The 8 Best Ice Skates of 2022

The American Athletic Shoe Women's Tricot Lined Figure Skates offer great value

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Best Ice Skates

TripSavvy / Chloe Jeong

TripSavvy's Pick

The American Athletic Shoe Women's Tricot Lined Figure Skates are easy to clean and offer beginner-friendly features like reinforced ankle support and a special toe pick for extra control. Another pick for beginners is the Jackson Ultimate Jackson Artiste skates.

Forever a source of wintertime fun, ice skating can turn a cold, snowy day into a red-cheeked adventure—as long as you're equipped with the right pair of skates. We spoke to skating instructor (and a senior commerce editor at Dotdash Meredith) Margaret Badore for her best tips on what to look for. With ten years of experience working as a skating instructor, she also previously served as a Theater on Ice team coach and a Gold-rated judge for the Ice Skating Institute, so you know you're in good hands.

"Hockey skates have shorter, more rounded blades than figure skates, which can make hockey skates harder for beginners to balance in," says Badore. "If you're not planning to play hockey, I strongly recommend that beginning skaters start off with a figure skating blade," Badore adds. "Figure skating blades are longer and extend past the heel of the boot, so it's easier for most new skaters to get their balance."

No matter your skill level or ice skating goals, nothing will ruin a day out on the ice quicker than uncomfortable skates, so take the time to research and think about the kind of skating you'll be doing. We pulled together our top picks with help from an expert to get you started.

Based on our reviews, these are the best skates on the market today.

Best Budget: American Athletic Shoe Women's Tricot Lined Figure Skates

4.9
American Athletic Shoe Women's Tricot Lined Figure Skates

Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

What We Like
  • Easy to clean

  • Great value

What We Don't Like
  • Runs a bit large

Recreational skaters who aren’t attempting advanced tricks will find everything they need with these ice skates from American Athletic, a company that has been making and selling ice skates since 1959. The boots are made of a warp-knit fabric called Tricot, which is smooth in texture and very easy to wipe clean. These skates are made with reinforced ankle support and have a beginner-style toe pick for added control.

Shoppers note that these skates are ideal for beginners and they appreciate the value for money they deliver. One thing to keep in mind is these skates are marketed toward the occasional skater. If you plan on skating often, you would be wise to invest in a sturdier pair.

Best for Beginner Figure Skaters: Jackson Ultima Jackson Artiste

Jackson Ultima Jackson Artiste

Courtesy of Skates Guru

What We Like
  • Flexible

  • Comfortable

What We Don't Like
  • Weak lace hooks

Available in both a women’s and men’s style and in black and white colorways, the Artiste skates from Jackson Ultima are super versatile. First off, the blades are attached with screws and are removable, meaning you can customize them to an extent. It also makes sharpening the blades that much easier. These ice skates are designed for beginners and offer great flexibility within the boot. This makes them more comfortable, thanks to a softer topline design, memory foam ankle support, and a microfiber lining.

Best for Tricks: Jackson Ultima Freestyle Series

Jackson Ultima Freestyle Series

Courtesy of Jackson Ultima

What We Like
  • Minimalist design

  • Padded tongue

  • Contoured design

What We Don't Like
  • Long break-in time

If spins and jumps are on your agenda, the Ultima Freestyle Series features a high-quality chrome blade that will withstand all of the work you put it up against. These ice skates will take a while to break in, thanks to its super-sturdy boot construction. But stick with it and the break-in period will be worth it. The leather tongue is covered in mesh, making it more comfortable and less likely to cause blisters. Another plus: The boot has a contoured backstrap, giving you a closer ankle fit that adds even more support.

