Best Skates 2017 – Reviews and Best Brands
Buying a pair of skates is simple, right?
Just get some kind of boot with wheels or blades, and you’ll be good to go.
The fact of the matter is, there’s a little bit more to it than that. Read on, and we’ll show you what kind of things you’ll need to make sure of before you decide to invest in a pair of skates since there’s more to this subject than a first glance would show you.
As a hockey coach for the last twenty years I’ve used, bought, and reviewed all the top skates brands. I’ve worked with top manufacturers like Bauer, Easton and even the NHL to promote, develop and educate people on selecting the best quality skates for all ages.
First Things First
What are you going to be doing with your skates?
This is probably the most important part of picking out a set. You’ll want totally different skates for engaging in roller hockey, for aggressive inline skating, if you just want to cruise around town, or if you’re just picking up your child their first pair of skates.
If you’re not totally sure just yet, assume that you’ll be using them outside of a ring and make your purchasing decisions based on that fact. Outdoor equipment can go indoors, but trying things the other way arounf is really going to beat up your equipment.
Varieties: The Basics
There are three main types of skates, and which you go with is based largely on personal preference.
Quad skates have four wheels, two placed under the heel and two under the ball of the foot. Despite the look, they can be quite a bit harder to ride with than inline skates. They have a lower, less ridged top and they don’t provide as much stability due to the way your weight is distributed.
They’re still plenty of fun, however, and some sports use them preferentially. They’re also a little bit more maneuverable when it comes to turns and jumping than inline skates.
Inline skates are the most commonly constructed sets of skates in the modern age. You’ll find they’re easy to ride with and if you’re familiar with ice skating it’s almost the same thing. They’re great for getting from point A to point B or general exercising.
These are the type of skates that are used for aggressive skating, as well as roller hockey. They can vary quite a bit, and most people will want to do some more research after they decide to go make a purchase.
Ice skates have a blade on the bottom and are… well, they’re used on ice. Most people are pretty familiar with their basic design, but they might not know that the blades and anatomy of the boots vary quite a bit depending on what their intended use is. Unlike roller skates of either type, they can be quite hard to configure for different types of usage.
For most beginners, a good recreational ice skate will serve, but if you’re planning on speed skating or playing hockey, then, you’ll want to upgrade as soon as possible to make sure you’ve got what you need.
Parts and Parts and Parts…
Keep in mind that you’re not always stuck with what a skate comes with. If you’ve found the perfect pick except for one little detail, you can usually switch it out later. For the most part, what you’re paying for here is the boot and frame.
Even with ice skates, the runners can be switched out although they’re a bit more limited in just how much you can change them around.
That said, don’t let a slightly too tall set of wheels or a terrible toe stop keep you from making the purchase if you’re absolutely in love with the skates otherwise.
Other Hockey and Skating Equipment
If you’re going to be skating, you need to keep in mind you’re going to be moving quickly on an inherently unstable platform. Make sure you get the protective gear you need as well, especially if you’re going to be skating outdoors.
Helmets are going to be your biggest expense for the most part, and depending on what you’re doing there’s a full range of pads and guards that you’ll want to consider. The most commonly injured areas are the knees and wrists, and any amateur should consider picking up protection for them on top of their helmet.
Picking Out the Top Hockey Skates
Hockey is probably the most popular of the many skating sports, and it’s played at every level from the local ice rink to the big leagues. If you’re planning on getting involved in the sport, then you’ll need a pair of specialized ice skates to get you going.
Click here to find the Top Hockey Skates for Men.
Most hockey skates will be fine for the amateur, provided they fit, but it always pays off to pay attention to the individual parts of a product you’re planning on using in order to get a little bit of a competitive edge.
Choosing hockey skates doesn’t have to be complicated, these are the main things to look for:
The Hockey Boot
Hockey is a rough sport, so in order to compete you’re going to want to make sure that your skates can hold up to it. In addition to fitting properly, you want a hard, tough outer shell and a soft interior one for the best results.
A word of advice: look for “anti-microbial” linings. Otherwise, the smell when they come off after a couple of hours on the ice just might gag you. It doesn’t usually add much to the price, but it’s a vital feature to keep the smell down for those sweaty feet.
Any extra padding is a bonus for this sport, so long as it doesn’t mess with your fit.
