Imagine you’re skating down the sideline in the final seconds of the game. An oncoming defender is approaching you from the center of the rink. He attempts to smash you into the wall, but you stop on a dime only to see him take himself out of the game. You continue racing down the sideline with the other defenders trailing you. Every time you push your hockey skates against the ice, the defenders fall further behind. They’re outside your vision now. You slot one home past the goalie and win the game. It’s a pretty sweet vision, right?

Now imagine you weren’t able to stop on a dime. The defender smashed you into the wall and broke your collarbone. Or less violently, just imagine you weren’t able to skate fast enough and the trailing defenders were able to catch up and steal the puck from between your legs. You lost the puck, and the game along with it. It’s a slightly less romantic vision.

Safe to say, the right ice hockey skates have the potential to fundamentally change your impact on the outcome of a game. If you don’t have the right equipment it’ll let you down and you’ll let your team down.

There is a lot to consider when purchasing hockey skates. Before you read any further, if a skate does not fit properly it is not the right skate. No amount of technology will make up for a poor-fitting skate. It is a difficult process and we want to make it easier for you. That’s why the team at Honest Hockey has not only put together the internet’s ultimate review list of hockey skates, but wants to walk you through how to choose your size and fitting. First, let’s look at the construction of a hockey skate.

Already know the basics and just want to see the 10 best hockey skates currently on the market? Click here to jump to the list.

The Construction of Hockey Skates
Diagram of hockey skates: boot, holder, and runner

Hockey skates are made up of 3 different parts. You have the boot, the runner, and the holder. As you can see on the right side, the boot is the part you put your foot in. The holder is what connects your runner to the boot, and then the runner is the steel blade on the bottom!

Let’s dive a little bit more into each part and how they differ from skate to skate.

Holders and Runners

For most hockey skates you’d be looking to buy, you’d want the holder and the runner to be two separate parts. For lower end skates, they come as one part. This would be for skates that cost below $80.

The reason you want them to be two separate parts and why higher end skates have it this way, is so that you can replace the blade without replacing the whole skate. As you use your skates more, you’ll eventually need them sharpened. After sharpening them a bunch of times, your blade will become smaller and will need to be replaced.

If you’re buying blades for less than $80, then it’s probably better to just get new hockey skates, especially if you’ve had them for a year or so. However, if you’re looking for more elite skates in the $150 to $900 range, you’d much rather just replace your blades then the entire skate.

It’s pretty easy to replace your runners. Brands like Easton, CCM, and Reebok have visible screws, while Bauer and others have the screws below the heel beneath the sole.

Most players are ok replacing their blades every year or so. Professionals replace their blades every few weeks, but they are having them sharpened before every game and are skating possibly twice everyday. For most of us, we don’t wear down our blades that fast.

Hockey Skate Boots

Boots are one of the pieces of equipment that brands are constantly working to update. They’re always looking to see if they can make the boots lighter and more responsive to your movements without losing the support that a good boot requires.

However, skates do not change drastically one year to the next. Very often manufacturers will market a nearly identical boot on the next iteration of a skate. Take, for example, the Bauer MX3 and 1S Supreme skates. While the tendon guard was changed to improve flexibility on the 1S, the boot construction remained largely the same. In this case if you can find the previous version (MX3) you would be paying a fraction of the price for almost the same skate. It is important to note the fit may change between skate generations, but with companies adopting the three fit model (Bauer and CCM specifically) it is unlikely the shape will change dramatically.

Some of the materials companies are using to pull of these new and improved boots are carbon composite, texalium glass, anti-microbial hydrophobic lining, and thermo-formable foam. While that last sentence may make you feel like you need an engineering degree to pick out a pair of skates, don’t worry! What we really need to take into account is the overall weight, comfort, protection, and durability.

We take all of this into account and break it down simply into the list below to make your buying decision as easy as possible.

While we broke down a skate above, we need to continue the breakdown and look specifically at what makes up a boot. (Remember, if you just want to see the list, you can jump to that here.)

Here is what makes up a hockey skate:

1. Liner – This is the material inside of your boot. It is the padding and also is responsible for providing a comfortable fit.

2. Ankle Padding – Above the liner in the boot. It’s made of foam and offers comfort and support for your ankles

3. Heel Support – Cup around your heel, protecting and securing your foot while in the boot

4. Footbed – Padding on the inside of your boot on the bottom part

5. Quarter Package – Boot shell. It holds all the padding and support inside of it. It needs to be flexible and offer support at the same time.

