Beginner Hockey Skates
Finding and choosing the best hockey skates may not be as easy a task as it sounds. As a beginner, you have to keep in mind your acute need for the right hockey boot fit. You also need to take into consideration your level of skill and playing style as well.
The best beginner hockey skates are the Bauer Vapor 2X skates, which offer a perfect fit and high-end value. Then CCM JetSpeed FT2 and CCM JetSpeed FT470 have outstanding performance features and are great alternatives. For lightweight and affordable skates, one of the best options is the Bauer Supreme S27.
In this buying guide, we’ll explore the features that make the four hockey skates below some of the best beginner choices out there. We’ll also examine the rookie hockey player’s need for safe, durable, comfortable, and affordable hockey skates, while explaining the science behind skating and how these principles influence hockey skate choices. Let’s go.
Beginner Top Choice: Bauer Vapor 2X Skate
Let’s begin with one of Bauer’s best features: their FIT system. With this system, Bauer is able to address the performance vs. fit dilemma that many hockey players face when looking for the perfect skates.
Picture this, if you’re a player that has shown a commitment to your rink rat sessions, then you most probably already have your hockey skate preference, right? Perhaps you picked up a particular brand or design from another player. Or the ads got to you. You may stumble upon feature descriptions that seem to have been made with you in mind. Sadly, at the store, the whole plan falls apart.
A fitting wizard talks you out of your dream shoe—it’s just not the right fit.
Taking home a skate you are not into, just because it fits better, is such a downer. Fortunately, the Bauer Vapor 2X fan will not have to face this kind of a letdown. The Vapor 2X skates design has Bauer’s novel Acceflex Elite Performance System. This new fitting system minimizes parents versus eager newbie dust-ups on sales floors as it practically tries to bend expectation’s will.
The company’s new sizing code does away with the fit versus performance dilemma. No more fitting based on fixed best-fit models. It instead has a less frustrating and flexible fitting structure. The Vapor and Supreme models now have three fitting codes with Fit 1 for narrow fitting and Fit 3 for a wider fit. There are also the intermediate, youth, junior and senior classification for growing feet.
The new fitting system combines performance, additional flex, and high-end value in one affordable beginner hockey skate.
The Vapor 2X has many good things going for it, besides its optimal fitting feature. Let’s talk about 2X’s affordability. When rental skates cease to be a solution for the rookie hockey player, and you need a pair of skates that offer fantastic support and good blades, the price can be a challenge.
High-end hockey skates can offer these features, but their price range is not practical for a player that needs them a few times a week. The price range for beginner and intermediate players should be below the $400 mark. The build of the pro pairs is also not optimum for a learner.
Professional skates have premium costs because they have advanced technology and features that suit constant practice. Their build could be retrogressive, hindering easy learning for a newbie.
The Bauer Vapor 2X is budget-friendly. Its high-end features make this pair of skates perfect for casual players that want performance on a budget. As an illustration for an ankle to heel snug fit, Bauer has built them using their one-piece 3D Curv composite boot. We are talking high heel and ankle support for comfort and safety.
To add to all these benefits, this boot is exceptionally light for its price point. Perfect for performance and speed, its 3D tech mesh quarter makes all the difference. Its flexible metatarsal guard, the Flex-Lock tongue, guards the feet of high-performance players, allowing them to go further on their feet without injury.
Vapors 2Xs also have Aerofoam technology with microfiber liner, to prevent injuries and blisters. The company’s quick trigger blade release system makes it easy to swap out blades without loosening and tightening nuts and bolts. No more wasted time on the bench swapping out bad blades for fresh ones.
Vapor 2X skates are incredibly comfortable for beginners, meaning that they offer a level of flex for learning feet. This ensures that you can control movements because you have a complete feel of the rink and skates.
- Affordable high-end features
- Tuuk Lightspeed Edge holder
- Memory foam comfort padding
- One-piece 3D CURV composite boot
- Microfiber liner
- Flexible fitting
- Have a low volume profile for a narrow fit
High-Performance Pick 1: CCM JetSpeed FT2
The CCM JetSpeed ice skates series is known for its impeccable strides. Its disruptive one-piece boot design coupled with SpeedBlade steel hyper glide feature was a colossal hit. In JetSpeeds, players not only speed up on the ice but enjoy a custom fit and maximum turning radius.
The CCM JetSpeed FT2 is a 2019 improvement of this formidable design. As such, it has all the advantages of the first generation JetSpeed FT1 and as well as enhancements from this reputable ice hockey gear manufacturer.
Like the FT1, the FT2 does not have an outsole. The JetSpeed gains a one-piece quarter package in a completely seamless design by eliminating this piece from the boot’s underside.
