Hockey skates are one of the most expensive but most important pieces of equipment! However, let’s be honest, skates are literally a pain to buy. They cost a lot and they are very uncomfortable at the start. Because of these facts, we have written a short guide to help answer some of your questions about the skates on the market. It’s important to get a great fitting skate because it will prevent problems, and help you enjoy the game!
Why does fit matter?
Skate fit mattress because a proper fitting skate can help players play better. An ill-fitting skate can cause blisters, hurt feet, and possibly cause other issues. You should focus on what feels the best. (I have met players who force their feet into a half size smaller to save money and get the junior skate vs moving into an adult skate.) The old rule of thumb used to be, a size to a size and a half smaller than your shoe size. However, with the new foot scanners that measure your feet, there are a lot of different variables that go into it! So, it might be worth it, to get properly sized at your local hockey store! The new scanners such as the Bauer scanner or the CCM scanner have so much data that it is quite the process. You will learn so much about your feet, and get the best fit!
How should the skates fit?
A skate should fit snug. It shouldn’t hurt but it may be uncomfortable the first few weeks while breaking them in (Check out our article about baking skates). Your foot shouldn’t move inside the skate. This includes up and down movement too. Your heel should be locked into the back of the skate as well. If the back comes up it’s too loose as well. Having your foot inside an ill-fitting skate can cause blisters, calcium deposits and more problems! When a skate fits properly, and there is no movement inside the boot, you can play at your highest level.
How do the brands fit?
In the major brands, Bauer and CCM, each has 3 lines. Overall CCM seems to run a tad wider throughout all models. Each brand True, Bauer, CCM offer a custom program of some sort. However, if you can’t afford skates (because who doesn’t want custom skates?) here are some general rules:
Bauer Vapor – It is the narrowest of Bauer skates and the most snug fitting. It offers a low volume fit, meaning that from top of the skate (where the laces cross over the foot) to the sole of the skate, that is even narrow. I will also mention, that most people who have Vapors notice that the skates make them feel slightly pitched forward a bit. In addition to being pitched forward, in recent years, the Vapor has allowed an asymmetrical design to allow players to get better upper foot support.
Bauer Supreme – A wider skate up front and tapers off in the back. It has one of the tighter heel fits to ensure that your foot stays in place. The skate is a little larger volume than the Vapor in the boot allowing for a slightly larger foot to fit bottom to top. In recent years, a feature that the Supreme has had its focus on is the tongue and having composite inserts to help the skate with energy transfer.
Bauer Nexus – This is the widest and highest volume skate Bauer offers. Unfortunately, it is the least popular (it is also the newest line). The Nexus offers a “traditional fit” and offers the widest fit of the Bauer lines. In addition to the widest, it also is the highest volume skate offering the best fit for players with bigger / wider feet. This line is all about comfort in every stride.
CCM JetSpeed – This skate was one of the first full composite boots from CCM and continues a full composite construction today. With it being a full composite boot, it is a very stiff skate. The fit is a tapered fitting skate, and is low volume. The heel is one of the tightest in all of the skates ensuring a very tight fit so you can get the most power in your stride.
CCM Tacks – The Tacks are back and are completely from the classic black and white tacks line that made CCM one of the best skates!
This skate is a higher volume skate that is similar to the classics. However, the composite attack frame, allows the skate to help with the energy transfer. This helps modernize this Tacks line. In addition to the carbon composite boot, and allows you to get a powerful stride.
CCM Ribcor – This is the line that CCM absorbed from Reebok. If you remember the Reebok Ribcor or the 20k or 11k line this is from those lines. This skate offers a traditional design but has a narrower fit. With the traditional two-piece design (meaning composite sole and boot separate), it also offers a flex frame technology which makes this have the most flex of any skate of the market.
Graf skates are still around! Their factory in Canada got hit with a flood a few years ago and closed. They still do operate and can be found on HockeyMonkey. However, we didn’t cover them in this article as every Graf skate line seems to fit differently. Also, unfortunately, they aren’t as popular in North America as they once were.
Hopefully, this short guide can help narrow down the important decision of your next skate purchase! A great fitting pair of skates can help you avoid foot problems and help you have more fun. Isn’t that what hockey is all about?