To succeed at skating, children need properly fitted ice skates. Selecting ice skates for children can be easy. The best place to buy a pair is a pro shop, usually at an ice skating rink. Improperly fitted skates or ones without proper support cause frustration and could possibly lead to injury.
Find a pro shop or specialized sporting goods store. Ice skates come in two distinct types--those for hockey and those for figure skating. The only difference between the two is the type of blade. Figure skates have a longer blade that helps with balance. Figure skates also have a toe pick (what looks like teeth on the front of the skate). White figure skates are for girls, and black are for boys.
Generally speaking, unless the child already has basic skating skills, buy figure skates. Once the child can skate relatively well, you can switch to hockey skates.
Start with the basic models. There are several brands of skates and they come in a variety of support. Skaters at the beginner level do not need top-of-the-line skates.
Go down two sizes from the child's street shoe size. Skates run a bit large.
With the child wearing a thin sock, have her try on the skates.
Lace up the skates all the way, including the very top notch. Have the child stand in the skates. While they can have a small amount of room to grow, ideally the skates should fit fairly tight.
Have the child walk in the skates. The skates should fit snugly with no rise in the heel or too much wiggle room in the toes.
If one particular brand does not fit well, try another. If size is the issue, try a larger, or smaller size. Skates are meant to be snug.
- Never use double-bladed skates (the kind that you strap onto shoes). They do not properly grip the ice and could seriously injure the child.
- Do not buy skates from a general department store. These skates do not provide adequate ankle support and could injure the child.
- Take a skating lesson. Even one lesson can help the child feel more confident on the ice. Group and private lessons are available at most skating centers.
- Bicycle helmets are great for the beginning skater.
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