I was 8 years old, and my skates were sagging. I didn’t know any better, and because of that, I didn’t care. I was going to be a figure skater, and the odd jumps I was doing were, in my mind, the most amazing thing a person could do! I called them axles and salchows, but I had no idea what I was doing. All I knew was figure skaters were amazing, and I wanted to be like them. It wouldn’t be until I was 11 that I would begin getting proper private lessons, and it was then that I learned my skates we insufficient.
My ankles caved in and sometimes touched the ice as my coach Dianna sucked air through her teeth, concerned about my safety. Rightfully so. Even back then, skates were a lot of money, and my family was more of a hand-me-down setup. We couldn’t afford to get me new skates, but if I was going to test and compete, it was necessary. I wore that pair of skates until I was 23 years old, and they got me through many competitions and tests. The payout was worth every second on the ice.
Skates are still expensive. Technology has changed, and the products are safer and better for a skater’s health than they used to be. Each brand has its own added features to make its skates beneficial to competitive and recreational skaters. However, there are many products on the market that are cheap, fall apart, and in the end, become the same horrifying accident waiting to happen as what I had strapped to my feet at 11.
Below are some good options for beginning, intermediate, and recreational skaters that won’t break the bank and will last a good amount of time (so long as feet don’t grow.)
A wonderful skate for both the beginner and freestyle skater. These skates can last through the axle and have an easy break-in time. They are also heat moldable to get a more custom fit which can be beneficial to skaters like me with finicky feet, different shapes, or need modifications for medical or other reasons. I actually use a pair of these for coaching Learn to Skate sometimes! Click the pictures below to be taken to the product page.
Meant for Learn to Skate skaters who are just starting out, these skates are under $100 but ensure your little ice enthusiast is safe and supported! Click the pictures to be taken to the product page.
Similar to the above-listed boot by Jackson, this under $100 boot is a great option for Learn to Skate skaters who are just starting out. Boots that are too stiff for beginners can cause the feet to hurt and leave the skater feeling frustrated. Skates like this can help students become used to wearing skates and work their way up to the stiffer boots needed for more difficult jumps and spins. Click the picture to be taken to the product.
Another well-known brand to figure skaters, Gam is a great option for skaters who do not feel comfortable with the toebox shape in other skate brands. Typically Gam has been known to give a little wider toebox, which cuts down on pressure in the toes and ball of the foot, alleviating their desire to leave the ice and miss out on their fun! At a cost of less than $90, this pair of skates is a great option! Click on the picture to be taken to the product link. This link leads to a few different options.
Another under $100 option that gives stability without the pain! This skate is perfect for Learn to Skate and recreational skaters. These have a durable sole and heel for those inevitable toe pick catches from friends in class or from skating around the rink in style! Click the pictures below to be taken to the product page.