Holders and Blades
The holder is what keeps your blade attached to the boot. For the most part, the manufacturers of hockey skates try to keep a good mixture of strength and lightness.
The blades of hockey skates are invariably quite sharp, although they might not come that way. This allows for precise turning and quick maneuvering on the ice, but the upkeep is going to fall on the owner so be sure to check on your blades once in a while.
The blades of hockey skates will usually have a fairly pronounced curve; this is for allowing you to handle well and maneuver in tight quarters while you’re on the ice. If you’re already familiar with skating, you should be able to pick them up pretty quickly, but a complete neophyte is going to have some trouble until they get used to things.
Cost of Hockey Skates for Men
Cost is always a key factor, but keep the following in mind.
You can get a good set of skates for messing around with a puck on the ice with your friends for less than $100. At this level of competition, friendly or not, your skills are probably going to be what holds you back, not your equipment.
If you’re a serious player in an amateur league or aiming to get there, however, it can be worth it to make the investment in a truly high-end pair of skates with all the bells and whistles. They can give you exactly the competitive edge you’re looking for, although nothing can beat the skill of the player wearing them.
Check here for a more in-depth look at how to make sure you’ve got the perfect set for what you’re planning on doing.
Picking Top Women’s Ice Skates
When it comes to ice skates, you need to be careful to match the skates you’re purchasing with the activities you’re partaking in. You can also get skates for all around recreation, but it’s wise to err on the cheap side if you’re doing this since you’ll probably want to replace them with something more suited for your favored activity soon.
Click here to find the Top Women’s Ice Skates.
In fact, if you’ve never been on the ice before, try rentals a couple of times before you start spending money. Ice skating is a lot of fun, but it’s not always for everyone.
If you do decide to pick up a pair, look for the following qualities:
No matter what you’re planning on doing, you want a strong, fairly stiff boot that fits comfortably. Ideally, it will also prevent your ankle from buckling to protect you from injury during spins and jumps as well.
You might want to contact a local skate shop if your shoes can be heat molded. It’s not something you can just do in the oven at home; it requires precise temperature control at a lower level of heat than most residential ovens can work at.
If you do get them molded, though, expect the best fit of your life. Most figure skates are made to go through this process, and it makes a huge difference.
Make sure they come up past your ankle, and you’re on the right track.
If you’re planning on figure skating, you’ll need to find something with a toe pick to pull off the twirls and spins which the sport is famous for. The pick is used to assist in these by hooking the ice.
How aggressive of a toe pick you want to go with will be mainly determined by your skill level. Most beginners in the sport will be better off with a milder pick while those who are looking to get into some serious competition will soon find themselves favoring more aggressive ones.
If you’re just planning on dancing or freestyling, a pick isn’t quite as essential. Dancing skates have a shorter blade while freestyle skates will have a longer blade. The choice here is up to you.
If you’re ordering your skates online, it’s best to err on the side of caution. For most women, their skates will be about a half size smaller than what you wear in shoes.
If you want a more in-depth look at these kinds of ice skates, then take a look here, and you can get more of the nitty-gritty details.
Picking the Top Children’s Hockey Skates
If your kids are getting interested in hockey, then it might be time to get them their own pair of skates. Hopefully, you’re already familiar with the basics of the sports, since finding skates that are both suitable for the sport and good for a child can be quite hard.
Find the Top Quality Children’s Hockey Skates here.
Luckily, you’re reading this, so you know that you’re in good hands.
You’re going to want to make sure you get your child something in the middle of the road when it comes to stiffness. This will aid in initial balance, too stiff and they can be hard to maneuver in and too loose and ankles can get sprained when they lose balance to either side.
Don’t worry too much about whether they can be heat molded; it’s frequently not worth the extra cost if you’re going to have to buy another pair within a year or two.
Get them a little bit bigger than you’d normally want to put them in so they’ll have time to grow into them, but you’ll also need to make sure that they can be laced tightly enough their foot will stay put. An extra pair of socks is also a good idea here, at least until they get tighter in them.
There’s not a lot of variation in hockey blades, but you may want to go with a different type of blade if your child isn’t going to be playing in a league. Hockey blades tend to have a pronounced curve, and they take some getting used to.
