What’s The Difference Between Hockey Skates and Figure Skates

There are plenty of differences between hockey skates and figure skates, including a different blade, different boot construction, a difference in weight, a price difference, and more. Both can be the right skate for you depending on your needs and circumstances.

Whether you are just learning to skate, or simply looking to get a new pair, choosing the right type of skate is important. When shopping for a new pair of skates, the two choices you generally have are figure skates or hockey skates.

While hockey skates and figure skates both have a blade and help you glide on the ice, that is where their similarities end. This guide is going to take a look at a few major differences between hockey and figure skates.

Key Takeaways

  • The blade of a hockey skate is short and meant to provide better and quicker acceleration and turning, while a longer figure skate blade is better for balancing.
  • Hockey skate boots are generally made out of some kind of rigid and tough composite material to protect players, whereas figure skates are often made out of materials like leather, and are much more flexible and thin.
  • While hockey skates may look heavier than figure skates, the opposite is generally true as the longer and wider blade on the figure skate adds weight.
  • While skates can be found at various different price points and sales/discounts can exist, figure skates are generally more expensive than hockey skates, because they are made of leather and not synthetic materials.

Different Blade

Because the skates are made for different uses and functions, each skate has a distinctly different blade. A hockey blade is much lighter, shorter, and rounded on the edges. It is also narrow and deep when compared to a figure skate.

Hockey skate blades are designed to help players move at high speeds, make tight turns, and accelerate faster on the ice.

Figure skate blades are longer, wide, and heavier. They glide incredibly easily, and pick up more momentum as you skate due to their size. You can often skate more gracefully and smoothly on figure skates than you can on hockey skates.

Figure skate blades also have a serrated toe pick that is used for perfecting jumps, spins, and pivots.

Different Boot Construction

The way the boots are built is another difference between the two types of skates. Hockey boots are more rigid and hard, often made from hard plastics or composite material. These skates need to protect a player’s feet during play, which is why harder materials are used.

The stiffness of a hockey skate boot also helps support players during quick movements like stopping, turning, and accelerating. These boots are also more durable and provide better stability.

Figure skate boots have a tight fit and allow for better flexibility due to the lighter materials being used. They are shaped to provide incredible precision during jumps and movement, and are designed more for comfort and performance than for protection.

Difference in Weight

There is also a difference in weight when comparing hockey skates to figure skates. While hockey skates might look heavier due to their design and the harder materials being used, figure skates are generally heavier.

A big reason for this is the larger and wide blade on figure skates. Skate blades are made of steel, and the larger the blade, the heavier a skate will normally be.

Of course, every skate is different and some hockey skates will end up being heavier than some figure skates depending on style and size.

Difference in Price

There is also a price difference between these skates. With figure skates being made of leather, they are often more expensive than hockey skates. The synthetic materials of hockey skates might be thicker and more protective, but are normally cheaper.

However, there can still be cheap and affordable figure skates and hockey skates that end up breaking the bank. But in general, the premium materials used to make figure skates often make them a pricier choice than hockey skates.


Here are a few commonly asked questions about hockey skates and figure skates, along with their answers.

Which is best to skate on for beginners?

The answer is that it depends. Figure skates are generally more stable and have a longer blade for better balance, but are often a little heavier. Hockey skates are unbalanced, but are lighter and better for learning hockey-specific skating like tight turns and fast acceleration.

Are both types of skates sharpened the same?

While both types of skates need to be sharpened for optimal performance, they aren’t sharpened the same. They are sharpened with different goals in mind and the radius of hollow will differ between the two types of skates.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are various differences between hockey and figure skates. Each one can make a wonderful choice, depending on your needs and the type of skating you want to do.

Have you skated on both hockey and figure skates? If so, which did you prefer? Let me know in a comment.

About Kale
Being from Canada, hockey is essentially a way of life. I instantly fell in love with the game since I was being put on skates. From playing as a child (and the occasional street hockey game with friends today) to being a fan for over 20 years, I’m here to share my knowledge and passion for hockey. Email: kale@hockeyhow.com

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