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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

29 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
381 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best children’s ice skates

Last Updated July 2020

With the allure of screen time and video games, getting your kids off the couch and a little more physically active can be a challenge these days. An activity like ice skating can be a game-changer, though, because it doesn’t just get your kids moving — it’s a lot of fun, too. But if your kids are going to hit the rink regularly, they need a great pair of children’s ice skates.

Children’s ice skates are fairly similar to skates for adults, though they’re designed to accommodate growing feet. You can find children’s skates that are suitable for novice hockey players and skates that are perfect for those interested in general skating or figure skating. There are even hybrid ice skates that combine the best features of both types.

Size is another issue to figure out, as is blade material. Indeed, it can be a challenge to select the right pair of ice skates for your child, and because they’re fairly pricey, you don’t want to make a mistake. Not to worry. Our buying guide has plenty of tips to help you find the best children’s skates for your kid’s next trip to the rink.

Ice skates should have a fairly stiff boot to provide ankle support. Though stiff, the best skates are also flexible and can be broken in with repeated use.

Key considerations

Type

When it comes to ice skates for children and adults, there are two main types of choose from: figure skates and hockey skates. It can be difficult to know which type to buy for your kids when they’re just learning to skate, so it helps to understand the difference between the two and what their benefits are.

Figure skates have a long blade with small teeth at the toe, known as a toe pick, and an extension at the end called a tail. The toe pick allows the skater to stop their motion and serves as a pivot point when they attempt a spin. It also aids in jumps because it can work as a take-off or landing point. Figure skates usually have a tight leather boot that provides excellent support for the ankle. Notably, beginners can sometimes trip over the toe pick on figure skates.

Hockey skates have shorter, more streamlined blades without toe picks or tails. The blade is curved at the toe and its end, helping skaters move quickly and improving agility and maneuverability. Hockey skates tend to be lighter in weight than figure skates, and the boot is designed to protect the foot from hard pucks and hockey sticks.

Kids can learn to skate in both types of skates, so if you’re not sure whether your child is more interested in general skating, figure skating, or hockey skating, you can’t go wrong with either type. But if you want to hedge your bets, consider a pair of hybrid ice skates. They’re similar to inline skates, but they have a blade that resembles a hockey skate blade, providing stability and allowing the child to maneuver easily. Hybrid ice skates offer effective support while being fairly soft and flexible.

Size

As with any type of footwear, getting the right size is crucial. Buying skates that are too big is a common mistake. Ice skates should fit your child’s feet snugly without feeling too tight. When the closures are loose and the foot is all the way forward in the boot, you should be able to get just one finger behind the heel.

Unfortunately, you can’t just match up your child’s shoe size to a skate size. The sizes for each manufacturer can be slightly different, so you need to measure your child’s feet and consult the size chart for any skate brand you’re considering. Measure your kids’ feet when they’re sitting down to get the right measurements.

EXPERT TIP

If you really want to see your child’s skating ability to develop, expect to spend one to two hours at a time at the rink. Regular practice is ideal.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Blade material

The material that ice skate blades are made of plays a significant factor in how they perform and how long they last. Even if your child is a casual skater or you aren’t sure how long they’ll be interested in skating, you need high-quality blades that can maintain their edge for as long as possible. Look for skates with blades made from stainless steel or nickel for the most durability. These materials create the least amount of friction for smoother, more enjoyable skating.

Adjustability

Because kids’ feet are still growing, you may want to think about purchasing adjustable skates. These skates allow you to extend the length of the boot; they can accommodate a growth of three to four sizes. Adjustable skates work best for casual skating. If your child is interested in competitive figure skating or hockey, opt for standard-size skates.

Closure style

The most common, and classic, closure for ice skates is the bootlace. These are fairly easy to close and allow you to adjust the fit of the boot. For children, however, it’s often easier to choose a different type of closure so you don’t have to fuss with tightening and tying the laces. You can find some skates with easy-to-fasten buckles that simplify the process. You can also find skates with Velcro straps. These are very easy to fasten, but they don’t necessarily offer the tight fit that laces and buckles do.

Some skates offer a second closure in addition to the laces to ensure a snug fit. Near the top, the skate may have a buckle or Velcro strap that you can tighten after you lace up the skates.

Cushioning

A good pair of children’s skates should be outfitted with plenty of padding to cushion the ankle and foot. Padding is especially important in hockey skates because your child’s feet need protection from heavy pucks, hockey sticks, and other impacts.

