Outdoors Winter Sports The 5 Best Kids' Ice Skates of 2023 Watch your child slice the ice in the Riedell Recreational Ice Skates By Perri Ormont Blumberg Perri Ormont Blumberg Twitter Columbia University Perri Ormont Blumberg is a New York City-born-and-based writer. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Columbia University and is also a culinary school graduate of the plant-based Natural Gourmet Institute. She's held staff jobs as an editor or writer at various outlets. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Updated on 01/27/23 Share Pin Email We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. "Winter is coming" isn't just a Game of Thrones tagline—it's a reminder that it's almost time to lace up the boots and hit the ice for some twirls. So, you're buying your kid or a special youngster in your life a pair of ice skates. Is your head starting to spin like you're the one zig-zagging around the rink? The good news is that buying a pair of ice skates for kids doesn't have to be an overwhelming task. In fact, it can actually be a pretty straightforward process if you keep the following basics top of mind. Start by deciding if you'll purchase hockey or figure skates, with or without laces, and pay attention to sizing and maintenance requirements. The Rundown Best Overall: Riedell Recreational Youth Ice Skates (10 Opal) at Amazon Jump to Review Best Overall, Runner Up: Jackson Ultima Jackson Artiste at Dick's Jump to Review Best Budget: Rollerblade Bladerunner Ice at Amazon Jump to Review Best Hockey Skates: Lake Placid Boys' Summit Adjustable Ice Skate at Amazon Jump to Review Best Adjustable: Xino Sports Adjustable Ice Skates at Amazon Jump to Review Table of contents Expand Our Picks What to Look For FAQ Why Trust TripSavvy Best Overall Riedell Recreational Youth Ice Skates (10 Opal) Courtesy of Amazon View On Amazon View On Hockeymonkey.com View On Scheels.com What We Like Great value Durable Comfortable and keeps feet dry Versatile blade What We Don't Like Kids who are heavier than average for their height might want a boot with more support Not good for advanced spins/jumps These recreational skates will outfit your child well for a day on the ice. The boot is designed for warmth with a fleece-lined upper and tongue, and the padding provides superior comfort for training. The exterior shell provides ample support and durability. Made with a synthetic outsole, these skates are supportive without being heavy and clunky. Jackson doesn't cut corners, even in its children's versions of the Ultima boot. It fits these boots with a high-quality figure skating blade that delivers long-lasting wear. Although still a leisure skate, this boot is recommended for intermediate skaters. Price at time of publication: $89 Best Overall, Runner Up Jackson Ultima Jackson Artiste Courtesy of Skates Guru View On Dick's View On Skates.guru What We Like Quality design Comfortable tongue Good for intermediate skaters PVC outside and synthetic upper for easy care and cleaning What We Don't Like Expensive Show dirt easily Wang calls these skates a good option for girls serious about their figure skating pursuits. “They have a design that is near top-of-the-line performance status and have stability and precision in mind,” she says, highlighting that she’s a fan of the microfiber lining that has memory foam ankle padding for better cushioning. She also points out that the skates feature a notched construction in the upper ankle area for better flexibility. Margaret Badore, who has over ten years of experience as an ice skating instructor and previously served as a Gold-rated competition judge for the Ice Skating Institute (she’s also a senior commerce editor at Dotdash Meredith), agrees that Jackson skates are generally a good pick. “This is an expensive option for beginners,” Wang cautions. “But if you’re looking for a high-quality option to develop a lifelong passion on the ice, this is a good choice.” Price at time of publication: $216 The 8 Best Ice Skates of 2023 Best Budget Rollerblade Bladerunner Ice Amazon View On Amazon What We Like Ideal for beginners Cushy padding Fashionable design on the heel What We Don't Like Some reviewers say the shoe quality could be better Some report crooked blades out of the box Sturdy? Check? Stable? You betcha. “For a kid’s figure skate, this option by Rollerblade is pretty solid,” comments Christine Wang, winter sports enthusiast and founder, TheSkiGirl. “They have a durable construction and a reinforced upper ankle area to help the little ones develop skills and technique on the ice.” We also appreciate that the stainless-steel blades with toe picks hold their edge well. Also worth highlighting is that the sturdy build will help limit injuries and increase precision, as Wang puts it. “This makes them good for beginners because they’ll need extra support,” she says. Since these skates are for casual ice skaters, don’t expect lots of bells and whistles. “They don’t come with the best laces, so you might want to order a new set for a secure fit,” adds Wang. Price at time of publication: $75 Best Hockey Skates Lake Placid Boys' Summit Adjustable Ice Skate Scheels View On Amazon View On Walmart View On Dick's What We Like Adjustable skates Extra warm What We Don't Like Blades don't hold the sharpest edge Lose support with extended use "I like these beginner ice skates by Lake Placid because they are adjustable, so your kid won't outgrow them too soon," says Wang of these skates with stainless steel blades. "They are also made of quality material that will hold up well under regular use." Wang also notes that these skates have an adjustable buckle to accommodate different foot widths, a great feature to ensure a comfortable fit. And the skates' design allows for adjustment up to four full sizes, so they'll last as your child grows. Along with a woven lining and extra comfortable padding, they also have "a waterproof sole that will help [kids'] feet stay warmer for longer on the ice," she adds. The simple black, white, and grey design isn't too flashy but isn't