Buying a pair of new shoes can be a nightmare, the type and design you like may not come in the correct size or width. Many people purchase new shoes just for their looks and not because they are comfortable or fit correctly. By doing this you may be putting the welfare of your feet at long term risk, and have annoying problems with chafing and pinching.
If you thought all this was difficult, then multiply it tenfold when it applies to purchasing you first pair of hockey skates. Hockey skates are far more complicated than a pair of shoes, they have to provide support and protection in many different areas than shoes and also be comfortable so you do not suffer any pain, or blisters. Firstly, it is important to know your correct size.
A good sports store will not simply ask your size then bring one box out from the storeroom. Any good assistant should measure your feet first, then bring out a selection. Different manufacturers have slightly different metrics for measurement, it depends on many things like the type of stitching they use and how much material they tuck into the stitch. This is why some manufacturers skates feel too narrow, or too loose.
Remember hockey skates are generally one to two sizes lower in number that your normal shoes. All skates should be fitted with these criteria:
- Skate size
- Skate width (narrow, regular, wide, extra wide)
- Depth of the arch
- Playing standard
Remember that different manufacturers will have different fits, plus also different lines from the same manufacturer will fit differently also. This is because of the complexity of the foot, it has so many permutations so that the skate has to take into consideration of, width of toe, overall width of foot, length of foot, depth of foot, overall volume of heel etc. etc.
How to Test the Fitting
Now you are considering buying your new skates there are a couple of tips you can do to see if they fit correctly, which are the finger test and the pencil test.
Pencil Test: Place your feet in the skates but do not lace them up, push the tongue to one side then place a pencil across the eyelets about four eyelets down. If the pencil lies flat across the upper part of the foot without rocking then the skate has good depth. If the pencil rocks across the top of the foot then the skate is too shallow for your foot.
Finger Test: Put on your skates and fasten them tightly, then move forward and bend from your knees. Reach for the back of the skate to your heel, if you can push more than one finger between your heel and the skate then the skate is not fitting your ankle properly.
This test is not so important for children, as they will grow up and their feet will expand. However, for adults the feet have stopped growing and therefore the fit needs to be perfect. In part two of this blog we continue to find how to buy the most perfect fitting skates for your feet, so that you can have plenty of enjoyable hours on the ice.