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Your hockey skates connect you to the ice, directly affecting your skills and performance. Players and goalies need the skates that give them their best game, so finding the right sized skate in the proper fit is crucial. This guide shows you how to size your hockey skates, what to look for in a good fit, and the differences between player and goalie skates.
Your hockey skate size will be smaller than your shoe size. Start with a hockey skate that is 1- 1½ sizes smaller than your street shoes. However, hockey skates fit tight, so don’t be surprised if your hockey skates are as much as 2-2½ sizes smaller than your regular shoes.
To try on a skate, 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. Also tighten the laces well through the turn of the curve from foot to ankle—this will keep your heel seated well back in the heel pocket. Remember to keep your foot placed flat on the ground while lacing the skate.
Because all skates are different, it is important to try on many of them and be open minded to the actual size of the skate. To find out what size you need in Bauer or CCM based on your shoe size, refer to our sizing charts for hockey skates.
As we mentioned in the Hockey Skates Buying Guide, your skates should be tight with the tips of your toes barely brushing the caps of the boot. Adult players should feel as if their skates are molded to their feet. If your heel lifts in the skate, the skate is too big. Skates that are too big create friction against the feet, which causes blisters, plus you won’t have good control of your edges. If your toes noticeably touch the end caps, the skates are too small. Too small skates impede your stride and overall performance on the ice.
Your ankle should feel locked snugly in place without constricting your stride. In a good fit, you want your heel settled in the heel pocket, so make sure you slide your heel in place before lacing the skates. Then stand up to find out the true feel and length of the skate.
Remember that in order to achieve a proper fit, it’s important to wear the same type of socks to your fitting that you plan to wear when you skate. Also, if you have your skates thermoformed, wear your game and practice socks when your skates are baked.
Each manufacturer designs several different skates in each of their skate families so players will find the exact right skate for their foot size, shape, and style of game. If you have a high arch, there are skates for you—likewise if you have wide feet, narrow/thick ankles, or flat feet. You’ll need to look into each manufacturer’s fit profiles to determine which model of skate will best suit the specifications of your feet and ankles.
In Youth sizes, you should be able to place one finger between the inside of the boot and the heel, when the skates aren't tide. This space allows for growing feet to stay in the same skates all season. How tight you want your skates when you lace them up is based on personal preference.
Most Senior skate models mold to the feet, so there will be no extra space. Senior skates will be very snug to enable a strong push-off without any movement of your foot in the skate. How tight you lace up your skates, and if you lace them all the way to the top eyelet, is also based on personal preference.
The best way to break in hockey skates is the old fashioned way: suck it up and wear them on the ice! You’ll notice a difference after seven or eight skates. Or, if you have high-end skates designed to take the heat, you can bake them. We recommend that you take them to a Pure Hockey store where we can professionally and safely bake them for you. Note: Never bake beginner skates or lower-end skates as they are not designed to take the heat; they may melt or create a fire hazard.
It’s worth nothing that both Bauer and CCM recently released updated fit systems to better respond to the needs of players. Bauer’s Performance Fit System includes Fit 1, Fit 2, and Fit 3 in their Vapor and Supreme skates. So before, if your feet were too wide for a Vapor skate, now you can fit comfortably into the Vapor Fit 3.
Similarly, CCM introduced their Custom Fit System to offer three different fit profiles in their Jetspeed and Ribcor skates: tapered fit for low profile, narrow feet; regular fit for mid-profile feet with a mid-heel pocket; and wide fit for players who need the most volume.
We provide a Bauer fit width conversion chart as well as a CCM custom fit conversion chart so you can find your new fit profile based on your old Bauer or CCM skates.
There are important differences between goalie skates and player skates. Makers design goalie skates to address the specific performance and protection needs to defend the net and block shots. Hockey goalie skates have shorter boots for better range of motion and ankle mobility; longer, flatter and thicker blades for side-to-side movement in the crease. Goalie skates also need to be sharpened more frequently—usually every 6-8 hours you spend on the ice or whenever you ding a post. By contrast, players sharpen their skates every 15-20 hours of ice time. Simply put, goalies need goalie skates, and players need player skates.
However, both types of skates are sized in the same way. Typically, you want a goalie skate that is 1 to 1 ½ size smaller than your shoe size.
If you’re a goaltender, check out our related guide on How to Buy Hockey Goalie Skates for more information on finding the right pair.
Are you in the market for a new pair of hockey skates? Shop our full selection of hockey skates and goalie skates online; or, if you’re still unsure which pair might be right for you, visit a Pure Hockey store near you for a full assessment from our staff.
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