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Best Ice Skates Reviewed & Rated for Performance

last updated Feb 05, 2019

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. They come in five styles: figure skating, bandy, racing, touring 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.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 18 hrs of research

icon
Jackson SoftSkate GS181
94.4/100 our score
Support
95
Comfort
93
Style
95
Features
97
Value
92
Jackson SoftSkate GS181
Why is it better?

Nylex Lining

Extra Padding

Nickel Blades

Charcoal PVC Outsole

Recreational-Level Skating

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Jackson SoftSkate GS181
Test Winner: Jackson SoftSkate GS181
Researched Sources
18
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1678
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
18
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
20
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By Mackenzie Jervis:

The recent update reflects the best of 2018’s ice skates of all types, shapes, sizes, colors, with new information as to how to choose the best ice skates and our criteria for evaluation. Also, included are some of the most frequently asked questions about ice skates.

Sorting Options
Support Comfort Style Features Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Support
95%
Comfort
93%
Style
95%
Features
97%
Value
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.02.19)
$59.95
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Support
95%
Comfort
93%
Style
92%
Features
91%
Value
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.02.19)
$109.45
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.2
Support
92%
Comfort
91%
Style
91%
Features
90%
Value
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.02.19)
$129.95
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.8
Support
91%
Comfort
90%
Style
89%
Features
89%
Value
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.02.19)
$89.95
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Support
90%
Comfort
89%
Style
86%
Features
91%
Value
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.02.19)
$31.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.4
Support
89%
Comfort
88%
Style
87%
Features
85%
Value
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.02.19)
$70.00
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86
Support
86%
Comfort
85%
Style
84%
Features
88%
Value
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.02.19)
$69.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.4
Support
85%
Comfort
84%
Style
84%
Features
83%
Value
86%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.02.19)
$33.99
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Support
83%
Comfort
84%
Style
82%
Features
80%
Value
81%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.02.19)
$29.99
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.2
Support
82%
Comfort
80%
Style
84%
Features
80%
Value
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.02.19)
$199.99
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Jackson SoftSkate GS181
  • Jackson Ultima Excel
  • Jackson Ultima Mystique
  • Glacier Jackson Ultima GS180
  • Lake Placid Summit
  • Riedell 615
  • Riedell 110 Opal
  • Lake Placid Nitro
  • Lake Placid Starglide
  • Bauer Junior Supreme 170
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Ice Skates

1. Jackson SoftSkate GS181

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Jackson SoftSkate GS181
Support
95
Comfort
93
Style
95
Features
97
Value
92
best offer for today
$59.95
Pros:

Nylex Lining

Extra Padding

Nickel Blades

Charcoal PVC Outsole

Recreational-Level Skating

Cons:

Sizes Run Large

The fleece lining of the Jackson SoftSkate GS181 wraps your feet in comfort. Its nickel 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. This is a great skate for recreational use, as well.

Read 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.

Nickel All-purpose Blade
The blades of the Jackson SoftSkate GS181 are nickel, perfect for beginners. The blades are long-lasting with little maintenance needed. Also, these blades have a toe pick.

Cost and Value
The Jackson SoftSkate GS181 is an affordable skate, with a starting price of around $60-$70. Jackson is a reputable brand in the figure skating business, and their skating apparel is known to last for a long time.

2. Jackson Ultima Excel

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Jackson Ultima Excel
Support
95
Comfort
93
Style
92
Features
91
Value
94
best offer for today
$109.45
Pros:

Ultima Mark II Blades

PVC Outsole

Vinyl-Coated Upper

Synthetic Lining

Level 5 Beginner Rating

Cons:

Needs Sharpening

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.

Read more

Support
The Jackson Ultima Excel provides excellent support to the ankles, which is a necessity for ice skating shoes. Furthermore, these are lace-up, and as such, there is a better fit 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. Additionally, these blades are made to glide well on the ice.

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. Moreover, these skates glide well, are made with a synthetic lining, and have PVC outsoles.

