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Top 12 Best Figure Skates (2020): Lightweight yet Durable, Men, Women & Unisex Models Thoroughly Tested & Reviewed (Free Buying Guide Included)

From my early years, I have been fascinated with ice skating. It all stemmed from when 3-year-old me watched the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympic Games and saw the British figure skaters, Torvill and Dean, with their famous Boléro reach perfect scores for artistic impression. I was hooked. I wanted my own skates and wanted to head to the nearest ice rink the very next day.

My parents could see that I was truly fascinated by what I had seen but, back then, buying a pair of skates was not easy, especially for a child! So, for years, I made do with hiring them from the rinks before eventually buying some of my own when I was older. Over the years I have owned too many pairs of women’s ice skates to mention, from the most expensive to second hand, from ones in an old-fashioned style to ones in a more sporting style.

All of this has led me to become somewhat of an expert in ice-skate buying amongst my peers. Skaters, both beginners, and professionals come and ask me for advice. Now, I’m putting that advice and expertise out there for all to see so that you, too, can get the best figure skates of your dreams.

Best Figure Skates Comparison Chart (Updated 2020)

ProductNameRead ReviewPrice

Jackson Ultima Excel Series JS1290 / JS1291 / JS1294 by AHOMATE

Read Full Review

American Athletic Men's Tricot Lined Figure Skates

Read Full Review

Jackson Ultima Mystique Series

Read Full Review

Jackson Ultima Softec Classic ST2300 ST2321

Read Full Review

Jackson Ultima Artiste Series

Read Full Review

Jackson Ultima DJ2190 DJ2191 DJ2192 DJ2193

Read Full Review

American Athletic Shoe Tricot Lined Ice Skates

Read Full Review

Jackson Ultima GS180 SoftSkate

Read Full Review

Jackson Figure Ice Skates JS180/JS181/JS184

Read Full Review

Riedell Skates - 110 Opal

Read Full Review

Lake Placid Cascade

Read Full Review

Jackson Ultima/GAM Stella/Clasicue

Read Full Review

Why You Should Trust Us

Scooterlay was founded as a platform for a bunch of innovative and talented skaters to thrive with their ideas by sharing them with the rest of the world. We have professional skaters, scooter experts, coaches, and designers in our team that devote months to each category of reviewing unit before coming up with elaborate reviews and informative how-to blogs on them.

Every day our website is showered with scores of emails from skating and scooting enthusiasts around the world asking for recommendations and tips. So, we feel obliged to share our product reviews with them.

We do not promote any product or brand; instead, we stick to facts that we obtain from our hands-on testing sessions and research. Our aim is to help our readers access enough authentic information so that they can make a better buying decision.

How We Picked These Products

We had gone through several stages of market research, feature analysis, comparison, field-test, and re-evaluation before we found our final list of 12 ultimate figure skates.

Initially, we spent over 30 hours doing online research to find out 25 top-rated models with the highest number of positive real customer reviews.

Next, we took out the initially listed models to a nearby rink (Centennial Sportsplex) and tested all of them out by professional figure skaters. We want to take this occasion to thank our volunteer group for their selfless acts. They helped us determine the quality and performance of each of the reviewing unit. At the end of the testing session, we were able to narrow down our list by championing 12 models from the rest.

We also consulted with other industry experts and coaches of famed skaters to have their opinions on our listed models. They helped us gain a deeper understanding of these models that we, later on, proceeded to elaborate in our all-inclusive reviews.

Our Top 12 Best Figure Skates List

So, what brand of figure skates is the best? Well, here is the moment of truth. There is not a single brand that will meet everyone's needs. That's why, we've packed a bunch of 12 killer models. Let's find out what their reviews say.

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Best for Women

Best Figure Skates: Jackson Ultima Excel Series JS1290 / JS1291 / JS1294

Our top choice for ladies is the Jackson Ultima Excel Series of skates. They are a light support ice skate with a stiffness rating of 5, making them perfect for beginners. They come with chrome all-purpose Ultima Mark II roller blades that are attached with several screws. They also have improved hooks for the laces, giving the same appearance as in more advanced and expensive ice skates.

They are made from an upper that’s vinyl coated and has a synthetic lining. There’s a foam-backed mesh tongue designed with comfort in mind. The outsole is made from stylized PVC.

