots quicker while defensemen typically prefer longer and heavier sticks to check the opposition from a greater distance and clear out the front of the net. Your position and skating style may affect your preference. If you skate with a hunched-over style then a shorter stick may suit you better while upright skaters will be better off with a longer stick.

hockey stick length

Note from coach Jeremy – A stick just below the chin is a good starting point for beginners, after you get comfortable play with the length of your stick and find something you like. NHL players use a variety of lengths from stick length, all the way up to the eyes!

According to some experts, the top of the stick should touch your chin when you’re on skates. But in reality, you need to find a stick that is comfortable, suits your style of play, and is productive for you regardless of the length, weight, type of curve, flex, and the hockey stick lie.

Hockey Stick sizes
It’s hard to handle the puck if your stick’s too short or long. Most manufacturers make sticks in two specific sizes, which are junior, and senior. Junior sticks are usually between 46 and 54 inches while senior models are from 56 to 63 inches. Shaft diameters range from Junior, Intermediate, and Senior.  Most defensemen use longer sticks as they give them a longer reach for poke checks and intercepting passes and will help add a bit more power to the slapshot.

hockey stick shaft size junior-senior

Hockey Stick Weight
Most forwards prefer lighter sticks for maneuverability as they enable you to pass and shoot quicker. Defensemen generally prefer heavier sticks for checking with, but still prefer composite models over wood since they’re more durable. Anything under 450 grams is pretty light!

Hockey Stick Curves
hockey-stick-curves
Hockey sticks are curved for right or left-handed players with very few blades being straight these days. The blade is either curved at the toe, middle, or heel of the blade and players feel they can raise the puck faster and higher. However, backhand passes and shots are a little more difficult to achieve. For more information about picking the right curve we have an extensive article all about hockey stick curves

Hockey Stick Flex
The flex is the stiffness of a hockey stick’s shaft and higher numbers represent stiffer shafts. Defensemen and big, strong players typically use stiffer shafts while most forwards prefer more flexible models. Since you need considerable strength to shoot effectively with a stiffer shaft, they’re not really ideal for young children. Learn more in this hockey stick flex guide

When shopping for hockey sticks for kids it can be hard to find a flex that matches their weight. Most stick flexes start at 40 and then the stick needs to be cut, which can alter the flex. If you’re looking for a flex that is properly matched to your kids weight check out Raven Hockey

Hockey Stick Flex/Length Chart

Age Group

Height

Weight

Recommended Shaft Flex

Stick Length

Youth (3-5) 3’0″-3’10” 30-65 lbs 35 Flex 38-44″
Youth (6-8) 3’10”-4’8″ 50-80 lbs 40/45 Flex 45-49″
Junior (7-13) 4’4″-5’1″ 70-110 lbs 50/55 Flex 50-54″
Intermediate (11-14) 4’11”-5’4″ 95-125 lbs 60 Flex 55-58″
Intermediate (12-14) 5’2″-5’8″ 100-140 lbs 65/70 (Light Flex) 55-58″
Senior (14+) 5’5″-5’10” 125-175 lbs 75/80 (Mid Flex) 57-61″
Senior (14+) 5’7″-6’1″ 150-200 lbs 85/90 (Regular Flex) 58-62″
Senior (14+) 5’10”-6’4″ 180-235 lbs 100/105 (Stiff Flex) 60-63″
Senior (14+) 6’1+ 210+ 110/115 (X-Stiff Flex) 60-63″

Hockey Stick Lie
hockey-stick-lie-angle
The lie of the hockey stick is the angle between the blade of the stick and the shaft. Most sticks will have a lie between 4 and 7 and each lie is a two-degree difference in the angle. For example, a 4 lie is 137 degree while a 5 lie is 135 degrees and so forth.

Lower lies are usually better for players who carry the puck out in front of them and skate lower to the ice. Higher stick lies are often used by those who carry the puck closer to their skates and skate upright. Basically, when standing on the rink you want the entire blade to be flat on the ice, not just the heel or toe.
what is stick lie

 

Credit to:

Selecting the Best Hockey Skates

What are the best hockey skates? – How to find the right skate for you

best hockey skates

When it comes to selecting a pair of hockey skates there is no “best hockey skate” it all comes down to what the best skate for YOU is. The best skate depends on your skill level, playing style, foot size width and depth, ability and weight. In a previous article we covered fitting hockey skates (make sure you read that article as well). In this article we are going to go into detail on how you can determine which skate will be best suited depending on your personal preferences and playing ability.

