What’s the Difference Between Hockey and Figure Skates?

You’ve watched ice hockey players excelling at their sport and plenty of figure skaters also enjoying what they do. Do these two types of skaters use similar skates? Are they interchangeable? What are the differences between skates used for figure skating and skates used for hockey skating?

There are all common questions. Of course, these types of boots aren’t the same; but for the average person, spotting specific distinctions might be tough.

If you’re looking for more specific info on hockey skates click here, or for figure skates click here.

Let’s look at a few of them now.

Figure Skates vs. Hockey Skates:

Blade Differences:picture of a white skate with some toe picks on the front

The blade on a figure skate comes with toe picks, (a jagged design with teeth) in front, which help with spinning and jumping out on the ice. These blades are typically heavier and longer than the blade of a hockey skate. Figure skating blades are often mounted separately onto the boot, while you can find the hockey skating blades riveted into the base of the boot.

Figure skating blades don’t come in one single type and can vary a lot depending on their purpose. There are, for instance, tapered blades which are thinner at the back and thicker toward the front, and side-honed variations which are thinner in the middle and thicker at the edges. There are also parabolic blades with smaller middles and wider ends for extra stability.

Materials used for Each Type

Boots used for figure skating are most often crafted from leather and cost more than boots for hockey skating. You can find crafted hockey skating boots in plastic or synthetic leather materials, and also in nylon. Figure skating boots are often designed with the look and style in mind, while hockey boots might focus more on utility.

The Range of Mobility Offered

Hockey skates usually come with molded plastic on the shoe, which provides protection but restricts mobility in some ways compared with figure skates, which need to be more flexible. Figure skates are built to accommodate many types of motion and in some cases, dance moves. Crafted from synthetic materials, some figure skating boots have a lining added for extra strength and are lighter in weight than leather. These are easier to break in than leather boots, as well, which can take a while to get used to, just like leather shoes.

Ankle Supports diagram showing how ankle support is important

Many boots designed for figure skating have ankle hinges for lateral support and added flexibility. Figure skating boots usually have lower backs, allowing the skater for more freedom of movement, such as deep knee bends.

General Levels of Comfort

Boots for hockey skating typically offer a lot more comfort than figure skating or ice dancing boots.

As you can see, there are many differences between each boot type, and they also look quite distinct from each other. The blades of hockey skates are meant to facilitate quick stops and overall speed. Created for different reasons and ranges of mobility, so don’t expect both blades and boots to be very similar, apart from the fact that both are used to skate on ice.

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