Best Ice Skates for Beginners

Ice skating often seems graceful and effortless, and it’s beautiful to watch ice skaters waltzing on the ice. It makes you want to skate, too. But you’re going to need to learn ice skating first.  And for every skating level, you’re going to need the right ice skating gear. At this point, you’re asking your coach and everyone else, what are the best ice skates for beginners like me?

You’re also wondering, should I start with cheap, entry-level ice skating boots that’ll need upgrading or replacement 3 months in? Or, should I bite the bullet and pick up something pricier, a pair of skates that evolves with my developing skating prowess?

Which hockey skate or figure skate do you pick up since pretty much all recommendations seem similar as far as features and even appearance? Don’t worry.  I’ll give you a few tips on how to choose the best ice skates for beginner kids and adult beginners down the road.

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Best Ice Skates For Beginners (Reviews)

Let’s now see how these 5 beginner-level ice skates stack up.

1. Jackson Ultima Softec Vista Ice Skates (Best Overall)

Jackson is a tested-and-proven brand when it comes to making ice skates. They design their skates to not only allow novice skaters to learn how to ice skate but also to have them thoroughly enjoy this thrilling sport.

These Jackson Ultima Softec Vista beginner ice skates for women have their collar padded with thick, soft Nylex lining that gives them a velvety feel. They’re comfy, and the padding also allows for easier turns and movements for the amateur skater. In terms of overall liner comfort and ankle support, the Jackson Ultima Softec Vista trumps every other choice on my list. 

Another great feature is the Ultima Mark 1 blade. The blade has a flatter secure edge that helps new figure skaters stay solidly safe on the ice as often is the case with the typical figure skate. These steel blades are designed to support basic skating skills and footwork. And that makes the option an ideal choice for skating beginners who want to try new moves and build up some confidence around their skating.

There’s one more important feature: the boots’ anti-bacterial properties. The Jackson Ultima Vista ice skates have an anti-bacterial microfiber lining that protects the foot against infection.

With these skates, you’re assured of comfort, balance, and a great design. These are modern-looking girlie ice skating boots that promise to get you skating in no time.

One more thing: they’re sold in at least 5 colors including white, black, blue, navy blue, and pink. Lest I forget, these ones come sharpened so you can get on the rink right away. But you may still want to get the skate sharpened by a pro sharpener to further fine-tune the groove.

Sizing? This skate is sold in children, youth, and adult sizes. Order the skate one size smaller than your regular sneaker size. If you’re size 9, order size 8.

Though these aren’t the cheapest figure skates on the market, they’re quite affordable. But it’s hard to find a comfier, warmer, and more durable beginner figure skate than the Jackson Ultima Softec Vista. At least not in that price range. And when it comes to ankle support, there’s no better bet. 

2.Jackson Ultima SoftSkate Finesse 180 (Size 8 for Women)

Jackson Ultima Finesse beginner ice skate

Tired of floppy figure skates that provide little support? Ever slid into a pair of beginner figure skates that were so unsupportive that your ankles bowed outward or inward? The Jackson Ultima Finesse 180 provides a surprising level of ankle support for a beginner skate.

Well, these recreational Jackson figure skates aren’t cheap. But they look awesome, and you’ll love how comfy and supportive the ice shoes are.

As for fit, these soft boots fit true to size. So, I’ll not advise you to size up or down. Just measure your feet and see what skate size Jackson’s size chart for this ice skate model suggests.

Ice skates aren’t supposed to fit like regular shoes, you know. Unless your skates feel too tight or too loose, snug enough should be OK for you.

I found the size chart to be pretty accurate. And if you’re the kind of beginner figure skater who needs skates that run a little roomy, the Jackson Ultima Finesse 180 skates are a great bet.

The blades on these skates come with a beginner-friendly toe-pick design — not too aggressive.  The Mark 1 blades are stainless steel blades. At that price, you can expect these to be decent blades that endure multiple sharpens.  Note that the blades come unsharpened.

The Laces Aren’t Long Enough

The laces you get with these skates aren’t long enough, though. Also, the laces weren’t thick as I like. But have you seen any beginner figure skate whose laces didn’t need replacement?