6. Tongue – Covers the top of your boot, and is like a tongue you would have in your regular shoes

7. Outsole – Hard underside of your skate boot. This is where the holder is attached

How to Size Your Skates

There are a lot of things to consider when sizing your skates. We get into them more below, so if you don’t know what size of skate you should be getting or what brand, you’ll have a really good idea of it below.

Identifying Your Foot Type

The first step is to identify what type of foot you have. Are they long and narrow? Short and wide? Really hairy? Ok… that last one doesn’t matter as much. But you get the idea. Let’s take a quick look at how skates are labeled for sizing.

  • C / N = Narrow Fit
  • D/ R = Regular Fit
  • E / W = Wide Fit
  • EE = Extra Wide Fit

The good thing about trying to figure out your foot type is that you can basically use what you know about how your tennis shoes fit you and apply that to your skates. If you fit well into normal tennis shoes, or especially Nikes, then you should fit well into regular sized skates (D/R).

If regular sized tennis shoes hurt your feet, or you tend to prefer how Adidas fits over Nike, you’ll probably want a slightly wider fit (E/W).

When analyzing your feet, you’ll want to measure:

  • Width of the front quarter of your feet (Where they’d be in a toe box)
  • Thickness / depth of your feet
  • Width of your ankles / heels

Below, we have a chart of the most popular brands and how they typically fit. Our chart takes into account the below factors we are about to walk through, so we’ll go over it after you’ve gotten to check those out.

Since we are focusing on senior ice skates, you’ll most likely have a shoe size of above 7 in mens. Most hockey skates are sized 1.5 sizes smaller than typical tennis shoes. So if your size 10 tennis shoes fit you well, you’ll be most comfortable in a size 8.5 senior skates.

If you are shopping for someone whose feet are still growing, I’d recommend only going 1 size down so the skates last a little longer.

Here’s a quick breakdown of shoe size to what your should be looking for in skates:

  • Senior Skates = Men’s Shoe size of 7 and above
  • Junior Skates = Boy’s Shoe size of 2 to 6.5
  • Youth = Smaller than Boy’s 1.5

Below we have a few tests you can use to determine of your skate is the right fit for you.

Deciding Your Level of Play

First, you’ll want to decide your level of play. Are you competing competitively or playing in rec league where you mostly just play once a week? Maybe you are looking for skates for general skating and every once and a while playing some pickup.

If you are reading this far into how to select the right hockey skates, I would most likely assume your are looking for skates to use on a regular basis. If this is true, you’ll want to avoid lower end skates.

Let’s breakdown the typical pricing for skates so you can get an idea of what kind of quality and value you get for what pricing.

1. Low End Skates – These skates are below $150 and are made for casual use. If you plan on playing hockey regularly (about once a week), then I would recommend avoiding skates in this range unless there is a sale or you are buying used.

2. Intermediate Priced Skates – Between $250 and $400. You’ll find skates in this range on the list (with higher end ones too). If you are playing recreationally, once a week or so, these will be the skates you want. You can always go for higher priced skates if you want since they will be higher quality, but these skates should be fine for most players. These are the skates I recommend for children since they can grow out of skates so quickly.

3. Top of the Line Skates – Between $400 and $900. These skates are for competitive players. If you’re practicing most days and training for the next level, then you may want to look in this range for skates. Here are some of the reasons why higher end skates are so much more expensive

  • They are made of lighter weight material. This is to maximize your speed on the ice
  • Higher durability. If you’re spending above $400 on a skate, it is going to last you longer than the average priced ones
  • Thermo-formable foam padding. This type of padding allows skates to be “baked” so they can fit your foot better, offering better support
  • Better support for your ankles, and increased stiffness while still allowing flexibility
  • Better padding and protection

As you can tell, higher priced skates cost more because they are the ones made with the best material and more work is put into each boot.

If you are a new player looking for skates and plan on playing regularly, the $150 to $300 pricing should be where you look. You can get some great skates in there, and then always move up if you end up playing more competitive hockey.

What Kind of Player are You?

This is something most sports don’t have to deal with. In basketball, you can buy whatever shoes you want without worrying about your position. Similarly, in soccer.

However, in hockey, this is something we need to consider.

The question you need to ask yourself, is “Am I a more aggressive or reserved player?”

