Hockey Skates vs. Figure Skates: All You Have To Know

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Hockey Skates vs. Figure Skates


Want to know why people always fight about who is king between hockey skates and figure skates? Well, you are not alone, as this is a concern many people share. But first, it will be fair to mention that skating provides you with that redefined ice hockey experience. Perhaps, that is why you are likely to abandon field hockey. However, the catch is the skates you choose.

From the difference in provided balance to varying toe picks, you can barely overlook the distinction between hockey skates and figure skates. Since there is scarcely a one-dimensional answer regarding which is better, it will be best to compare. Here are a few invaluable insights into what to expect in the long run.

Hockey Skates vs. Figure Skates

Typically, people will consider each option based on how beneficial it will be for them. Whether you focus on the material or the weight, you will always not significant differences. Here are the pros and cons that each of these options brings to the table.

Hockey Skates

You can hardly overstate the urgency of using hockey skates when playing ringette or ice hockey. These boots are a product of synthetic leather, plastic, thermoformed composite material, or ballistic nylon. However, molded plastic is not ideal for competitive games, as it could limit mobility.

Pros of hockey skates

• Unrivaled Acceleration

Hockey skates come with a design that allows them to turn and stop seamlessly. This way, there will hardly be a reason to worry about the acceleration you enjoy.

• Ideal for all groups

Whether you are a beginner or a master of the game, you will readily fall in love with these hockey skates. Thanks to their impressive toe pick, any person, including beginners, will comfortably use them.

• Weight and weight distribution

There is no denying that hockey skates tend to be relatively light. As if that is not enough, the weight distribution is all you could ever envision. With this, there are limited chances for you to get fatigued within a short time.

Cons of hockey skates

• Loss of parts

These skates come with relatively lightweight stabilizers, and coming off is much more than effortless. Nothing could hinder your performance more than these stabilizers getting off at unexpected times.

Figure Skates

Figure skates are ice skate boots designed for figure skating, and it consists of a blade attached to its sole with screws. They could come in two variations, recreational and professional boots. While at it, they feature various types of edges, and the choice depends on your preferences.

Pros of Figure Skates

• Longer blades

It is no secret that these boots feature relatively long blades. Nothing could come in handier in assuring you perfect lines and curving graceful arcs.

• Impressive toe pick

The toe pick in these skates will readily get you smitten. With these boots, it will be much easier for you to enjoy incredible pivots and even execute unparalleled jumps.

• Enough support

There is no denying that figure skates are made from some of the best materials around. Usually, the use of leather implies that there will be enough support for your ankle, assuring you of better jumps and even meeting skating demands.

Cons of Figure Skates

• Injuries

While long blades play a vital role in improving your performance, they could readily expose you to various injuries. For that reason, ensure that you are relatively careful with how you handle them.

History of Hockey and Figure Skates

i. Hockey Skates

Did you know that the history of hockey skates dates back to 3000 BCE? A long time ago, indeed. Notably, these skates were designed to help the earliest people maneuver and travel relatively long distances when hunting. This way, they would barely expend too much energy during the process. That means its invention was a means of survival.

The first hockey skates came with a large bone from cattle or deer, which they would attach at the bottom of their feet. These bones featured holes on either side, allowing threaded strips of animal hide to go through them.

Over the years, improved ice skating technology came in to improve on the initial product. It was not until 200CE that experts started attaching copper at the bottom of leather shoes. This move aimed at checking the level of friction. Later in the 1800s, more focus on the sturdy double-edge blades sufficed. During this time, these blades were attached directly to the skater’s shoes.

Hockey-specific blades emerged in 1914, featuring simple, one-piece steel, closed toe-blades. That means the shoes were much lighter, and they could readily improve performance. From there, we now have the current hockey skates.

ii. Figure Skates

Figure skates boast of a rich history, which dates back to the 19th century. During this time, there was a need to make new ice skates, thanks to the desire for more control and enhanced gliding safety. These boots aimed at tracing out specific figures on the ice, especially during competitions. One such figure would be the 8 circles.

Over the years, figure skates have evolved into boots that highlight significant levels of precision. In this light, you can hardly overlook their popularity in competitive games. Their blades assure you of distinct toe picks, making sure that you effortlessly reach different heights whenever necessary. They have grown from thin and supple boots to rigid options that enhance support.

Proper sizing of hockey skates vs. figure skates

The role of proper sizing of hockey and figure skates in improving performance is almost impossible to overstate. The sizes will often differ from one to another, depending on the person, comfort, and the objectives you wish to realize.

In most cases, your hockey skates and figure need to be between 1 and 1.5 inches shorter than your street shoes. That means your toes should never reach the toe cap. The boots need to feel relatively snug whenever you lace them up, and the foot is resting on the footbed.

On the other hand, the width of your shoes should be equal to those of your street shoes. Remember, you will find these boots in the choices of both wide and narrow. However, you do not have to worry about which size will fit you, as various pro-shops come with scanners that readily determine which one is best for you.

