A Division of Kinzie's Closet
Buying new figure skates can be a little overwhelming for a new skater, or the new skater's parents. There are so many questions: What figure skate brand is the best? What size figure skate do I need? What model of figure skate will be appropriate for my skill level?
What's the Best Figure Skate Brand?
The first thing to know is that there is no "best brand" of figure skates. There are reliable and trusted figure skate brands to choose from that will provide correct support and fit such as those we make available to our customers. The best brand of figure skate is the brand that will fit your foot the best and meet your skating needs. There are figure skate brands that coaches prefer because they wear them and there are brands that are popular because a famous skater may wear them. However, the most expensive lightweight figure skating boot on the market isn't going to make your skating better. Only time, effort and correct form will truly make your skating better with the proper fitting equipment...not the most expensive.
All figure skating boots are basically the same. The things that differentiates one figure skate or figure skate boot from another are the "last", the thickness, the stiffness and the quality of the leather (or in some cases plastic). The "Last" is a shoemakers model for shaping a shoe. Tennis shoes have an athletic "last". They are wider and softer allowing lots of movement. Dress shoes have a more form fitting "last". They aren't made to run in. The same applies to figure skates. There are brands of figure skates that will be a little wider and there are brands of figure skates that will be a little narrower.
Each brand of figure skate also has it's own last by which it is produced. Some figure skate manufacturers will have a last that will fit a person who has tapered toes (where the big toe is the biggest and each toe gets smaller in size). Some figure skate brands will have a last that will fit a person who has more boxy toes and a higher arch. To learn more about each of the most common brands of figure skates and how they fit, just click on the buttons below.
Lightweight Figure Skates?
There has been a surge of skaters who want "lightweight" figure skates. So lets discuss what it means to have a lightweight skate. Decades ago, figure skates were indeed made heavier. They were made with all leather both inside and out as well as in the sole and heel. This led to a heavier boot. Because skaters wanted a more lightweight boot to help them get higher off the ground for their jumps, manufacturer's sought out other materials from which to make boots. Figure skates are now made of both leather and synthetic materials and some with all synthetic materials. So regardless of brand, most all current figure skates are now considered "lightweight" as compared to the figure skates in the past. Even though one brand may claim to have a lighter weight skate than anyone else, all brands really only vary in weight by a few ounces when compared to each other in similar models and sizes.
The best thing to remember is the lightest figure skating boot and figure skating blade out there isn't going to make a bad skater better. Proof of that can be seen at National & World Competitions and at the Olympics where a variety of figure skating boots and figure skating blades are worn by the medalists. Technique, practice and dedication will always be the determining factor for a great skater.
Finding the Correct Size Figure Skates
Most people new to figure skating think that they can buy a skate based on their street shoe size, but it's a mistake because each figure skate manufacturer has variations in size. This is why it is important to measure your feet then check each manufacturer's sizing chart to find your correct size. To learn how to measure your feet correctly for figure skates, check out our Measuring Feet for Skatespage.
Figure skating boots should fit snugly like a glove, like they're molded to your feet. There should be no movement at all in the heel. This is called a competitive fit. Most sizing charts for figure skates are based on the snug, competitive fit. This means your toes will be slightly touching the inside of the the boot. You should be able to wiggle your toes, but there is no room for growth. Not all skaters like that feel and young skaters do need some room to grow. Due to these reasons, it is acceptable to go up a 1/2 size if necessary.
Parents typically want to buy a figure skate that will "last a while" because of the significant financial investment . They will try to fit their child into a much bigger figure skating boot than needed anticipating that they will eventually grow into it. Due to the ill-fitting boot, the child may need to take more breaks off the ice to re-tighten laces to help keep it snug. They may have pain due to their foot moving around inside the boot causing blisters. They can also develop other foot problems like bone spurs, bunions or tendinitis. Yes, the figure skate may last a little longer, but money saved on figure skates is then wasted on coaches and ice time because it is now taking longer to master new skills from equipment complications.
Here is a list of a few common ill-fitting symptoms:
Finding the Correct Stiffness.
Four factors to consider when purchasing your figure skates or figure skating boots are: your height, your weight, how often you skate, and your skating level. This will help you to determine the appropriate model stiffness of the skates/boots you require. The "stiffness" is the amount of support a manufacturer will put into a specific figure skate. Lower level figure skates are less stiff and some are called "soft skates" because they literally feel soft when squeezed. Top of the line boots are extremely stiff and designed for adults who do triple jumps. Beginners who purchase the overly stiff figure skates end up quitting because their feet hurt all the time and the boot never breaks down, this is called "over booting".
Just like sizing, each manufacturer also has different ways of determining stiffness. This is why we have composed a guide to help you Compare Figure Skate Brands and find the figure skate or figure skating boot with the appropriate stiffness for your skating level.