What Ice Skates Are Best for Beginners?

Written By: Riedell | December 1, 2022

The best ice skates for beginners are skates that provide a good blend of comfort and functionality. Many beginners prefer to wear good quality yet affordable models that allow them to develop their skills accordingly. Understandably so, as competitive skates are designed to complement the complexities of top-tier performance.

Beginner boots are often made from microfiber or PVC and have a range of capabilities despite their casual context. These materials provide superior comfort and great ankle support. You can also find a wide range of both adult and kids’ ice skates in casual model designs.

This blog post will dig deeper into what makes a great ice skate for beginners as well as some basic instructions for first-timers.

What Makes a Great Ice Skate?

We mentioned comfort and functionality. But, what does that mean for an ice skate? As it relates to comfort, an ice skate boot should hug the skater’s ankle without choking it. Likewise, the skater’s toes shouldn’t be crammed against the tip of the boot but have enough wiggle room (literally) for the foot to breathe a little. Try to steer clear of boot material and designs that compromise these factors, as much of the ability to skate relies on the foot’s relation to the boot.

The ice skate blade is just as important. Good blades are made of stainless steel and titanium or aluminum. Then there’s the toe pick, equally as important depending on the application. The toe pick assists figure skaters by adding traction for jumping. Toe pick styles on the blade are typically one of two different types: cross-cut and straight-cut.

Some blades are designed to provide experienced skaters with the lightweight build necessary for competition-level performance. Other blades are more straightforward and intended for recreational or beginner use. Most beginner blades have a straight-cut pick.

See Riedell’s blade chart for more information.

How to Properly Tie an Ice Skate Boot

  1. From the laces woven in the first eyelet (near your toes), snugly tighten each row of laces, working your way up the boot.
  2. Be sure to maintain even tension through the laces at the instep.
    • Note that laces should not pinch or pull the boot opening around the tongue or throat area any smaller than when the laces are loose.
  3. At the top of your eyelets, lace with cross twists and tighten the laces around each boot hook with medium tension.
  4. Your heel should be firmly in place while allowing maximum flexibility at the ankle joint.
  5. Finally, take note that laces that are left too long can create tripping hazards.

Why Is Ankle Support So Important for Ice Skaters?

Ankle support isn’t just important for the competitive skater, ankle support provides a twofold necessity for all levels of skaters. The purpose of adequate ankle support is to help the skater:

  1. Prevent the chances of injuries on and off the ice.
  2. Improve competitive skater jumps and landing performance.

Riedell has a rating system for ankle support that utilizes a 100-point scale to help skaters get a better idea of how ankle support is measured. The higher the point rating along the scale, the firmer the support around the ankle. 

Higher levels of support are not necessary for a beginning skater and can actually impede skill progression. Instead, a support rating on the lower end is most appropriate for beginning skaters as it ensures proper ankle flexion and knee bend while skating.

Kids, Women’s, and Men’s Ice Skates from Riedell Ice

Riedell has manufactured ice skates for over 75 years. From locally at our first home in Red Wing, Minnesota to dealers in Canada and Europe, you can find our ice skates on an international scale. We offer ice skate models for the whole family, including matching sets for kids and adults. 

See our learning resources at the top of the page for more information about sizing recommendations, skating tips, and general FAQs.