With these laces, you won’t be able to lace your boots all the way up to the last hook. But buying longer laces completely solves that problem. Still, I’d expected better laces at that price point.

Some Finesse 180 skates have come with faulty hooks. In some cases, the hooks broke after just a month of light skate use. But this hook-quality issue wasn’t widespread. Plus, the seller did replace the boots with issues.

Sure, you can get substantially cheaper entry-level figure skates. But I doubt they’ll be nearly as comfy, supportive, and cute as the Jackson Ultima Finesse 180. I recommend them.

3. Lake Placid Monarch Girls Adjustable Ice Skate (Medium Size 2-6)

beginner girls ice hockey skates

The Lake Placid Monarch girls’ skates look like regular inline skates on steel rather than wheels. This white/pink girl’s skate looks nice, too. Your daughter won’t want to miss a public session or an ice skating lesson.

Unlike many girls’ recreational hockey skates in that price range, these ones offer enough ankle support.  The hard outer shell that houses an inner soft boot with cushy woven liners deserves the credit here.  The padding inside is thick enough and keeps young feet warm and comfortable throughout the skating session.

Features a 3-Part Boot Closure System

Just like the boys’ version with adjustable sizing, this option doesn’t exclusively use traditional laces to secure the boots. Instead, this product uses powerstraps designed to keep young inexperienced heels locked in nice and secure. There’s also a buckle at the top that makes customizing the fit even easier while increasing support.

The Skate Extends Up to 4 Sizes

As for sizing, this ice shoe offers size extendibility up to 4 sizes. And the skate is available in 3 size categories namely Small (11-2), Medium 2-6, and Large sizes 6-9. The Lake Placid Monarch girls’ skates you’re looking at sit in the medium size range 2-6.

This skating boot also offers expandability. That’s a really cool feature that lets your kid grow into the boot without needing to size up or use thick socks.

But I found that adjusting the size can be quite hard. You’ll likely end up returning this product unless you learn the little trick I’m about share with you.

How to Adjust the Size of the Lake Placid Monarch Girls’ Ice Skates

First, pull the quick-flip pink lever to open it. Next, turn to the two black screws located underneath the front part of the skate and give each a turn or two to loosen things up.

Then, hold the rear of the skate with one hand. Next, grab the toe of each skate and pull it forward. At that point, the front portion of the boot should slide forward with ease. Once you have the right size, turn the black screws the other way, and you’re done.

In some cases, using your hands to hold the rear of the boot won’t suffice. In that case, you’ll have to invent a way to provide a firmer grip.

A doting dad I’m friends with used a vise to make things easier. The person placed some steel rod between the jaws of the vise and then hooked their skate’s frame on it. They then pulled the front part of the shoe until it gave in and slid forward.

Well, that’s a bummer. But I think it’s easier than shipping the skate back. Try this trick and let me know how it goes in the comments below.

The Skates Don’t Arrive Sharpened, Though

Remember to sharpen these girls’ skates. Well, my niece’s skates came sharpened. She could skate on them right out of the box. But they still needed a tweak to get the sharpening right. The skates sharpen well, and that’s another positive.

For the price, the Lake Placid Monarch is a decent kid’s skate your little loved one won’t outgrow in a year. But they’re meant for casual skating or recreational ice skating rather than abusive, regular skating. Overall, it’s a good beginner girl’s recreational hockey skate.

4.American Ice Force 2.0 Hockey Skates (Size 7 Men)

good beginner mens ice skate (hockey)

The ice shoes I received had a professional feel to them that’s uncommon with options in that price range. But they were a little too stiff, and my feet hurt a little. But good hockey skates are supposed to be super stiff.

The skates did arrive with plastic skate guards, and that’s nice. These guards allowed me to wear these hockey skates around my house until I broke them in. Afterward, I was quite happy with how great they felt and worked.

One cool structural feature of the American Athlete Ice Force 2.0 is its customizable PVC injection padding. This padding is designed to mold onto your feet for the perfect fit. Also, this padding makes baking these skates possible.

But are these skates comfortable? The American Athlete Ice Force 2.0 skating boots boast a breathable, comfortable liner that’s also highly absorbent. You won’t experience wet or sweaty feet.  There’s also a nylon toe box for safety and comfort. But as explained above, the American Athlete Ice Force isn’t super comfy right out of the box.

