Finding the best ice skates for hockey is important to every player. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro or a beginner skater – the right hockey skate can make a world of difference every time you step on the ice.
Whether you’re looking for the right skate to take your game to the next level, or you need a pair for pick-up games on weekends, our guide will give you an overview of the top 10 best ice skates for hockey available today.
BEST HOCKEY SKATES FOR 2018
The best ice skates for hockey will vary for each player, depending on factors such as skill level, playing style, how long you’ve skated, how often you skate and of course how much you want to spend. Skates have different features, and you may find a skate lower on our list suits your skillset better than our top pick, and that’s ok. The skate that works best for you is one that provides the comfort and performance tailored to your game. We based our top 10 list by evaluating things like comfort, fit, style and price point.
Bauer has been crafting some of the best ice skates out there since 1927. They routinely make “best of” rankings, including multiple mentions on Best Hockey Skates 2014 lists. Their line of Vapor skates, sticks and protective hockey gear is popular among professionals and amateurs alike.
The Bauer Vapor 1X is one of Bauer’s premier ice skates. These incredibly lightweight skates feel like they’re an extension of your foot. The Vapor 1X has a tapered fit and thermoformable inserts that combine to give ample ankle support to align the boot with a skater’s natural ankle position. This allows for greater control when pushing off or changing directions.
These skates feature Bauer’s Lightspeed Edge Holder, which makes swapping out a broken blade easy. The holders are raised 3mm higher than other Bauer models, allowing for a longer sharpening life and improved turn radius.
- Comfort – made from ultra-lightweight Curv® composite material
- Thermoforming inserts that conform to a skater’s unique foot structure
- Taller steel promotes tighter turns and increased runner life
- Ultimate premium quality materials
When Reebok transitioned away from manufacturing hockey skates, CCM stepped up to continue their incredibly popular RibCor skate line. In fact, the CCM RibCor 50K ice hockey skate’s early release was widely considered one of the best hockey skates 2015 had to offer, and they were on several Best Hockey Skates 2016 roundup lists.
The latest RibCor model, the 70K, was redesigned in every aspect. And who better to design a skate than leading biomechanics who used direct feedback from NHL players? The end result is a completely redesigned heel lock and new FlexFrame technology for forward flexion and lateral stability for premium optimized skating stride.
- TOTALDRI Liner/Durazone Abrasion Protection
- 3D-lasted Composite
- HDPE foam and a contoured heel for a high definition to fit any player
Summer 2018 just got a little hotter with the release of the Bauer Supreme 2S Pro. Bauer produces some of the best ice skates for hockey, and the Supreme 2S Pro series is another one that makes our list.
These skates are the top of the line version of the new Supreme line. The Supreme 2S Pro features some awesome enhancements in terms of technology, and between the durability and stability you get from the quarter package, they’ll excite even top elite players on the team.
With carbon Curv composite that’s lightweight and strong, and the new Reflex Pro facing with custom lacing and the Lock Fit Pro liner, these skates will not disappoint.
- Speed Plate 2.0 footbed
- 3D lasted carbon Curv composite with Total Edge Comfort padding
- Tendon guard featuring C-Flex technology
The CCM Super Tacks AS1 ice hockey skate is lightweight, with one-piece boot construction that offers more comfort and support than previous models. The boot height was increased a whopping 5mm for a superior wrap around the ankle for optimal support, and the removed stitching makes a lighter boot than earlier models.
The monoframe 360 boot increases the contact between skate and foot, and the anatomical fit wraps the foot for ultimate control and a superior fit.
A heat moldable core that’s both stiff and lightweight means skaters can generate more power with each stride, making the Super Tacks AS1 one of the best ice skates for hockey on the market today.
- Internal asymmetrical multi density memory foam
- TotalDri Pro liner that wicks away moisture
- Oxide-treated runners to provide long-lasting edge life supreme durability
The Bauer Nexus N2700 makes our list as the skate that outdoes the competition when it comes to comfort and performance. These skates are manufactured with a hydrophobic microfiber and a thermoformable upper, so they feel like the perfect fit, every time.
