The Best Ice Hockey Skates for Beginners in 2023

Posted on February 23, 2024 by Dan Kent
Best Hockey Skates for Beginners

If you want to improve as a hockey player, one of the best ways to do so is to get a quality pair of hockey skates. In this article, we're going to go over the best hockey skates for beginners.

Hockey skates are the most important piece of equipment, by far

There are a few items all hockey players need to have to be successful. For safety, you could consider hockey helmets the most important. To improve your shot, maybe a top end hockey stick. But for on-ice performance, the most critical piece of equipment is a quality pair of blades. 

Without ice skates, a hockey player would be slipping all over the ice without anything to keep them upright beyond their balance.

As you grow and improve as a hockey player, you will undoubtedly find your skate preferences. However, as a beginner, you likely won't even know what you prefer. So, it's important you don't go breaking the bank.

There are thousands of options on the market when shopping for hockey skates. However, the following five skates have certain standout features that earn them a place as some of the best beginner hockey skates.

Most of these skates are attractively priced relative to the market. Sure, they aren't the highest quality skates, those can hit price points of $1200 or more. But these are outstanding skates for those just getting their feet wet when it comes to hockey.

Five quality hockey skates to consider purchasing as a beginner

CCM Jetspeed FT470

Jetspeed

The CCM Jetspeed FT470 is, in my opinion, the best hockey skate to consider for beginners. Beyond the fact that CCM is one of the best hockey brands in North America, the Jetspeed FT470 skates feature a one-piece boot design.

It's also a lightweight and ergonomic pair of skates designed to mesh to your heel and general foot shape. 

The standout feature of these skates is that they will retain this shape even after years of use, but it's worth noting that they are not thermoformable, which could be a deal breaker for people who want a better-fitting skate.

These skates offer a medium level of protection with maximum foot and leg protection, which benefits those afraid of getting hurt on the ice.

Fortunately, the Jetspeed FT470 comes at a low price point of around $160, depending on the model, which makes it affordable for anyone. These prices can change depending on promotional offers, so make sure to check the pricing below.

Pros of the CCM Jetspeed FT470

  • Rigid design that retains its shape over the years
  • Comfortable to wear and protects the wearer's ankles
  • Low starting price point

Cons of the CCM Jetspeed FT470

  • Top-of-the-line skates will offer a stronger quality of design as compared to the Jetspeed

Bauer X-LP Ice Hockey Skates

Bauer X-LP

Bauer is arguably the strongest brand in the hockey world and has been making skates for an extremely long time. They are known for manufacturing high-quality gear for players across all skill levels, which makes them unique.

Popular items such as the Bauer Supreme put them on the map, and all their products are top-tier quality relative to their price points.

The Bauer X-LP Ice Hockey Skates are an excellent all-around pair of skates that both beginner and advanced players can wear. With that said, the X-LP skates were designed with beginners in mind and feature a strong blend of flexibility and comfort.

This helps beginner skaters move around more easily on the ice while learning the game. Additionally, the proprietary design of the skates emphasizes improving the wearer's balance, which is particularly helpful for beginners who may not be proficient on the ice. 

The price point on these skates is exceptionally reasonable, considering how well-crafted they are. They can range in price from $90-$120, depending on the model. Just click the button below to check the most recent prices.

Pros of the Bauer X-LP 

  • Very reasonable price point
  • Extremely comfortable skates for beginners
  • The design of the skates allows beginners to improve their skills

Cons of the Bauer X-LP

  • Buyers report the skates needing quite a bit of time to break in around the ankles
  • Those with narrow feet may have difficulty with the footbed on these skates

Bauer Vapor X3.7 Ice Hockey Skates

Bauer Vapor

The second-best skates for beginners looking to get into hockey are also manufactured by Bauer, which should come as no surprise. The Vapor X3.7 ice hockey skates are best for beginners who want to fly around the ice at high speeds. The design of these skates emphasizes combining performance with comfort, which means these skates are geared more toward beginners who are not afraid of a steeper learning curve.

There is soft micro-fibre padding within the skates and even memory foam ankle padding that helps to keep everything from your little toe to your entire ankle comfortable.

A standout feature of these skates, in particular, is that they are made with a 3D-injected composite that makes them incredibly lightweight.

Given these additional features, the Vapor X3.7 skates are slightly more expensive than the X-LP, with a starting price point of $180, going up to $300 for the senior model. However, prices can certainly change and sales can occur. You can click below to see pricing details at this point in time.

Pros of the Bauer Vapor X3.7

  • Very lightweight and comfortable on the foot
  • High-performing skate for a decent value 
  • Highly durable pair of skates

Cons of the Bauer Vapor X3.7

  • A higher starting price point than other skates on the market
  • There is an elevated level of stiffness 

American Ice Force 2.0 Hockey Skate

American Ice Force

The American Ice Force 2.0 hockey state is one of the best for beginners due to the quality at a low price point.

Despite the low price point, these skates feel like they are manufactured to be sold for much more. 

Remember that these skates are not built to be used daily, though, so they are geared towards beginners. 

Durability is undoubtedly an issue, which is likely why they can be sold cheaply. As a beginner who may not be skating as much, you must figure out if that will work for you.

Both the lightweight construction and blade design allow beginners to skate quickly across the ice while retaining their balance easily. The standout feature of these skates is that they are made to match your standard shoe size exactly rather than being a half-size to full-size lower than most other skates.

These skates range from $70 to $90, depending on the model you are looking at purchasing.