These are one of the finest pairs of inline skates on the market today, giving high speed and high performance. They are both comfortable and durable and maintaining them is really simple thanks to their coating.

There’s added ankle padding to give flexibility without compromise. The blades come pre-attached, saving you any set up time! You can head straight to the rink or a stadium without further ado. Despite their minimal stiffness level, they do need breaking in when you first wear them, as do all skates.

These ones retailed at just under $110 at the time of our research being one of the best rated models on eStores like Amzon! This means you know you’re getting a reliable and well-liked product. We loved how easy these ones were to use and how comfortable they became with increased use over time.

Pros

  • Very durable and comfortable
  • Great ankle support
  • Already set up to use
  • Perfect for beginners

Cons

  • Only suitable for beginners and recreational skaters

Final Verdict

This pair of skates are the perfect women’s skates. Set up and ready to use and ideal for beginners. They are comfortable as well as durable and are highly popular. We loved their light support, which made it straightforward to break them in. They wouldn’t be right for you if you’re anything more than an amateur or beginner figure skater though.

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  • Star 4.9 out of 5 star
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Best for Men

Best Figure Skates: American Athletic Men's Tricot Lined Figure Skates

This pair of skates are our men’s top choice. They’re also an entry-level pair of skates and have the support that’s multi-layered for your ankles. The boots are made from easy-care PVC that’s extremely durable. The blades are nickel-plated steel with the hollow ground. The tongue is form-fitting and there is also full-quarter padding to make them extra comfortable. Therefore, they make a great rink or pond skate. They are easy to clean too!

The cost of these skates is relatively low too. Having said that, if you’re wanting true figure skates for more intermediate and competition levels then these ones probably won’t cut the mustard. The blades have a small toe pick to give beginners a little more balance and security (but this isn’t really sufficient for jumping and spinning as these are entry-level boots.

These skates are available in black or white and the blades have been factory sharpened. The laces are made from cotton and are easy to tie. At the time of our research, these skates cost under $40 – we told you they were cheap figure skates! We mostly liked the combination of these boots being really inexpensive as well as extremely comfortable pretty much from the outset!

Pros

  • Comfortable boots
  • Fit well
  • Blades are pre-mounted
  • Good value of money

Cons

  • Not enough support for anything other than recreational level

Final Verdict

Our best figure skates for men have a ton of advantages. Firstly, you can be easily swayed by their price! They’re actually the cheapest in our top ten list! Furthermore, they were extremely comfortable. However, this does have to be weighed against their limitations. They really are a recreational and beginner figure skate so if you’re wanting anything more than this, check out our intermediate or advance choice below.

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  • Star 4.8 out of 5 star
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Top Unisex Choice

Best Figure Skates: Jackson Ultima Mystique Series

The Jackson Ultima Mystique Series of skates do the full range of skates no matter your sex or age. This is why we think that these are a great unisex pair. They have a leather upper that has been coated with polyurethane and an outsole of stylized PVC making them easy to clean and maintain. They are ‘flex notch’, which gives them increased flexibility. They have a synthetic lining for added durability and comfort with a topline that’s softer still. There’s extra ankle padding and full-quarter padding as well as vinyl and mesh tongue that’s foam backed. The blade is made from all-purpose chrome and is pre-fixed with screws.

These ones are great for intermediate skaters who are wanting to upgrade their skating skills. They have the flexibility and stiffness which is ideal for this level of skating. We found that they provide excellent support and the padded tongue gives you that extra comfort level when on the ice.

We found that we did need to give the blades a quick sharpen before we started out skating and our wider-foot testers soon realized that they should have ordered the wide fit as the regular fit was a little narrower than expected! They are strong skates though, meaning that you will have to spend a fair bit of time breaking them in!

They cost us just shy of $150, which actually made them the third most expensive in our top 10 skates.

Pros

  • Soft lining and padding for added comfort
  • Easy to maintain
  • Super sharp blade
  • A great intermediate skate

Cons

  • The blades need to be sharpened before use
  • Higher than the average price

Final Verdict

These skates were a great choice for our instructional skaters as they had all the stiffness that’s required for trying out some trickier figure skating maneuvers. As a result, we found that we did need to break them in for a fair while but that is all par for the course with figure skates at this level! Overall, we found them comfortable and easy to keep looking like new. They did cost a bit more though! Yet, for the money, they offer good value.

