Hockey Skate Sizing
Hockey skates are extremely important to the game in terms of player performance, and knowing how the skates should fit is key. A proper skate fit will help, because if it 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 all of that, this is what you need to know about how to fit your hockey skates, with guidelines to converting your shoe size to hockey skate size.
Fitting Hockey Skates
When fitting hockey skates, it's important to understand all the variables, including hockey skate sizing, and knowing whether a skate is supposed to fit tight or loose.
Hockey skate size vs. shoe size?
If it's your first time to buy ice skates, you're probably wondering, "What size ice skates should I buy?" To a certain degree, what size hockey skates you should get depends on the brand you're buying. However, typically you want a skate that is 1 to 1½ sizes smaller than your shoe size. And while this can depend on the brand, knowing that you probably don't want the same size as your street shoes is a good start toward getting a proper skate fit.
How tight or loose should hockey skates fit?
If you're not used to them, the question of how ice skates should fit is an important one. Most people will say hockey skates should fit tight—but how tight?
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 two or three 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 (wearing 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—once for about every six to eight hours of practice or game time is ideal.
Bauer, CCM, and Easton hockey skates normally fit 1 to 1½ sizes smaller than your shoe size. For children, it is acceptable to order a half size bigger to accommodate growing feet; however, wearing skates any larger will cause blisters and will break down the sides of the boot.
Here are a few important things to remember when fitting a skate:
- Be sure to wear the socks you plan to wear for practice and games at your hockey skate fitting.
- Does your heel move? Moving or lifting your heel inside the hockey skate should be impossible. If your heel does move, your performance will suffer and the hockey skate will not fit well.
- The skate should fit very snug for proper support to enable a good push-off without any movement of your foot inside the skate.
- 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 to get a proper skate fit.
Heat Fitting Ice Skates
Heat fitting is a process in which skates are baked in a special skate oven to achieve a more perfect fit. This process helps round out the stiff sides and upper part of the boot, making it conform to the shape of the player's foot and ensuring a proper hockey skate fit. Heat molding your ice skates shortens the break-in time by about half.
Fitting Hockey Skates Vs. Inline Skates
Generally inline skates sizing is the same as ice hockey skates among manufacturers. Most inline manufacturers size their skates so they are the same as thier ice hockey skate counterpart — usually 1 to 1½ sizes smaller than your shoe size. Follow the same fitting steps for inline skates as you do for ice hockey skates.