For instance, if your shoe size is 7.5 in the US, the best skate size would be 6.5, and so on. If you are considering junior skate sizing, a boy with shoe size 2.0 will need a skate size of 1.0, and so on.

There is always one catch when deciding which skate suits you—stiffness. Usually, you will need much softer options if you are a beginner. It will allow you to enjoy enhanced comfort when moving around. They will also require much lesser support than what professional options need.

Blades and Specialties

Various blades and specialties go into determining a suitable choice for you. Usually, stainless steel is a standard blade on these skates. Thanks to their unmatched performance and relatively checked friction. This is an option you will hardly want to overlook.

The blade profile will also differ from one brand to another. This profile highlights the blade’s curvature, which is how much length will contact the ice. The most common blade profiles are 13, 10, 12, and 9 ft.

You will also note significant differences in holders, which hold the steel runner. Usually, you will have to choose between exchangeable and non-exchangeable holders, each providing specific services. Non-exchangeable holders often come in handy for growing children and beginners, as the steel will outlast them.

Usually, the skate pitch or pivot point of the blades will also matter a lot. This pivot point determines the direction of your balance when standing on the skates. The best option will always be blades with a neutral pitch.

The Construction of Hockey Skates

You can hardly overlook the significance of the construction of your skates in your eventual performance. Understanding the difference between the structure of hockey and figure skates will come in handy in deciding between the two.

Hockey skates come with a structure that allows you to move the right foot over the left and vice versa. Its blade is about 0.15 cm wide, reinforced with hollow tubing. While at it, this boot is relatively short, as it measures around 4 or 5 inches. The extra leather at the toe comes in handy in reinforcing the grip on your leg. With this, you will be confident of protection against other blades.

Hockey skates are relatively lightweight, as they feature composite material. Usually, you will choose from texalium glass, thermo-formable foam, and carbon composite. The most recent innovations assure you of plastic molded boots that have plastic stanchions and tubing.

These materials are robust enough to give you the protection you deserve. They come with a heavily padded and removable liner for more comfort if that is not enough.

On the other hand, figure skates might be relatively different from hockey skates. Typically, they come with a leather construction that is slim-fitting. This leather is thick, and it goes up to the ankle, providing you with more support. However, you could also consider figure skates made from synthetic materials too.

Different Skates for Different Skaters

There is no denying that hockey skates and figure skates aim at different audiences. In a broader sense, it is because they provide distinct levels of comfort, which affects performance. These two options offer characteristic mobility ranges too.

Hockey skates come with a relatively short and light blade, making it easier for you to enjoy better performance and speed. Making quick stops will also be relatively effortless for you in the long run.

In contrast, figure skates feature a relatively better toe pick, making it possible for you to spin and jump without any hassle.

Take the time to understand what you need from the boot. This way, making logical decisions will be relatively easy in the long run.

Which Skates Should I purchase

Various aspects go into the selection of ice skates. While it could be a challenging prospect, you will benefit from knowing what to consider and what would fit your situation. Usually, the choice depends on whether you are a beginner or a professional in the game.

If you are looking for enhanced comfort, the best choice will be hockey skates. Thanks to the removable liner padding, you will be sure of enough support when moving around. These boots will come in handy in making it easier for you to make quick stops or even enjoy better speeds.

On the other hand, you could consider figure skates if you are looking for better toe picks. This option makes it much easier for any skater to jump and spin without too much effort. The grip they provide to the ankle remains unparalleled, giving you the comfort you need.

Take time to evaluate which option suits your situation, and settle on it.

Which skates are more comfortable to learn on?

The fight is always between hockey and figure skates. In most cases, you will have to compare what each option brings to the table.

For instance, hockey skates help in maneuvering ice comfortably, as they have short-curved blades. They also provide you with enhanced cushioning and come with no clumsy toe pick. However, this option is designed for speed, meaning it could be a challenge for some beginners.

On the other hand, figure skates will provide you with longer blades for more balance and stability. You will also fall in love with how their toe picks enhance jumping and spinning. As if that is not enough, their leather straps play a central role in boosting support around your ankle. However, these long blades could make it hard for beginners to turn.

If you feel you can handle speed and turning is critical for you as a beginner, hockey skates will be the right choice. However, if you have no problem with turning, figure skates will come in handier.

The Dangers of Skates

It is no secret that skates could expose you to various challenges and dangers, whether you are a beginner or a master in the game. Understanding the array of injuries you could get can help in cushioning you against them. Here are a few insights into this.

Common injuries caused by skates

As mentioned, skates will often result in different injuries. Some of the injuries you could get, especially if you are not careful, will include the following.

• Lacerations

This injury will be almost inescapable if you get involved in contact sports. Ideally, this injury involves the tearing of your soft body tissues. Thanks to the sharp edges on the blades, you could readily get cuts on your ankle when you get in contact with them.