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  • Star 4.7 out of 5 star
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Beginner’s Choice

Best Figure Skates: Jackson Ultima Softec Classic ST2300 ST2321

If you’re looking for skates that are to start you off on your figure skating journey, then these ones make a great choice! They are the same famous Jackson make as our unisex choice above but are the Softec Classic design. They are an extremely popular choice of beginner skate thanks to the level of comfort they offer. You only need to look at the pictures of them to see that they look as soft as slippers!

They also come in different colors: black, navy and white in adult sizes with the addition of pink in the children’s (aging from 2 to 4 years) sizes. They look stylish and modern in their design too. At $129 when we did our testing, they also didn’t break the bank – which is what you want when you’re just starting out and seeing if figure skating is for you.

These ones have outsoles in two tones, making them an attractive choice. The figure blades by Softec are attached by screws and are high in quality, impacting your performance on the ice in a very positive way. They have a Velcro strap at the upper with laces below, making them adjustable to all levels for comfort. They’re durable and lightweight (as far as skates go!) too.

Pros

  • Decent price
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Great design
  • Easy to get on & off

Cons

  • They are not designed for more advanced levels of skating

Final Verdict

We loved these skates for their color options and how soft they looked. When we go them on, we weren’t disappointed by their comfort level either. If you’re a beginner, that’s what you want when starting out: comfort! They didn’t cost the earth, which was also an advantage. And, having a rating of 4.6/5 stars on Amazon, they are clearly and popular and well-liked choice.

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  • Star 4.7 out of 5 star
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Intermediate's Choice

Best Figure Skates: Jackson Ultima Artiste Series

If you’re an intermediate skater, then you need to be looking for something a little more durable and robust than beginner or recreational ice skates. These Jackson Ultima Artiste skates are just the ticket. They come in a range for men, women and for children too. They have a support rating offering light support at Level 25, which is suitable for advanced lessons in skating. They come pre-fitted with an Ultima Mark IV high-quality, all-purpose chrome blade which is attached with screws.

It goes without saying that you can really begin to express your own skating style and skills with these skates. They also have improved hooks for the laces, which are the same as those in the higher cost models. The Jackson Ultima Artiste also have a softer top line, giving the skater increased comfort. The lining is made from microfiber and the padding is made from memory foam. The tongue is backed with leather and mesh for extra comfort and the outsole is easy to care for as it is made from stylized PVC.

We’re sure that you’ll agree that, for intermediate level skating, you couldn’t make a better choice! Our testers loved the comfort of these ones and the lace hooks that made them look the part. They come in black and white.

At the time of our testing, they cost below $200.  They are the most expensive in our list so far but let’s not forget, we are not comparing like for like here. These ones are bound to be more expensive due to the fact that they are intermediate skates, designed for a more advanced skater than the ones we’ve looked at previously.

Pros

  • Excellent ankle support
  • Great for the beginner who is about to embark on intermediate skating
  • You can do spins and jumps
  • Great keep-dry lining

Cons

  • Due to their stiffness, they may take a little longer to break-in.

Final Verdict

Our beginners to intermediate skaters loved trying these ones out. They were a little uncomfortable when being broken in (aren’t they all?) but after the breaking, in period their comfort levels soared. Indeed, I thought these ones were the most comfortable intermediate skates that I’ve tested. They’re definitely worth your money if you’re an intermediate skater.

  • Editor Rating :
  • Star 4.6 out of 5 star
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Advanced Choice

Best Figure Skates: Jackson Ultima DJ2190 DJ2191 DJ2192 DJ2193

Here we have another Jackson Ultima skate but this time they’re the skates designed for the advanced skater. They have Moderate Support at Level 45, so they are perfect if you are starting to venture into advanced skating and perhaps competitions.

The topline is softer with a rolled area at the collar to add to the comfort of the skater. There’s also a backstrap that is contoured to improve the fit around the ankle. The lining is fully padded and is made from microfiber. As well as this, it has been pre-treated with anti-bacterial compounds and they don’t absorb moisture – the last thing you want when you’ve finally broken in your skates is to find that they smell!

The padding is asymmetrically shaped to ensure that the fit and comfort is long-lasting. The tongue is made from foam and leather, and the sole is made from LCL. There’s a leather layered cork outsole that is actually 17% lighter in comparison to traditional soles. The blade, an Ultima Aspire blade, is fixed with screws. The addition of Flex Notch means that these ones also have increased flexibility.