Best for Hockey: CCM Senior Tacks 9070 Ice Hockey Skates

CCM Senior Tacks 9070 Ice Hockey Skates

Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

What We Like
  • Great price point

  • Padded tongue

What We Don't Like
  • Tough to clean

A soft contour pad around the collar of the CCM 9070 Ice Hockey Skate, paired with multi-density memory foam inside the boot, adds a supreme amount of comfort. The boot is made of an NHL-caliber lightweight composite material that is highly durable. The beauty of this ice skate is the price point—hockey skates can get quite expensive, but if you’re looking for a beginner pair that will give you the necessary support and flexibility to power around the rink, you’ve found it. The blades were designed with speed in mind: These skates feature CCM SpeedBlade stainless steel runners housed in a SpeedBlade 4.0 holder. The blades work to make the most of your strides by increasing the torque of each push forward on the ice.

Best Recreational: Botas Dagmar Figure Ice Skates

Botas Dagmar Figure Ice Skates

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Ample padding

  • Stylish design

What We Don't Like
  • Not enough stability for advanced tricks

  • Weak laces

Available in sizes for men, women, and children, the Botas Dagmar Figure Ice Skate has a blade that is solidly set in a tough, plastic sole and boots that are made of water-resistant leather. While competitive figure skaters will want to look for something more attuned for landing tricks, these skates fit the bill for a wide age range of skaters. This is impressive, considering feet can be quite different as we age. Padding in the ankle, tongue, and boot collar allows the foot to expand wherever needed.

Best for Kids: Riedell Recreational Youth Ice Skates (10 Opal)

Riedell Recreational Youth Ice Skates (10 Opal)

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Comfortable

  • Easy to clean

What We Don't Like
  • Weak lace hooks

Riedell has been providing gear to a wide range of skaters for 70 years. These youth skates aren’t built for landing advanced tricks, but they will give your child the support needed to test the waters of ice skating.

A few words of advice on finding ice skates for young skaters: “For kids, resist the urge to buy a size up,” says Badore. “This might save you money when buying shoes, but ice skates that are too big are more likely to cause painful blisters and increase their chances of falling."

These skates have stainless steel blades focused on giving the skater a smooth glide and are made of an easy-clean and high-quality vinyl. A parting piece of advice when it comes to buying ice skates for kids: “Softech velcro skates for tots are a nightmare on ice; the boots are soft and straps are impossible to get tight enough,” says Badore. “Avoid any skates that rely on only ‘ratchet’ straps or a boot that's made from a single molded piece of plastic.”

Best Custom: Jackson Ultima Customs

Jackson Ultima Customs

Courtesy of Jackson Ultima

What We Like
  • Completely custom

  • Various price points

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Advanced and elite-level skaters need to find a skate that truly fits like a second skin. Jackson Ultima offers a custom program that allows the skater to personalize their skates in three ways: custom fits of stock skates, the Rapid Custom process, or the 5000 Series.

The first option uses the brand’s existing styles and pairs you with one of Jackson Ultima’s technicians to find a custom interior and exterior fit with a heat-moldable system. The Rapid Custom process will get you a custom boot featuring one of the brand’s stock uppers, lasts, blades, finishes, and sole attachments. From design to finish, you’ll have a new pair of skates in four to six weeks.

The last option, the 5000 Series, is a completely custom experience led by a Jackson Ultima technician that results in a hand-built skate made exactly for you and your skating needs. This is a pricier build, but worth it if you need optimal support and control.

Best for Wide Feet: Jackson Ultima Softec Diva Skate

Jackson Ultima Softec Diva Skate

Courtesy of Jackson Ultima

What We Like
  • Great color options

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Tougher to clean and remove moisture

The color options (which include a bright red and purple) for the Softex Diva skates from Jackson Skate are relatively unique, compared to other, more minimal styles. The microfiber construction of the boot allows the shoe to give a bit more than a leather skate, making it a great option for those with wide feet. The interior of the boot is lined with Nylex, which also helps keep your feet warm. There’s an Ultima Mark I blade attached to the boot, which is known for its support glide and top-notch performance.

What to Look for When Buying Ice Skates

Types of Ice Skates

There are five types of ice skates out there: figure skates, hockey skates, racing skates, touring skates, and bandy skates. The most common skates you’ll come across are figure skates and hockey skates, as the other three styles are used specifically for sporting (racing skates for, well, races; touring skates for skating long distances; and bandy skates for participating in the game of bandy). Hockey skates have a shorter blade, while figure skates have a longer blade that makes it easier to balance and perform tricks. 