This isn’t a judgment on you as a player, but more about how you go about your game. Here are some ideas to help you understand what kind of player you are:

Aggressive

  • Always chasing the puck
  • Proactive, constantly moving
  • Play more center or winger
  • In an aggressive / athletic stance more often than not

Reserved

  • Spend more time watching the play develop
  • Hang back from attacks (playing move defensive)
  • Not always in an athletic stance

Once you’ve decided which type of player fits you best, you are ready to choose which type of skate is best for you!

Let’s use this table to help you decide.

Brand / ModelPlayer TypeInstepHeelMid-FootToe Box
Easton StealthAggressiveSlightly ShallowRegularSlightly NarrowSlightly Narrow
Easton MakoAggressiveRegularSlightly NarrowSlightly NarrowRegular
CMM TacksTraditionalRegularSnugSnugSlightly Narrow
CCM RBZTraditionalDeepWideWideWide
RibCorTraditionalRegularSlightly NarrowRegularRegular
ReebokTraditionalSlightly DeepRegularReuglarSlightly Wide
Bauer NexusTraditionalDeepRegularVery WideVery Wide
Bauer SupremeTraditonalRegularSnugSnugSlightly Wide
Bauer VaporAggressiveSlightly NarrowRegularRegularRegular

Tests to Check the Fit of Your Skate

OK, so you’ve decided what type of skate you should be looking for. Great! First, let’s look at how to test the fit of your skate!

Thanks to Ice Warehouse for making a good video.

We have a few tests that we like to recommend when testing out the fit of your skate.

The Squeeze Test

The squeeze test is unnecessary if you are buying off of the list we’ve put together below since we know these skates are the right stiffness. But if you are curious as to how stiff good skates should be, this test is a good one to do.

To do the squeeze test, hold the skate by the back / heel of the boot with the toe facing away from you. Squeeze the skates like you are trying to touch the insides of the boot together. If the skates fold all the way in easily, they won’t offer you enough support while playing hockey.

You want your skates to be hard to push together so they can protect you while you doing tight turns, stopping on a dime, and doing crossovers.

The Pencil Test

To do the pencil test, put on your skates, but don’t tie them up. Pull the tongue forward and put a pencil between your foot and where the tongue is pulled out at, about 3 eyelets down from the top.

If the pencil touches your foot but is not touching both the eyelets on the right and left side of the tongue, then the boot is too shallow. You want the pencil to lie flat without moving around.

The Finger Test

This time, you’ll want to lace your skates fully up like you’re about to go play. Then get into an athletic stance like you’re playing. Reach to your heel and see how much of a gap there is between the back of your ankle / heel and the boot. If you can slide more than one finger all the way down there, then the skates are too loose.

For children who are growing quickly, a 1 figure gap is fine. If your feet aren’t growing, go for a tighter fit.

The Toe Brush Test

This time, with your skates still fully laced, stand straight up. Your toes should be just barely touching the front of your skates. Then when you get into an athletic stance, your heel should be firmly against the back of the skate and your toes shouldn’t be touching the front anymore.

How to Break in Your Skates

When you get a new pair of skates, you’ll want to break them in before you get into a game. It’s common for new skates to hurt the first couple times you skate on them. If they hurt after you’ve skated on them five times, then you probably have a poor fit.

One of the best ways to break your hockey skates in is to “bake” them. We mentioned that above with the higher end hockey skates, how they have boots that if you heat them up, they can be molded to fit your unique feet. Here’s a good video by Ice Warehouse on how to bake your skates at home:

Thanks to Ice Warehouse for making a good video.

So now that you know a ton about hockey skates and which ones are best for you, let’s finally dive into the list of the top 10 ones we recommend you choose from! Here are the best hockey skates to buy in 2017.

1. Bauer Supreme S180 – $500.00

See The Product on Amazon
  • Fit Profile: Anatomical fit – natural, close fit around entire foot
  • Heat Moldable: Yes
  • Quarter Package:  3-D lasted Curv composite
  • Heel Support: Anatomically designed heel counter
  • Ankle Padding: Lightweight memory foam ankle pads
  • Tendon Guard: C-Flex technology with custom stiffness inserts
  • Lining Material: HydraMax mesh liner
  • Tongue: Form Fit 48/30 oz 3-piece felt with high-density metatarsal guard
  • Footbed: Form Fit+ with stabilizer grip and moisture management
  • Outsole: Pro TPU with sublimated graphic
  • Blade Holder: TUUK Lightspeed Edge
  • Runner: TUUK LS2 stainless steel
  • Weight (gm): 780
  • Weight (oz): 27.51

Overall Value

The Supreme S180 combines the best overall value of price and performance. This skate uses Bauer’s 3D Curv Composite quarter package, providing one of the stiffest boots at this price point. Aside from some of the materials used to make the 1S lighter, this is virtually a top tier skate at a fraction of the cost. This skate is designed to perform at a competitive level and will offer enough protection for most.