They do come at a premium, at around $220, but you’re paying for advanced skates here, so that is to be expected. We loved the fact that these ones didn’t end up getting damp inside and eventually smelly thanks to the properties of the lining.

Pros

  • Antibacterial, anti-moisture lining
  • Moderate support for advanced skaters at Level 45
  • Lighter than similar skates of their class

Cons

  • Most expensive in our list

Final Verdict

Despite their expense, we couldn’t find fault with these skates if you’re skating at an advanced level. Sure, they cost a fair bit, but what you get for your money is truly something. They’re stiff yet lightweight when you compare them with others in our list. We loved how they didn’t keep hold of moisture and, after long use, will hopefully not end up with that fusty, sweaty skate smell that lots of skates end up with over months and years of use. If you’re an advanced skater, you would do really well with these skates from Jackson Ultima.

Figure Skates Under $100

If you just don’t have the money for the more expensive skates in our list, then this section is for you! We’re looking at six pairs of skates that were all under $100 at the time we did our research.

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  • Star 4.5 out of 5 star
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Best Figure Skates: American Athletic Shoe Tricot Lined Ice Skates

These skates are by American Athletic and are the perfect skates for women for under $100. They are top-selling and look great, as well as fitting well too. They are easy to maintain and take care of thanks to their easy-clean PVC surface.

They are perfect for entry-level skating, so don’t make the mistake of choosing these if you are beyond that stage! Indeed, we reported that the sizes were bigger than expected so check the size guide and perhaps get some thicker socks for these ones. They come pre-fitted with plastic protectors on the blades. It’s worth noting that these are simply a part of the packaging and are not especially designed for re-use. You can buy some blade protectors too, if you wish. The blades are easy to clean, and we found that a quick wipe after skating was all it took.

There’s multi-layered support at the ankles, which made them comfortable to skate in. There’s a hollow ground as well as full-quarter padding and a padded, form-fitting tongue. These additions make the boot really comfortable. The blade is steel that’s been plated with nickel. We did notice that you can see the toe box shadow through the PVC around the front of the skates. This is a purely cosmetic issue and the comfort or durability of the boots is not affected.

These skates, especially given their affordability, would make a great recreational or entry-level skate. At the time of our research, these boots cost just under $30, which was the cheapest of all the skates in our list!

Pros

  • Cost! They were the cheapest in our list at under $28.
  • Multi-layered ankle support and padding
  • Easy to maintain

Cons

  • Blade protectors were just for use in packaging only

Final Verdict

For a pair of skates that are as “cheap as chips”, you really can’t go far wrong with these. They are a great choice for someone who wants to try out skating and see if it’s really for them before the purchase some more advanced, higher-quality skates down the line. We loved how easy they were to keep clean and how surprisingly comfortable they ended up being too.

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  • Star 4.5 out of 5 star
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Best Figure Skates: Jackson Ultima GS180 SoftSkate

These skates are a simple yet good beginner skate. They have a warm Nylex lining which makes them really comfortable and they also have an outsole made from charcoal PVC. This means that maintaining them is easy as pie. The blade is an all-purpose nickel blade, which is all you need for starting out.

With these ones, you need to remember to get a skate size not your regular shoe size. Usually, the skate size is smaller, and you shouldn’t need to wear thick socks with them. The Jackson website does, of course, have all the information on the sizing. However, what we did find with these ones was that the laces were a bit too short and we needed to use different laces. We would also recommend regular blade sharpening with these ones too as they did seem to dull quite quickly. Having said that, they were most definitely a bargain for beginner skaters.

These skates cost just shy of $80 and scored really highly in terms of their reviews on Amazon at 4.5/5 stars based on 346 reviews at the time of our research.

Pros

  • Comfortable Nylex lining
  • Bargain for beginners

Cons

  • Laces were too short

Final Verdict

As we said above, these skates were a great bargain for us and our beginners. They were comfortable and durable and did not cost the earth either. The only issues we had were quickly dulling blades and shorter laces than we needed. But, for a cheap pair of skates, these issues can be fixed very easily and cheaply. These are a bargain buy if ever there was one!

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  • Star 4.4 out of 5 star
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Best Figure Skates: Jackson Figure Ice Skates JS180/JS181/JS184

These skates are also from Jackson! They are one of the best figure skates brands and be assured that these skates certainly will fulfill your expectations in terms of quality and durability. These ones are fashionable in that they have a chrome insert to add to the sophistication and style. They also have a vinyl upper that’s been reinforced and a padded tongue. The rolled and padded collar provides comfort as well as support and warmth for the skater.

