About Skates & Equipment

Equipment and Safety

Most department and sports stores sell skating equipment in a variety of price and quality ranges.
Before buying skates, check carefully for:

  • Proper fit
  • Firm ankle support
  • Good quality leather
  • Correct blade placement

How Skates Fit

  • Wear only one pair of tight fitting socks (the same pair that will be worn when skating).
    1. Partially lace boots through instep.
    2. Slide foot forward so toes can touch the front but are not cramped.
    3. Stand with weight equally distributed over both feet.
    4. Bend knees.
    5. The space at the back of the heel should be no more than a pencil width.
  • Tie laces loosely over the toe and front of the boot and snugly over the ankle and instep.
  • Skates should fit snugly around the ankle and heel with some room for movement of toes.
  • There should be no looseness or creases in the boot.
  • The tongue should be well padded and wide enough to cover the front of the ankle and stay in place.
  • Walk around in the skates off the ice; they should feel comfortable.

Care of skates

  • Always wear protective guards when walking off-ice.
  • Dry blades and sole plate completely with a cloth after use.
  • Always remove guard before storing skates.
  • Unlace skates sufficiently before removing them so that the back of the boot will not break down and rip.
  • Air out boots after use (depending on usage and care).

Sharpening your skates

  • Sharpen skates as soon as they are purchased.
  • Use a good skate-sharpening company.
  • Re-sharpen skates after approximately 30 hours of skating (depending on usage and care).
  • The bottom pick should not be removed – the pick is part of the design of figure skates and is essential to proper balance.


  • Avoid buying a larger size for skater to "grow into".
  • Molded plastic skates are not recommended.
  • Look for blades that are screwed on rather than riveted, so that the blade can be moved if necessary. If the blade is riveted, make sure it is straight and centered. The foot should not fall to one side.
  • A leather boot is preferable to vinyl.
  • Make sure the boot does not have any wrinkles.


  • C.S.A. Hockey helmets are mandatory for beginner skaters of any age and are to be worn until stage 5 of CanSkate has been passed.
  • Fit should be snug.
  • Both the strap and the helmet should be adjustable.
  • Look for helmets made of hard plastic with a thick layer of sponge.
  • Look for helmets approved by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) as they are safest and of best quality.
  • A hockey helmet is needed as it is designed to withstand repeated bumps and protect against penetration.


  • Clothing should provide warmth, allow for movement and provide some protection from falls
  • Layering of sweatsuits, sweaters, jackets and long underwear or leotards is recommended
  • Warm mittens or gloves are a must
  • Long scarves are not advised

Safety points for skaters…

  • Get up quickly after falling down
  • Look in the direction of travel when skating backwards
  • No pushing, playing tag or bumping into others or the boards
  • No food, gum or candy on the ice
  • Coaches and club administrators and/or CanSkate coordinators should be advised of any skaters with special medical conditions