Having a pair of figure skates that fits you properly is one of the most important factors in the world of figure skating. If a skate does not fit you, your foot, or your needs on the ice, you will never be able to skate as well as you could if you were wearing more appropriate figure skates. But how can you know what is the right skate for you?

Type of Figure Skates

The right type of figure skates goes beyond simply choosing between men’s or women’s figure ice skates. You will need to determine the type of skates you need as well as the skill level that you have.

  • Recreational: Recreational skates are for the causal skater, who either enjoys the seasonal outdoor ice rink, or just skating for fun on an indoor rink. The type of skate that is for this type of skating is a comfortable skate that is warm and strong enough to last from year to year. The normal choice of skate for recreational skaters is a soft, thermal boot with a more classic design. They should not be too stiff in the ankle.
  • Beginner: Beyond the recreational skater is the beginning skater. A recreational skater is less likely to have taken lessons to master his or her skills, but a beginning skater will have. Beginners will want to learn more than moving forward. They need skates that will allow them better movement, which means they should be stiffer than a recreational skate. If you squeeze the back of a beginner boot, it should move inward, but not completely collapse. They are normally traditional in appearance and have a snug fit.
  • Intermediate: Intermediate skaters are those who have been taking lessons for awhile, but might not be quite ready to compete in skating. They will be working on harder tricks, working to advance to the next level. Their skates need to be even stiffer than beginning skates, but not completely stiff. If you squeeze the back of an intermediate skate, it should move slightly inward, but require pressure to do so. You need the stiffness to master the moves, but if they are too stiff, learning them will be difficult.
  • Competitive: Competitive figure skates will have a lot in common with intermediate skates. They should be a sturdy skate, most often made with leather or a combination of leather with a more stable material. They should have a high stiffness rating and not be able to move inward if they are squeezed from behind. This is to protect the ankle and the foot as well as giving you the most control possible on the ice. Elite-level skaters might even use skates that are stiffer than that, but the goal is control and comfort. It is not going to be the same for everyone.


You will also need to consider the size and fit of your skates. Figure skates are usually a size smaller than your typical street shoe size, but that varies between brands. You want a snug fit, but not so snug that you hurt yourself.

When it comes to children, it is tempting to get skates that are large to allow room for growth. It will save you money, but it will not help your child. If your child has too much room within the boot, he or she is more likely to be injured. Thicker socks will only cause blisters and the extra room will only trip the skater up. Worst of all, large skates can create bad habits and make learning technique difficult.

The Right Fit

You will know that you have the right fit if you are centered when you are standing on the blade. If you topple or roll, they are not quite right. Your feet should be comfortable and secure as well. Then you can get to skating.