A great fit, comfort, and extra support are what make American Athlete Ice Force 2.0 one of the best ice skates for beginners. What’s more, these skates are reasonably priced.

These ice shoes usually come in black, they’re a little limited in the color department. As for fit, these ice shoes run a little small. If between sizes, definitely size up. The skate in the picture is size 7, and even though the manufacturer says it fits true to size, that’s not the case. Go up 1 size.

For beginner hockey skates for boys, go with the American Athletic Shoe Boy’s Ice Force Hockey Skates. These youth hockey skates for beginners are available in the youth hockey skate size range 2Y – 13Y.

Buy the American Ice Force 2.0 beginner hockey skates to play in the rec league. But if you’re an avid skater, please pick up something else as these likely won’t hold up.

For any kind of aggressive hockey skating, you’d be better off with a Bauer or CCM hockey skate. The American Ice Force 2.0 is a beginner option, after all.  In the end, they’re a good bang for the money. But don’t expect them to last seasons…they won’t.

5.Riedell 615 Soar Beginner Youth Figure Skates (Size 13 Youth)

The Riedell 615 Soar youth figure skates are designed for young recreational-level skaters (for 7-year-old girls). As a parent, you want your child to be comfortable enough on the ice. And this size 13 youth figure skate does the job. The skate does run a little wide, though. And that makes it ideal for wide young feet.

This nice-looking youth-size ice skate features a plush foam-backed velvet lining coupled with a durable, little-maintenance upper for comfort.

Another comfort-boosting feature is the 3M Thinsulate insulation. The Thinsulate technology allows materials to stay warm even when they’re wet. This insulation keeps your little one’s feet dry and comfy even when they’re practicing vigorously and their feet sweat a bit.

The skate comes with lightweight PVC soles designed to keep moisture out, keeping young cold feet dry. As for the blades, they’re stainless steel blades called Spiral Blade, and they seem durable. You’ll need to give these a proper sharpening first, though.

Since these youth figure skates are light, your little tike will want to spend every weekend playing on the ice.  Then there’s the split-tongue design that fosters stability. The skate provides a reasonable level of ankle support, too.

Finally, the figure skate features a Velcro closure. Velcro closures are great for beginner kid skaters because they’re pretty easy to use.  The Riedell 615 Soar beginner kids figure skates are available in two cool colors, blue and pink. Your little girl won’t want to take them off!

Last but not least, these skating boots have an anti-bacterial lining to keep things inside the skate nice and hygienic. That is why I crowned
them the best ice skates for the entire family.

Verdict? 

I picked the Jackson Ultima Softec Ultima as the best beginner ice skate overall. That’s because the skate looks great, offers decent performance, is available in different size categories, is super comfy, provides amazing ankle support and lasts long.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t try on any of the others. But the bottom line is that comfort and stability are crucial in a good pair of ice skates. Whether you need skates for recreation or to jumpstart a passion, you need good skates that will last.

A pair of ice skates that checks all the boxes may cost you a pretty sum, but it’s almost always a worthwhile investment. But before you go out skating, remember to grab a good skate helmet like any one of these for your safety.

Two Main Types of Ice Skates

The ice skating market offers two main types of ice skates namely figure skates and hockey skates. Each type of ice skate is built to facilitate a different kind of motion on the ice in line with the corresponding sport. So, what’s the difference between hockey skates and figure skates? Should a beginner go for hockey skates or choose figure skates instead?

Figure Skates Vs Hockey Skates

Figure skates tend to be lighter than hockey skates and usually feature a toe pick. Figure skating boots allow more foot movement than do hockey skates, but that doesn’t necessarily make them the better choice for starters. By comparison, hockey skates have better symmetry and generally provide noticeably better ankle support than do figure skates.

Figure Skates Or Hockey Skates for Beginners? 

As for what ice skates are better for a beginner, hockey skates are a better option in my experience and that of many ice skaters. Do you know why hockey skates are a great choice for ice skating beginners? It’s because hockey skates offer more support to the wearer’s ankles. Additionally, hokey ice skates offer more maneuverability than do figure skates.

