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Best Overall: American Athletic American Ice Force 2.0 at Amazon
"Has been engineered to welcome beginner and intermediate skaters."
Best Value: 5th Element Stealth at Amazon
"Delivers the support and comfort you need without breaking the bank."
Best for Beginner Figure Skaters: Jackson Ultima Mystique at Amazon
"Will help first-timers transform from wobbly starts to perfect execution."
Best for Tricks: Riedell Model 119 Emerald at Amazon
"Delivers amazing agility and control."
Best for Hockey: Bauer Supreme 2S Pro at Bauer
"For those who strive to play with NHL-level skill."
Best Recreational: K2 F.I.T. Ice at Amazon
"Allows you to skate comfortably for hours on end."
Best for Kids: Lake Placid Monarch Adjustable at Amazon
"Expands up to four sizes to accommodate season-to-season growth spurts."
Best for Toddlers: Bauer Lil’ Champ at Amazon
"Easy to put on, thanks to a single ski-boot-style ratchet buckle."
Best Customizable: Jackson Ultima at Amazon
"Offers three ways to get a skate made for you."
Best for Wide Feet: Botas Cezar XL at Amazon
"Comes with an extra-large internal volume."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: American Athletic American Ice Force 2.0
This hockey-style skate has been engineered to welcome beginner and intermediate skaters for activities that range from tooling around an indoor rink to swinging a stick on a frozen pond. One of the lightest ice skating shoes in American Athletic’s line, the American Ice Force 2.0 uses a customized PVC injection mold for the upper, which provides extra lateral support around the ankle and true comfort. A breathable inner liner creates a plush, comfortable internal environment, while the stainless steel blade has been optimized for speed and agility, with reliable edge support and copper rivets for solid control on the ice.
Best Value: 5th Element Stealth
Another hockey-style skate, the Stealth from 5th Element delivers the support and comfort you need without breaking the bank. These recreation-focused ice skating shoes fit true-to-size, with ankle padding and heel support integrated into the hard-shell upper. A moisture-resistant liner keeps the internal atmosphere comfortable, while the padded footbed amps the plush feel of the skate without sacrificing on agility or skate control. A reinforced outsole partnered with stainless steel blades delivers stability and serious speed, especially for beginner skaters.
Best for Beginner Figure Skaters: Jackson Ultima Mystique
Available for both men and women in youth, junior, and adult sizes, the Jackson Ultima Mystique will help first-timers transform from wobbly starts to perfect execution of their long and short programs. A cache of padding at the ankle and the vinyl-and-mesh tongue offers comfort and reduces foot fatigue, with a softer topline for added cushion. The toe picks sit at an acute angle that’s easy to trigger when you need control, but won’t snag unexpectedly on the ice. Leather uppers provide reliable ankle support, high-end lace hooks (similar to those found on hiking boots) make it easy to get the desired fit, and a PVC outsole adds a touch of style that’s also easy to maintain.
Best for Tricks: Riedell Model 119 Emerald
Built with precision in mind, the Model 199 Emerald from Riedell boasts a double-synthetic upper along with leather reinforcements on the tongue to add protection and strength, a hand-rolled collar, and an open-throat design for a better fit. The Achilles heel has also been padded to increase the comfort level, with Dri-Lex lining that keeps your feet dry. It all rides on Riedell's proprietary steel Luna blade that delivers amazing agility and control. But, for this skate (and the skater) to perform at the highest levels, the fit is equally important, and the Model 119 emerald comes in a variety of half- and full-foot sizes as well as wide and medium widths.
Best for Hockey: Bauer Supreme 2S Pro
With a retail price starting at $649, this is easily one of the most expensive ice skates in the market, but if you strive to play with NHL-level skill, the Supreme 2S Pro from Bauer might be the skate to help you improve your performance. The lightweight CURV composite boot anatomically wraps around your feet for max energy transfer and increased power, thermoforming to the contours of your feet, while the tendon guard uses composite inserts throughout the top of the skate to embrace your feet at all angles. The ice skating shoes run on a carbon-coated premium-grade LS5 steel that boasts a softer inner core to deliver sharp, clean edging ability. Designed for mid-profile feet (and available in a variety of widths), the three-piece 52-ounce felt tongue comes with moldable inserts to customize the comfort and control level to match the skater’s ability, along with a thermoformable footbed, which pretty much transforms this off-the-shelf product into a custom skate.
