Best Ice Skates Reviewed & Rated for Performance

With snow and freezing temperatures upon us come thoughts of winter sports and recreation. One of the most popular winter activities throughout the world is ice skating. You don’t need to be an Olympian to enjoy ice skating, but you do need one thing; a good pair of ice skates. Ice skates come in two styles, figure skating, and hockey style. You can tell figure skates by the toe pick they have on the front of the blade. Hockey skates are smooth from front to back.

Last Updated: January 20, 2018
By Adam Zimmerman:

The recent update includes the best ice skates for the winter of 2017/2018. They were chosen based on ankle support, comfort, and of course, overall cost. Check back often to see what additions 2018 has to offer in the category of Best Ice Skates.

Featured Recommendations

Jackson Ultima Excel
  • Jackson Ultima Excel
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Ultima Mark II Blades
  • Price: See Here
 
Riedell 110 Opal
  • Riedell 110 Opal
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Quilted Lining
  • Price: See Here
 
Lake Placid Nitro
  • Lake Placid Nitro
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Adjustable Push Button
  • Price: See Here

In this review, I have selected the most popular skates, regardless of style. The reason for this is because the majority of users don’t specifically need figure skates or hockey skates, they just want the best skates available at an affordable price.

 

10 Best Ice Skates

 

1. Jackson Ultima Excel

If you're looking for an excellent all-around ice skate at an affordable price, the Jackson Ultima Excel is for you. This is a great pair of skates for a beginner or someone who is getting back into skating. They provide the support that you need at a price you can handle.
Expand to see more
Support
The Jackson Ultima Excel provides excellent support to the ankles, which is a necessity for ice skates. The laces lace up tight around the top of your ankle.

Blades
The Ultima Excel comes with Jacksons Ultima Mark II blades, which take an edge extremely well and provide a solid base of support.

Cost and Value
The Jackson Ultima Excel runs around $100, which is an affordable price for a beginner. The skate is made of durable vinyl coating that will last for years.
Pros
  • Ultima Mark II blade
  • Comfortable fit
  • Excellent stability
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Blades need sharpening before use

2. Lake Placid Everest

Feel like your foot is wrapped in fur with the Lake Placid Everest. It features a woven soft-touch lining that wraps your ankle in warm, soft comfort. The ankle strap provides increased ankle support for an excellent all-around beginner skate.
Expand to see more
Ankle Support
The additional support provided by the ankle strap is a great addition for beginners who need the extra support. The strap locks your foot into the skate and removes any wiggle room.

Woven Soft Touch Lining
The lining of the skate feels like fur, providing a soft and warm blanket for your foot when inside the skate.

Cost and Value
This is one of the most affordable skates in this review, typically running between $50 - $60 depending on size. Lake Placid is a reliable brand of skate that you can count on lasting for many years.
Pros
  • Ankle strap provides extra support
  • Woven soft touch lining
  • Blade guards included
Cons
  • Runs 1/2 size large

3. Jackson Ultima Mystique

The Jackson Ultima Mystique is a step up in quality from the Ultima Excel, but also a step up in price. The added padding in the foot and the tongue provide your ankle with excellent support.
Expand to see more
Additional Padding
The Jackson Ultima Mystique comes equipped with lots of additional padding inside the boot, which helps with support as well as landings on jumps.

Flex Notch
The Mystique adds a flex notch at the neck for increased flexibility while being able to maintain ankle support.

Cost and Value
The Mystique is a step up from the more affordable Excel, and the Mystique will cost you between $130 - $140. Jackson is a reliable brand of ice skate, and you can expect your Mystique to last you from beginner to intermediate skill level.
Pros
  • Additional padding in backline and tongue
  • Flex notch for added flexibility
  • Full quarter and extra ankle padding
Cons
  • Still a beginners skate, not recommended for jumps or spins

4. Riedell 119 Emerald

4. Riedell 119 Emerald
The Riedell 119 Emerald is a basic, instructional skate at a decent price. It has a leather tongue reinforcement that adds protection and strength. Combine that with the padded Achilles Tendon collar for extra comfort.
Expand to see more
Comfort Features
The Emerald is loaded with additional comfort features. It has a reinforced leather tongue which provides protection and strength, and an Achilles Tendon collar for additional heel support.

Toebox Design
The Riedell 119 Emerald incorporates an increased toebox for added comfort without compromising ankle support. This reduces foot fatigue and allows you to stay on your skates longer.

