Gliding over a sheet of ice, carving through it with a blade on your feet, feeling the cold air on your legs while elegantly propelling yourself forwards… Ice skating is almost poetic. It is one of the most enjoyable activities I do, and a lot of you would relate and agree!
And I am very much thrilled to have you here. You might be just starting on your ice skating adventures, or you might be looking for a new pair of ice skates for beginners; either way – you’re in the right place!
Together, we will look at the best ice skates in the market out there, but before that, let’s go through some crucial information that will help you decide your next purchase.
Types of ice skates
People do ice skating for different purposes. For some, it is a fitness activity; for others, it is a sport. For people like me, it is a recreational activity. Regardless of which of these categories you belong to, it is always a good thing to appreciate the various nuances and details in them.
Ice skating is a general term that has specific disciplines under it.
On the whole, there are four types.
But the two main disciplines: Ice Hockey and Figure skating.
- Ice Hockey
- Figure skating
- Recreational Ice skating
- Speed skating (racing)
As we all know it, Ice Hockey is a contact team sport involving two teams trying to hit the puck into the opponents’ net with hockey sticks. This sport is done on a sheet of ice, generally in a rink. The most comfortable hockey skates with short curled up blades are used here.
Figure skating is also a sport but very unlike ice hockey. Individuals, duos, or even whole groups perform figures, jumps, spins, and pirouettes on ice. They are done with the best figure skates in the market, sporting leather boots and long blades with toe pick on the front.
As you advance from a beginner to a recreational skater (or directly to any of the disciplines mentioned above), you’d want to upgrade your ice skate shoes along the way.
Below are the things you should be looking for in them.
An ideal pair of ice skating shoes consist of the boot itself, which contributes to most of how you experience the sport, and then there is the blade, which carves through to ice, enabling the forward motion.
So let us look at these two and discuss what makes each work for you.
- Fit: The recipe for good ice skates for beginners is the fit. Advanced skaters who do ice hockey might require a tight fit for the optimum power transfer. For those who are starting, looking for a recreational activity, the fit should be comfy and snug but not tight.
- Comfort & warmth: You’d want your ice skate shoes to be as cozy as possible. As skaters (of any level) spend a great deal of time in the sport, comfortability should be the priority.
With that comes the warmth as well. The last thing you want while skating on ice for hours on end is a boot that can’t keep your feet warm. Good quality ice skate boots come with Thinsulate liners, which provide excellent insulation.
- Lacing: Surely, a feature people overlook in ice skates but is essential nonetheless. The laces, straps, and buckles should be easy to use and provide a smooth in & out experience.
- Waterproofing: Another overlooked feature is the waterproofing that is available on some boots. These come with special liners on the bottom and side that prevent the boots’ inner part from getting moist.
- Ankle support: Even the best ice skater needs good ankle support. The boots often come with molded plastic shells that give a rigid, stiff feel, which provides protection and overall improved power delivery.
The blade installed in your ice-skate boots should be light and durable.
The less it weighs, the less it contributes to the skates’ overall bulk, making it easier for you to skate and progress with it. Having a lightweight setup also comes with an added speed bonus.
Next is durability. The blade should be properly adhered to the ice skating shoes and should also be resistant to wear and tear. It should not corrode easily, even though it regularly comes in contact with moisture.
Some blades also require sharpening right off the bat, whereas some come pre-sharpened out of the box. Good quality blades require less maintenance and do not need to be sharpened often.
Design and Balance
As we talked about earlier, the design is what mainly separates the different genres of ice skating. Ice skating shoes for beginners are pretty standard but come in primarily two forms. You can get hockey inspired boots, which are more common, and you may also find figure inspired shoes.
The blades also differ: you can get short curled up blades, which are meant for speed and quick turns, OR you can get one of those long blades with a pick in the front for jumps and figures. The former is more common in the beginner ice skates section.
Anything with even a little amount of heel would mess with your balance and shift your weight forward, which might prove a bit risky to newbies. But we learn by experimenting, and that is what I talk about in…
Recreational Ice skating as a step
As discussed earlier, there are two main disciplines of ice skating: Hockey & Figure.
Some of you would naturally develop an interest in figure skating as you become experienced in recreational ice skating, the same for some of you with hockey skating.
Young boys tend me to prefer Hockey more since it involves exhilarating speed, quick dashes and turns, aggressive playstyle, and overall a great “sports experience” similar to basketball or soccer.
While kids who prefer doing stunts, tricks, and poses while skating in an elegant non-vigorous manner choose figure skating when they advance. So it largely depends on where they develop their interest.