The outsole is made from no-maintenance PVC that’s easy to clean and is fashionable too. The blade is made from stainless steel, the Ultima Mark 1 blade, which is great for beginner figure skaters.

As for the size, these ones did fit fairly narrow, so if you have a wider foot you should choose a size that’s more in line with your regular shoe size rather than the recommended half size less than your women’s US shoe size.

In terms of their cost and popularity, this pair of skates cost just under $75, so a fairly reasonable cost as far as quality Jackson skates go. We liked these ones for their ease of use and comfort. They also come in pink, blue, purple or fleece lining options, which we liked. They weren’t too heavy either, especially where younger skaters were concerned.

Pros

  • Fashionable chrome inserts
  • Not too heavy
  • Comfort from padding and rolled collar
  • Color options

Cons

  • Wide at the upper sides (we needed to tighten them more as a result)
  • Only marketed for girls and women

Final Verdict

We liked these skates for their versatility and color range! They are only marketed for women and little girls though, which is disappointing (especially given that boys' feet are no different to girls when younger!). They didn’t live up to our expectations in terms of longevity but did have a whole host of positive factors that we loved.

  • Editor Rating :
  • Star 4.3 out of 5 star
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Best Figure Skates: Riedell Skates - 110 Opal

Our next pair of skates in our skates under $100 list is these Riedell Skates, 110 Opal. “Yes, not another Jackson!” I hear your cry! These ones are great in terms of the support that they offer as it really is at an optimum. It offers light support, keeping you balanced on the ice but also allowing you to move more freely. They have a tongue that’s split in its design so that you have comfort and support. In terms of their support, they are rated at 20.

Over time, they also stay comfortable as well as being ultra-durable. They are designed for beginners and this is what you want and need.  They have a lacing system that’s simple and are comfortable thanks to foam padding. There’s also a nice lining that’s quilted and a PVC sole that’s maintenance-free. As for the blades, they are made from stainless steel with a smooth edge.

We really liked theses ones for their durability and comfort as well as their professional feel.They cost around $80, which is very much inline with other pairs in this list. The Riedell company has been around for more than 70 years, so you know that what you’re getting is a decent, well-practiced product.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Professional appearance
  • Durable and comfortable
  • Optimal stiffness for beginners

Cons

  • Not suitable for more advanced skaters

Final Verdict

We loved these Riedell skates for their optimal stiffness for beginners. We didn’t find them too stiff to skate it (especially after we have broken them in), but they were stiff enough for us to start to try a few moves with too. For the price, comfort, and durability, they really are worth it. We have good reasons to place it among our top 10 models and can't recommend it more!

  • Editor Rating :
  • Star 4.3 out of 5 star
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Best Figure Skates: Lake Placid Cascade

These Lake Placid Cascade boots are great for Women’s figure skating yet are under $100. In fact, they’re under $43, at least they were when we carried out our research. These ones are great for warmth. They have woven liners that are fitted with padding for comfort. They also have a sole that’s waterproofed to keep your feet dry as well as toasty warm.

The ankle offers firm support and the lining is also quick-drying and fitted with a synthetic upper. They are laced traditionally with speed hooks at the top so you can get them on and off quicker. As for the blade, it’s made from stainless steel and has a toe pick on each blade. The downside is that you need to sharpen the blades before you skate in them for the first time.

We found that these boots were quite big, so we had to order a smaller size to try them out. However, if you are wanting a comfort fit, you can keep them at half a size bigger. For a performance fit, you should most have at least half a size smaller than your regular US women’s shoe size.

Pros

  • Cheap price
  • Excellent lining to the boots
  • Good quality blades
  • Extra-long laces

Cons

  • The quality isn’t there for long-lasting boots

Final Verdict

These ones were a great, affordable buy. We liked the lining as it was soft and quick to dry if damp from sweaty feet. The lacing was great, and we could get them on and off at a reasonable time. The sizes were a little difficult to work out at first and depended on what we wanted to use them for – for comfort or for performance. But it is worth remembering that these aren’t really designed to be a performance skate, hence their cheap price!