Pros of the American Ice Force 2.0

  • An incredibly low price point for ice skates
  • Optimized to allow the skater to increase your speed on the ice
  • Simple sizing that doesn't require any sizing for the skates

Cons of the American Ice Force 2.0

  • The skates can be a little bit stiff for beginners not used to wearing them
  • The ankle support is good, but it isn't the best
  • These skates will need to be retired faster than other alternatives you may purchase

CCM Super Tacks 9370 Ice Hockey Goalie Skates

CCM Goalie Tacks

For those who aspire to become a goaltender in hockey, it's worth noting that you will need to have specialized skates. The CCM Super Tacks 9370 skates are an excellent option for beginners with this goal in mind and an elevated version of the CCM tacks.

Goalies in hockey need to make quick and sudden movements side to side to stop the puck, rather than the backward and forward motions you'll see from players.

Given this need, goaltenders need to have the ability to get up and down quickly while also pivoting quickly, enhancing a player's agility.

These skates are specialized to do precisely this with a blade designed so the wearer can fall, rise, and move laterally quickly. Another bonus of these skates is that they also feature extra padding so that pucks to the ankle cause less damage to the skin and ankle bone.

The price for these skates starts at around $180, given their specialty design.

Pros of the CCM Super Tacks 9370

  • The blades are designed to last an extremely long time and handle a lot of damage
  • Extremely comfortable skates designed for maximum protection
  • Specialty design that allows goalies to make quick and sharp movements without hurting their ankles

Cons of the CCM Super Tacks 9370

  • Sizes can be more difficult to find as compared to other skates
  • The stiff design will make it harder to learn as a beginner

Honorable mention: Best ice hockey skate for kids

While the top five best hockey ice skates for beginners are all excellent options, they are geared more toward youths than adults.

The following bonus pair of hockey ice skates is an excellent option to consider if your kids are looking to get involved with the sport.

Bauer X-LP Kids Ice Hockey Skates

Bauer XP Kids

The Bauer X-LP Kids hockey skates are the youth version of the X-LP beginner adult versions mentioned first on the list of five.

Given this, they offer all the same standout benefits of the adult version, which makes them a fantastic choice for new hockey players of a young age seeking entry-level skates. 

The other significant advantage is that the cost only starts at $90, which makes them the perfect birthday or holiday gift for your young ones. However, you could find them for even cheaper depending on seasonality. You can check the current price below.

The average cost of hockey skates

The price of a pair of hockey skates can vary drastically, but the upper end of that range is relatively high. Knowing what to expect before walking into a store can help you to prepare your wallet.

A high-end pair of skates will run a person somewhere between $800-$1,200 on average, though the quality of these skates will be superb. 

You can also choose to go on the lower end if you are just a beginner looking to get into the sport.

Youth skates can be as low as $50, whereas the average mid-tier ice skate for a teenager or adult typically falls between $150-$500.

If you don't know how to get fitted for hockey skates or what type you'd prefer, avoid shelling out $1,000 and start small to learn what you like. 

Key factors to consider when choosing hockey skates

Finding the best hockey ice skate on the market is worthless if it doesn't align with your foot and style. Given this, there are three main factors to consider when choosing which hockey skate you are going to purchase.

Skate measurements

Your shoe size differs from your skate size, which is a common misconception. All too often, beginners purchase their first skates in the wrong size because they believe they can pull a shoe out of their closet and the ice skate sizing will match that shoe.

They also may think their right hockey skate and left hockey skate will be the same, though if your personal preference is to have them fit slightly differently, then you may need to take this into account.

Before purchasing an ice skate, get fitted via measurement at a store near you or, in a worst-case situation, take the time to look up a hockey ice skate size chart online. 

Choice of socks

All hockey players have a sock preference, but your choice of ice skate may change the socks you wear.

For example, ice skates without a microfiber liner may lead to some chaffing; therefore, wearing thicker socks may be necessary.

This could bother some players and impact stability. Consider the choice of socks recommended for the hockey ice skate you are looking at before purchasing it. 

Skate performance

Another critical factor to remember is that all ice skates will perform differently. If you have friends or family who love the sport, consider taking their skates for a spin if they fit.

This can help you find a manufacturer of skates that creates ice skates that you perform best on. While beginner and intermediate players truthfully don't need to worry about skate performance at their early stage of playing hockey, this factor will become exponentially more important as you improve your skills. 

Regardless of which type of hockey ice skate you choose, getting a pair on your feet is the most important part of starting your hockey journey.

Don't be afraid to go to a store and try on every pair if that's what it takes to find the model that suits your needs the most. Once you have a pair that you enjoy, you'll be able to work on improving your game step-by-step.

How do I know my skate size?

It is always best to visit an ice hockey store in your area in person to get fitted for skates so that you know exactly what size to buy per manufacturer. However, as a general rule of thumb, youth and junior skates tend to fit a half-size below your standard shoe size.

Adult skates tend to fit an entire size down from your standard shoe size, though both these rules of thumb can change from manufacturer to manufacturer. 

What are recreational ice skates?

One mistake beginner hockey players often make is accidentally purchasing recreational ice skates, thinking they are purchasing hockey ice skates. While they are extremely similar, recreational ice skates and hockey skates are different.

Hockey ice skates offer extreme protection and added stiffness while also having a sleeker design that allows for maximized energy transfer. 

What type of ice skates are best for beginners?

The best type of ice skates for beginners offers a strong combination of protection and stiffness, which helps with flexibility.

The interior of the skate should also have extra padding for your feet, as wearing skates for an extended period when you aren't used to it can lead to chaffing and blisters, which are no fun. You should also seek out a lower price point for the skates you want, especially when just starting. 

Are ice skates better snug or loose?

Proper hockey ice skates should be a combination of both snug and loose. Your feet should not be sliding out of the skates, and they should be secured at all times in the skates.

However, you don't want skates that are so rigid they don't allow any ankle movement whatsoever. Your ice hockey skates should have a little give, but not so much that you can roll your ankle sharply from side to side.

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, Stocktrades.ca.

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