If they are playing in a league, just get prepared for a few bumps and bruises, but most kids will pick up the sport quickly enough that it won’t be a problem for long.
If they’re not planning on starting right away, you might want to consider picking up a cheap set with longer, straighter blades then transitioning them after they’ve had some practice, the choice is ultimately up to you.
Your Child’s Position
Skates for goaltenders are different than those used by the rest of the team, so keep that in mind if your child is going to be playing as a goalie. In this case, you may have to search high and low to find a suitable pair; they’ll be lower and a quite a bit more armored than the normal skates you’ll encounter for the rest of the team.
If you’re planning on getting your child fitted for the season, then look here for some more details.
Picking the Top Inline Skates for Toddlers and Infants
Sometimes it’s best to get your children going on skating at a young age, and plenty of children younger than you’d think are eager and willing to hop in a pair of inline skates and get started on learning.
Click here to find the top inline skates for young kids and toddlers.
There are a few different factors to take into account if you’re picking up a pair of skates for young children, so let’s go over them, and you can decide which pair is the best for your budding rollerblader.
While you might think it’s best to think of your child’s safety when it comes time to pick out some skates, the truth is that the skates themselves aren’t going to be able to provide much protection.
Inline skates are stiff as a general rule, which will help to protect their ankles. Rear stops are also a good idea, but make sure to invest in quality pads and helmets for the young ones since a confident child on skates can seriously injure themselves in a hurry.
Kids grow up quick, which can make buying a pair of skates for them an affair that happens entirely too often. If you’re not made of money, you might want to consider sticking an extra pair of socks on their feet and purchasing a size up from where they started.
Once they grow into them a little bit more, you can go down to a single pair of socks and make them last quite a bit longer than they would otherwise.
If you’ve got a choice, get hard wheels for your toddler’s skates. They’ll stand up to more punishment and replacing wheels while your child is growing can be a losing game if you’re not on top of things, especially since the skates are probably going to be the limiting factor.
If you do use aftermarket wheels on their skates, try to avoid hockey or racing wheels, the bearings will be too much for most youngsters to handle.
For the most part, kids’ inline skates are quite cheap, so don’t be afraid to spend an extra ten or twenty dollars to make sure you get some that are high-quality.
If you’re looking to find the best skates for infants and toddlers, take a look here, and you’ll be able to find some of the best around.
Picking the Top Children’s Inline Skates
Let’s face it; kids love rollerblades, and it’s not a bad idea to get them some while they’re still young. There’s a huge market for children’s skates, and since some kids start getting quite advanced at a young age, you’re not going to be left wanting when it comes to choices.
Check out our top children’s inline skates here.
The usual qualities are what you should be looking for here; there’s not too much of a difference from buying skates for adults.
One mistake that a lot of parents make when they’re getting their child their first pair of inline skates is to go cheap. It’s tempting, and it can cost about half as much as picking up a pair of quality inline skates, but don’t do it if you can avoid it.
Cheap skates will often come with a lot of inferior parts, and it can ruin a kids’ present if they manage to tear them up before they even really get a feel for them. You’ll be stuck replacing parts at that point or just letting them fall into disuse.
You’d be surprised at the pricing, kid’s skates of the highest quality don’t run too high in pricing and a lot of times you end up paying more for the design than you do for the skates themselves.
Depending on the age of your child, you’ll want to allow for some room to go. Don’t allow too much room, however, as this can cause lateral movement which is dangerous for the kids’ ankles. They also might object to having to wear an extra pair of socks, especially in the summer since they’re not exactly toddlers anymore.
Instead, just buy them a half size larger than you’d normally get them in shoes and they’re sure to last for quite a while. Since they’re still going, you should plan on replacing them in a year or two.
There’s one more thing you’ll want to do: let your child pick out the design. Whether it’s their favorite character or just a bright color pattern they like, they’re going to be more likely to use them if they really like them.
While it’s best not to go too cheap, don’t get suckered into paying a super high premium for stylish skates, though. There is a definite line where you’re just paying for licensing rather than a superior skate.
See, it’s not that hard to figure out how to get the ideal pair of skates for your child, check here for more information and a selection of fantastic skates.