Rent Both Ice Skate Types at the Rink and Test Out Each

Here’s a little advice for you: visit the local rink and try both skates. See what you like better and go with that. In the end, the best option for a beginning adult ice skater is a matter of personal preference.

Once you’re comfortable skating around the rink, though, you’ll find that both figure skates and hockey skates are quite easy to skate on.

Now that we’ve grasped the basics, let us focus on what you need to look for as a beginner shopping for a worthy pair of ice skating boots.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Ice Skates for Beginners

In this brief entry-level ice skate buying guide, I point out a couple of factors to Keep in mind as you shop around:

1.Be Sure the Ice Skate Boots Fit Just Right

Ice skates should have a snug fit. If the fit is either too tight, that can cause injuries to your ankles while skating. And if too loose, controlling your skates becomes more difficult. If you can move your feet in more ways than wiggling your toes, the fit is probably too loose.

Are ice skate sizes the same as shoe sizes? How do you know your ice skates fit well? No, ice skates aren’t the same size as regular shoes. Ice skates (hockey skates and figure skates) are typically 1 to 1.5 size smaller than your regular sneakers. As far as fit, your toes shouldn’t be crammed into the toe cap; rather, your toes should barely touch it. Heel room should be adequate but no more than a 1/4.” Once you’ve correctly laced up your skates, they should feel snug with your feet resting comfortably on the footbed.

If your skates are too tight (maybe they’re a smaller size or you’ve tied the laces too tight?), that can dramatically reduce ankle flexion. Too much tightness makes it that you can’t achieve full extension when striding on the ice. That’s because you can’t bend your ankles as you’d like. And that means you can’t bend your knees properly either. Properly fitting beginning skates don’t feel too tight nor too loose.

How to Size Skate Blades

Your blades need to fit your boots just right. For beginner adult skaters, blades should be between 0.125″ – 0.25″ shorter than the boot’s entire sole length. If the soles are 9.25″ long, the blades should be 9.0″ long.

However, when buying beginner ice skates for growing children’s feet, select blades that run end-to-end. Such blades are referred to as a “growth mount” because they can be swapped out and used on the next upgraded pair of kid’s skates.

But, There’s ALWAYS a Break-in Period

Even though well-fitting ice skates should fit like a glove, you need to have a bit of room at the heel area (no more 0.25″). Here’s one more thing. Skates with a great fit hurt a little at first no matter how comfortable they supposedly are. In fact, it’s normal for pro skaters to expect their boots to cause pain when worn for the first time and a couple of days afterward. So, expect to do some work to break your ice skates in. Everyone’s gotta break in their skates.

Choose Adjustable Skates for Your Kid

Most brands have a size chart to help you find the pair of ice skating boots that will fit you best. For growing children, there are adjustable boots to accommodate growth, which saves you money.

2. What Skating Level Have You Achieved? 

So you are interested in doing skating, but you are very new to this exciting indoor activity.
The first question you may want to answer is, what type of ice skating do I intend to take up?

As a beginner, you’re not looking for skates designed for jumps, spins, and other complicated stunts. That means you’re not looking for the stiffest ice skates on the market. Super stiff boots are for intermediate and advanced-level ice skating. Beginners need soft, comfortable entry-level boots or mildly stiff vinyl or leather boots that offer a decent level of comfort and support.

Fortunately, most ice skate brands have a guide to help skaters at all levels get an idea of what kind of boot they need at each skating level.

Tip: The common advice thrown around by pretty much everyone is to get ice skates designed for your current skating level But I have a different opinion. I say buy something one level or even more above your current skating level. Pick up ice skates that’ll serve your current level adequately and still be useful when you’re 6 months in.

3. Boot Material

In this context, material refers to what constitutes the boot portion
of the ice skates. For a beginner, there’s a wide range of leather and vinyl boots to choose from. Leather boots tend to be pricier and more durable than vinyl boots. If you can afford it, go for a leather boot as a beginner as leather tends to be softer and offers more flexibility. But if you favor a more vegan lifestyle, you’d be better served by vinyl boot skates.

