Buy your next pair of hockey skates here at Gunzo’s!
With convenient locations in Chicago, Morton Grove, and River Forest, Gunzo’s ought to be your one-stop shop for your next pair of hockey skates.
Whether you’d like to try on a pair or you’re ready to buy, feel free to stop by at your leisure. Questions or concerns?
Reach out to us online! We’d love to hear from you.
How to Choose a Pair of Hockey Skates
There are three primary factors you need to consider when you’re choosing a hockey skate:
Naturally, price is a major consideration if you’re evaluating which pair of skates you can buy. While hockey skates are the most important piece of hockey equipment you’ll purchase, not everyone is prepared to make the investment to buy a high-end pair.
It’s best to determine your budget before you begin shopping so that you can focus on the models that are within your price range. At that time, you can evaluate the different features that are available and which are most important to you. You may even find that you can get a pair that has what you need at a price significantly under your budget.
Once you have identified the price point you can afford, the next consideration should be the fit. You need a pair of skates that are as comfortable as possible in order to perform your best out on the ice. If you have wide or narrow feet or high arches, you’ll need shoes that are comfortable and can accommodate those needs.
It’s important to note that, like sneakers, some hockey skate sizes can vary between manufacturers. You may also want to look for skates that have a “bite bar,” a special material that helps to keep the laces from loosening. This helps the boot stay as snug as possible, giving you better control on the ice.
The final factor that you should take into consideration is the frequency with which you’ll be using them. If you just play occasionally, then advanced features might be less important to you. If you play on a hockey league or plan to pursue hockey at a higher level, you’ll likely want skates with advanced features, as a more entry-level skate could hold you back on the ice.
Here are the top factors you’ll want to consider based on the level of use the skates will get:
- Features: High-end skates tend to have advanced features that may appeal to you if you plan to spend many hours on the ice or will be pursuing hockey at a higher level.
- Comfort: The more time you spend in your skates, the more important comfort should be, as it will have a direct impact on your performance.
- Stiffness: Skates that are stiffer give you better control over your movement and allow for a better transfer of power when you’re skating.
- Padding: Padding plays an important role in how well the boot fits. It also protects your foot against hockey sticks and flying pucks when you’re in a game. If you will be putting your skates to work and playing in hockey games frequently, this is an important consideration.
- Steel: Steel that’s harder lasts longer and holds its edges better, although you generally will need to get your blades sharpened periodically, regardless of how hard the steel blade is.
How to Measure for Hockey Skate Size
Because sizes can vary somewhat from one brand to the next, the best way to accurately measure for a pair of skates is to use a brand-specific device. However, if that isn’t an option, you can typically get a general idea by trying 1 to 1 1/2 sizes smaller than your shoe size. Be sure to put on the socks you plan to skate with (thin socks are best), put on the skate and push your toes all the way to the front of the skate.
Tighten the laces firmly through the first 2-3 eyelets so that the skate is snug near the toe. Lace the next 3-4 eyelets a little looser to give your arch room to flex. Tighten the laces firmly through the remaining eyelets to lock your heel firmly into the skate.
The eyelets should be 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart, if not, consider a narrower or wider skate. A properly fitted skate should allow for the player to stand up straight, and have their toes “feather” the front toe cap of the skate. When the player bends their knees it should pull the toes slightly back off the toe cap.
Skates that have a “D” or “R” with the size are standard, while a “W,” “E,” or “EE” signifies that the skate is wide.
If you’re purchasing for a youth or junior player, add a half size to allow for growth. In the end, a properly fitted youth hockey skate should allow you to slide one finger behind your heel to allow for growth. Any bigger can cause blisters on feet and a breakdown of the sides of the boot. For adult players, sit down and kick your heel firmly into the back of the boot.
How do I break my hockey skates in?
Put them on and wear them around the house (with skate guards of course!) for a few hours. Your foot should be flat in the boot and not pinched in the toe, arch, or heel. Your heel should not lift or move in the skate. This will help break them in and cause you less discomfort when you first use them.
If you are in crunch time and need your skates broken-in in half the time, there is a process called “Heating Ice Skates.” Having your ice skates heated is a procedure in which skates are prepared in a special oven in order to achieve a more perfect fit. This procedure adjusts the hardened sides and upper piece of the boot, fitting in with the state of the player’s foot.
As the top hockey equipment provider in the Chicago area, our goal is to help every skater achieve their maximum potential when out on the ice. We understand that performing your best starts with a great pair of hockey skates.
If you’re looking for a pair of hockey skates in the Chicago area or have a question about a pair you’re interested in purchasing, reach out to us online.