Skates are an extremely important aspect of the game in terms of player performance. If a skate is not properly sized or is uncomfortable, it is more likely the player will experience blisters, damage the boot support, or even worse: start to dislike playing the game. To avoid that, this is what you need to know to correctly size your skates.
It is crucial that you have skates with good stability and strong ankle support. A solid exterior is vital to protecting your feet from the puck and other skates. Typically, you want a skate that is 1 to 1 ½ size smaller than your shoe size.
When trying on a skate, wear socks similar to ones that you will wear while skating. After putting on the skate, press your foot forward as far as possible so that your toes press against the front of the skate.
For youth sizes, you should be able to place one finger between the inside of the boot and the heel of your foot. This is simply to allow some room for growth. (Adult skates are made to mold to the foot so this extra space is not necessary.) Next, sit down and kick your heel firmly into the back of the boot; your big toe should barely brush the toe cap. Firmly tighten the laces through the first 2-3 eyelets until the skate is snug near the toe. Remember to keep your foot placed flat on the ground while lacing the skate.
After lacing up the skate, make sure you walk around (with your skate guards, of course!) to test the comfort level of the skate. Remember, it takes a few wears to break them in! It is also important to have your blades sharpened regularly—about every 6-8 hours of practice or game time is ideal.
Bauer, CCM and Easton hockey skates normally fit 1 to 1 ½ sizes smaller than your shoe size. For children, it is acceptable to order a half size bigger to accommodate growing feet; however, any larger will cause blisters to form and will break down the sides of the boot.
Here are a few important things to remember when fitting a skate:
- Does your heel move? There should not be any movement or lifting with your heel. If your heel does move, it will take away from your performance.
- The skate should be very snug for proper support to enable a good push-off without any movement.
- And finally, it takes a few wears to break in a new pair of skates! Heat fitting is another option that helps expedite the break-in process.
Heat Fitting is a process in which skates are baked in a special oven to achieve a more perfect fit. This process helps round out the stiff sides and upper part of the boot, conforming to the shape of the player’s foot. Heat fitting shortens the break-in period by about half the time.
Generally inline skates are sized a little differently, but there are some variations among manufacturers. Most inline manufacturers size their skates so they are closer to the player’s actual shoe size—usually about zero to one size smaller than his/her shoe size. You should follow the same fitting procedure for inline skates as you do for ice hockey skates.