And, unless you are skating outside, it’s best to avoid fleece boots. That’s because fleece skates tend to reduce the control you have over your feet and that can’t be nice.

4. Know Your Blades

Blades may come with the boots for some beginning-level skates, but more advanced skaters prefer to buy them separately. Whether you buy a complete boot-blade package or buy separate components, you must know a few critical things about ice skate blades.

The best quality beginner skates have great blades, blades that give great performance while needing sharpening less often. Such skates are low-maintenance skates that win on all critical fronts.

Skating Blades that require constant sharpening not only waste your precious time and money but also nick pretty easily. Generally, beginner-level ice skates typically have lower-quality stainless steel blades while advanced-level skates feature high-quality stainless steel blades with lots of carbon. But they’re going to be pricier.

Blade Construction Technology 

In the past, beginner skates came with nickel-plated steel blades. But increasingly, beginner blades are being made of good quality chrome-coated stainless steel. The thing with high-quality blades is that they don’t necessitate sharpening as often as beginner blades. Additionally, the best quality ones translate into noticeably smoother flow over the ice, better jumps and spins.

Aside from that, better quality blades resist damage and rust better than cheaper, nickel-plated steel blades. Many modern skates boast an aluminum alloy frame which reduces blade weight considerably. But the best of the best blades are constructed from carbon fiber technology, a technology that dramatically reduces weight while increasing lift (higher jumps).

Blade Style

You get to choose between side honed, parabolic, parallel/standard, or tapered blade styles. With parallel blades, the blades have the same width and the edges are parallel. Tapered blades aren’t parallel at all. These ones come in thinner at the tail and thicker around the toe pick, and this design strategy helps reduce drag during skating sessions. Parabolic blades are made narrower around the middle while having a thicker front and tail.

As for side honed styled ice skate blades, these ones are designed thicker around the stanchions and edge stripe while staying thinner between these two areas. Identifying this blade style can be a little tricky, but if you really look at the blades, you’ll notice that the reflections are inverted.

All these blade styles except the parallel one are for advanced level skating souls. Unless you’re a dance and synchro pro or some other high-level skater, parallel/standard blades should suffice. Not surprisingly, pretty much all beginner blades are standard or parallel, even-width blades.

Other Important Ice Skate Blade Selection Considerations

No one likes sounding like a clown when conversing with a knowledgeable person, and I bet you’re no different. To sound intelligent enough (or at least seem like you’re a real skating enthusiast), know the following ice skating terms:

Radius and Rocker

Radius:

The radius of a blade is the amount of curvature it boasts. In plain language, radius refers to how much of the blade actually is in contact with the ice.  Note that a blade can have a front radius that’s higher or lower than its back radius. 12″ 17″ and 27″ happen to be pretty common front profile radiuses (radii, huh?). Most of the jumping and spinning you’ll learn as you advance in your skating should happen at the front radius.

Rocker:

The radius toward the back of a blade is known as the rocker in proper ice skating lingo. Another distinction between blade radius and rocker is that the front radius is expressed in inches while the rocker is expressed/measured in feet. 

Generally, the larger the radius, the more contact between the blade and the ice and the flatter the blade. A large-radius blade offers more speed than a small-radius option because there’s less clearance toe pick-ice clearance.

A flatter blade also does double jumps and triple jumps really well. What’s more, a flatter blade offers pro skaters better edge control plus increased speed and glide. They’re also somewhat safer since the skater falls off their edge less frequently

In contrast, blades with more curvature provide more clearance between the toe pick and the ice. These kinds of skate blades enable beginner and intermediate-level skaters to launch better spins. The skater also benefits from much smoother turns and more efficient footwork.

Blade Back-end Radius (Rocker Profile) 

The rocker is where most of the stroking and gliding your advanced skating self will ever do should happen. Suppose you draw a straight line 14 feet long and then draw a circle that closes both ends. That circle would have a radius of 7 feet. If you placed a 7-foot blade along the inner side of the circle, you’d see perfect alignment.

Best Rocker Profile for Beginning Skaters

So, What’s the Best Blade Radius/Rocker for Beginner Ice Skaters? As a beginner, you want to turn easily and smoothly while doing more intense footwork. That’s why most pro skaters (I’m not there yet, OK?) recommend a blade radius of 7 feet for smaller skaters such as children as well as adult beginners. For more advanced skaters, an 8-foot blade would work best.