With a TUUK Lightspeed edge and TUUK super stainless steel runners, the Bauer Nexus N2700 skates are the best wide-width, high volume skates out there.
- Form-fit EVA footbed
- Lightweight memory foam ankle padding
- 3-D Trueform tech PU
The first ever one-piece boot construction skate in the Jetspeed family, the FT1 is a superior skate with cutting edge engineering and a design to maximize speed. The RocketFrame LiteFrame 360 Technology results in a boot that wraps skaters’ feet for a 360-degree fit that ultimately eliminates the need for an outsole.
The FT1 offers a pro-level of comfort, protection and fit that results in better energy transfer and maximized performance for any skater.
- Foot-to-skate contact area
- 1-piece design and completely customizable fit
- SpeedBlade 4.0 holder with an additional four mm of height for aggressive turns
The Graf PeakSpeed PK3300 makes our list of best hockey skates for 2018 due to its performance as a mid-price point skate. These skates feature the Graf Attack stainless steel holder that allows runners to be replaced with ease. The skates’ two-piece quarter panels and 3-D heel lock are heat moldable to be adjusted for a precise fit.
The interior liner is made of non-absorbent materials that allow the insides to dry quickly after use. An asymmetrical tongue is stiff over the top of the foot for protection, but flexible enough to be adjusted for ultimate comfort. The toecap of the PeakSpeed PK3300 is reinforced to protect toes from impacts with pucks, sticks or whatever else the game throws your way.
- Mid-range price point fits the budget of those looking to upgrade basic skates
- Stay-dry liner
- Asymmetrical design so tongue won’t shift
- Skate bake moldable for precision fit
- Good for wide feet
The second of the CCM Tacks line to make our list is the Tacks 5092. These skates provide an anatomical fit straight out of the box at a low to medium price point. The boot construction is unique in its layered black frame that’s strategically reinforced, giving skaters ultimate support and energy transfer.
The AttackFrame composite core creates a lightweight, rigid and thermo-formable skate that results in a customized, anatomical fit for maximized performance.
- Composite reinforced AttackFrame and multi-density memory foam
- SpeedBlade 4.0 offers durability and increased attack angle for greater strides and precise cornering
- Elite level support and energy transfer
The Bauer Vapor X400 ice hockey skate is a recreational skate that offers the right combination of flexibility, stiffness and support in the boot. The X-rib pattern for heel locking that’s typical in the Vapor line is continued in this skate.
Constructed with Trueform PU, the Vapor X400 has a stiffness that’s not always evident in recreational skates. The anaform ankle padding is heat moldable, making break in time quick, while pads quickly form to the foot for a near-immediate comfortable fit.
- New improvements on this model result in unparalleled speed
- Truform PU boot construction
- One-piece holder and runner, so cannot be replaced
Another Bauer skate rounds out our top 10 list, and this time it’s the Bauer S140. The S140 model is a great entry level ice skate that has the comfort features of many of Bauer’s more expensive models. These skates feature a closed construction and nylon materials that keep the inside dry. The foam footbed and anatomical heel support provide a high level of comfort.
As with many Bauer skates, these utilize the TUUK Lightspeed Holders and TUUK runners. These skates are lightweight and will remain tight during turns and acceleration when skating the length of the rink.
- Incredibly affordable
- Classic fit that accommodates a wide variety of foot types
- Not thermoformable, may take longer to break in
COMPONENTS OF A HOCKEY SKATE
HOCKEY SKATE BOOTS
Hockey skate boots are where your foot sits inside the skate. Think of them as being similar to a shoe – they form around your entire foot.
HOLDERS AND RUNNERS
The holders attach blades to the outsole of the hockey boot on the bottom. The runners are the actual blades underneath the holders. You typically want the holder and runner to be two individual parts, which on higher end skates, is always the case.
WHAT MAKES UP A HOCKEY SKATE
An ice hockey skate is made up of several different parts, and the way each one is constructed may change the fit, feel and weight of the skate.
