Why Are Hockey Skates So Expensive? This Is Why

Why Are Hockey Skates So Expensive? This Is Why

Hockey Skate Costs

Factors such as travel to games, fees for club memberships, private lessons, and medical bills for the bumps and bruises resulting from participation can make hockey an expensive hobby. On top of this, hockey gear is some of the most expensive out of any sport, with the skates, in particular, carrying quite the hefty price tag.

Hockey skates are so expensive because they are a specialty product that consists of many materials, such as steel, padding, and support elements that must be professionally combined to provide the skater with premium stability and durability.

The good news is that while top-quality hockey skates are significantly more expensive than everyday footwear, there are introductory level skates that are more competitively priced and can be found for less than $100. So it is essential to know what your hockey goals are before making a skate purchase.

Why Are Hockey Skates So Expensive?

Hockey skates are mainly so expensive because they are a specialty product. While footwear for other sports, such as tennis shoes or basketball sneakers, can be marketed to a mass audience and used for casual purposes outside of their intended sport, hockey skates have little utility in off-ice endeavours.

So, from a business standpoint, skate manufacturers must sell their products at higher margins to turn a profit, as they will be selling at a comparatively low volume when stacked up against footwear in other sports.

On top of this, hockey skates are more expensive to make than other types of footwear. They require many different types of material that need careful craftsmanship to perfect, making it more difficult and costly to produce hockey skates on a mass scale than other forms of footwear.

The following breakdown discusses the different materials that go into making hockey skates:

  • Steel - At the top of the list, the specialized steel blade sets the hockey skate apart from footwear used in other sports. This steel must be formed, fitted, and finished, all of which add to the cost.
  • Padded Tongue - A hockey skate cannot use a standard tongue like that used in a pair of street shoes. The tongue in a hockey skate must be extra thick and padded to absorb blows from pucks and errant sticks. Also, because hockey skates must be laced exceptionally tight, the tongue must be able to resist lace bite.
  • Flexible Casing - In addition to durable rubber to protect the toes, the fabric and liner used to case the foot, and lower leg must be durable enough to withstand heavy force and flexible enough to have the mobility to perform sharp cuts and turns. Additionally, a “box cover” is used outside of the boot to provide added rigidity and support.
  • Intricate System of Tall Laces - To tighten the skate correctly, the lacing system must be advanced and work its way up the ankle much higher than a standard shoe so that the joint’s stability is secured.
  • Ankle Pads - Like the tongue, the skate’s interior must contain padding at the ankle to soften blows from pucks and sticks.
  • Comfortable Sole - Because the bottom of the foot will be pressing against the skate’s steel base for the practice or game duration, it is imperative that the sole, or footbed, be ergonomically designed to provide comfort throughout the session.

As you can see, a lot goes into the engineering of a hockey skate. This, combined with the specialized market at which skates are directed, requires manufacturers to charge a higher price for their product.

How Expensive Are Hockey Skates?

Although hockey skates are generally more expensive than regular shoes, like any product, there are ways that you can stretch your dollar. If you use terms such as “best hockey skate” or “highest quality hockey skate,” you are likely to be met with results that display skates for up to $1,000.

However, if you are honest about your ability level and have a clear understanding of what you are looking for in a skate, you do not have to pay this much.

The following is a breakdown of what you can expect to pay with different levels of skates:

Beginner Hockey Skates

One of the biggest mistakes people make when jumping into a sport is buying all the bells and whistles in terms of gear before figuring out whether they actually like the sport.

As such, if you are a beginning or recreational hockey player, you should not be searching for the best skates on the market or spending anywhere near $1,000 per pair.

Entry-level hockey skates can be found for anywhere between $75 to $200. While these skates may not be as well-padded or supportive as the elite products on the market, they are more than adequate for the slower speeds and lower intensity of recreational or beginner hockey.

While these skates will wear out more quickly than superior models, if you get to that point, you will have proven that you are qualified to invest more in your hockey skates.

Intermediate Hockey Skates

Intermediate hockey skates are ideal for players who are competitive with the game. These skates are great for high school, club, junior, and college hockey players. They will be able to meet the heavy demands of frequent practice sessions and games.

Intermediate hockey skates will cost anywhere from $200 to $500. They should definitely be considered by anyone who has advanced past the beginner stage and plays hockey on a regularly scheduled basis.

Advanced Hockey Skates

Advanced hockey skates are meant for those players where the precision of performance is critical. Professionals, college athletes playing for a scholarship, and any player looking for an edge to win a championship will likely consider advanced skate options.

Not surprisingly, this tier of skates carries the heftiest price tag, with options running from $500 to upwards of $1,000 per pair.

Ways to Save on Hockey Skates

In addition to choosing the appropriate skate for your ability level, there are other ways that you can save on hockey skates:

Buy Lightly Used Skates Instead of New

Just like driving a new car off the lot, the price of hockey skates will get considerably more affordable if they have been previously skated in. Therefore, consider scouring eBay, thrift stores, and second-hand sports shops for your skates.

Often, players change their minds quickly about their interest level in the sport and are looking to sell their skates soon after they buy them, creating a ripe used market.

Talk to Clubs, Schools, and Hockey Families

As a niche sport, hockey may not be the most popular with a mainstream audience, except in Canada, but among those who are involved with the sport, it can border on an obsession. As such, organizations that sponsor hockey and hockey families are likely to have a cache of skates accumulated that they may consider gifting to you.

Try to Find Trade in Opportunities

Just as hockey skates are expensive for buyers, they are also costly for retailers. If you outgrow a pair of skates that you have barely used, see what kind of deal you can get on a trade-in for a new set.

In Conclusion

The price of hockey can get expensive, with the skates being at the top of the list. As a specialty item that requires many different manufacturing components to create the perfect pair, elite hockey skates can push the $1,000 threshold.

However, while more expensive than traditional footwear, there are ways to make your purchase of hockey skates more affordable. Beginner hockey skates can be found for under $100. Though choosing lightly used alternatives and exploring trade-ins are other ways to make your hockey experience less of a burden on your bank account.