The one-piece quarter design improves the skate’s overall fit. In the absence of this excess weight, the skate feels weightless, giving the player quicker moves on the ice. JetSpeed’s design is famous for its legendary smooth sharp cuts. The one-piece design ensures that players only put a strain on one part of the skating gear.
On the other hand, two-piece skates transfer energy to multiple skate joints, cutting down on explosive speed. With the JetSpeed’s one-piece design, you will have a potent force for speed even at a standing position. The CCM JetSpeed FT2 has refined the one-piece quarter design thanks to the LITEFRAME 360 EVO concept.
The 360 EVO does not have the FT1’s outsole. This development also does away with glue and stitches in the boot’s high energy transmission spots. On this account, you will take flight on the rink. The FT2’s tongue is an asymmetrical flex point, to ensure that it will cloak the whole top of your foot.
The Metatomic tongue is near weightless but not too light to cause lace bite. It is also not too bulky to give a player the sensation that it is not a part of the skate. While the FT1 had the HyperGlide steel for cutting turns, the CCM Jetspeed FT2 has the SpeedBlade XS1. These black blades are oxide treated for longer life and a harder run.
The long-lasting edge life blade is 12% taller than the FT1, giving you more height. Looking for an edge on the rink? Use the Speedblade XS1 Black’s added height to top up your overall performance and crossovers. Like the Bauer Vapor 2X and the CCM JetSpeed FT470, the Jetspeed FT2 also has the fantastic BladeLock technology, which significantly eases blade swapping.
Its positive lock system has an improved spring lock feature that trusses the sharp blade to the skate holder. This feature keeps the blade from disconnecting or loosening at the most crucial of game moments.
While the CCM Jetspeed FT2 junior ice hockey skates are some of the lightest you can find, they sell at a premium. The youth size’s price tag is, however, budget-friendly.
One other significant advantage of the JetSpeed FT2 is its improved fit. It is not as narrow as its predecessor was and is more suited to wider feet sizes. Therefore, if you are having a hard time at the skate fitting bench, go for a JetSpeed FT2.
- Wider feet fit
- Oxide treated blades
- Stiff and lightweight pro design
- SpeedBlade XS Holder
High-Performance Pick 2: CCM JetSpeed FT470
Every hockey player’s gear purchase decisions factor in the brand’s reputation and their own personal preferences. A hockey gear manufacturer’s dependability is a significant factor because players have to trust them for safety from the vagaries of the game as they toss themselves onto the hockey rink surface.
The sticks, helmets, pads, and skates have to have top-notch safety features. Consequently, most players spend massive amounts of time researching equipment before making final decisions. CCM, the makers of the JetSpeed FT470, are a brand of great repute from Ontario.
Professionals and amateurs alike wear their high-end equipment. CCM has respectable support amongst some of the very best NHL players. The JetSpeed FT470 has the brand’s pure performance, one-piece boot design. The FT470’s MetaFrame Technology quarter is a lightweight, ergonomic composite boot that will hug your foot, keeping your heel in place.
This technology will also hold the skate’s shape through heavy use and improve the general fitting of the gear. Using MetaFrame Technology is an added plus because these skates are not thermoformable. Thermoforming or heating up the inside of skates can shape them to fit your feet, making them a custom fit.
Thermoformable ice skates do not need a break-in period and are much more comfortable to wear. They also help learners improve on their technique faster and minimize ugly blisters on feet. This ice hockey skates’ design will help build up maximum sporting speed for the new player.
The FT470 quarter’s RocketFrame construction is a lightweight NHL calibre medium that offers you a high level of durability and maximum leg protection. They infuse these hockey skates with all the values that make CCM a great brand. They are comfortable, quick, durable, and top speed sporting gear.
They are also budget-friendly and perfect for the player that only needs them a few times each month. They provide high-reliability levels of performance and high-quality construction. These skates, just like the Bauer Vapor 2X, are low profile in fit and are therefore perfect for the low volume dimension player.
They are not as stiff as the high-end CCM skates. Still, they provide a rigid enough skating performance for the beginner, allowing them more flexibility of movement. Like the Bauer Vapor 2X, the CCM JetSpeed FT470 has a fast blade release mechanism. The CCM SpeedBlade XS long-life stainless steel system provides a tool-less swap out blade mechanism for broken or dull blades.
Their HC microfiber inner lining wicks away the water from your feet, keeping them dry in the freezing environment. The Durazone microfiber abrasion protection will further ward off additional injuries. The skate’s inner lining is sturdy and, in typical CCM fashion, high resistance to demanding wear.
Last but not least, they have smooth contour pads all around the boot’s collar. Encircling the multi-density symmetrical ankle foam, these pads also enhance the skate’s comfort.