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  • Star 4.2 out of 5 star
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Best Figure Skates: Jackson Ultima/GAM Stella/Clasicue

The last in our list is another Jackson Ultima, this time the GAM Stella/Clasicue. These ones have screwed in blades which can be upgraded or changed should you wish, which is a nice option to have when buying skates for under $100. The support rating of these is 5, so they offer light support. The width is adapted too so that it releases pressure and gives you comfort when you need it. The uppers are reinforced for strength and durability as well as support. The ankle foam fits nice with the rolled padded lining and didn’t irritate us at all.

There are padded tongues from felt, which were comfortable and the eyelets for the laces were also nicely reinforced. The outsoles, made from PVC, were practically maintenance-free. The blades are Ultima’s Mark 1 figure skate blades and have rivets for your security on the ice.

GAM is Jackson Ultima’s legendary brand dating as far back as 1990. They’ve been providing the world with performance skates for 30 years now with their AWC – Adapted Width Fit. This makes them even better for recreational skaters or those that have a flat foot as the side pressure is reduced. Orthotics can also be accommodated within the boots.

We loved them for their comfort and how even our testers with foot issues could get away with them easily.

Pros

  • AWC – making them suitable for those with foot issues or orthotic inserts
  • Very reasonable cost
  • Easy to maintain
  • Great stiffness of 5 for beginners and recreational skaters

Cons

  • The adapted width fit won’t suit everyone as many prefer traditional fits in skates

Final Verdict

For our last skates on the list, these ones are fab!  They’re certainly deserving of being in the best figure skates list, especially in the “under $100” category. We loved how adaptable these were for everyone that had a go with them, no matter their foot size or individual foot issues. Of course, these are designed for beginners and recreational skaters, as you’d expect with a product under $100, but they did not disappoint us at all.

Other Good Brands & Tested Models

We came across a wide range of other reputable brands and their popular models during our research. Here are their names: Nike, adidas, Roces (known for their hybrid models), Bauer, BOA, Harlick, Graf (known for Graf 500), ll Bean, Podium, Oxelo, SP-Teri, DBX, Edea (known for Concerto, Piano), John Wilson, Nevica, Risport (known for RF3), Empire, Hespeler, Chaya (known for their vegan models), Winnwell, Sagester, Arcadia, Lange, Rollerblade (known for Bladerunner), Planet, and CCM (known for their Pirouette).

Finding the Perfect Size for You

It is really important when choosing ice skates that you find the right size for you. If you have boots that fit properly, this will help prevent injury to your feet from blisters etc. and will help to improve your performance on the ice. Furthermore, your blade and boot combination should be appropriate for your needs and your ability, whether that be recreational skates, beginner skates, competitive or advanced competitive skates.

Choosing the Right Size:

Firstly, make sure that you get the right size for the user--be it an infant, a baby, a child, a toddler, kids, youths, teens or adults. Most recreational skates for sale are usually half a size smaller than the shoe size. If you want to have an accurate measurement you can always measure your longest foot’s length in inches. To do this, stand against the wall with your feet as far back as possible, touching the wall. Measure to the very end of your largest toe.

Mens skate size scooterlay2

If the skates are for a child, you should add some growing room of half a size but no more. It can make it harder for children to skate if their boots are too big, causing them blisters and rubbed areas. Some skates also come with width measurements for narrow, medium or wider feet. This is really common sense – most people know if they are wider than average feet, for example.

Womens skate size scooterlay

You should also remember that, when skating, thinner socks are better. Hosiery is a good option too or dress socks for males. Furthermore, it’s important to make sure you lace the skates correctly so that you can move correctly on the ice. Also, if your feet are too big, you might need a custom made pair.

Best Figure Skates: A Comprehensive Buying Guide

1. Stiffness

Figure skates come with a fitness rating which simply means how supportive the skates are. If the rating is higher it means that your feet will be supported more strongly. If you are a beginner, having a lower stiffness rating is better as you will need as much comfort as possible when you first begin skating.

Advanced skates need a higher stiffness as they exert a lot more pressure as well as wear and tear on the skates. The extra stiffness protects ankles too.