so bland as to elicit a "boring!" from your youngster. Price at time of publication: $45 Best Adjustable Xino Sports Adjustable Ice Skates Xino Sports View On Amazon What We Like Lightweight Adjustable Fashionable Affordable What We Don't Like Can be hard to adjust Tongue may stick out on the side Not only are these skates good-looking, but they’re also comfortable to wear and expand to a larger size as your child’s feet grow. These pre-sharpened stainless-steel blades are great on the ice, and each order comes with a protective cover. Bonus: They come with a 60-day money-back guarantee and a one-year parts and labor warranty. Price at time of publication: $43 What to Look for When Buying Kids Ice Skates The first thing to do is decide whether you're shopping for figure skates or hockey skates. Says Badore: "If your child has their heart set on either figure skating or hockey, it's best to start them off in ice skates designed for that sport. If your child just wants to learn to skate but doesn't particularly want to pursue hockey or figure skating, I generally recommend that parents select a figure skate because the blades are longer and easier to get your balance in at first." In addition to ice and hockey skates, hybrid skates are also on the market. Echoing Badore, Wang says: "One of the first things to look for when deciding what skates to get is their style or intended purpose...Hockey skates are built for speed but don't allow as much precision as figure skates. Hybrid sits somewhere in the middle." In general, kids ice skates run from around $40-$100+ (of course, prices can climb quite high if your kid is training competitively, but we're going to go ahead and guess you're not looking for an Olympics-worthy pair if you're reading this). In general, experts recommend traditional figure skates with laces; longer blades and toe-picks are best for the average kid's needs (read: doing a few laps for weekend fun before clamoring for a hot chocolate break and snack time). To help you get the lay of the land before buying kids ice skates, Badore provided the following guidelines when selecting ice skates for kids. Sizing Resist the urge to buy a size up. “This might save you money when buying shoes, but ice skates that are too big are more likely to cause painful blisters and increase a skater’s chance of falling. Your child’s foot should not be able to slide forward, backward, or move side to side in the boot,” says Badore, adding that the ankle should be supported and not wobble side-to-side, but the boot’s tongue should be flexible enough to bend forward. Badore also notes that the boot shouldn’t prevent your child from being able to bend their knees. Laces vs. No Laces Badore generally finds that skates with laces are better for getting a secure and comfortable fit than velcro or ratchet-style straps. "Even if your child has mastered tying their own shoes, you may want to help lace up their skates to make sure they are tight enough and that their ankles are supported," she adds. As Badore cautions, you should avoid skates that rely on only "ratchet" straps and those with a boot made from a single molded piece of plastic. Maintenance Remember, you'll have to maintain kids ice skates regularly to keep them in good shape. "All skates require regular maintenance. The blades and boot should be dried after each use and regularly sharpened," Badore says. Frequently Asked Questions How do I break in my ice skates? “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,” Badore previously told TripSavvy. “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).”While Wang concedes that there’s no real secret to breaking skates in other than grinning and bearing it even if they hurt a bit, she says that sometimes wearing two pairs of socks can help. How do I care for my ice skates? Once a kid exits the skating rink, ingrain the habit of wiping and drying off the blades with a cloth to preserve the blade. Wang also says that ensuring you don’t walk on surfaces like dirt or gravel will help keep the edges sharp. “You should also dry them off for storage to help limit any rust or grime,” she notes. Wiping off the inside of ice skates with a cloth is helpful, too, as it can help stave off mold and mildew. Insoles should be swapped out regularly with fresh pairs to keep funky smells at bay and prevent bacteria growth.From time to time, you’ll also want to change the laces. Once they start to lose their elasticity or fray, that’s a good sign you should insert a new pair of laces. Sharpening-wise, experts say to sharpen your skates every ten or so hours spent on the ice on an indoor rink and even more frequently when skating outdoors. Pay attention to your kids’ skating technique, and if they are struggling on the ice or failing on skills they could typically ace, they may be overdue for a sharpening. Indoor ice skating rinks often offer sharpening services for around $10 or less. How long does a pair of ice skates last? “Kids skates will usually only last a few years at most, especially under heavy use. They really aren’t built as strongly as adult models, and they have a shelf life,” says Wang, who also points out that kids might outgrow skates quickly anyway.Of course, if you don’t buy adjustable skates, kids might outgrow skates even if they’re still holding up just fine on the ice. Foot growth aside, the lifespan of a pair of ice skates is about one to three years. Obviously, if you use skates once a month versus five times a week, skates will wear out more swiftly. For more on how long ice skates last, check out the FAQs of our article here. Why Trust TripSavvy Perri Ormont Blumberg is a travel and lifestyle writer who has written countless product reviews. Her product reviews and roundups have been featured in outlets ranging from BestProducts.com and SouthernLiving.com to MensJournal.com and the New York Post. In addition to consulting with a variety of experts in the ice skating and parenting space, she also pored over dozens of ice skating product reviews. 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