 

2. CCM Super Tacks Ice Hockey Skates Senior

See The Product on Amazon

Manufacturer Specs, details, and features:

  • Mono Frame 360 Technology
  • Direct-force propulsion system
  • T-Form core, fully moldable
  • TotalDri Liner
See The Reviews on Amazon

Pros:

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Moisture-wicking properties
  • Reduced overall weight
  • Very durable materials

Potential Flaws:

  • One of the most expensive senior hockey skates, but also very valuable for the cash

Overall Value:

Basically, CCM’s Super Tacks senior hockey skates cost quite a lot, but it’s safe to say that their price is fair. Namely, these hockey skates come supplied with the latest top-shelf features, as the manufacturing process included state-of-the art and the latest up-to-date technologies.

One of the most notable features is the anatomical heel lock which replaced the usual outsole. This feature improves the overall comfort, but it also makes these skates easier to wear. Furthermore, CCM’s Super Tacks senior hockey skates boast a superior level of durability. All in all, these skates hold a massive value for the cash.

3. Bauer Vapor 1 X Skate Mens

See The Product on Amazon

Manufacturer Specs, details, and features:

  • Synthetic materials
  • Suede sole
  • Light-Speed™ TU’K Edge blade
See The Reviews on Amazon

Pros:

  • A beautiful outward appearance
  • Outstanding performance
  • High durability
  • Premium-quality materials

Potential Flaws:

  • Price/Value ratio isn’t as high as CCM Tacks hockey skates, but it’s still great

Overall Value:

Now, this model is something different entirely. Bauer’s Vapor 1 X Skates are one of those high-end hockey skates that only a handful of people can afford, but those few are lucky. Namely, these are the absolute, most perfect hockey skates, mainly due to the fact that they excel in virtually all fields of performance.

As we’ve already mentioned, they cost quite a lot, but they offer superior comfort, incomparable performance, outstanding durability, and a set of top-shelf features. What’s more to like? These hockey skates are the fresh thing on the market, so you might want to hurry up, as the stocks are depleting rapidly.

4. CCM RibCor 50K Ice Hockey Skates Senior

See The Product on Amazon

Manufacturer Specs, details, and features:

  • Advanced PUMP technology
  • RIBCOR quarter package
  • Heat-Moldable Core
  • Dual-zone liner
  • Composite midsole
  • Carbone composite outsole
  • Griptonite footbed
See The Reviews on Amazon

Pros:

  • Awesome features
  • Medium price, but great value
  • Superb performance for the cash

Potential Flaws:

  • No major flaws

Overall Value:

First of all, CCM’s RibCor 50K ice skates are some of the most affordable high-end skates on the market. They hold a massive value due to their superb performance and great features. Furthermore, they boast a high level of durability.

Now, the best thing about these senior hockey skates is that they have no drawbacks whatsoever. They’re evenly balanced, they don’t cost too much, and they boast a high overall value.

5. Easton Mako II Senior Ice Hockey Skates

Manufacturer Specs, details, and features:

  • Anatomical fit
  • Extendon™ Tendon guard
  • Woven Hydrophobic Microfiber Lining
  • Reinforced Carbon Heel Counter support
  • Polyurethane quarter package

Pros:

  • Great customization capabilities
  • Exceptional features
  • Very comfortable to wear

Potential Flaws:

  • Low availability

Overall Value:

Easton Mark II Senior ice hockey skates are the most customizable hockey skates on the market. These skates come supplied with the anatomical fit profile, they’re fully heat moldable, and they come supplied with a set of exceptional features.

These features include the Anatomical Thermoformable foam ankle padding, Extendon™ tendon guard, and hydrophobic microfiber lining material.

They don’t cost too much, they’re exceptionally comfortable, but, there’s a drawback. Since these skates are in clearance for some stores, their availability is somewhat reduced. Anyhow, they boast a high value for the cash.