Best Recreational: K2 F.I.T. Ice
Comfort reigns supreme in K2's F.I.T. ice skate thanks to the award-winning “Softboot” design. Introduced in 1993, this technology melds the plush, forgiving environment of a soft-sided boot with the precision and accuracy you’d find in a hard-shell. This also allows you to skate comfortably for hours on end, whether on a frozen pond or at an indoor rink. The hockey-style ice skating shoes also come with a warm, brushed lining and water-repellent fabrics to keep things cozy and dry, with an enhanced stability cuff for additional support. It doesn’t come in variable widths, but the soft construction should allow the upper boot to fit most skiers, and traditional laces help find the optimal fit. The stainless steel blades are also injection-locked onto the skate to increase agility.
Best for Kids: Lake Placid Monarch Adjustable
Made in models that tailor to both boys and girls, the Monarch Adjustable Ice Skate from Lake Placid comes in three general sizes (small, medium, and large) that correspond to kids' shoe sizes. But, unlike most youth-focused ice skating shoes, the Monarch expands up to four sizes to accommodate season-to-season growth spurts. Simply loosen the strap, pull the lever, slide the toe to the desired length, and push the lever back into the locked position. Beyond that unparalleled versatility, the young skater also gets a hybrid soft/hard-shell boot that’s comfortable, durable, and easy to control on the ice, with an insulating woven lining and deluxe padding. Do note, however, that the fixed, hockey-style stainless-steel blade does need to be sharpened before the skate can be used.
Best for Toddlers: Bauer Lil’ Champ
If the term “cute” ever applied to ice skates, it applies to the Bauer Lil’ Champ. These boots are easy to put on, thanks to a single ski-boot-style ratchet buckle. They also deliver reliable ankle support, with a nylon inner liner that’s comfortable and relatively watertight. The hockey-focused configuration will help the little ones find their edge more quickly, rather than relying on the braking power of a figure skate’s toe picks — though tentative first-timers may struggle a bit. And some parents report that the buckle may not endure seasons of abuse, which might be fine if you’ve only got one young skater. Those who embrace hand-me-downs, however, might want to consider more expensive ice skating shoes.
Best Customizable: Jackson Ultima
For serious figure skaters, there’s the high-end skate, and then there’s the next level skate: one that’s customized to your exact specifications, that takes into account your foot size, your skating style, and even your aesthetic. Thankfully, Jackson Ultima’s custom program offers three ways to get a skate made for you. You can work with existing skate models and have a skate technician use the brand’s heat-moldable system to create a custom fit — inside and out — from stock skates in their wide line of models. Or, go for the Rapid Custom option, which produces a custom boot from a stock upper that’s heat-molded for a custom fit, then partnered with your preference of stock lasts, sole attachments, blades, and finishes — all in about four to six weeks. There's also the 5000 Series, a six- to eight-week process where you work with Jackson Ultima’s skate techs to design a hand-built skate that matches your specific needs and desires, with everything from custom leather uppers, a variety of tongue and sole options, and heat molding to fit the foot for optimal control and comfort.
Best for Wide Feet: Botas Cezar XL
Figure skaters with larger-than-average foot sizes are perpetually forced to sacrifice control for the sake of comfort. But for the bigger, wider-footed skater, Botas' Cexar XL may be your best bet. As its name implies, it comes with an extra-large internal volume, in sizes that range from 43 to 47 (EUR), with a soft, elastic cuff around the calf to help with comfort. This partners with a padded tongue with a textile-laminate lining that carries throughout the boot interior to wick sweat and keep things dry and cozy, as well as Botas’ “Layers Thermo Technology, ” which reinforces the upper for support and foot protection that’s both tough and flexible. But this comfort doesn’t mean sacrificing agility. The shape of the upper is crafted to anatomically fit each ankle to max out stability and energy transmission from your body to the stainless-steel blade. On the outside, black PVC outsole is rigid and durable, while the thick leather uppers have been treated with a waterproof finish to keep things dry.
Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular ice skates on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 10 different ice skates overall, screened options from 8 different brands and manufacturers, and read over 20 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.
What to Look for in Ice Skates
Price Are you considering making a serious go with hockey or figure skating or do you just skate frequently? Definitely put some money into your skates if that’s what it takes for the right fit. You’ll want the quality, cushioning, and support of a better pair of skates if you’re using them often and for long stretches of time on the ice. If you’re a casual skater—once a week or so—you might not need an expensive pair to occasionally have fun on the ice.
Activity Understand the demands of the sport you’ll be practicing in these skates. Figure skating pairs aren’t going to cut it for hockey, and vice-versa. If you’re just looking for something to glide around the rink in, don’t worry about getting sport-specific skates (and the extra costs those carry)—an all-purpose pair will be just fine.
Fit It’s extremely important for ice skates to be supportive without being too tight, and comfortable while not overdoing the cushioning at the expense of structure. Landing wrong on a skate that doesn’t fit your foot right could have dangerous consequences. Make sure, for example, that neither heel can lift out when you have the skates laced up—otherwise, they’re not the skates for you.