If you are searching for your first hockey skates, you will likely have many questions on the fit that will help you to play your very best whether you’re in the rink or out on a frozen lake. The first thing to know is that all the manufacturers do not fit alike, but as a rule of thumb your hockey skate size is usually about 1-1.5 sizes smaller than your normal shoe size to give you a starting point.
Determining the Toe Space
The toe space in your hockey skates is the area in the front part or toe of the skate. A properly fitting skate will result in your toes barely touching the end of the toe inside when you put your foot in but do not lace the skates. This may seem too small to a novice, but the reality is that when you lace your skates and stand up straight, your heel will sit further back in the skate and move your toes backward so your toes will not touch the skate toe on the inside.
Why is the Size So Important?
Many new hockey players perform poorly and think they will never get the hang of playing hockey. This is usually due to skates that don’t fit correctly. If your skates are too big, your foot will move around inside the skates and this results in slower skating. This tends to be very uncomfortable and it also increases the potential for getting large painful blisters and predisposes you to injuries as well. If your skates are too small, your toes will be crammed in the toe and it will create foot cramps and be terribly uncomfortable which reduces your speed and preciseness greatly.
What About the Boot Construction?
The boot construction is very important when you are fitting hockey skates and each manufacturer assembles them differently. You can find skates for all shapes of feet, including deep, wide, and narrow. It may take patience in trying on several different hockey skates to find your perfect fit. If you wear a wide size in your shoes, you should look for skates in a wide width also to meet the contours of your foot. You need to have your boots fit in the correct width of the forefoot, the depth of the heel and the volume of your foot inside the boot.
How to Determine the Correct Width
After you figure out your size, you need to figure out your width by determining your width ratio, which tells you how wide, and deep your foot is. You find this by dividing the length of your foot by the width of your foot, and you can then choose from three different widths of traditional, contoured or tapered.
If your width ratio is less than 2.5, you should wear a traditional width boot with a wide forefoot, a deep heel and a high volume design. If your width ratio is between 2.5 and 3.0, you should wear a contoured width with a standard forefoot, a standard heel and a medium volume. For a width ratio that is greater than 3.0, choose a tapered width with a narrow or slightly narrow forefoot, a shallow and narrow heel and a low volume.
How to Determine the Insole or Arch
The height of the arch in your feet is an important aspect in hockey skates, just as it is in shoes. Your arches should be supported in any type of shoe, boot, or skate you wear. Low arches in your feet make your feet rotate too far inwards, and high arches make your feet rotate too far outwards without the proper support.
A simple test can be performed to determine if your arch is high, low or medium. Place some water in a pan on the floor and a piece of cardboard or paper bag on the floor next to the pan of water. Step into the water in your bare feet and then onto the paper or cardboard and then step off. If the wet footprint has very little difference in the width from the front to the rear, you have a low arch, if the footprint curves inward at the arch area and leaves only a tiny mark, you have a high arch. Choosing properly-fitting skates will support your arches and give you more points of contact between the bottom of your feet and the inside of the skates. This results in much more efficient energy transfer resulting in better speed and accuracy.
Choosing the correct size and construction of hockey skates will help you to perform better while on the ice. Make sure all of your hockey gear fits properly for the best performance possible—that extends to getting a properly-sized hockey stick as well.