3. Jackson Ultima Mystique

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.2
Jackson Ultima Mystique
Support
92
Comfort
91
Style
91
Features
90
Value
92
best offer for today
$129.95
Pros:

Padded Backline & Tongue

Flex Notch

Full Quarter & Ankle Padding

PVC Outsole

All-purpose Chrome Blade

Cons:

Beginner’s Skate

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. There is a flex notch to aid in better flexibility and improved stability, as well.

Read 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. This ensures fluidity in motion and better transitioning.

Cost and Value
The Mystique is a step up from the more affordable Excel, and the Mystique will cost you between around $130 - $140. Jackson is a reliable brand of an ice skate, and you can expect your Mystique to last you from beginner to intermediate skill level.

4. Glacier Jackson Ultima GS180

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.8
Glacier Jackson Ultima GS180
Support
91
Comfort
90
Style
89
Features
89
Value
90
best offer for today
$89.95
Pros:

Nylex Lining

Charcoal PVC Outsole

Nickel All-purpose Blade

Vinyl Upper

Padded Tongue

Cons:

Beginner Ice Skates

Size Runs Small

An absolutely wonderful choice for beginners, these Jackson Ultima's from Glacier can be a decent tool for traversing through your first 3 levels (i.e. pre-preliminary, preliminary, juvenile) of ice skating splendor. Having a Nylex lining, charcoal PVC outsole, an all-purpose nickel blade, padded tongue, and vinyl upper, this is a great first skate, so to speak. Whether you are looking to make ice skating into a serious profession or just hanging out with friends leisurely, this is a good pair to have in your ice skate arsenal.

Read more

Nylex Lining
Reduce sweat with this Nylex lining, as it wicks away moisture. This, in turn, helps to keep your feet dry for the long haul and, thereby, promotes better overall foot health.

Nickel All-purpose Blade
A great blade for beginners, this all-purpose nickel blade is sturdy and made to last. Cut through the ice, as you learn that next move which will help you gain the next level; moving you ever closer to those professional skates you have your eyes on.

Cost and Value
Midrange in cost association when compared to other skates on this list, these ice skates are an ideal choice for beginners or skating leisurely with friends. Moreover, made with good-quality materials, these skates will last. As such, this is a pair worthy of the purchase price.

5. Lake Placid Summit

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Lake Placid Summit
Support
90
Comfort
89
Style
86
Features
91
Value
88
best offer for today
$31.99
Pros:

Adjustable Size

Sof-Tec Foam Lining

Ankle Support

Stainless Steel Blade

Waterproof Outsole

Cons:

Bulky appearance

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.

Read 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 $45. The adjustable size, also, adds value because you won't need to rebuy new ones every year for a growing child.

6. Riedell 615

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.4
Riedell 615
Support
89
Comfort
88
Style
87
Features
85
Value
88
best offer for today
$70.00
Pros:

Foam Quarter Padding

Quilted, Foam-Backed Velvet Lining

PVC Outsole

Maintenance-Free Uppers

Cons:

Recreational

Are looking for a good pair of skates to hang out with your friends on the ice with? These best ice skates are great for recreational-purpose skating. Made with maintenance-free uppers, PVC outsoles, and foam quarter padding, these are skates which are perfect for all-day wear in a day of leisure skating. Furthermore, the quilted, foam-backed lining helps to increase comfortability levels.

Read more

PVC Outsole
PVC outsoles are in place to help decrease the overall weight of the skate. This, in turn, aids in reducing overall fatigue levels; thereby, increasing your hours of potential fun.

Maintenance-free Uppers
Easy to maintain and keep clean, these maintenance-free uppers are durable. In other words, spend less time cleaning and more time having fun out on the ice.

Cost and Value
Averaging in the midrange of cost association, this is a great pair of ice skating apparel to have. Cost-efficient and made for generalized skating, this is a great go-to pair of skating shoes while spending time with friends and family.