Another thing to note: Competitive figure skaters need to get even more granular in their research. “There is a whole world of high-level competitive figure skates that have 100 percent bespoke or next-to-completely-customized boots (you buy blades separately) for skaters who are doing double and triple rotation jumps, as well as an equivalent for high-level ice dancers,” says Badore. “These skates can cost $700 to $1,000 per pair and skaters should consult with their coaches and go to an in-person fitting to address their personal level and needs, and also have the blades custom-mounted.”

Blades

Hockey skates have shorter and more rounded blades than figure skates styles. The shorter and rounder design makes it harder for beginners to balance. You can add toe picks—small, saw-tooth ridges—to figure skate blades, which allows the wearer to better land tricks.

Support

Ample ankle support is key when looking for a pair of ice skates. Whether you’re using them to perform advanced tricks or just to take some spins around the rink, you don’t want to roll your ankles. Most figure skate boots are made of leather, which wears down after use.

“Skates should fit you like a second skin and offer plenty of support at the ankle,” says Badore. “In my coaching career, one of the biggest causes of injuries are skates that are too big or too loose. Your skates should fit snugly with no space for your foot to move forward or backward or side to side in the boot. You should be able to bend forward at the ankle, without wobbling side to side. Generally speaking, laces will offer better support and fit than velcro or ratchet-style straps.”

If you identify as a taller or heavier skater, there are a few things to avoid. “Look for boots that offer more support, and consider staying away from boots marketed for their ‘comfort’ because these softer boots will break down more quickly and need to be replaced sooner.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do I break in my ice skates?

    Though you may be excited to give your new skates a go, heading straight to the ice may not be the best idea. “Just like breaking in a new pair of leather shoes, it’s best to start with shorter sessions and work your way up to wearing your skates for longer periods of time,” says Badore. “You can also help speed up the break-in process by wearing your skates in the house and walking around—just be sure to use hard guards to protect your blades (like these).”

  • How do I care for my ice skates?

    Plan on cleaning your skates after each skate session. Doing this will lengthen the lifespan of your skates. Each time, make sure to wipe your boots down (inside and outside) to get rid of any moisture and bacteria, which can cause mold. Create a larger hole for airing your skates out by loosening the laces and pulling the tongue of the boot forward. Leave them out in the open air—don’t trap them in a gym bag or closet. You can treat leather boots with polish to keep them looking new longer. 

    For skate blades, wear blade guards when you’re wearing the skates off-ice to avoid dulling the blades and damaging the floor. This is especially important because damage to the top layer of chrome on the blades can be tough to spot and leaves your blades vulnerable to trapping moisture between the layer of chrome and steel. Moisture can encourage rusting, which can cause all kinds of problems. Wipe your blades dry after use and again a few hours later. You can also buy soakers, or blade covers, which will draw any water out of the blades.

  • How long does a pair of ice skates last?

    This really depends on how often you use them, like with any other pair of shoes. If worn regularly, expect your pair of skates to last 1-3 years. If you use them infrequently, they can last much longer. It’s more about how they feel when you skate versus a set lifespan. Your ice skates will need to be replaced when they feel wobbly to skate on or when it’s harder to make turns and perform tricks. If your ankles start to feel unsupported while skating or your feet move around in the shoe more than usual, it’s worth exploring getting a new pair. Pay specific attention to the space where your ankle and foot connect—this is where the most stress occurs in the skate. You want to avoid rolling your ankles while skating, so when the skate wears out in this area, start searching for a new pair.

Why Trust TripSavvy

TripSavvy writer Erika Owen researched ice skates extensively for comfort, fit, and support. Many have been vetted by Margaret Badore, a skating instructor with more than 10 years of experience. This piece was edited by TripSavvy Senior Commerce Editor Chris Abell, who played ice hockey for over 10 years.

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