Cost and Value
Priced between $130-$170, the Emerald is about average for what a beginners skate costs. For this price, you get many upgraded features such as increased padding and comfort, as well as extra room in the toebox.
Pros
  • Larger toebox
  • Additional padding
  • Flex notch
  • Achilles Tendon collar
Cons
  • Higher cost than other beginners skates

5. Riedell 110 Opal

5. Riedell 110 Opal
The Riedell 110 Opal is a no-frills, basic beginners skate. It provides adequate support for a great price. If you are looking for a skate to learn with, this is your skate.
Expand to see more
Foam Quarter Padding
The Riedell 110 Opal provides your feet a soft, padded fit with its padded quarters. All day skating is no problem now.

Attractive Design
The basic, attractive design of the 110 Opal is appealing to many people. The split tongue design also provides added stability on the ice.

Cost and Value
At around $70, the 110 Opal is a very affordable skate. Its basic, attractive design makes it very popular amongst beginners.
Pros
  • Split tongue design for added stability
  • Hand made quilted lining
  • Nickel plated blades
Cons
  • Not a lot of features

6. Lake Placid Nitro

6. Lake Placid Nitro
The Lake Placid Nitro skate features a push button adjustment that allows the skate to grow with your child's foot. That, combined with the adjustable fast-snap buckles, make this a great skate for youth beginners. It is also the most affordable skate in this review.
Expand to see more
Adjustable Push Button
The adjustable push button allows the skate to adjust to growing feet. That means that this skate will grow with your child, and reduce the number of new skates you need to buy as they grow.

Affordable
The Lake Placid Nitro is the most affordable skate in this review, with a price tag under $40. A great beginner skate for children, they are durable and adjustable for long life.

Cost and Value
Costing under $40, the Nitro is a great deal for younger skaters who need a basic pair of skates that they can grow with and learn in. The Nitro is durable and adjustable and will stay with your child for many years.
Pros
  • Adjustable
  • Durable construction
  • Extremely affordable
Cons
  • "Plasticy" cheap looking

7. Jackson Ultima Glacier

7. Jackson Ultima Glacier
The fleece lining of the Jackson Ultima Glacier wraps your feet in comfort. Its stainless steel blades provide a stable platform for you as you learn to skate. The padded covered tongue and rolled padded collar provide warmth, comfort, and support.
Expand to see more
Fleece Lining
The soft fleece lining aids in keeping your feet toasty warm, as well as provides comfortable padding to allow all day skating without foot fatigue.

Mark I Stainless Steel Blade
The blades of the Glacier are Ultima Mark I stainless steel blades, perfect for beginners. The blades are long lasting with little maintenance needed.

Cost and Value
The Jackson Ultima Glacier is an affordable skate, with a starting price of between $60-$70. Jackson is a reputable brand in the figure skating business, and their skates are known to last for a long time.
Pros
  • Fleece lining
  • Extra padding for comfort
  • Stainless steel blades
Cons
  • Sizes run large

8. Lake Placid Summit

8. Lake Placid Summit
The Lake Placid Summit is a great purchase if you have a young child who is just getting into skating. It features an adjustable push button sizing feature which allows your child to grow up to four full sizes while remaining in the same skate.
Expand to see more
Push Button Adjustment
The Lake Placid Summit comes with adjustable push button sizing, which allows the user to grow up to four full sizes and stay in the same skate. This allows young skaters to stay in the same boot while they learn the basics of skating.

Woven Lining and Comfort Padding
The Summit includes insulated Sof-Tec foam lining for increased warmth and softness. It also reinforces ankle support and provides a safer skating platform.

Cost and Value
Lake Placid skates are some of the most affordable in this review. The Summit is a deal at around $40. The adjustable size also adds value because you won't need to rebuy skates every year for a growing child.
Pros
  • Adjustable size
  • Sof-Tec foam lining
  • Ankle support
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Bulky appearance

9. Lake Placid Cascade

9. Lake Placid Cascade
The Lake Placid Cascade is an extremely attractive skate. With beautiful golden inlay and firm synthetic uppers that provide great ankle support, the Cascade has everything you're looking for. And at less than $50, this makes them a great beginner skate.
Expand to see more
Reinforced Ankle Support
The Lake Placid Cascade offers reinforced ankle support to provide you a solid base for a beginning skater. New skaters will love this.

Woven Liner
The woven liner with comfort padding keeps your feet exceedingly warm. It provides additional padding that protects your feet and allows you to skate longer.

