How to Fit Hockey Skates

Skates are arguably the most important piece of equipment for hockey players as it allows them to glide effortlessly across the ice. But not just any skates will do. Your skates need to fit well to keep you comfortable and playing your best.

Having worn skates that are the wrong size myself at times, I can tell you it is not a fun time. Your feet will hurt, and you may not have the same control you would with better-fitting skates. But how can you go about getting the perfect fit for your skates?

In an effort to help, I have decided to create this guide. It’s going to go over the different sizes of hockey skates and how they should fit, to keep you as comfortable as possible.

The Different Sizes of Hockey Skates

First, it’s crucial to learn about the different sizes of hockey skates that are available. Here is a quick guide to help you learn skate sizes to ensure you can pick the right one:

Skate SizeU.S. Shoe Size
56.5
67.5
78.5
89.5
910.5
1011.5
1112.5
1213.5

As you can see, you should generally look for a skate that is around 1.5 sizes down from your shoe size. Some people can only size down 1 size, but it is a good idea to try both to see what you prefer. This goes for whether a skater is a senior player, a junior, or even a youth.

In addition to sizes, skates may also have different fit types. This includes traditional, contoured, and tapered. A traditional fit has high volume, a wide forefoot, and a deep heel. A contoured skate has a standard forefoot, a standard heel, and medium volume.

For those with smaller feet or who want a tighter fit, there is the tapered skate. The heel and forefoot are narrow in these skates, and the volume is lower.

Some manufacturers will also have different boot types for different foot widths. In the past, many players with wide feet have struggled to get skates that could accommodate them, but this is thankfully no longer the case as the options are available.

How Should Hockey Skates Fit?

While knowing your size is crucial, so is being aware of how skates should fit. In general, a hockey skate should fit tighter and more snug than your shoes, as evidenced by the fact most people will size down. But if they’re too tight, they can hurt and restrict your movement.

They should hug your ankles snugly, and the top of the boot should be on the top of your foot, but not putting too much pressure on it. When standing, your toes should touch the front of the skate, but while leaning (like most people do when they skate), it shouldn’t touch anymore.

Your heel should fit comfortably and should be locked in place while skating, and not sliding around in your skate. How tight you tighten up the laces can help you keep the overall fit a little looser or tighter, so keep that in mind.

Your foot should not be squished or very uncomfortable, but should also not move a lot while skating during play. Some skates can take a few games to break in, so a little bit of uncomfortability is normal, but too much can be cause for concern.

Also, if you are buying for a youth or junior player and are buying skates that are too big so they can grow into them, this isn’t generally a good idea. If the skate is too large, it can leave blisters and make it hard for the child to use and/or develop good technique as the fit will be off.

Each skate will also have a different level of stiffness that can impact how they fit and feel on the foot. A stiffer skate is better for younger players and those learning how to skate, as it gives them more support and can help them stay balanced.

More experienced and advanced players will often choose slightly looser skates, to provide better mobility and control.

Baking Your Skates

While many people will be able to find a skate that fits their feet well off the shelf, others may have some difficulty due to the size of their foot or another factor. These individuals can get the perfect fit by baking their skates.

Baking skates is essentially when a special skate oven is used to heat the boot and allows it to conform to a player’s exact foot shape. While the size should be as close as possible, this baking can make the small adjustments you need.

Unfortunately, not all skates can be baked, so keep that in mind. For example, if you try to bake and heat mold beginner skates, you might end up damaging them as they don’t hold up well through this process.

I hope this guide has helped you learn all about how to fit hockey skates and has been able to help you choose the right size. Are there any tips or tricks you feel I should have included? If so, let me know below!

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.

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