• Fractures and sprains

There is no denying that ice skating could readily expose your ankle to sprains, fractures, and even breaks. Remember, players will often exert considerable weight on their ankles. These fractures and sprains often emerge when the skates are stiff. That is because stiffness limits mobility and even comfort, compromising the health of your muscles.

• Sprained wrists and shoulders

These injuries will often arise whenever you fall incorrectly. The fact that you will fall on the wrong side, and suddenly so, means that dislocation will be inevitable. Further, body checking, too, could also contribute to these injuries in the long run.

How to avoid these common injuries

Some injuries could be inescapable, but understanding how to avoid them will come in handy for you. Thankfully, various tips would suffice in this pursuit. Here are things to consider if you are to prevent injuries.

• Avoid using toe picks for stopping

There is no denying that many people rely on toe picks to stop, which is a wrong move. Usually, using toe picks to stop will result in falling. That means you are more likely to end up with sprained wrists and even shoulders.

• Lace up!

Take the time to tie your laces correctly and tightly. In most cases, these laces will play a significant role in providing you with the stability you desire. Ensure that the laces are so tight that two fingers do not pass through them.

• How about some warmup?

Did you know that warming up before ice skating will help in keeping your muscles active? Warming up will help in cushioning you against fractures and even sprains.

• Fall on your butt

There are times that falling will always happen, regardless of what you do. It will be best for you to train yourself on avoiding the worst effects in such instances. Usually, falling on your butt will hardly expose you to too many injuries. It will also be much easier to avoid lacerations.

Hockey Skates vs. Figure Skates: FAQs

Q: Should I buy hockey skates or figure skates?

There is hardly a one-dimensional answer to this. That is because the choice will often depend on your objectives and the level of comfort you need. For instance, hockey skates provide you with more convenience and speed. In contrast, figure skates allow you to jump and spin effortlessly. As such, you will have to decide between comfort and spinning. However, generally, hockey skates could be better for beginners.

Q: At what age should a child start figure skate?

Experts suggest that once a child starts walking, they can comfortably balance themselves on skates. As long as they understand what they need to do, there will be no reason to worry. However, the right age for them to start would be from three years onwards. Three-year-olds have an attention span of about 20 to 30 minutes, which is enough to start training them. Once they attain the age of 5 or 6, they will readily handle different complex figure skating movements.

Q: Will figure skates give me enough ankle support?

Yes. You can hardly overlook the enhanced support that figure skates provide to your ankle. Remember, these boots are made from leather, and they come with enhanced padding. The leather on these boots makes them lightweight, allowing you to lace them up comfortably. The only catch would be to choose boots that fit you perfectly. You will also have to confirm your boots’ quality, as it will dictate the ankle support you enjoy in the long run.

Q: Is it hard to switch from hockey skates to figure skates?

It is hard to give a straightforward answer to this, as people have different experiences. However, most people report that transitioning from figure skates to hockey skates will at first be relatively challenging. With time, however, they end up easing into these new boots. Thanks to the difference in speeds and the presence of toe picks, people will need a little time to adjust. It should not be too hard for them.

Q: Are hockey or figure skates better for learning?

The best choice for learning would be figure skates. From enhanced balance and stability to unrivaled ankle support, this is a choice you cannot overlook. These boots will ensure that you enjoy better jumps and spins, and maneuvering on ice will not be a big issue. However, they come with reasonably long blades, making turning a little difficult for some people.

Q: Should my child start with figure skates or hockey skates?

Each of these options comes with its merits and demerits. However, a child needs an option that provides more convenience and ease. Figure skates will be the best option for them. It allows them to enjoy better balance, stability, and mobility. Thanks to the toe pick here, figure skates will provide more support to the child at all times. Besides, transitioning from hockey to figure skates could be more complicated than the other way round. If you were to start with hockey skates, things would be more challenging.

Q: Should I sharpen the blades on my figure or hockey skates?

The question should be how often, as sharpening blades on skates is not debatable. In most cases, it would be best for you to consider sharpening these boots after six to eight weeks. However, if you use them more frequently, you could make the period much shorter. Most experts will suggest that you pay attention to any dull area on your blades. This way, you will be confident of staying with them for a relatively long period. Drag your fingernail along the blades, as this will tell you when sharpening is necessary.

Q: How often should my child skate?

Various programs come in handy for children who love skating. That means the frequency for this game will vary from one program to another. The goal is to ensure that you introduce the child to the program slowly. This way, they will ease into a higher frequency and even fall in love with skating. Most people suggest that you start by at least half an hour a week. Slowly, you will be free to increase the duration once your child falls in love with skating. All in all, ensure that you choose a program that will comfortably meet your child’s needs. It is through this that you will be confident of getting the most out of them.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, hockey and figure skates make a very critical part of ice skaters. Choosing between the two will depend on whether you are a learner or a master. All in all, figure skates will be much more reliable for children and beginners. On the other hand, you can consider hockey skates for better turning and maneuverability. Fortunately, the insights provided above are all that you need today!

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