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Youth Hockey 101: Finding the Perfect Pair of Skates

Finding the perfect pair of skates isn't easy – and on the SportsEngine Gear marketplace, shoppers have thousands of new and used options to choose from.

Below, our experts share tips on sizing, baking, and selecting the best pair for you or your athlete.

Sizing and baking

Finding the perfect fit comes down to two things: size and width. For years, skate-fitting was complicated by a third factor - skate line, typified by Bauer’s wider Nexus and narrower Vapor offerings - but manufacturers have moved to simplify this with “performance fitting” technology. More on that below.

Size

A good rule of thumb here is to take your shoe size and subtract 1.5. (So, a size 10 US shoe would translate to size 8.5 skates.)

Width

Historically, this ran along a spectrum:

  • C - Narrow
  • D - Standard
  • R - Wider
  • E - Wide
  • EE - Widest

But in 2020, Bauer introduced their Performance Fit system, ranged from Performance Fit 1 (low volume/narrow) to Performance Fit 3 (high volume/wide). And CCM followed suit in 2021, with Tapered (most similar to Bauer’s Fit 1), Regular, and Wide (most similar to Fit 3) options.

Baking

Once you’ve identified a skate that fits, bake it! (We’re serious.) Preheat an oven to 175 degrees, kill the heat, “bake” your skates for 6-8 minutes, and then quickly insert your feet. (Make sure you’re wearing the socks you’d normally wear, to ensure “on ice” fit.)

Lace ‘em up, wait 15-20 minutes, and then let the molded skates cool overnight.

Finding the perfect pair of skates

For elite players: Bauer Vapor 2X

Bauer Vapor 2X skate photo from Sideline Swap hockey skate fitting guide

The Vapor 2X skate is designed to give elite players a competitive advantage in the game. Featuring an ACCELFLEX boot that provides game-winning, comprehensive protection alongside an AeroFoam+ padding liner that provides moisture-wicking breathability, the Vapor 2X's sleek and stylish design is specifically built to meet the needs of those at the top of their game.

For comfort: CCM Ribcor 80K

CCM Ribcor 80K hockey skate photo from Sideline Swap hockey skate fitting guide

The Ribcor 80K is a great choice for those seeking performance and comfort. The ribbed V-cut ankle patch allows for close passing while the 3-D lasted composite FlexFrame boot provides exceptional durability and stability on the ice.

For beginners: CCM JetSpeed FT460

CCM JetSpeed FT460 hockey skate close up photo from Sideline Swap hockey skate guide

The JetSpeed FT460 is an ultra-affordable hockey skate that we’d even recommend to avid skaters. It’s comfortable, lightweight, and offers moisture-wicking breathability.

Overall: Bauer Supreme 2S

Bauer Supreme 2S hockey skate photo from Sideline Swap hockey skate fitting guide

With a fully customizable boot and a Lock-Fit Pro liner that prevents any slipping or movement inside the skate, the 2S Pro is cutting edge. Simply put, it offers elite performance – making for a precision glide on every stride.

Sports in this article

Ice Hockey

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