If you are looking for beginner to mid-range skates with enhanced comfort and speed features, you will not go wrong with JetSpeed FT470s. They are also a perfect gift for casual players, learning performance techniques.
- The anatomical response footbed
- Lightweight one piece of boot design
- SpeedBlade XS holder
- HD micro-fiber
- Smooth contour pads feature
- Low volume fit
Budget-Friendly: Bauer Supreme S27
Like its predecessor, the Supreme S170, the Bauer Supreme S27 is a mid-range offering for anyone going for optimum flat out speed. These skates are a perfect fit for the blueliner moving coast to coast or the winger wreaking havoc on the wing.
You would expect these Supreme skates in typical Bauer fashion to cost an arm and a leg, but they have a surprisingly fair price tag. If you are out for a bargain pair of Supreme skates, then the Supreme S27 is a fabulous choice. Do not allow their bargain sticker price to blind you.
The S27, like the S170, has a lot of top of the range ice hockey skates features that you would only expect on big-ticket Supremes. The Bauer Supreme S27’s fair price range and incredible features make them perfect for both the beginner and the more advanced players.
Bauer’s recent collection of hockey skates has fewer models. The S27 falls in the lower category of the two Supreme ice stakes models in the youth category. These entry-level skates are infused with technology and material upgrades that enhance their function and fit. The recreational player will, for instance, love their composite quarter.
Made from 3-D Trueform technology, this PU package provides just the right amount of stiffness for the beginner. These thermoformable ice hockey skates allow for customizable fitting, making them the perfect pond hockey competition gear.
Check out this video on how to bake your skates at home for a snug custom fit:
The sturdiness of the quarter is not as stiff as the high-end models, but beginners do not need an ultra-stiff boot in the first place.
Secondly, the Bauer Supreme S27 has a microfiber moisture-wicking liner in its boot. This hydrophobic lining, coupled with the boot’s memory foam padding for the ankle, will provide the ultimate dry comfort for your feet. The skate’s large heel will lock in your foot to prevent interior foot slippage energy loss.
By doing so, you will not have to deal with blisters, and your feet will stay warm. The soft to the touch microfiber lining draws moisture away from your foot. At the same time, the skate’s Form-fit EVA footbed provides excellent comfort. The Form-fit EVA technology takes advantage of mid-density foam for exceptional foot coziness.
One other advantage of the affordable Bauer Supreme S27 ice hockey skates is their lightweight nature. They are lighter than all other mid-level skates from Bauer. The Bauer Vapor 2X, for instance, weighs 890 grams, while the S27 weighs 792 grams. The Vapor 2X has a narrow fit, while the S27s have a medium volume fit, perfect for wider feet.
If you have a standard heel, forefoot, and mid-foot width and height, go for the S27. While these beginner ice hockey skates are perfect for the player who is working out who they are on the local rink’s ice, their features will garner a lot of nods from the in-the-know skating crowd. Case in point, the Tuuk LightSpeed Edge holder feature is a favourite of NHL players.
It provides a quick-release blade trigger system that allows you to swap your blades out in a snap. That means that players with Tuuk Lightspeed Edge feature on their ice hockey skates spend much less time off the bench and more time on the ice.
The Bauer Supreme S27’s runners are stainless steel for durability and are joined to an outsole. At the same time, the Vapor2X or CCM Jetspeed FT2 has the exemplary one-piece quarter packages.
- Budget price
- Comfortable FORM-FIT EVA footbed
- Tuuk Lightspeed Edge holder
- Hydrophobic microfiber lining
- Not as great for competitive skating
The secret to buying the perfect beginner skates begins with an understanding of the miracle that is ice hockey skating. The entire sport ultimately leans on the fact that ice is a naturally occurring slippery substance. The slick nature of ice can propel a speed skater to velocities of 35 mph (56 kph).
This slippery surface helps a figure skater twirl around in whirling circles. It also glides 40 pounds (18 kilos) of stone to accomplish a curling goal. Scientists have attempted to explain the mystery behind ice’s slipperiness and why skates glide on it so well. As you well know, ice is solid water.
Unlike other frozen substances on earth, when water temperatures drop below 32°F (0°C), its hydrogen bonds build spaces between its molecules. On this account, you can fine-tune the nature of ice to suit different sports. You can spread out its molecules in an orderly fashion by spraying purified water at a specific time for a rink’s flawless consistency.
A figure skater needs ice at its melting point of 25°F (-3.889°C) for better control and grip. The hockey player’s rink is more rigid and colder for speed. Most players assume that they can skate on ice because placing pressure on ice melts it. Because ice leaves spaces between its molecules, it creates a fine liquid layer on top that makes ice extra slippery.
