How To Choose the Right Hockey Skates

One of the most important aspects to playing your game definitely comes down to the gear you use.  And that gear has to fit perfectly and be comfortable so you can play your game.  One of the most important parts of Hockey of course comes the fact that the game is played on a giant sheet of ice…which means of course that you have to have a pair of skates.

The difficult thing about skates can be finding the perfect pair.  And that’s why I decided to write this article.  No matter how long you may have been playing the game, on the retail side things change so often that it’s hard to keep up with all the new merchandise that comes out every few months.

Today we’re going to be taking a closer look at some Bauer and CCM equipment, and figuring out how to find the perfect pair of skates, for You.

The first thing you probably notice when skate shopping is that these all look pretty damn cool, but honestly the colours and little designs are the LAST thing you should be thinking about.

The most important thing when it comes to skates is getting a fit that’s comfortable for you. And I don’t just mean length or shoe size – some people have wide feet or a higher instep. And some players might need more heel, ankle, or side support than other players.

Before we get into the different skate types, there’s a few features we have to look out for.

The first is Volume, which refers to how much vertical space is inside the skate. If you have a high instep, you’ll probably need a skate with a high volume.

Bauer Nexus High Volume Ice Hockey Skates

Then we have the Fore Foot of the skate and the Heel Pocket. Depending on which skate you choose, the Heel and Toe areas will be narrow, standard, or wide.

When it comes to the overall width of the skate, there are basically 2 sizes that all sports stores carry – the standard or “medium” size which is D, and the Widest would be Double E.

There’s also a C, R, and E size in there if you want to get really technical, but those size skates are pretty rare unless you get them custom made.

Lastly, an important thing to consider is the stance of the skate. If you’re a goalie or a defender, or maybe you just don’t skate around a lot, a natural upright stance might be best for you. The other option would be an ankle with a slight tilt, giving you more of an aggressive forward stance when standing naturally.

Because there are so many different factors when it comes to finding a pair of skates that fit You comfortably, manufacturers like Bauer and CCM often have three different lines of skates.

Bauer Skate Width Chart

Starting with Bauer, the Vapor line has a tapered fit, meaning that the inside is shaped like a V starting at the heel pocket. As you get to the Fore Foot of the skate it opens up slightly for a medium width, but overall the skate has a pretty low volume and it’s generally designed for players with smaller feet. It’s also important to keep in mind that the Vapor line has that aggressive angled stance.

Moving on to the Supreme skates, these are designed to be like a middle point between small and large feet. The inside of the boot isn’t really tapered but more so designed to fit around the bones and grooves in your feet. The Supreme’s have a medium volume with a medium sized forefoot area, and a nice standard sized Heel Pocket that should comfortably wrap around your ankles. Lastly, these skates have a traditional upright stance.

Bauer Nexus skates on the other hand are designed with a wide, high volume fit from the heel all the way up to the toe. The heel pocket is the deepest out of the Bauer skates and the forefoot is nice and wide for those players with large feet. These skates also have a traditional upright stance.

Now let’s take a look at some of the CCM lines, starting with the Jetspeed skates. These skates have that tapered fit similar to Bauer Vapor, starting narrow at the Heel Pocket and getting a little bit wider towards the forefoot. Jetspeeds are also a low-medium volume skate with a traditional upright stance.

CCM Skate Width Chart

Then we have the middle child of CCM skates, the Tacks. Just like Bauer’s Supreme skates, the CCM Tacks are designed to be somewhat standard all around. They have a medium volume, a very natural shaped inside that curves around your feet, and a medium-wide forefoot area. The heel pocket is slightly wider than the Jetspeeds, and the stance is just a little bit more aggressive as well.

And last but not least, we have the CCM Ribcor skates. These actually have a low to medium volume and a narrow forefoot, but the flexible inner padding offers a lot of customization when it comes to the overall width of the skate. These skates have a symmetrical heel pocket instead of the anatomical shape that the Tacks and Jetspeeds have, and they also have the most aggressive stance out of the CCM skates.

Now of course there are other hockey manufacturers out there with their own skate lines, but these are just a few examples of the different foot shapes and types you’ll encounter when shopping for skates.

When it comes to figuring out what SIZE of skates you need, it’s usually just a size and a half lower than your regular shoe size. However I’d always recommend going into the store and trying skates on before you buy them. Make sure to wear your hockey socks when trying on skates because they will change how tight or loose the skates feel.

Give your heel a couple of taps to make sure your foot is all the way back, then lace up your skates nice and tight. Stand up and bend your knees to simulate pushing off and skating – your feet should be nice and snug in the skates. If they’re sliding around and rubbing against the insides of the skates then you run the risk of getting blisters and other injuries.

Your heel should be locked into the back, your toes should be just reaching the tip of the skate without getting squished, and the volume and width of the skate should be a comfortable size for you. If all of these things feel right, then you’ve found your perfect skates!

If you’re looking to get some new hockey equipment for yourself, check out our website at OR if you’re in the Greater Toronto Area, feel free to visit our store in Brampton.