Toe Pick

A toe pick is a metallic, jagged structure or component incorporated to facilitate jumps and tricks of various kinds. I won’t go into how to choose the right toe pick here, but I will in a short post coming soon.

Just as you must choose your blade right before getting on the ice, you must also use skates with a toe pick designed for your skating level and style. Two main kinds of toe picks exist namely cross-cut style toe picks and straight-cut toe picks.

A straight-cut toe pick enables the skater to cut deeper into the ice, which means higher jumps. But there’s also a likelihood of losing some of your momentum. By comparison, cross-cut toe picks don’t cut as deep into the ice, but the skater experiences less sliding since the toes grip the ice a little better.

As a beginner, a cross-cut toe pick should work better since you’re not much jumps-focused.  Also, beginners should go with smaller toe picks as these don’t bog down their evolving basic skating skills. But

Hollow

Each blade features a groove that runs right down in the blade’s middle. This groove typically measures 0.635″ on most blades, but the measurement ranges between 0.5″ – 0.75.” Now, the hollow can be deep or shallow.

Should the hollow be shallow or deep for entry-level ice skaters? Shallow edges are the better option for beginning-level ice skaters because they offer increased glide and speed. The skater also gets greater maneuverability and stopping ability. However, the noob skater ends up with less secure edges.

In contrast, a deeper hollow equates to less sideways sliding, which means more secure edges. But a deep-hollow blade also gets more friction on the ice and slows down a bit. The upside is that it’s easier to accelerate with deep-hollow blades,  which means controlling them and stopping becomes a little challenging.

5.Cheap Ice Skates Vs Expensive Options

I get it. You don’t want to splurge on ice skates at this point because you’re not sure whether you love the activity all that much. And, you’ve pondered grabbing a cheap ice skate with the good intention of skating them to the ground and buying more expensive ones down the road as your skating skill level grows. Now, that definitely sounds like a great idea. But is that always the best approach? Nope. At least not in my experience.

A young friend of mine recently bought (3 months ago) $60 ice skates to learn ice skating on. And everything was fine…at first. Three months later, my friend realizes they can’t do much beyond the very basics of ice skating. But it gets even worse. The boots are broken, and now they need a new pair!

Should I Start With a Cheap Skate then Upgrade?

My friend is planning on buying mid-range skates that’ll accommodate his improved skating abilities. They’re considering shelling out $120 for the shoes. But I’m trying to have the person spend a bit more for a pair of skates that’ll last jumps, spins, and all sorts of tricks for seasons.

Maybe I’ll win, maybe I won’t. But should they ignore my advice, I’m seeing them needing to spend $180 or even $200 for a decent pair pretty soon! That’s how it ends…almost always.

In my experience, it almost always pays to spend more right off the bat and get skates that tough it out through the entire learning phase and beyond. Whether you’re a beginner or not, please don’t skimp on skates. At least, don’t cheap out on blades (in case you choose to buy the boots and blades separately).

The cheapest ice skates available are usually recreational skates. And while they may be comfortable enough for untrained beginner ankles, they don’t offer anywhere near enough ankle support.

Oftentimes, recreational skates aren’t designed for any level of play beyond the basics. Try doing a waltz jump on some of those kinds of cheapo boots, and you’re going to end up with ankle tendonitis.

6.Best Beginner Ice Skate Brands? 

Riedell, Jackson, Graf Davos, and EDEA are all good brands when it comes to ice skates. Riedell ice skates tend to have a narrow fit and would be a good bet for beginner-level skating enthusiasts with narrower feet.

My first skates were the Jackson Artiste, and they were good enough for me and what I had to do. They lasted through the basics, and I could do spins and even waltz jumps.

Well, they did need some breaking-in. But they were pretty decent skates for a new ice skater like me. For beginners, I recommend the Jackson Artistes for the reasons I just explained.

Let us now take your journey towards owning a pair of ice skating boots a step further. I’ve highlighted 5 ice skates here that I think are functional yet cool to make your search for the best ice skates for beginner adults and children that much easier.