7. Riedell 110 Opal

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86
Riedell 110 Opal
Support
86
Comfort
85
Style
84
Features
88
Value
87
best offer for today
$69.99
Pros:

Support Rating - 20

Hand-made Quilted Lining

Figure Skate Feel

Open Throat & Split Tongue Design

PVC Outsole

Cons:

Beginner

The Riedell 110 Opal is a no-frills, basic beginner’s skate. It provides adequate support for a great price. If you are looking for a skate to learn with, this is your skate. Made to support level 20 light, the boot construction can handle the pains of beginner skating rather well.

Read 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 with comfort at the helm. Furthermore, your feet will thank you for the choice in the skate.

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. Moreover, this is a skate which looks good aesthetically and will go well with many outfits.

Cost and Value
At around $80, the 110 Opal is a very affordable skate. Its basic, attractive design makes it very popular amongst beginners. Furthermore, this skate has a great support rating of 20 and is perfect for recreational use.

8. Lake Placid Nitro

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.4
Lake Placid Nitro
Support
85
Comfort
84
Style
84
Features
83
Value
86
best offer for today
$33.99
Pros:

Adjustable

Nickel-Plated Blades

Affordable

Quick-fit Cam Buckles

Washable Comfort Liner

Cons:

No toe pick

Not for serious skating

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, makes this a great skate for youth begin

ners. It is, also, one of the more affordable pieces of skating footwear on our list. Moreover, young ones might have a spark of confidence with these on.

Read 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 one of the more affordable skates on our list, with a price tag around $50. A great beginner skate for children, they are durable and adjustable for long life.

Cost and Value
Costing around $50, the Nitro is a great deal for younger skaters who need a basic pair of skates they can grow with and learn in. The Nitro is durable and adjustable and will stay with your child for many years.

9. Lake Placid Starglide

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Lake Placid Starglide
Support
83
Comfort
84
Style
82
Features
80
Value
81
best offer for today
$29.99
Pros:

Sports Boot Design

Double Runner Blades

Vinyl Upper

Lace Closure

Zinc Plated, Carbon Steel Blade

Cons:

No Toe Pick

Dull Blades

Beginner-Only

Fix up that potential new professional ice skater with their first pair. These are beginner skate shoes which are designed to help pre-preliminary skaters to transition over to a single blade. With this dual-blade design, confidence can be built; as well as, the fear of the ice alleviated, as these best ice skating apparel are the equivalent of training wheels to a bicycle. Learn to stand and move around with the added balance of dual blades.

Read more

Double Runner Blades
These dual blades are great for learning to stand and move around on the ice for first timers and early beginners. A great choice for those who fear the ice; yet, want to learn. These double runner blades are a great choice for transitioning to a single blade.

Sports Boot Design
These are not designed to give much in the realm of ankle support. They are, however, cute and comfortable. Moreover, this design helps with comfortability levels associated with moving over from street shoes to ice skates.

Cost and Value
Budget-friendly, they are perfect for nervous beginners and a great purchase choice. Furthermore, the lace-up closure helps to secure a better fit. Additionally, the double runner blades is an ideal choice for adding stability to your feet before making that all-important next step over to the single blade.

10. Bauer Junior Supreme 170

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.2
Bauer Junior Supreme 170
Support
82
Comfort
80
Style
84
Features
80
Value
80
best offer for today
$199.99
Pros:

Anatomical, Thermo-Molded

Nylon Quarter & Microfiber Liner

TPR Outsole

TUUK LIGHTSPEED Pro Holder 

Cons:

Size runs big

A great beginner to intermediate skate with sharp blades, this is an ideal choice for all-around, general skating; perfect as an alternative to rentals. An anatomical design allows for a true fit, as the ankle and heel are well supported. These best ice skates are made with a TPR outsole, TUUK super stainless runner, TUUK LIGHTSPEED pro holder, and a nylon quarter and microfiber liner.

Read more

Anatomical Ankle & Heel Support
Thermo-molded anatomical design allows a custom fit for your ankles and heels. This, in essence, creates a safer environment, as your feet will not move around inside of the skate.

