What equipment do I need to start ice skating?

If you are interested in getting started with ice skating, there is some equipment you will need to be able to participate. This equipment protects the skater and keeps them warm while they are honing their skills. Ice skating equipment ranges from low-cost to expensive, but fancy equipment isn’t needed to begin. Here are the things you need to know about the equipment required to start ice skating.

Essential Items

Skates

The most important piece of equipment needed to start ice skating is the ice skates. Most ice skates are comprised of a stiff protective outer shell with a padded interior for comfort. Buying your own skates is the best way to ensure that they fit correctly. There are several different types of ice skates available to choose from and each type is geared towards a specific type of activity.

Figure Skates – For the beginner interested in learning some ice skating basics, figure skates are a good choice. Figure skates are designed to be flexible to allow for a wide range of motion. The blades are very sharp and have a toe-pick at the front.

Hockey Skates – Hockey skates are lighter, flatter, and more slender than figure skates and fit slightly more loosely on the foot. The foot has more support with these skates as its blades rounded at the back and front of the foot. The blades for hockey skates have no toe-pick at the front.

Speed Skates – Speed skates are not typically recommended for beginners unless speed skating is their goal. These skates have very long, thin blades that extend past the ends of the skate and are not attached to the heel of the boots. This is so the blade won’t dig into the ice and slow the skater.

Hybrid Skates – Hybrid ice skates are also a good choice for beginners. They combine the soft boot of regular inline skates with the blade of hockey skates. These types of skates are only intended for casual ice skating, not tricks.

There are a number of things to keep in mind when choosing skates to begin ice skating. The most important thing is the fit of the skate. Your skate size is not always the same as the size of shoe you buy.

When the skate is on, your heel should be all the way to the back of the boot and your toes should not feel pinched. After lacing up the skate, your foot should not slide back and forth. Your ankles should be well-supported so you will not need a lot of strength to stay upright.

With most skates, you can take out the insole to check the size. When standing on the insole, your foot should not have more than half an inch of space to the end of the toe. Try the skates on with the socks you intend to use for ice skating and walk in the skates off the ice to check the fit.

Socks

The type of socks you choose to wear ice skating is another important decision, as they will affect your comfort while you skate. Going sockless is not recommended as the sweat from your feet will transfer to the skates and make the skates smell. Wearing skates without socks can also lead to blisters and injured feet.

Sock type is a personal choice, with each person choosing the type that works best for them. The socks chosen for ice skating should be thick enough to keep your feet warm but not so thick that they make the skates feel uncomfortable. Some people choose to purchase special socks for ice skating, while others choose to wear socks that they already have at home. Avoid socks with seams to minimize rubbing.

Head Protection

If you are a beginning skater, there is a good chance that you are going to fall – probably quite a few times. You will want to protect your head with some head protection, which can be a helmet or a padded headband. This will prevent you from sustaining a concussion or other type of serious head injury if you fall.

If you choose to wear a helmet, pick one that fits snugly and sits level on your head. Try it on in the store to ensure it fits properly. The chin strap should fit closely and prevent the helmet from shifting around. If the helmet becomes damaged in a fall, it should be replaced immediately.

Gloves

Another important item to take ice skating is a good pair of gloves. They will keep your hands warm while skating and protect your hands from the cold, hard ice if you fall. Some gloves have incorporated pads to protect the skater’s hand and wrist.

The gloves you choose should fit snugly and have individual fingers for the greatest mobility. Ones made of water resistant materials are best, as wet gloves become cold and uncomfortable quickly. You may also want to carry a second pair of gloves with you in case the first pair gets wet.

Skate Guards

Skate guards are needed to protect your blades from damage when walking off the ice onto hard surfaces. They should be placed on the blades as soon as you get off the ice and removed when you return to the ice. While skate guards are available in both hard and soft varieties, walking around in the soft ones is not recommended.

Skate Soakers

Skate soakers are used to protect your skates from moisture while they are being stored in your bag. They are made of absorbent materials that keep the blades dry and reduce the chances of rusting. The blades should be dried with a microfiber towel, terry cloth towel, or chamois cloth to remove excess moisture before the skates are placed into the soakers to get the best results.

Skate Bag

A skate bag is the easiest way to transport skates and other ice skating equipment. There are a wide range of styles available, including over-the-shoulder bags and bags with wheels. Choose a bag that will fit your skates with additional room for the other items you will be carrying. You should also choose a bag with an aeration grid, which allows air to flow inside the bag and dry out any moisture.

Additional Items

Extra Laces

When skating, the laces rub against the boot and can break at inopportune times. Many people choose to carry extra laces with them so they can replace them quickly in the moment. Cloth laces break more often, but are soft and easy on the hands. Wax laces stay put and break less often, but they are harder to tie and untie. You should choose based on your personal preferences and how frequently you plan to go ice skating.

Boot Covers

Boot covers are used to protect the skates from scrapes and scuffs while you are ice skating. They generally have elastic at the top and clips at the bottom to secure the cover to the skate. The covers can be found in a wide range of colors and designs, letting the skater personalize the look of their skates.

Caring for boot covers is simple. The covers should be removed from the skates before they are placed in the bag and should be stored away from the skates because they will probably be wet. Once home, the covers can be laid out to air dry before being returned to the skate bag.

Protective Padding

Ice is slippery and you are probably going to fall as you are learning how to ice skate. To prevent serious injuries, many beginners choose to utilize some protective padding to reduce the impact of these falls. There are many different types of protective padding available, with each specifically tailored to a particular area of the body.

Elbow pads – Elbow pads are generally manufactured as a plastic piece surrounded by padding. The padding absorbs the impact and the shock of falling on the ice, preventing serious elbow injuries.

Hip Pads – Hip pads are worn to protect the hips from being bruised or injured if a skater falls. The cushioned padding is attached to shorts that are worn under a skater’s pants.

Knee Pads – A knee pad provides extra protection for the knee with a layer of padding located over the kneecap. Some have a plastic cap on the front and they can generally fit over a skater’s leggings or under their pants

Wrist Guards – Wrist guards are worn to prevent a skater from breaking their wrist if they break a fall with their hands. The support comes from a special design that places the padding in particular areas to brace the skater’s wrist and forearm.

Clothing Tips

Your clothes should be light, durable, close-fitting, and comfortable enough for you to move freely. Your clothing should stretch and move with you.

Dress in layers so you can remove clothing as needed as you warm up from the exertion of ice skating. A light fleece, warm-up jacket, sweatshirt, or sweater can be used to keep you warm.

Jeans and heavy coats will restrict your movement, so they are not recommended for ice skating. One-piece snowsuits and snow pants should be avoided for the same reason.

If you choose to wear a scarf to keep your neck warm, tuck it inside your shirt or jacket for safety. A turtleneck sweater or shirt can be a good alternative to a scarf.

Wear clothes that dry fast. You do not want your clothes to hold water and freeze while you are skating.