Either way, recreational skating is an excellent gateway to the fun, exciting world of both Figure skating and Ice hockey, even speed ice skating (race-oriented)
How I learned Ice skating
Ice skates for beginners might be a little intimidating at first, but let me tell you, it’s loads of fun! But since you’re already here, looking for a new pair of ice skate shoes, you don’t need me to convince you how cool of a pastime/sport it is.
But allow me to tell you how I started doing ice skating. Perhaps it might help you understand how easy it is to learn and progress to its various disciplines.
Above is the image of me ice skating in a super cool rink in Lviv. Was it one of the most fun moments of my life? Yes. How much training did I require to skate on ice effortlessly? Short answer: Not so much.
You see, I started as a roller skater with my trusty old speed quad skates. I used them for about two years for recreation skating until I reached the next point of my skating journey: Inline skates.
I bought a cool pair of rollerblades on my birthday and tried it out for the first time, and it was the closest I got to ice skating till the point.
Inline skating and ice skating are very, very similar in practice and technique. Progressing from quads to inline required minor efforts on my part, but (fast forward one year) when I tried Ice skating for the first time, it did not feel different.
The apparent and obvious variance being that I was ‘rolling’ on blades now, carving over ice as I went forward. One minute of awkward skating and there it was, clarity! I’ve been happily and effortlessly ice skating in every city I visited that had ice rinks from then onwards.
Extra things to have for Ice Skating, as a beginner
Before buying an ice skate, you should get extra stuff that will significantly aid you like an ice skater. Let’s have a quick look at them.
Gloves: Some kids just straight up do not like wearing gloves, but let me tell you: if you’re going to learn ice skating, then you have to have these. Not only will these keep your hands warm, but they will also prevent your palms from burning should you stop a fall with your hands.
See: The best skating gloves on Amazon.
A Phone: Might seem dumb at first, but hear me out! As you slowly advance to a level where you’re comfortable carving smoothly over the ice, you’d want to add specific movements and tricks to your inventory. This would require a lot of practice. An important tip is to record yourself while you’re learning them so you can see where you’re lacking.
Watching yourself perform and closely analyzing it is crucial. You can know and understand where all improvements are needed.
Rockers/guards: Alright, this one is a pretty obvious choice. You want to have something to protect your blades or runners from wear and tear outside the rink (when in storage). These guards fit your blade while they are kept away, so they always remain sharp and in good condition.
People often use soakers to remove moisture from your blades after use. Water and dirt, if not cleaned, can prove detrimental to your blades overall longevity.
Butt pads: So you wear gloves just in case you fall forward. What would you do if you fall backward? You have to take the hit, and the hard ice is never forgiving. Due to that, my instructor always used to tell us to wear butt pads. It May seem silly at first, but they do absorb some of the impacts, so you don’t have to.
See: Butt Pads on Amazon
The best recreational ice skates
These are the best ice skates for beginners.
Which ice skates are best for beginners
Any good pair of skates with a decent blade and a great comfortable boot is good to go. I’d suggest you go with Softec sport model. Make sure you get the correct size.
What are good leather ice skates for beginners girls?
I’d recommend the Botas Skates (model Cindy). It is manufactured with thick ice skate leather with a waterproof coating—ideal for girls (and kids) of all ages.
How to spin on ice skates for beginners
Spins are relatively common in figure skates. Firstly you’d need a good pair of figure skates that will allow you to do spins and jumps effortlessly. To execute a spin, enter with either a jump or a step. Spins initiated with jumps are called flying spins.
How to choose ice skates for beginners
You need to get very comfortable, warm boots paired with a sharp, durable blade that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. Ankle support is also vital as injuries can happen if the boot is not stiff enough to support it.
What is the best brand of ice skates for beginners?
Jackson Ultima is a well known, reputable brand. Their Softec sport model is one of the best pairs of ice skates you can get on the market.
What type of ice skates for beginners
Beginners require lightweight, cozy boots paired with a robust corrosion-resistant blade. The blade should not be longer than the boot itself, so maneuvering won’t be much tricky.
Can ice skates cut you?
The blades on most ice skates are pretty sharp and can, in fact, cut through the skin if you’re reckless enough. Over time these blades get pretty blunt, but a fresh new pair of skates usually have sharp blades installed out of the box.
Is ice skating dangerous for beginners?
To the uninitiated, it is relatively dangerous. You can expect to fall on your face right when you take your very first step. Ice skating should be approached slowly and carefully. If you already have roller skating and inline blade experience, then you’re good to go.