 

 

How much should I spend on a pair of Hockey Skates?

buying hockey skatesIf you want to play hockey you should be looking to spend at least $150 on a pair of skates. Almost every pair of skates that costs less than $150 is not suitable for an adult playing hockey. (unless you get a good sale price check the links at the bottom of this article for some good places to get clearance skates)

If you just want a recreational pair of skates to go to the odd public skating session and skate laps then the cheapest skates will be fine, but for the demands that hockey puts on skates (crossovers, stops, starts, sharp turns, pucks, sticks, etc) you want a better quality skate

If you just want to learn to skate at the moment, but your goal is to begin playing hockey I still recommend getting the more expensive skates (that way you don’t have to buy new skates down the road). Some stores will have sales on last years models, this is a great way to get the higher end skates for a good price. If you find this opportunity (and the skates fit you properly) then take advantage of it.

When you are at the store, make sure you get a good fitting for your hockey skates: In this article we will cover personal preferences in skates, and which style and brand of skate will be best for you.

Can the Steel be Replaced on Your Skates?

hockey-skate-bladesAsk about replacing steel (the skate blade). Most skates that are designed for hockey will have replaceable steel. Some brands like CCM, Reebok and Easton have visible screws on the outside, and other brands like Bauer have the screws underneath the heel beneath the sole.

Skates without replaceable steel are most likely low-end skates, not meant for regular use. Good skates are designed to outlast their blades (and blades can sometimes break) so you need a skate that allows you to replace the steel when needed. Without this option you will need to replace your entire skate within a few years.

In some of the lower end skates the steel is actually molded to the blade holder and can not be replaced. In these cases the steel is usually very low grade and prone to pitting (pitting is tiny holes and dents in the skate blade) and will not hold a sharpened edge as long

When will you replace the skate blades?

replacing-skate-bladesThis varies, but if you play more than once a week and get your skates sharpened regularly then you will need to replace your skate blades after a few years. After being sharpened over and over the steel wears down, and once it gets too close to the plastic it can effect your skating. The guys at your pro shop who sharpen your skates will tell you when it’s time to replace the steel. It’s not expensive to do so, and means you get to keep skating in the skates that you love!

Some pro players replace their steel every few weeks, but these guys sharpen their skates before every game, and are on the ice almost every day, and sometimes twice a day.

What Style of player are you?

hockey-skating-styleSome players are more aggressive, they are always on their toes ready to go and pounce on the puck. Other players are more reserved, they play a defensive game, they like to read plays, play heads up hockey and stay on the defensive side of the puck.

There are different styles of skates depending on your playing style

Some skates will help put your in a more aggressive stance. These skates are designed with a forward pitch at the ankles that allows you to get a deeper knee bend. Some skates also have a pitch in the blade holder that will put the player more on their toes.

Alternatively you can also buy skates with a more traditional fit, these skates are better for the reserved players and should be selected depending on your style of play.

What fit do you prefer?

Different skate brands will provide different fits for your feet. In our skate fitting guide we cover the different sizes and widths which will help you pick the right size of skates, but after you know your size you can still determine the feel you prefer.

Some skaters prefer a snug fit, while others like a looser fit. The right fit depends on the shape of your foot as well as your personal preference. Below we have a chart that covers the different fit that each line of skates provides.ice-hockey-Skate-table

 

The stance of your skate can be slightly adjusted with profiling the blade. Most new and recreational players will probably do fine with a traditional stance

How Stiff should my skates be?

hockey-skate-stiffness-testTo determine how stiff the skates are you can perform the squeeze test. Hold the skates by the quarter package (the back / heel of the skate) with the toe facing away from you. Grip the skate in one hand near the top but below the tendon guard (that piece that flares up to protect your tendon). Now squeeze the skates and try to bend the sides inward.

If the skates fold together with only a little resistance (kind of like a good pair of boots) they aren’t strong enough for hockey. If they are hard to squeeze together they are solid skates and are stiff enough for hockey. If you are performing crossovers, tight turns, quick starts and hard stops you want good ankle support, which usually means a stiffer boot.

Some players prefer more mobility, and some high end skates like the Easton Mako offer high quality skates with less stiffness for more mobility.

