Whether you play ice hockey or roller hockey, a good pair of skates with the perfect fit is essential. Getting that perfect fit can be a challenge when ordering online. The best way to get a pair of skates to fit is to try them on in your local hockey shop first.
Each manufacturer produces a skate that will feel a bit different, so you need to know your size in the particular make and model that you are interested in. Also keep in mind that a hockey skate boot is designed to fit tightly on your foot to reduce movement while on the ice.
When trying on skates, be sure you are wearing the socks you normally skate in. Avoid using two pairs of socks to compensate for incorrectly sized skates, socks do not provide enough of a cushion to prevent blisters or cramps. Skate sizes tend to run about a size to a size and half smaller than your shoe size (so a typical 7.5 shoe size will take a size 6 skate), but this range varies from person to person, so it’s important to try them on first. Older model Mission skates (2010 or before) tend to run the same as your shoe size, but many of those skates are already off the market.
For children who are still growing, the consensus is to make sure you can wedge your finger into the heel of the skate. This will give the player enough room to grow a bit without the skate being too big. You don’t want “wiggle room”, so just an index finger width in the back should do the trick.
For seniors where growing is not a concern, the skate should just fit your foot without much room to move. A loose-fitting skate can lead to blisters, cramps, discomfort and in some cases injury. This does not mean that you should be uncomfortable. Make sure that your foot is not squished or you will dread putting them on.
Keep in mind most skates can be baked to reduce the amount of time required for break-in and alleviate some of the pressure points. Most medium to high-end skates have certain materials that become pliable and moldable when heated. When the skate are heated and tied snugly around the skater’s foot, the materials form a customized fit. Baked skates should be allowed to set for at least 24 hours before the first use. Skate baking should NOT be used to make up for ill-fitting skates. Your skates should fit perfectly prior to baking them, baking will make the fit that much better.
Once the skates are on, you should stand up and lean back to position your heels as far back as possible. Lace the skates tightly, but be careful not to pull them so tight that you are cutting off circulation. Never decide on a pair of skates without lacing them first. Like with shoes, you want to walk around to be sure that the skates feel right and be sure to try on different styles of skates to find your most comfortable fit. When you lace the skates up and walk around in them, pay close attention to your heels. At no point should your heel lift from the foot bed, if you notice this it is likely that your skates are not sized correctly. If the skates have painful pressure points, then you should consider a different size.
If you are unable to find a correctly fitting skate for your foot, you may want to think about custom ordering skates. Custom skates can be more expensive and you may have to wait 6-10 weeks, but you can’t go wrong with the perfect fit should you be unable to find it with stock skates.
WHAT DOES D/AA, D, E, EE MEAN IN TERMS OF WIDTH?
While the width of the skate will vary by brand, you can use this as a general guide:
“D” or “R” (Regular): For narrow or average feet. Most players will fit in a standard width skate.
“W” (Wide), “E”, “EE” or “EEE”: For wide to extra wide feet.
WIDTH BY BRAND:
Reebok/CCM uses a very simple model of “D” for regular and “E” for the next widest and “EE” for the widest. They confuse things a bit with the D/AA classification, which is essentially a “D” width skate with a narrower “AA” heel.
Bauer/Mission also use “D” for regular and “EE” for wide, but they skip the “E” classification since Bauer skates tend to run more narrow in comparison to Reebok & CCM skates.
Easton now uses their own classification system, simply calling it “R” for regular and “W” for wide. You may see the “D” and “EE” system in older Easton skates.