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Choosing the right pair of skates

ice skates choice
File photo credit: wikimedia commons

So you've been introduced to ice skating, learnt the basic skills such as stopping, forward swizzle, crossover and now you need the gear. But how are you going to know which is perfect for you? Maybe you want to play hockey with your skates or just add more ice-skating skills to your arsenal? Here is your guide to all things in terms of the most important tool in your kit – the boots. 

In the big world of ice skates, there are four main types - the figure skate, the hockey skate, the bandy skate, the racing skate and the touring skate. 

figure skates
A pair of figure skates (file photo credit: wikimedia commons).

The Figure Skate

Figure skates, as the name suggests, is used for figure skating. They can be identified by the jagged “teeth” known as toe picks on the front of the blade. The toe pick has a variety of uses, but is most commonly used for certain jumps in figure skating. Figure skating boots are typically made of several layers of leather and is usually very stiff to provide ankle support. Blade is curved, allowing for minute adjustments in balance and weight distribution.

hockey skates
Hockey skates (file photo credit: wikimedia commons).

The Hockey Skate

Hockey skates are used for playing the games of ice hockey. Generally, hockey skates made of moulded plastic, leather (often synthetic) ballistic nylon. However, the skates used by goal keepers are cut lower in the ankle than a normal hockey skate. Also, the goalie’s boot sits closer to the ice for a lower centre of gravity. Goalie skates lack a tendon guard but have a synthetic material covering the toe part. This is to protect the wearer from injuries from the puck.

The Bandy Skate

Bandy skates are used for playing bandy. All bandy skates are designed not to cause injury to the opponent. The blade is about an inch longer than those on hockey skates. This allows bandy players to achieve higher speeds. 

The Racing Skate 

Racing skates have long blades and are used for speed skating. Short track racing skates have a longer height to the blade so that the boots do not touch the ice during deep edge turns. 

touring skates
Touring skates used for cross-country and long distance, seldom seem in Singapore (file photo credit: wikimedia commons).

The Touring Skate

Touring skates are long blades that can be attached, via bindings, to hiking or cross-country ski boots and are used for long distance tour skating on natural ice. The length and long radius of the blades makes touring skates more stable on uneven natural ice than skates with shorter blades. 



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