If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
Winter’s here, and now’s the time to strap on some skates – whether you’re a beginner, veteran, or looking to get back into the skating you started as a kid. The feeling of gliding across a smooth, frozen surface is like no other, and these specialized shoes, which feature sharp blades attached to the bottom, allow skaters to move effortlessly across the ice and perform a variety of impressive feats.
Ice Skates Buying Guide
Here’s what to know before you hit the rink or pond:
Blades: It may sound obvious, but perhaps the most important feature of ice skates is the sharp blade attached to the bottom. And not all are created the same. A high-quality steel blade is carefully honed to provide maximum performance on the ice, giving you the control you’ll want. Most blades are typically curved at the front and back, which allows skaters to carve out turns and make other quick movements without losing balance. But all different designs are available depending on skill level, design preference, and what techniques you’re looking to learn.
Boot: Another important feature of ice skates is the boot itself. These boots are typically made of leather or synthetic materials and are designed to provide support and stability to the skater’s feet. The boots are also padded and insulated to keep feet warm and comfortable while on the ice, but make sure they fit properly, or you’ll be nursing blisters and pain on the way home.
Fit: Ice skates should fit snugly, forming to your foot, but not too tight, and should provide enough support and stability for the skater to move comfortably around the ice. Much like a baseball glove, skaters should also make sure to break in their skates before using them for extended periods of time, otherwise they’ll feel stiff and rigid, making it tough to maneuver out there.
Harry Styles Wins Album of the Year in Jaw-Dropping Grammy Upset
Hip-Hop Turns 50. The Grammys Celebrate the Milestone Despite Its Complicated History With the Genre
Bonnie Raitt Unexpectedly Wins Song of the Year for ‘Just Like That’ at Grammys 2023
Harry Styles Drops Lethargic ‘As It Was’ Grammys 2023 Performance
Skill Level: Consider where you’re starting from: Beginner skaters may want to choose a more forgiving boot with a wider blade, while advanced skaters may opt for a more specialized boot with a narrower blade for better performance.
The Best Ice Skates for All Levels
Ice skates are a timeless piece of footwear for anyone looking to learn skating, or simply get outside and enjoy a new activity. With the right pair of skates, you can learn to move naturally around the ice and perform a wide range of speedy jumps and spins, or just find peace in quietly gliding through these coldest months.
1. Riedell Recreational Ice Skates
Riedell is a legendary American skate-maker, creating blades for both beginners and Olympic champions. This Opal pair has a sleek and professional design, yet still works well for newbie skaters just hitting the ice. These provide the perfect amount of structural support – enough to keep you steady, but still able to move around freely without feeling restrained, partly due to the split-tongue design. The foam padding and quilted lining inside also keeps your foot warm and cozy while on the ice, and the high-quality reinforced vinyl outside can stand up to being out in the cold all day. The blade is crafted from stainless steel, giving a smooth glide whether on the rink or frozen lake. Strap them on with the easy lacing system and get out there.
2. Riedell Soar Adult Ice Skates
This alternate option from iconic skate-maker Riedell is geared more towards the adult casual skater, even if you’re just starting out. The 3M Thinsulate insulation keeps your feet nicely warm on a cold day, along with a lightweight frame that still offers plenty of support. These are ideal for learning speed and control, with the stainless steel Spiral blade providing reliable gliding and handling.
3. American Athletic Lined Ice Skates
Skaters searching for reliable pair of blades should consider this American Athletic pair. They’re ready to hit the ice without needing sharpening if you’re just a casual skater, and have reinforced ankle support to keep you steady. They might require some breaking in, but after repeated use, they’re sure to form to your feet and become like a second skin.
4. Lake Placid Summit Adjustable Ice Skate
A solid option for young skaters, these ice skates feature adjustable sizing and can stretch with your child’s feet, providing a long-lasting option that won’t need to be replaced as often. The sturdy construction ensures that these skates can withstand the rigors of regular use, and the comfortable and snug fit makes them ideal for getting the feel of being on ice.
5. 5th Element Stealth Ice Hockey Skates
These 5th Element Stealth skates are designed for max performance on the ice during your next hockey game. The ankle padding and heel support help keep you steady at high speeds, and ensure a comfortable and secure fit. There’s also a moisture-resistant liner to keep you dry, and the stainless steel blade is tough as nails.