Proper Fitted Skates - by Coach Lisa Taylor-Farrell - Learn to Skate

Proper Fitted Skates – by Coach Lisa Taylor-Farrell

With the new skating season just around the corner, it is important to check your skates to ensure they still fit correctly. The following is a general guide meant to assist you with checking last years skates, or selecting new skates.

Be aware, boys’ feet usually stop growing when they reach age 14 or 15. The rest of the body may grow significantly in height and weight after, but feet size tend to remain the same. Girls’ feet will probably not grow after they reach age 13 or 14.

When purchasing skates for a growing child, allow a half-size (about 3/16″ or 5mm) for growing room. Generally, this allowance will provide 12 months of skating before it becomes necessary to stretch the boot or buy new skates.

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

– If a skate looks too big for a foot, it probably is.
– Shoe widths are different than skate widths. (Skates are wider than shoes.)
– Always match up the skate model to the skater’s size, ability, and frequency of use. Not every skater will benefit from a higher end skate. A boot that is too stiff can significantly hinder a skater’s performance by preventing knee bend and proper edge control. The opposite is also true: larger, more aggressive skaters need a top end boot for proper support and durability.
– Hockey skates fit 1 to 1- 1/2 sizes smaller than shoes for both boys’ and mens’ sizing. Womens’ skates generally fit 2 sizes smaller than their shoe sizing.
– A skate fits properly only when laced up. When tightened, the laces will draw the foot back into the boot. A skate that feels too small at first can feel fine once it`s done up.
– On a properly fitted skate, you`ll see a nice even lacing pattern not less than 2 1/2″ from eyelet to eyelet.
– A new skate should feel comfortably snug, but without any pressure points. Specific pressure points (ie, ankle bones, small toes) should be “popped” in store to relieve local discomfort.
– Skates stretch a little after break-in, so a wide fitting skate will only get wider over time, most likely creating problems in fit and performance.
– To truly evaluate the fit of a skate boot, relax and spend time in it. In 10 to 15 minutes, the boot will warm up on your foot and feel quite different than when you first put it on. The way it feels after it warms up is the way it will feel when you’re skating in it.

When you buy skates, plan on spending some quality time at the store. It can take as much as an hour to ensure you have the correctly fitted skates. This time invested will ensure you have the foundation for a great skating season.

Coach Lisa Taylor-Farrell is NCCP Level 1 certified with 15 years of coaching experience. She has been a member of the Skate Canada Pickering Skating Club for 25 years with qualifications in Gold Skills, Gold Medal in Dance Test and Junior Silver Free Skate. Lisa is passionate about ensuring every skater achieves his/her goals with a sense of good sportsmanship and love for the sport.