 

 

6. Bauer Vapor X800 Ice Hockey Skates Senior

See The Product on Amazon

Manufacturer Specs, details, and features:

  • Light Speed TU’K blade holder
  • LS 2 blade
  • Vapor Standard Quarter Package and Lining
See The Reviews on Amazon

Pros:

  • High overall value
  • Well-rounded performance
  • Great price to value ratio

Potential Flaws:

  • No major flaws

Overall Value:

Now, if you like Bauer, you’ve already heard about their Vapor series. Namely, this is the cornerstone of their craftsmanship, as the models from this series offer the absolute hockey experience. Comfortable skates, superior features, and well-balanced performance are just some of the advantages these skates offer.

Furthermore, they’re not extremely expensive, even though they can’t be considered as cheap either. All in all, Bauer’s Vapor X800 ice hockey skates hold quite a value for the cash.

 

7. Bauer Nexus N9000 Ice Skates Senior

Manufacturer Specs, details, and features:

  • LS 3 high-performance blade
  • Light-speed TU’K blade holder
  • Moisture-wicking outsole

Pros:

  • Provide additional comfort when compared to Nexus N8000
  • Great overall performance
  • A beautiful outward appearance

Potential Flaws:

  • An improvement over the older designs. Nothing too major or substantial

Overall Value:

Simply put, Bauer’s Nexus N9000 are an improvement of the N8000. Even though this is one of their latest models, the change is not too big. All of the usual features are outfitted to N9000, apart from the LS 3 blade (replaced the NS 2). In summary, these senior hockey skates are great for the cash.

Link to buy:

https://www.amazon.com/Bauer-Nexus-N9000-Skates-SENIOR/dp/B01FRBTJQ2

8. Bauer Vapor X500 Senior Ice Hockey Skates

Manufacturer Specs, details, and features:

  • Quarter Package Tech
  • Nylon with Thermoformed X-Rib pattern
  • Hydrophobic microfiber heel support
  • Anatomical heel
  • Anaform ankle pads

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Excels in various fields of performance
  • Anatomical fit reduces health hazards

Potential Flaws:

  • Quite heavy

Overall Value:

Here we have another pair of Bauer’s senior hockey skates – the Vapor X500. Namely, these skates come supplied with anatomical heel, various ankle and heel supports, premium-quality construction materials, and the famous TU’UK stainless steel blade. What’s more, the metatarsal padding allows for greater mobility during plays. The only drawback, however, is that these senior hockey skates are quite heavy.

Link to buy:

https://www.amazon.com/Bauer-Vapor-Senior-Hockey-Skates/dp/B00UIKM36Q/

9. CCM Jetspeed FT1 Ice Hockey Skates Senior

See The Product on Amazon

Manufacturer Specs, details, and features:

  • Rocketframe Quarter package
  • One-piece boot frame
  • Durazone abrasion protection
  • Moisture-wicking materials
See The Reviews on Amazon

Pros:

  • Keeps moisture away from your feet, negating the smell and health hazards of sweat
  • Superior comfort due to high-quality features
  • Enhanced mobility
  • 90-day Satisfaction Guarantee

Potential Flaws:

  • These hockey skates belong to the “expensive” price point category

Overall Value:

Plainly speaking, CCM’s JetSpeed FT1 Ice hockey skates are absolutely ideal for senior players who can afford them. Now, these skates belong to the “expensive” price point category which makes them quite expensive, but don’t be dissuaded by that alone. Jetspeed FT1 hockey skates come supplied with a set of marvelous features that allow for greater mobility and comfort. We can safely say that they hold a high value for the cash, even though they’re not exactly cheap.

10. CCM JetSpeed 290 Ice Hockey Skates Senior

See The Product on Amazon

Manufacturer Specs, details, and features:

  • Action Form Composite Chrome Quarter Package
  • Reinforced Outer core, thermo-formable
  • Pro-reinforced SpeedCore
  • Ro Moose Suede liner
  • Felt tongue
  • Superskin Composite outsole
See The Reviews on Amazon

Pros:

  • Great impact protection
  • Superb value for the cash
  • High value for the cash

Potential Flaws:

  • No major flaws

Overall Value:

The last model in our review is CCM’s JetSpeed 290 senior ice hockey skates. Simply put, they offer majestic impact protection, they’re very affordable, and they come supplied with a set of outstanding features. Their performance is off-the charts, as they’re well-balanced, durable, and versatile. It’s easy to deduce that JetSpeed 290 senior hockey skates hold a massive value for the cash.

 

Conclusion:

Thanks for making it all the way through our list! We hope you found some skates that are a good fit for you both performance and price-wise. Feel free to leave your comments or questions below. We value your input here at Honest Hockey and we strive to read and respond to all of your comments.

If you are looking for our list of the best youth hockey skates, you can see those here.