Are Ice Skates Expensive? (Buyer’s Guide)

Having the correct equipment is important in any sport but especially in ice skating. Having access to a decent pair of skates can make your whole experience much better. You might be wondering how expensive ice skates are, or if you need to pay a fortune for a good pair.

Ice skates can cost anywhere from $50 to $250. The higher priced ones tend to use better materials. Custom-made ice skates can cost as much as $1,500, but these are only for the most dedicated athletes. It is not necessary to break the bank for a decent pair of skates.

Getting new equipment for any sport can be a complicated endeavor. The ever-increasing options can overwhelm and dazzle even the shrewdest purchaser. In this buyer’s guide, we’re going to look at how to get the skates that match your practical and financial needs.

How Much Do Ice Skates Cost?

A good pair of recreational skates can cost anywhere from $50 to $250. Hockey skates can go from $80 to over $500. Figure skates may cost from $100 to over $1,000. Prices depend on different things including the materials used, the brand, and what kind of ice skates you’re purchasing.

What Skates Do You Need?

What skates you need depends on your purpose. If you’re ice skating recreationally, you won’t need figure skates, which are notoriously expensive, because there’s a lot more to the design. Additionally, the materials have to be both durable and light.

Ice hockey skates can also be fairly expensive, but not quite to the same level as figure skates. These skates are made to withstand impact from hockey pucks and players. They’re sturdy and can be decent boots to learn in.

Overall, the best skates for you are determined by your goals, but most casual skaters will do fine with a good pair of recreational skates. If you plan to skate frequently, or you want to learn advanced figure skating techniques, then you’ll have to start looking at more specialized and expensive skates.

Why Are Ice Skates So Expensive?

Ice skates are expensive because they require in-depth knowledge and expensive materials to construct. Making a skate that’s suitable for a rink is quite different from making a normal boot, and high-quality blades hike up the price of your average ice skate considerably.

How Are Ice Skates Made?

Good ice skates are made out of high-quality materials. Leather from kangaroos is widely considered the best to use. In some cases, nylon and plastic are used to add support and structure. The materials are also treated to become water-resistant, and they go throughprocesses designed to increase the skate’s durability while also ensuring that mobility is not sacrificed.

The process involved in constructing an ice skate involves many different specialized factory machines. The boot is constructed in separate parts and then sewed together. Putting these parts together also takes advanced knowledge, because a specialized sewing machine for making ice skates is usually controlled manually.  

Made With Precision

The blades on an ice skate are also outsourced to a manufacturer with significant expertise in this area. Usually, these blades have chrome added to them, but some manufacturers may add titanium to further strengthen the blade, so it doesn’t bend or crack. 

The finished product is then examined by a professional, who has to check that the skate is sturdy but fits the desired size snugly without cutting blood circulation. On average, ice skates need to have a tighter fit than normal shoes.

All told, ice skates can cost as much as they do because of the labor needed to produce items of such high quality, the special skills that are required to do so, and the cost of the materials used to make them both mobile and durable. This set of labor and skills is further needed when creating a skate for an Olympic figure or speed skater.

How Much Should You Spend On Ice Skates As A Beginner?

As a beginner, you should spend at least $50 on a pair of ice skates, but even going up to $150 isn’t unreasonable.  But never pay over $150 for skates as a beginner. It’s counterproductive to go for more expensive skates, and at that stage, you’re just forking over more cash for the brand.

The Best Skates For A Beginner

Why should you get recreational skates instead of figure skates? On the surface, figure skates and recreational skates are rather similar. However, the devil is always in the details. Ice skates differ radically based upon what they’re going to be used for.

Recreational skates are designed to excel at the basic parts of ice skating. As a beginner, your sole concern is learning how to balance, glide, stop, and start. Recreational skates will ease this learning curve as much as possible.  

You may want to consider a pair of lower-end figure skates if you see yourself committing to a lot of practice to learn more advanced techniques. If you have any doubts, however, save your money and get a decent pair of recreational skates. They’ll serve you much better.

Rentals – A Warning

You might be wondering if rentals will do. In the long run, rentals can save you money, especially if you only go ice skating a couple of times a year. Rentals, however, have a bad reputation. It’s not that the rental skates themselves are bad quality, but they may have some general wear-and-tear on them and may not be as sharp as you would like. 

How Much Should High-Quality Ice Skates Cost?

A hobbyist can pick up high-quality ice skates for $100 to $400. While good ice skates can come with varying price tags, you don’t want them to be too cheap, because that’s when quality is compromised, and that increases the risk of the skates breaking from use.

You might also be able to find a good pair for as low as $50. But at what point do you start to worry about breaking your ice skates? Normally, ice skates don’t break easily. The blades are made from steel and can be mixed with titanium to make them even stronger. The boots are made from sturdy materials that won’t break gliding around the rink all day.

Interestingly, there’s no unified agreement on how ice skates should be manufactured. Even the Olympic committee doesn’t require the ice skates that competitors use to be made in a certain way. This is a good and a bad thing.

The Good

This lack of universal agreement on how skates should be made means that there are a ton of options and a diverse market full of brands catering to different audiences. You can get high-quality skates for anywhere from $100 to $400,and they’ll last you a long time.

While many ice skating enthusiasts can spend hours talking about their favorite brands and nitpick over details like the perfect blade size and the ideal width of the boot, the vast majority do not need to worry about this. A lower-end pair of figure skates may be all the average skater ever needs.