If you are just starting hockey, you probably don’t require the stiffest boot on the market, as it could restrict your from developing good ankle support, and you may not stress the skates enough to properly break them in. A boot that is too stiff for your playing ability could reduce your ability to get a good knee bend. Newer players are typically advised against using a very stiff boot. Remember when buying hockey skates you need to factor in your foot size, width, arch, playing style, playing ability, and weight.

What Skates are best for New Hockey Players?

hockey-skates-lacingFor a new hockey player a middle of the line skate should be perfect. If you go for a top of the line skate it could be too stiff for your playing style, and if you go for a low-end skate it could end up not giving you enough support (making your ankles bend), hurt you feet, and end up falling apart quickly. Look into skates in the $150-$300 price range.

If you have a good local hockey shop nearby drop in and try to find a pair of skates that fit you. If you live in an area where hockey isn’t very popular or you know which size and skate you want, you can try looking online. Be sure to read our hockey skate fitting guide before buying skates.

Cheap Skates VS Expensive Skates

cheap-skates-vs-expensive-skates

Expensive does not always mean better. As we have outlined above you need to find the right type of skate to fit your experience and playing style.

  • Cheap skates (under $100) are made for casual use, should not be used for regular hockey players
  • Average priced skates ($150-$400) are made for recreational hockey. Some will not hold up so well, and others will hold up fine, it depends on the brand and model. An average priced skate should be fine for most players.
  • High end skates ($400-$800) are made for competitive hockey and skilled skaters. They are usually stiffer, lighter, and have all the bells and whistles. If you skate a lot and skate hard, you should be shopping for higher end skates.

If you are shopping for skates for kids I do not recommend the most expensive skates as the kids will grow out of them very soon. Look for used skates, or a decent pair on sale.

Check their clearance and discount sections to find good deals! Also when buying online make sure you know the return policy so you can return the skates if they do not fit properly.

 

 

Written by Doug Sears Jr and Coach Jeremy

A HUGE thanks to Jeremy at how to hockey & new to hockey for allowing us to use this great information.

Coach Jeremy

Ice Hockey Skate Sizes

We want you to get the best fit! It you can’t make it into a shop to get fitted please feel free to contact us if you have any more questions.

Written by Doug Sears Jr

I am a former LHS (local hockey shop) employee and have fit thousands of pairs of skates. In this article I will address everything you need to know about getting a properly fitting pair of hockey skates. A poorly fitting pair of skates can impair your skating ability, cause foot pain, blisters and a lot of frustration.

How to get a Good Fitting for Hockey Skates

hockey-skate-fittingHockey Skate Sizes – What size hockey skate should you wear?

If the LHS employee asks you what your skate size is and then gets that size for you, that is a red flag. He should basically ignore your assumption of your size, and measure you.

Hockey skates are typically 1-2 sizes lower than the shoe size you wear. However there are differences between different skate companies. (I wear a size 11 or 12 shoe depending on the company, and my skate size is 10D in Bauer)

What are the different skate sizes and fits?

Skates have many different fitting characteristics so if the LHS employee tries to sell you the first skate you try on, that’s another red flag. When fitting a skate you are looking for more than just the right size, skates should be fitted according tohockey-skate-width-chart

  • Skate size
  • Skate width
  • Depth / arch
  • Your weight
  • Your skating ability/ skating style / playing level

Different lines from different skate companies will offer different fits. So lets say you are a size 8, a size 8 in Bauer Vapor might fight you great, but a size 8 in Easton might not feel right. This is because of differences in the overall width of the skate, width of the toe, depth of the skate, volume in the heel pocket, etc.

What Skate Will Fit Your Feet?

ice-hockey-Skate-table

Remember each of the models shown above also come in sizes C, D, E or EE. However a Bauer Nexus 8D would be a looser fit than a Bauer Supreme 8D and Graf will be wider then other brands when stated as wide.

How to Test if your Skates fit Properly

There are two popular tests when it comes to fitting hockey skates: the pencil test, and the finger test.

hockey-skate-pencilWith the pencil test you will put on your skates, but do not tie them up. Pull the tongue out and then take a pencil or pen and place it across the eyelets, about three eyelets down.