Picking the Top Adult Inline Skates
When it comes to picking out the right set of inline skates, the sheer amount of choices can be baffling if you’re not used to picking out what you need. There’s a lot of things to take into account, but the important stuff is easy enough to figure out.
Find the top adult inline skates here.
What You’re Doing
Exercise, roller hockey, and aggressive inline skating all require some different qualities. Figure out what you’re planning on doing before you make a purchase, and you’ll enjoy things a lot more.
While some skates are good for a variety of purposes, a specialized skate is almost always the right choice.
Hard wheels are the rule for outdoors. Most of us will be taking our skates over uneven surfaces like asphalt roads and concrete sidewalks, which means that soft wheels will get eaten up quickly. You’ll find that they work just fine if you choose to go to a rink, however.
Softer wheels are better for rinks, since they’ll grip and slide better on a prepared surface but they’ll get eaten quickly “in the wild.”
If you’re comfortable, then slightly bigger wheels may be in order for tighter cornering and maneuvering.
The fit is pretty much everything. You want to be able to wear them without pain or discomfort for extended periods, after all. For most people, a half size up will be fine, but others will want to match their shoe size. It can be hard to tell until you get them on.
Thankfully, most inline skates have a pretty good system of straps that can accommodate a wide range of widths of feet as well, but if you’re getting something specialized make sure to take a look at their size chart before you make an order.
The shoe is mainly what you’re buying a pair of inline skates for, and if you find a cheap pair that fits just right it may be cheaper to get the bearings and wheels you want and pair them off with the shoes. Most skaters will find their own preferences over time and keep customizing the same pair for years. Take the plunge and make a real investment and you’ll be well off.
If you’re still questioning just what you need, check here for a more in-depth guide and a selection of inline skates that has something for everyone.
Picking the Top Quad and Roller Derby Skates
Quad skates are sometimes seen as something of a retro throwback in today’s times, but they have their own uses. Most people aren’t aware of the fact that they can be more maneuverable than inline skates, or the fact that they’re actually harder to use for most people to balance on.
Find the Top Quad and Roller Derby Skates here.
They’re a lot of fun, though, no matter what you plan on doing with them. The most common use for them anymore is in roller derby, a rough contact sport which has made its mark in pop culture over the years.
Whatever your usage of them, if you’re looking to get a pair of quad skates then read on and we’ll go over exactly what you need to have the best experience possible.
While most people who take to the streets prefer inline skates, if you want to hit the streets with quad skates you’re going to have to get some tougher wheels. Rink wheels won’t hold up outdoors, and the large surface area of quad skate wheels means they’ll get chewed even faster than if you used rink wheels with inline skates.
If you’ll be indoors, then you’re likely in good hands with the wheels you purchase. From there it’ll be up to you to make sure you replace them before they’re completely worn.
First, you’ll need to pick between high and low tops. For the most part, low top quad skates are made for speed and agility, while high tops are made more for pure recreation.
Derby skates will generally have more padding than any other kind of quad skate.
The fit is one of the most important parts of your skates. Quad skates typically lace up like normal shoes, allowing you to get a tight but not-too-tight fit without having to put a whole lot of extra effort into things.
For once in the skating world, you should be good by just going with the same size as you’d normally wear in order to get a picture perfect fit.
Make sure you’ve got a solid pair of stops when you get your skates, especially if you’re planning on doing more than messing around in the ring. Even then, good stops can save you from a nasty fall.
A good stop will be grippy, which means it will also be a bit soft and wear down more quickly than a harder, but less effective grip.
Plates make up the underside of the boot of the quad skate, giving additional support over the wheels and their attaching points. For the most part, they should be fairly rigid, and skates designed for artistic skating and tricks will have a harder than normal plate due to the jumps involved in the sport.
The plated in a quad skate will almost always be a good fit for the sport they’re designed for, but it can be something of a concern with cheaper skates.
That should be enough to get you started, if you want to know more and see some great examples of quad skates, click here, and you’ll get the rest of the story.
Need Anything Else?
If you’re looking to buy a new pair of skates, there’s no need to play a guessing game. We’re here to make sure that you get the best pair of skates for what you’re planning on doing.
Figure out what you want, read the in-depth guides, and you’ll be able to make a purchase that will be providing you with fun for years to come. Just give it a shot, skating is some of the best fun to be had anywhere.