The Bad

There are so many options out there that it can be overwhelming for a beginner. As a result, you may walk into a store and get sold a pair of skates unsuitable for a newbie. As far as money goes, you could be pressured to buy skates that are of bad quality or far too extravagant for your needs.

A pair of $30 skates may be good for a beginner, but keep in mind that blades made from poor-quality metal can chip or break easily, which renders the skates useless and could be an even costlier injury waiting to happen. High-quality ice skates can be pricey, but it is absolutely not necessary to break the bank for a good pair of ice skates. There is a middle ground.

Are Ice Skates Only Worth It For Athletes And Advanced Skaters?

No, ice skates are not only worth it for athletes and advanced skaters, and it is worth buying a pair to avoid using rentals. You can find a good pair of ice skates for recreational use without overspending. You can even buy skates second-hand, which

could knock a $500 pair of skates down to $150. 

Ice Skating – Only For The Wealthy?

Ice skating has a reputation for being a very expensive sport. While it’s true that it takes a lot of money and time to become a competitive athlete, it’s not at all expensive for a beginner or hobbyist.

The reason why advanced figure skaters or athletes want the most expensive skates is because they spend a ton of time skating. As a result, they need the most durable blades to perform well and to last long enough to achieve their goals. A beginner or hobbyist doesn’t need this. In fact, the skates they buy are likely going to last a lifetime.

Are Ice Skates Expensive To Maintain?

Ice skates are not expensive to maintain. It costs roughly $8 to $20 to sharpen your skates, and if you have the proper know-how, you can do this yourself for free. Additional maintenance comes in the form of drying your skates to prevent rust from forming. This can be done manually with a cloth.

How often you sharpen your skates depends on your level. A beginner may not even need to sharpen their skates once a year, but an athlete might sharpen them once a month. You can sharpen your skates yourself, but the blade has two ridges that need to be sharpened the same way, or the skates will be lopsided. You may want a professional to sharpen them for you.

If you care for your skates properly then you’ll get the most use out of them you can. The primary cause of skate damage is moisture. It’s important to get into a regular habit of drying your skates off, as moisture can develop rust on the blades, but wiping the blades gently with a cloth is all you need to do to prevent this.    

What To Look For In A Pair Of Ice Skates

The most important feature of an ice skate is the blades. Good blades should be strong, and there should be no chips or crack anywhere. Even a tiny, barely noticeable crack on new ice skates is a sign that the blades are structurally vulnerable.

The next most important thing is that the boot fits you well. There should be no wiggle room at all for your feet. There should also be not as much space for your toes. A tiny gap is ok, but any more than that can negatively affect your stability on the ice.

While it’s absolutely fine for beginners to not get incredibly expensive figure skates, opting for a slightly more expensive skate can offer your foot more protection. Cheaper skates tend to minimize the number of materials used, which means there’s less padding and more discomfort for your foot.

Choose The Correct Type

We’ve mentioned different kinds of skates, including figure skates, hockey skates, and recreational skates. Beginners can do fine with recreational skates, but athletes specializing in a specific sport will want the right skates for the job.

Hybrid skates are another kind of skate, and they are designed for beginners to intermediates and are great for kids. They are a fantastic blend of utility, performance, and durability. They also offer your foot all the comfort and support it needs.

Hybrid skates can run from $80 to $200. This is a bit more expensive than recreational skates, but they’re an all-in-one package that’s ideal for hobbyists. They’re very soft and comfortable, and they come with a thick liner that supports and molds to your feet. They’re based on the design of an inline skate, but with a blade mounted to the bottom.

It’s important to remember that hybrid skates are not designed for figure skating or ice hockey but for easily skating around a rink. They don’t have features like a toe pick, which you need to figure skate, and they may not protect you as well from the impact you can take when playing ice hockey.

Put Your Feet First

Ice skates are an expensive investment, soit’s absolutely fine to take time to ensure the boots fit your feet. They should feel snug, but there shouldn’t be too much rubbing. A really well-fitting ice skate almost feels like an extension of your body.

Sometimes, people feel pressured by a sales rep to make a quick purchase in a general sports store.If you want to take your time and really get the best skates for you, it’s a good idea to visit a specialty store.

A sales rep working in a general store may not have the knowledge to recommend the best skates for you. Ice skating boots aren’t like running shoes, and you need to take the time to get the best skates for you.

Specialty Stores

Ice skating specialty stores often live and die by their reputation. Depending on your area, it may be trickier to find a specialty store, but it’s well worth it. The employees working at these stores will have better knowledge about ice skating,they’ll be eager to find the best deals for you, and they’ll encourage you to take your time and peruse.

Cultivating a relationship with a specialty store can also be invaluable if you want to take your ice skating further. They’ll be the first to know about the latest and greatest parts, and they can sometimes order stuff for you much more cheaply than you’d get from anywhere else.

Do Ice Skates Break Easily?

Ice skates don’t normally break easily. While ice skates do require maintenance and you should always handle them carefully, they are quite durable. It’s unlikely that falling will snap the blades. Even in the worst collisions, the skates often come out without a scratch. 

Ice skates are engineered for durability and resilience. Despite the relatively slender-looking blades, it takes a lot to damage them. A hobbyist skater has nothing to worry about, because their skates will hold up for a long time.

Final Thoughts

Ice skates can be expensive, with high-end gear potentially costing thousands. But the vast majority of people won’t need these skates and can find high-quality skates for as little as $50 or $100. Take time to shop around, decide what kind of skate you need, and get the best value for your money.