If the pen / pencil lies flat without rocking back and forth on your foot then the skate has good depth. If the pen / pencil hits your foot without touching both eyelets then the skate is too shallow for you.

hockey-skate-fit-testThe finger test will ensure your skates are the right size, and that you have the right ankle fit. Lace the skate up tight as if you are going to play hockey. Lean forward and bend your knees (like you are in the hockey stance).

Now reach back to the heel of the skate and see how much of a gap there is between your heel and the skate. If you can slide more than one finger between your heel and the skate (not the tendon and skate) then the skate is not locking your ankle / heel into place and the fit is not suitable for you. For children who are still growing a 1 finger gap is fine, if you are an adult and no longer growing you can go for a bit of a snugger fit. Skates that are too loose can cause blisters, foot pain, and impair your skating ability.

Where Should my Toes Touch on my Skates

toes-touch-hockey-skates

The Toe Brush Test –  Another popular way to tell if the skates are the proper size is where your toes lie in the skates. With your skates laced up, stand up straight in the skates, in this stance your toes should just brush the toe cap inside the skates. Now get into an athletic stance (the hockey stance) in this stance your heel should lock more into place and your toes should not be rubbing on the toe cap anymore.

proper-fitting-hockey-skateSkate Stiffness – Give your Skates a Squeeze

The stiffness of your skates is also important when considering the right fit. Some skates are designed with very stiff boots and some are designed with less stiff boots. Typically stiffer boots are recommended for more experienced hockey players, and heavier players. The stiffer the boot, the more ankle support and energy transfer you will get, however stiffness can compromise mobility in some cases.

hockey skate stiffness testNewer hockey players should probably not get the stiffest boots available as they may not be aggressive enough in their skating to properly break the skates in and get the full advantage. However new players should not buy skates with very little stiffness as these skates will not provide enough support for playing hockey on a regular basis.

To determine the stiffness, give your skates a squeeze. Hold the skate below the tendon guard and squeeze the sides together. If it folds in easily these skates are too weak for hockey. If there is some good resistance then they are good for a newer hockey player, and if they are very stiff they are suitable for experienced players.

Get Your Skates Baked

bake-hockey-skatesWhen new players hear about baking skates they might think it’s a bit crazy, but high end skates are designed to be heat molded to fit your feet. While you can bake them yourself at home (only if you know what you are doing) the best time to get your skates baked is at the store before your purchase them.

How does skate baking work?

After you find a comfortable pair of skates that fits you properly the store associate will take your pair of skates and put them into a special oven for a few minutes. When the skate is warm it is ready to be put on your feet. You gently lace the skate up while sitting in a chair and then sit for about 10 minutes while the skates cool and form fit to your foot. This process gives your skate a custom fitted mold to really lock your foot into place and give you the most comfortable experience.

Is it Normal for my Feet to Hurt after Skating?

hockey-skate-foot-painWhen you first skate in your new skates, yes, it is normal for there to be a little discomfort. It is normal to get the odd blister, or a bit of a pain. This discomfort should only affect you the first few times you use your skates. This is the normal process of breaking in a new pair of skates. After your skates are broken in you should be able to skate in them without any pain or blisters.

What happens if your feet hurt every time you skate in them

If you’ve skated 10+ times and your skates still hurt your feet then there is a problem. Your skates may not fit you properly, or you may have unique feet that need special attention. You can customize your skates by getting custom insoles (superfeet are popular), or by taking them to a pro shop to get them “punched”. Lets say you have extra wide ankles, you can get the sides of your skates punched to give you some more room.

 Buying Skates Online vs In Stores

hockey-skates-storesIf you are a new player it’s a good idea to buy your skates in the stores. A good employee can help you find the right fitting skate for your foot (although I was once talked into buying a pair of skates that were not the right fit for me, I suspect the store was trying to sell a certain brand to clear out stock). After reading this article you should have a good idea of what you need, now it’s up to the employee to help you find it.

If you decide to buy online you should always look for a good return policy. If you find a great deal, make sure the skates still are covered under the return policy. This way you can buy the skates, try them on, and if they don’t fit properly you can still return them.

Orignial post by Coach Jeremy on newtohockey.com a big thanks for the great information!
Huge thanks to Doug Sears Jr, a former employee at a hockey shop and member of reddit.com/r/hockeyplayers for providing the meat of the information in this article! (with some additions from Coach Jeremy)

Coach Jeremy

Thanks for dropping by Ice Park’s Learning Center – Ice Hockey Skate Sizes. Keep an eye out for more updates