2. Support

a) Ankle support

Support is crucial for your safety. You need to ascertain the level of support you need. Beginners and those in recreational skating should opt for softer boots as a general rule.

b) Fit

Skates can take a while to break in, so you need to be sure that they are the right ones for you. They will feel uncomfortable first of all. Some advanced skates have included technology which helps to make breaking them in faster but, generally, all new skates have to be broken in, which will take a while.

c) Lacing system

The best type of skates are those that fit well, regardless of how they buckle or lace! You should look for places that won’t trip you up. Buckles shouldn’t mean there’s any extra space in your boots either. It’s more like the snowboard bindings but more subtle. For flawless twizzles, make sure your lacing is tight.

2. Style

a) Figure skates

Figure skates are not designed with speed in mind but are intended for doing spins and difficult jumps. They come with toe picks to make this easier.

b) Touring skates

Touring skates have really long blades that are attached to ski boots or walking boots. Their design is so that they can cover a large area in as little time as possible.

c) Double runner

This type of skate is ideal for younger skaters and beginners. They can help you gain confidence and they offer greater stability that other types of skates.

d) Racing skates

Racing skates have high speed on the mind. They have blades designed to lessen the ice cut as far as possible. This means that they glide better than the majority of skates out there.

4. Your Skating Level

Figure skates are very much like skateboards and inline skates. You grow your skills and balance through practice. The type of skates you need to buy will depend on your experience level and what you want to use them for!

5. Category

a) Recreational

Figure skating is a way different than riding a skateboard, although both can be done for recreational purposes. If you just want to skate to have fun at your local ice rink then recreational skates are most likely the right choice. This includes leisure and seasonal skaters who skate socially or infrequently. Here, you need to choose skates that are warm, comfortable and durable so that stand the test of time over years of fairly infrequent use. Thermal boots in a soft style are what’s recommended for recreational skaters. These tend to have a stiffness rating of between 10 and 20.

b) Beginner

Rule no.1, go through a harness session before hitting the rink. If you are wanting a bit more than to skate recreationally, you should think about some beginner skates. These skaters are wanting to learn a bit more than simply going forwards, turning and stopping. This type of skate is ideal for those starting out having lessons or group sessions on the ice. Beginner skates usually have a stiffness rating of between 15 (for youth skaters) and 30 (for adults). If you spend at least an hour or two a week skating, this type of skate is what you need. They usually have a nice snug fit with good support. If you have previous experience of stopping or cornering with inline skates, it will be easy for you to figure skate.

c) Instructional

Instructional skates are for those who have mastered the simple techniques are doing single jumps as a part of their practice. If you’re wanting to take skating further, instructional boots mean that there are choices to be made in terms of boots and blades. Skating is not simply a hobby, it’s now a sport with goals. Typically, instructional skaters spend around 3 to 5 hours skating a week and can do forward lunges, three turns, bunny hops etc. Boots need to have a stiffness rating of between 25 and 40 (youths at the lower end, adults at the higher end).

d) Competitive

There is a crossover area between competitive skaters and instructional style as some in the instructional category still compete in local competitions. But, for national competitions, boots can be tested within the national figure skating organizations such as ISI or USFS.  For USFS competition, boots need to have a stiffness rating of between 55 (for youth skaters) and 75 (for adult skaters).

e) Advanced Competitive

It takes incredible dedication to get to an advanced competitive level. For most skaters (including me!), being an advanced competitive skater is a pipe dream! It’s difficult to master all the skills and the boots and blades are not magic at this level, suddenly allowing you to do everything you’ve dreamed of! For freestyle, the stiffness should be between 75 and 100 for the ultimate protection and durability. Like the hockey skates, they should have flexibility too to break them in well and have enough bend in them to be able to do bends for jumping maneuvers. In short, you’ll need the best figure skates to squeeze the most out of your skills.

6. How Often You Skate

If you’ve read the part above about different types of skates, you should be able to ascertain that, how many times a week, year or month you skate will affect the type of boots you need. If you skate casually, you won’t need the stiffness that advanced competitive skaters need! If you skate regularly and are developing your skills, you’ll need slightly stiffer skates.

7. Foot Length & Width

Getting the right size is really important. I’ve told you how to measure your feet to get the right foot size above. Many skates also come in width sizes: N, M, W standing for narrow, medium and wide. Most people know whether they have extra narrow feet, so go with common sense in this regard!