Color

Children’s ice skates are available in a wide array of colors that are sure to please any child. From bright pink designs to simple black and white schemes, you can choose a pair that features your child’s favorite color(s) so they’re even more excited to use them.

The toe picks on figure skates may accidentally get caught on the ice and make falls more likely, especially when a child is a beginner.

Accessories

Kids’ helmet: Razor V-17 Youth Multi-Sport Helmet
Whenever your child is engaged in activities where they might fall and possibly hit their head, a helmet is crucial, and ice skating is no exception — even if your kid isn’t playing hockey. We like this model from Razor because it works for a variety of sports and activities, can fit children ages 8 to 14, and features side buckles for easy fastening and adjustment.

Kids’ winter gloves: Andorra Kids’ Two-Tone Geometric Ski Gloves
Even if your child is skating at an indoor rink, it can get cold on the ice, and their hands can quickly lose heat. Proper gloves can help. These gloves from Andorra are particularly good for outdoor skating because they have a waterproof exterior and 3M Thinsulate lining to keep the chill at bay.

Children’s ice skate prices

Children’s ice skates vary in price based on type, blade quality, and size. Most pairs range from $15 to $160.

Inexpensive: The most affordable children’s ice skates are usually adjustable skates. They can have fairly blunt blades that make smooth-skating more difficult. These skates don’t typically offer the best fit. You’ll usually pay between $15 and $40 for them.

Mid-range: Mid-range children’s ice skates are typically hybrid or hockey-style skates. They may have buckles or straps instead of laces. The blades are usually made of quality materials for durability and less friction on the ice. They generally cost between $40 and $85.

Expensive: The most expensive children’s ice skates are usually figure skating-style skates. They almost always have lace-up closures and high-quality blades made of stainless steel or nickel. You can expect to pay between $60 and $160 for these skates. 

EXPERT TIP

It’s normal for kids to get frustrated with all the slips and falls that occur when they’re learning to skate. Provide encouragement and put the emphasis on fun. This will help them stick with it.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Children can begin skating very young. Most experts agree that kids can start hitting the ice around the age of two.
  • Your child can develop blisters due to friction if their foot moves around inside their ice skates. Make sure the laces or other closures are securely tightened so your child can feel the skates around their feet.
  • Don’t let your children layer socks when they go ice skating. If they need two or more pairs of socks to make the skates fit properly, they’re wearing the wrong size.
  • Dress your kids in sweatpants or leggings when they go ice skating. Jeans can restrict movement and make skating more difficult.
  • For the safest skating, children should wear a helmet when they take to the ice. Head injuries aren’t uncommon for ice skaters, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads can also be a good idea to prevent injuries.

Other products we considered

There are plenty of children’s ice skates that can help get your kids excited about skating. Lake Placid Nitro 8.8 Adjustable Skates are a great option for new skaters because the hockey-style blade provides plenty of stability. They feature easy-to-close buckles instead of laces or ties, and the adjustable sizing means they can expand up to four shoe sizes to grow with your child.

We also like Jackson Ultima Classique Series Ice Skates for children who are interested in figure skating because they’re designed for comfort. They have a soft topline and microfiber lining that feels good on the foot, and the contoured backstrap fits the ankle nicely. These skates even have memory foam padding in the ankle area for support.

Like adult skates, children’s ice skates often have a moisture-wicking lining to keep feet from getting sweaty.

FAQ

Q. What’s the best way to teach kids to ice skate?
A.
If you want to expose your child to ice skating, start with group lessons. Your child can learn the basics while having fun with others. When your kid is just starting out, it’s a good idea to stick around for moral support and encouragement. Individual ice time is also important. Take your child to the rink during public skating times for some relaxed skating and casual technique work.
 

Q. Which type of children’s ice skates offer the best ankle support?
A.
Both hockey skates and figure skates offer excellent ankle support. Most hockey skates have a highly structured design. With figure skates, it’s important to buy a high-quality pair to ensure that they are tight and stiff enough to support your child’s ankle.
 

Q. Can’t I just rent ice skates for my child?
A.
If your child isn’t particularly interested in skating and only goes to the rink every once in a while, renting may be a better option than investing in a high-quality pair of children’s ice skates. But if your kid is passionate about skating, is interested in learning to play hockey, or wants to get started in figure skating, you’ll definitely want to invest in a pair of skates.

The team that worked on this review
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Kyle
    Kyle
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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