Best Men’s Hockey Skates: How to Choose a Pair to Enhance Your Play

What To Look For
To find the most durable, lightest and safest men’s hockey skates, stick with the manufacturers that have been producing quality skates the longest. Bauer, CCM and Graf are the top sellers of ice hockey skates. Bauer skates are often the lightest of the brands, with Graf a close second. Many players note that CCM skates are the easiest to break in and best for foot protection. As a result, Bauer and Graf skates are popular among offensive players who place speed at the top of their game-day necessities, while CCM skates offer defencemen the added protection needed when blocking low pucks.

Common Pitfalls
Remember that hockey skates are intended to be tight. When trying on new skates, do not be overly concerned with sizes; instead, look for a pair that fits you well. This is usually one to two sizes below your street shoe size. With a skate placed on your foot, laces loose, kick your toes to the very front of the skate. You should be able to fit only your index finger between your heel and the boot of the skate..

Where To Buy
It is always wise to try on hockey skates before purchasing. Large sporting goods retailers are able to reduce skate prices, however sometimes their inventory is more limited than shops that specialize in hockey and roller hockey equipment. Internet-based hockey equipment retailers provide an additional option for purchasing skates. For online purchases look first to Great Skate, Total Hockey and Perani’s, as these are among the oldest of the catalogue and Internet hockey equipment retailers.

Cost
Men’s or senior hockey skates range in price from as low as $60 and up to $800. Skates priced at the low end are either intended for new players or drastically reduced in price. Also, purchasing older models of Bauer, CCM and Graf skates can save money; such skates are also at the lower end of the price range, but still provide quality performance. Skates listed at the upper end of the price range are pre-sale prices and include such features as quick-molding padding, customized light-weight runners and advanced carbon fiber woven boots.

Insider Tips
Bauer and CCM are now merged with Nike and Reebok respectively. For players who have been skating since the early 2000s and have not returned to the hockey skate market, note that the skate designers for Bauer and CCM switched positions. Be aware that Bauer skates may currently feel more like the CCM Tacks prior to the designer exchange, with new CCM models skating more like the earlier Bauer skates.

NHL Skate Reviews, NHL Digest
Scott Noble, Ice Hockey Skate Buying Demystified – What Should You Know About Hockey Equipment for Men, Epinions.com
Skates Product Catalogue, CCM Hockey