When steel or aluminum skates encounter ice, this liquid layer allows them instant movement. Speedy skating generates friction, melting more water and deforming the ice. This process increases friction and causes the ice on the rink to melt more. The result is that a skater can glide like a hydroplane in the channel that their skate’s curve.
According to George Knakal, an expert skate sharpener of repute, people often buy the wrong skates and blades because they ignore the science of ice-skating. The ‘skateology’ master says that while figure skaters have smaller blade circumferences, hockey and speed skaters have larger blades.
Large blades mean that ice hockey players dig much deeper into the ice, creating more water and gaining more speed while at it. The build of their skates has to protect their body structure from the force that the blades encounter during the routine play of hockey. Consequently, the one ideal hockey skate is a myth.
Here are some factors on how to choose the best hockey skates for you:
Are you that aggressive player, always on your toes, waiting to grab the puck? Or, are you the restrained kind, perfect on defence, playing a heads up game? Offensive players need skates that focus on speed acceleration.
They should also have more side and frontal protection features. Aggressive players need a deeper sole on their skates for defence plays and easy backward skating. The beginner hockey players learn their style on the job, so you do not have to purchase highly specialized hockey skates.
A beginner player need not purchase costly intermediate or pro-level Bauer or CCM skates. This does not imply that you should buy cheap either. You need to balance the price, quality, and application. Expensive high-end skates are meant for committed players.
They are stiffer than beginner offerings for ultimate ankle support and protection. The most rigid boot will restrict the beginner player’s ankle support development. Since they are occasional players, they will not have time to break them in, meaning that the boot will be uncomfortable and will hinder their ability to perform an optimum knee bend.
A good skate choice for beginners should not be too stiff. Why? Few sports out there are as voracious and dangerous as ice hockey. A poor selection of gear can make the game unsafe and less fun. They can cause shin splints, ankle injuries, general foot pain, and cause blisters.
Pricey skates on younger players, on the other hand, will not only deter their skill development but could get stolen or damaged in a silly accident.
Ice hockey blades are commonly made from stainless steel, carbon steel, or aluminum. The boot will have either thermo-formable foam, carbon composite, or texalium glass material to keep it lightweight and protective.
The best ice hockey skates for the beginner should be lightweight but protective. They should make learning easier and have blades that allow easy maneuvers. Do not go for lightweight skates designed for ultimate speed when learning to play. They can make it too difficult to stop on the ice since they pick up speeds fast for professional playing.
The right fit will prevent strain on your feet and leg, ensure durability, and prevent injuries. A loose boot will cause poor ankle stability, blisters, and a weak stride. Too tight a boot will cause a loss of blood circulation to your extremities, blisters, and limited foot movement. Factors like preference and the shape of your foot will determine the right fit.
Every brand has its fitting system, but most of them have standard regular, narrow, and wide width sizes. Expect every size to have a digit after its size. This number signifies the boot’s width.
- Squeeze them using your pointed finger and thumb by holding them from the back. If they are stone-hard, then they are not beginner skates. If they collapse in, they are not meant for hockey. Beginner skates should only have a slight give when you press them.
- Put on your skate of choice and lace it up. Lean forward, foot firmly on the ground. If the skate’s fit is just right, you should easily slip a finger between your ankle and the boot’s back. Should the gap fit over one finger at a time, then the boot is a size too big.
- With your skates on and laces up, feel your toes. Your toes should not be in contact with the skate’s front. If they are squished against the boot, then they are too small. If the gap is too big, then they are not right either.
New beginner to mid-level skates will set you back $120 to $400. There is, therefore, that allure of cheaper, used hockey skates to contend with. The downside to used skates is that most often, most players have already baked them for a customized fit.
It will take a miracle for you to chance upon skates with the same footstep as your own. Rummage sale skates could also have worn down padding, leaving you wide open to typical injuries.
The hockey skate’s boot is built to last. It has thick protection for the ankle, foot, and lower leg. The best beginner hockey skates will protect you from the impact from pucks, skates, and sticks at the rink. They will also fit you well and prevent blisters or nasty accidents on the ice.
The beginner hockey skates on this list have not only premium features but are also pocket friendly. They offer high levels of comfort, safety, style, and will enhance your technique.
- Bauer: VAPOR 2X SKATE JUNIOR
- CCMhockey: JetSpeed FT2
- CCMhockey: CCM JetSpeed FT470
- Bauer: Bauer Supreme S27
- Hockeymonkey: First Look CCM JetSpeed FT2 Skates
- Discounthockey: How Does the CCM BladeLock Work?
- YouTube: How to Bake Your Hockey Skates at Home
- Vox: The surprising science of why ice is so slippery
- NYTimes: To Learn About Skating, Study Sharpening
- Hockey Pursuits: Best Hockey Skates (2020) – Beginner To Pro Ice Hockey Skates