8. Comfort

As mentioned, ice skates are difficult to break in in comparison with other types of footwear. People literally apply baking method to heat them up in micro-oven so it moulds in the right shape of the feet. If you don't do that tt will take more time to get them feeling comfortable and they will feel a bit painful at the outset. Skates are deliberately made with material that’s tough and so breaking them in takes a while. However, they are carefully made to ensure maximum protection and comfort. Even if you have flat feet, you shouldn't have a problem with them. Depending how often you skate, this could take a couple of weeks. There are some tips as to how to break new skates in too, such as not tying the top eyelets or punching the leather parts which rub your feet. Wearing a mitten or gloves can keep your hands warmer

9. Blades Included or Not

Most ice skates will come with the blades. However, if you are looking at high-end skates, the blades often come separately.

10. Choosing a Blade

For skates that don’t come with blades, the right blade to choose will be dependent on your skating style and skill level. Blades are usually measured in ¼ inch increments. For adult boots, the blade is usually 1/8 of an inch shorter than the sole lengths of the boot. For children, growth mounts are often chosen to accommodate their growing feet.

Blades are made from steel strips which will vary in quality depending on how much carbon content they have. Advance skating blades are generally higher in quality, giving sharper edges and smoother skating.

11. Look & Color

Color matters. You are rolling on white ice with your blood-red skates on and the visual appeal it creates matters a lot. In fact, figure skating performances in the Olympic has so much to do with the visual appeal. That's why they come in a wide range of colors. Most common ones include white, black, red, blue, green and maroon. Make sure you wear matching apparel and gloves for a better look.

12. Budget

So, how much do figure skates cost? It goes without saying that the more expensive the skates, the better and more advanced they are. Skates are a difficult thing to master, so investing in a really good model will mean that they’ll last a long time and meet all your expectations. It’s pointless buying skates that won’t last or will wear down quickly.

Final words

There you have it: twelve pairs of best figure skates for you all to peruse over and enjoy. Maybe with a bit of practice, you could be headed to a competition or championship or maybe just master speed and movements at your local ice rink. Whatever your aim, you can’t go wrong with the skates listed in our reviews. Why not opt for the category that suits you the most? After all, we’ve done all the research into the skates so that you don’t have to!

Again, may be you aren't looking for a position amidst some of the skating stars like Johnny, Tonya, Jason Brown, Nancy, Sasha Cohen, Surya, and Adam, may be you'll do it for your own pleasure, but choosing the right model will help you extract the best our of the sports.

Happy skating everyone!

FAQ

1. What Figure Skates Should Beginners Use?

A. You need to understand that beginners need specific beginner skates rather than opting for elite skates that they will adapt into. They need to have some stiffness for support, but they should not be as stiff as advanced skates so they are able to learn techniques the best way. Leather skates are an advantage as they can mold to your feet.

2. Boot-Blade Figure Skates Package vs Separately

A. Usually, for beginners and intermediate skaters, the boots come pre-fitted with the blades. If you opt for a boot and blade option, you should ensure that the blade is suitable for the boot and suitable with that boot’s stiffness level. If you guess and get it wrong, you could be in for trouble. If you don’t know what to go for, speak to your local figure skating teachers or a professional shop as they will be able to guide you personally.

3. Do new boots hurt?

A. In a word, yes. You should expect to feel some discomfort as you break in your new boots for the first time. This is because the boots are designed to be stiff to protect you and allow you to skate at your best. You can find several solutions to this online such as heating the boots with a hairdryer before putting them on so that they mold to the shape of your foot quicker.  Of course, the time it takes for you to break in your boots will vary considerably on the boots themselves and how often you’re on the ice for in them!

4. How to sharpen figure skates?

A. On occasion, you will have to sharpen the blades of your skates so that you can keep your speed and level of control whilst skating. But there are certain things you need to be aware of before you sharpen them. First of all, a blade is made of two edges that have a hollow space in the middle. The larger the hollow, the bigger the space between the edges and therefore the blades are narrower. Those with a deep hollow feel sharper and have more grip. But they can also have less control and more drag.

If you have a shallow hollow, it’s not as sharp and there is not as much edge, but you can go faster and do more maneuvers. It will depend on your needs as to which type of edge is right for you. Deeper hollows are only recommended for experienced skaters. You should not really try to sharpen your skates by yourself as you could get it disastrously wrong. Instead, find a professional that can do the job for you.

Colin Kint
Colin Kint A Mobility Scooter Specialist
Scooting is my ultimate source of joy because it offers great fun without demanding much. I’m Colin Kint, speaking to all of you who have a desire/panache for using mobility … Read More

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