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How to Buy Figure Skates for Beginners

Updated on November 14, 2011
Every figure skater is thrilled to get her first pair of new white skates.
Every figure skater is thrilled to get her first pair of new white skates. | Source

Buy the Right Skates at the Right Price

New figure skates can costs hundreds of dollars. Buy your daughter the wrong ice skates and not only do you waste money, you discourage interest in a fun sport.  How does a skate mom know what to buy when her child is ready to graduate from rental skates? Here’s some tips to help you choose the best figure skates for a beginner.

Try skating on the rink's rental skates at least a few times before buying figure skates.
Try skating on the rink's rental skates at least a few times before buying figure skates. | Source

Rent First

Never buy ice skates until you have tried ice skating. Believe it or not, some parents buy skates as a gift before a child has even tried ice skating. That’s how brand new skates often find their way onto Ebay! All ice skating rinks offer skate rentals. Granted, the rental are not the best skates or the most comfortable, but skate rentals are a great way to test if your child has real interest in skating.  If she wants to go back to the rink after a few spins on the ice on the rentals, then you can look into buying your first pair of girls skates. If the rentals at your rink are in good shape, just stay on those for a while.  Then you will know if the skater is committed.  Waiting for new figure skates of your very own makes a skater appreciate them more as well.

Skate Sizes Vary

Understand the difference between skate size and shoe size! Skate sizing confuses even experienced skaters. That’s because skate size differs from shoe size . . . and not all skate manufacturers use the same sizing system. So Reidell figure skates size 4 are not the same as Jackson figure skates size 4. Be careful to distinguish between girls skate sizes and ladies skate sizes. A girls’s size 4 is not the same as a ladies size 4. Reputable skate shops will measure you on a ruler provided by a particular company. (If you can’t buy at a shop, be sure to read up on how each company sizes their skates ordering online.) You can leave a little room for growth, but not too much. One idea: try a skate on with a sole liner. Then you can take out the sole liner as the child grows.

Measure Both Feet

Measure Both Feet. Most people do not have identical feet. Be sure to measure both feet so you buy a size that can accommodate the larger.

Paying More May Be a Big Mistake

Buy beginning skates for a beginner. More expensive skates may be too hard to skate in.
Buy beginning skates for a beginner. More expensive skates may be too hard to skate in. | Source

Spend the Right Amount on Skates

Don’t spend more on ice skates than you have to! Many parents want to get their child “the best.” So they may choose the pricier figure skates thinking they will be easier to skate on.  Big mistake! Beginning figure skates are less expensive than intermediate skates, but they are the right choice for beginners.  More advanced skates are stiff so that skaters can do jumps without hurting the ankle! They also have different blades and toe picks.  Stiff skates with bigger toe picks are awful for beginners who are not used to skating and are not going to jump.  New skates for a beginner will run between $100 and $200. If they are less, you are better off renting.  If they are more, you are wasting money.

Buy Blades and Boots as Package

Buy skates and blades as a package for a beginner. More advanced skaters buy the boot and blade separately.  So if the salesperson tries to make you upgrade to a pricier blade, hold firm. By the way, beginning skates come as a set with a blade already mounted, but not sharpened.  Be sure to get the blades sharpened before you go on the ice!

Check the Skate Shop at Rink First

Find an expert. If you are lucky enough to have a skate shop at your ice skating rink, start there. Hopefully the shop will have a sales person who is experienced fitting not just hockey skates, but also figure skates. A good fitter will ask about weight and height and skating level. He or she will also measure length and width of the foot and the size of the ankle. If you are close to more than one rink with a shop, get a second opinion.

If your rink does not have a shop, ask the more advanced skaters where they get their skates. They may travel to another rink that has a shop. Sporting goods may also carry skates, but you may not get much advice there.

Socks Matter

When buying in a shop, wear the right sock. Experienced skaters wear skate tights or thin nylon socks, not big thick cotton ones. Regular socks absorb sweat and make feet cold. Kick your foot in firmly after putting the boot on so the heel rests on the back correctly. Lace the boot up firmly.  You should be able to just wiggle finger in the back of the boot when the skater is leaning forward for a proper fit of a child.

Buying Online? Research, Communicate!

You can buy figure skates online if you do your research. You want to buy from an online skate shop that converses with you by email or phone. That way you are sure to get the right kind of ice skate and the right size. Be sure you know the return policy ahead of time. You may have to pay shipping on returns. Look at several sites to get the best price on figure skates online. Factor in the price of shipping. If you buy online, remember that you have to sharpen skates before using. Try them for size before sharpening.  Once sharpened, you cannot return ice skates.

You can also buy used figure skates online, but only if you do proper research.

Use Blade Covers Properly

Size Large Terry Cloth Blade Covers / Soakers
Size Large Terry Cloth Blade Covers / Soakers

Use soft terry cloth soakers to protect skate blade in storage.


Take Proper Care of Skates

Be sure to take good care of your new skates. If you don't, the blades with rust and the leather will break down. Get waterproofing. Always wipe off blades before putting them away so they do not rust. Always wear hard plastic blade guards when wearing the off the ice, but never store them in hard guards. Cover blades in soft terry cloths covers. Invest in a good skate bag to carry your figure skates, water bottle, skate tights, jacket and other skate gear.

Have Fun on Figure Skates

Hope these tips on buying figure skates is helpful! Have fun.

CleverEve 14K Yellow Gold Pendant Skating, Gymnastics 1 Grams
CleverEve 14K Yellow Gold Pendant Skating, Gymnastics 1 Grams

A gold skate charm is a great gift for a skater who accomplishes a goal in this difficult sport.


Let Me Know if These Tips Were Helpful! For more tips follow figureskatezazz on Twitter.

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    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      These are very good tips for new skaters of all ages. I have been skating for a couple decades now and have actually come across a lady who insisted on spending more but couldn't verbalize the return on that expenditure (because there was none). After spending several hundred dollars for skates, her daughter quit just months later when the school semester started citing that she "didn't really love skating." I guess those skates make great bookends.