Nylon Quarter & Microfiber Liner
Your feet will remain dry with moisture-wicking properties associated with the nylon quarter and microfiber liner. In other words, you can enjoy the day out on the ice without worrying about sweaty feet.

Cost and Value
Midrange in cost association when compared to others on this list, this pair of best ice skates is not only worth the purchase price but a great addition to your skate gear collection, as well. With the technologies associated with these skates, they are perfect for beginner to intermediates, or for an all-around general skate session.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

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 you’re 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 toe boxes. When you are comfortable in your skating footwear, you will be able to skate longer, and that will lead to better results and, ultimately, more enjoyable.

Style

The style of the skate dictates the type of activity you will be performing. That is, a racing skate (i.e. speed skates) won’t perform up to par in a figure skating scenario and, likewise, a figure skate won’t do well in giving you top speed in a race.

Choose a skate which handles the job in which you will be performing. If figure skating is something you are interested in, then a toe pick is a must-have. If, however, you are going to play the game of bandy, then a hockey skate with a longer blade must be purchased, or otherwise known as a bandy skate.

Features

Figure Skates – These have toe picks which are utilized to initiate certain jumps and spins. Designed for figure skating, this is not a skate in which you want to use as a speed skate or for generalized skating.

Bandy Skates – These ones are designed for the game of bandy. The blade is reminiscent to that of a hockey blade but runs about an inch longer. This is to ensure higher speeds inside of the bandy rink.

Racing Skates – Generally speaking, racing skates have a flat bottom and the blades are designed in such a way as to minimally cut into the ice. As such, they have better glide than some of the other ones out there.

Touring Skates – These skates are really long blades attached to either cross-country ski boots or hiking boots. Designed with long distances in mind, these blades help cover a lot of area in a short amount of time.

Hockey Skates – These blades have a curvature associated with them. Moreover, they are specifically designed for the games of hockey and ringette. Further grinding of the blades is performed dependent on the position of the player (i.e. goalie, forward, etc.).

Double Runner – These blades are dual and are for younger audiences. They provide better stability and are perfect for alleviating fears associated with the ice. Furthermore, these blades make it easier to gain confidence.

Recreational – Usually found in mass as a renter skate, recreational models can resemble inline, hockey, or figure skating characteristics. These are the choice skate for all-purpose and/or leisure skating.

Value

If you are a beginner, the value is always something that you are looking for in a skate. There’s no reason to spend hundreds of dollars on ice skating apparel 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 others that are available.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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#5
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Beginner Tips

Ice skating can be a thrilling sport to get into, with the athleticism of balance, speed, and strength combined with grace and expression.
If you're just starting out, it's helpful to take a few lessons to learn the basics at your local skating rink. Start off with small goals, like balance, skating backwards, and turns before advancing to more difficult maneuvers.

Get Inspired!

With ice skating as one of the olympic sports, it's also quite popular for entertainment, with ice rinks putting on shows and musicals to wow audiences.
Get inspired by attending a local show, seeing how different skaters use their strengths on the ice, and how they execute certain tricks or how they express their movements.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

The main difference between hockey and figure skates is the blades. For the former, the blade is smooth throughout the entire length with a curvature, while figure skating blades have a jagged toe pick and is used for digging into the ice. Besides that, there is a difference in appearance. Hockey skate footwear tends to have a large, bulky, plastic appearance to them, while figure skate footwear is 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:

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 the 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 only, and, thus, 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, article; blog, Jan 08, 2018
  2. Kinzie's Closet, Figure Skating Comparison Guide, article; blog, Feb 17, 2019
  3. wikiHow, How to Select a Good Pair of Ice Skates, article; blog, Feb 17, 2019
  4. AlterEstimate, Best Ice Skates For Women reviews in 2018, article; blog, Feb 17, 2019
  5. skatepasadena.com, Figure Skating Levels, article; blog,
  6. skateextonedge.com, The Progression of Figure Skating, article; blog, Feb 17, 2019
  7. Wikipedia, Ice skate, artcile; definition, Mar 17, 2018