Are Hockey Skates True To Size?

Posted on February 6, 2020 by Dan Kent
skate blades

Hockey skates may just be your most important piece of hockey equipment. Accordingly, you should be knowledgeable about how they should fit you. Are you curious about if hockey skates are true to size? Are they different from the size of a regular pair of shoes? How loose or tight should your feet feel in the skates? We’ll get out the measuring tape and look into the answers on hockey skate sizes here.

Yes, hockey skates are true to size. However, the thing to keep in mind is that skates fit you differently than a usual pair of shoes. Hockey skates, in fact, will be 1 to 1.5 sizes smaller than your normal shoe size. So don’t match your hockey skate size with your shoe size. Your skates should fit tighter than a pair of shoes would, so your feet will be snugger in your skates.

Without skates, there would be no ice hockey. All players need skates to get around on the ice.

But skates also come with a variety of options and choices for players.

For example, players may choose how tightly to tie their skate laces. Skates also come in different colours, weights, and materials.

Sizing is another essential component of hockey skates.

Are Hockey Skates True To Size?

Hockey skates are true to size. Manufacturers follow a standard sizing chart that produces skates that match their advertised size.

However, hockey skates are not “true to size” in the sense that they fit exactly as your foot would measure on a Brannock sizing device – the standard foot measuring tool.

Many sporting goods stores have Brannock devices specifically designed for measuring hockey skate sizes. For this reason, it is important to purchase skates in a store rather than online.

If using a standard Brannock device, the measuring device will tell you your normal shoe size. From there, a skate size can be assessed.

Skate sizes are usually 1 to 1.5 times smaller than your shoe size.

Skate size chart also exist for particular hockey equipment brands.

How to Find Your Hockey Skate Size & Fit at Home

Why Do Skates Fit Smaller Than Shoes?

Your skates will fit you in a smaller size than your shoes because they are intended to fit more snugly. A foot that is more compact within the boot of the skate is more effective at generating powerful skating strides.

If you wear a pair of skates that match your shoe size, there will be too much of a gap between your toes and the front of the skate. Skates that are too big can also lead to blisters and discomfort.

When you’re skating, you push with your foot – toes included. So, having your foot as close to the front of the skate as is comfortably possible allows you to push down into the front of the blade the most efficiently.

How Tight Is Too Tight?

Your feet should fit tightly in the skates, but not to the point that it is painful or uncomfortable.

Your toes should not be grinding into the front of your skates every time you take a stride. Nor should the arches of your feet be painfully compressed in the skate. Read my guide on lacing your skates.

When you’re trying on a pair of skates, test out a few different pairs within a half-size difference.

Lace them up and walk around, because your foot will go back a small amount into the heel compared to when you are seated in the skates.

The Perfect Fit

When you’re actually on the ice, your toes should be just brushing against the front of the skate’s toecap. If you’re able to skate pain-free while your foot is secure and nearly touching the toecap, you’ve likely found the correctly-sized skate. 

Some initial soreness can be expected while you’re still breaking-in your skates.

Let’s Recap

Hockey skates are true to size, but you should be aware of how hockey skate sizes work.

Knowing your shoe size is a good start, but it is wise to also measure your foot on a Brannock device in a hockey equipment store.

Skates will typically fit 1 to 1.5 sizes smaller than your shoes. This sizing can take time to get used to, but if it causes you significant pain, you are likely using skates that are too small.

Dan Kent

About the author

Growing up in a hockey hotbed (Calgary, Alberta. And yes, I'm an Oiler fan), I decided to put my love and knowledge of the game to work. I started at five and am still playing today into my early 30s. By acquiring Brave Stick Hockey and rebranding it to Big Shot Hockey in 2023, I plan to teach people about this great game and educate them on the best equipment and history of the game. On a career level, I am in finance, running one of the largest financial websites in Canada,

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