Liner: The material inside the boot that provides padding and comfort.
Heel Support : The pocket at the back of the boot which secures your heel and provides stability.
Footbed: The padded insert that covers the bottom of the inside of the boot. Typically is removable and in some cases heat moldable.
Ankle Padding: A pad made from foam or other soft material to provide ankle support.
Tongue: The protective cover under the laces and on top of the front of the foot.
Quarter Package: Essentially, the shell of the boot. It’s crafted to provide flexibility and support for the foot.
Outsole: The hard bottom of the boot. The holder is attached to the outsole.
Considerations When Buying Your Hockey Skates
Keep in mind that just because a skate ranks high on our top 10 list, it does not necessarily mean that it’s the best skate for you. You should consider all the factors that make a skate the perfect fit for your ice hockey experience, including things such as your skill level, playing style and level of experience.
HOCKEY SKILL LEVEL
A player new to the sport may struggle in a stiff skate that’s designed for expert skaters. They should not, however, steer completely clear of rigid skates. An overly flexible skate will not offer the support necessary to learn to skate properly. A highly experienced player will no doubt look for a more aggressive skate that is crafted for high performance abilities.
A beginner or intermediate player may not know enough about their own skating style to purchase an expensive pair of ice hockey skates. An experienced ice hockey player is more likely to try and find a skate that’s nuanced to their skating style, regardless of price.
Hockey is an expensive sport, and sometimes price can be a decisive factor. There are several different price points when it comes to hockey skates, and finding the best skate for your budget is important.
ADDITIONAL HOCKEY RESOURCES
Finding the ideal skate is important, and it’s equally imperative to ensure your ice hockey skates fit properly and are comfortable.
HOW TO SIZE YOUR HOCKEY SKATES
It’s important to remember that most brands of ice hockey skates will be approximately one full size smaller than standard shoes sizes.
HOW TO CHECK THE FIT OF YOUR SKATE
With your foot in the boot of your hockey skate, your toes should just barely reach the end of the toecap, with no more than a quarter inch of space between your heel and the back end of the boot. There are a few methods to check this fit.
Method 1: The Pencil Test
The pencil test is quick and easy, with little room for error. Put on your skate without lacing it up, pull the tongue out and place a pencil across the third or fourth eyelet down. If the pencil rests on the top of your foot without moving, you know you have a good fit.
Method 2: The Squeeze Test
The squeeze test can help check the firmness of your skate. Simply hold the skate from behind the ankle and squeeze with your thumb and index finger. If the skate folds in on itself, it’s way too flexible for a quality skating experience. A little bit of flexibility is good for newer players, but experienced players and power skaters will want a fairly rigid ankle support.
Method 3: The Finger Test
The finger test can be done by first putting your skate on and lacing it properly. Then, lean forward and attempt to slide a finger between the back of the boot and your ankle. If you can slide more than one finger into the skate, your skates are too big. For adults who prefer a snug fit, having less than a one-finger gap may be ok.
Method 4: The Toe Brush Test
The toe brush test is done by putting on and lacing up your skates. Your toes should barely brush the toecap at the front end of the skate.
HOW TO BREAK IN YOUR HOCKEY SKATES
You should know how to break in your hockey skates. Today, many skates can be thermoformed to your feet, which makes the breaking in process much quicker. This process is also known as skate baking. Check with your local pro shop for assistance, as they’ll have a skate oven designed for this purpose. Whether you purchase skates that can be baked or not, the best way to break-in ice hockey skates is just by using them.
SHARPENING YOUR SKATES
Sharpening your skates is necessary with repeated use of ice hockey skates. If you feel your feet slipping during turns or when you’re skating backwards, or if you notice performance issues while speeding up or slowing down, your skates probably need to be sharpened. Your local ice rink or hockey pro shop can perform this service.
Want more information on how to choose the right hockey skates? We put together a Hockey Skate Buying Guide with everything you need to know!