Cost and Value
With a price tag of between $35-$50, the Lake Placid Cascade is very affordable beginners skate. If you're looking for an attractive, comfortable beginners skate, take a look at the Cascade.
Pros
  • Beautiful white/gold pattern
  • Reinforced ankle support
  • stainless steel blade
Cons
  • Runs 1.5 to 2 sizes big

10. Lake Placid Monarch

10. Lake Placid Monarch
Push button adjustable sizing and an adjustable ankle strap make the Monarch a convenient, wise purchase for years to come. It allows your child to grow into the skate, eliminating the need to buy new skates every year.
Expand to see more
Adjustable Push Button
The push button adjustment allows you to quickly adjust the size of the skate to the users growing feet.

Adjustable Ankle Support
The ankle straps make tightening the boot a breeze, and provide enough ankle support to ensure a solid skating platform.

Cost and Value
For around $50, the Monarch is a great buy for a beginning skater. It has the stability to allow confident learning, and the adjustable size makes for infrequent replacement.
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Adjustable
  • Stylish
  • Good ankle support
Cons
  • Bulky looking

In this review, we have looked at some great examples of beginners ice skates for both figure skating and hockey. Use this as a guide if you are planning to purchase your first pair of skates so that you know what to look for and what to expect. Now get out there and enjoy the freezing weather.

Criteria Used To Evaluate Best Ice Skates

Ankle Support

One of the most important features of an ice skate is the level of ankle support it provides. Standing on a blade of metal can make even a veteran ice skater wobbly. The best ice skates provide you with excellent ankle support and make you feel like your standing in regular shoes. Features such as support straps and padded tongues all contribute to a supportive skate.

Comfort

Comfort is always a criterion when looking for any type of footwear, and ice skates are no exception. Ankle support and comfort go hand in hand because if your foot and ankle are not supported, you won’t be comfortable. Some of the features I look for in a comfortable skate are padded inserts, fleece lining, and expanded toeboxes. When you are comfortable in your skates, you will be able to skate longer, and that will lead to better results and ultimately more enjoyment.

Cost

If you are a beginner, value is always something that you are looking for in a skate. There’s no reason to spend hundreds of dollars on skates that you are just learning how to use. Even if you are an experienced ice skater, it’s always good to check the cost of your skates versus other skates available.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What’s the difference between hockey skates and figure skates?

A: The main difference between hockey skates and figure skates are the blades. For hockey skates, the blade is smooth throughout the entire length, while figure skating blades have a jagged toe pick, used for digging into the ice. Besides that, there is also a difference in appearance. Hockey skates tend to have a large, bulky, plastic appearance to them, while figure skates are smaller, made of either leather or vinyl that looks like leather. Hockey skates generally have quick straps that secure your ankle tightly, while figure skates almost always have laces, with some having an additional ankle strap for support.

Q: How are ice skates sized?

A: Ice skates are sized the same as shoes, in the United States those sizes go 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, etc. However, they are not sized equivalently to shoe sizes. Ice skates generally run 1 to 1.5 sizes smaller than shoes. For example, if you wear a size 8 in a tennis shoe, you should try a size 6.5 in ice skates.

Q: How tight should my ice skates fit?

A: With ice skates, they should fit tighter than normal shoes. This is to provide adequate ankle support when standing on a single blade of metal. When you slip your foot into the skate, it should feel snug on both sides. You still want room in the toe box to be able to wiggle your toes. Then, after you have tightened the laces or adjustment straps, you should feel additional snug pressure from the tongue on the top of your foot. If it’s difficult to slip your foot into the skate, or if you don’t feel snug pressure on your foot after tightening the skate, you may have the wrong size.

Q: Can I do jumps and spins in my beginner skates?

A: All of the skates in this review are beginner level skates, and thus only have beginner level ankle support. This is more than adequate support for recreational skating, but will not provide you with the support needed to land jumps and execute spins, like you see figure skaters pull off in the Olympics.

Q: Do my ice skate blades come pre-sharpened?

A: As a general rule, most ice skate blades do not come pre-sharpened from the manufacturer. You will need to visit a skate shop and have the skates professionally sharpened before you take them out to enjoy them.

Sources

  1. TripSavvy.com, The 8 Best Ice Skates to Buy in 2018, January 8, 2018
  2. Kinzie’s Closet, Figure Skating Comparison Guide, 2017
  3. WikiHow, How to Select A Good Pair of Ice Skates, 2017
  4. AlterEstimate, Best Ice Skates for Women, 2017
  5. Triple Toe Skatewear, Beginner Figure Skates, 2017