20+ Differences Between Figure Skates And Hockey Skates

Figure skating and ice hockey do share one significant commonality; that is, both are ice-based rink sports.

But figure skating and ice hockey are a lot different from each other. Interestingly, when it comes to the skates, it is easy to think that the skates meant for one can be used for the other.

If you are someone just new to ice skating, using either figure skates or hockey skates won’t make much difference as you are learning the basics.

But when you enter any of these sports, the type of skates you have will play a role because the skates are designed for the sport.

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Key Differences between Figure Skates and Hockey Skates:

Figure Skates

  1. Figure skates have a unique toe pick – a serrated edge at the front.
  2. The blades have a minimal curve and are longer than the boot.
  3. The boot material is light and flexible.
  4. The blades attach separately to the boot.

Hockey Skates

  1. Hockey skates do not have a toe pick.
  2. The blades are relatively more curved and are as long as the boot.
  3. The boot material is hard and slightly heavier.
  4. The blades are permanently fixed with the shoe.

Comparison Between Figure Skates And Hockey Skates

ParametersFigure SkatesHockey Skates
The Shape of the BladeFigure skates are less curved and are longer than the sole.Hockey skates are more curved and stay within the outline of the sole.
The Toe PickThere is a saw-edged toe pick at the front part of the blade.Hockey blades do not have toe picks.
The Blade WeightFigure skates have heavier blades.Hockey skates have lighter blades.
Boot MaterialLight leather or synthetic materials are used for the boot.The boots are made of molded plastic or hard leather.
Blade ReplaceabilityIt is easy to replace blades for figure skates.It is not easy to replace blades for hockey skates.
Jumping and SpinningFigure skates assist with jumping and spinning.Jumping and spinning using hockey skates are limited.
Blade VariationsTapered, side-honed and ice dancing are some of the different types.All player skates are the same. Only the goalkeeper’s skates are different.
PaddingFigure skates are not padded.Hockey skates are padded.
Purpose of UseFigure skates allow flexibility and mobility to the feet for jumping, pivoting, and other acrobatic feats.Hockey skates allow faster acceleration and security to the feet for better maneuvering during the game.

Major Differences Between Figure Skates and Hockey Skates

What Is Figure Skates?

Figure skaters perform graceful moves as they skate on ice. The figure skates help the skater perform and are designed for the very purpose. The boot is made of light leather or synthetic material and is flexible enough to bend as the skater flexes his ankle.

In figure skates, the blades have a unique shape. The front of the blade protrudes further from the boot. A toe pick with a serrated edge helps the skater with jumping and spinning. Since the blades are not fixed on the boot, they are easily replaceable.

What Is Hockey Skates?

Ice hockey is one sport where multiple skaters play in teams using hockey sticks and a puck. The hockey skates help the skater with better maneuverability and the requisite protection he will need.

These skates are generally made of harder material like molded plastic and have more padding to secure the feet from the sticks and the puck.

Hockey skates have a blade of a simpler design. The front does not have a toe pick but is curved slightly upwards.

The blade is lighter in weight and does not stick out as much as in a figure skate. These blades are not replaceable because the blades are strongly fixed on the bottom of the boot.

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Figure Skates vs. Hockey Skates- All you need to know.

Figure Skates

  1. These skates help the skater in performing moves and tricks with poise. 
  2. The boot material is lighter in mass and is generally made of flexible leather or synthetic material.
  3. The blade sticks out further from the boot and has a toe pick with a saw-like edge.
  4. Replacing the blades in figure skates is possible.

Hockey Skates

  1. These skates help the hockey player with rushing in and quick turning.
  2. The boot material is slightly heavier and uses more rigid material like molded plastic to protect the player’s feet.
  3. The blade barely sticks out and has a slight upward curve at the front.
  4. Replacing the blades in hockey skates is not possible, so the whole skate will be replaced.

Contrast Between Figure Skates And Hockey Skates

The Shape of The Blade

  • Figure Skates- The blades in figure skates are longer in length from both sides and are straight in shape. The front has an arrow-like end with a toe pick at the bottom edge. This toe pick is serrated to allow the skater to jump and spin better.
  • Hockey Skates- The hockey skates are shorter in length and stay almost within the contours of the boot.

    The overall design is not complex, with the front having a slight upward curve called the rocker. The shorter length keeps the blade from hurting other players during the match.

The Blade Weight

  • Figure Skates- The blades in figure skates are heavier because of the larger blade. The greater mass helps the skater with better foot placement when jumping or pivoting on the ice. 
  • Hockey Skates- In hockey skates, the blades are not only short but also light in weight. Lighter blades help the hockey player to skate with more speed and maintain stamina for longer.

The Boot Material

  • Figure Skates- Because the blades in figure skates have more mass and the figure skater will often lift his feet, the overall weight needs to be less.

    To make up for less weight, the material used in the boot is lighter. It is either leather or synthetic material that is also bendable for the skater to move his feet.
  • Hockey Skates- Hockey players need speed and protection, especially on their feet. While the blades help with speed, the boot material must be hard enough to absorb the impact of the puck and the hockey sticks of the other players.

    For safety, hockey skates use molded plastic, stiff leather, or a combination of both for the boot.

Blade Replaceability

  • Figure Skates- Replacing the blades in figure skates is possible. This is because the blades are mounted separately and not permanently fixed on the sole. 
  • Hockey Skates- It is difficult, in fact, almost impossible to replace the blades in hockey skates because the blades are permanently fixed to the sole by soldering. To replace the blade, you will have to replace the whole skate.

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The Blades: Figure Skates vs. Hockey Skates

Figure Skates

  1. The overall blade shape is straighter than the hockey skates, with a serrated toe pick at the front. 
  2. The blades used in figure skates are slightly heavier.
  3. There are many styles of blades for figure skates, like side-honed, tapered, or ice-dancing blades.
  4. The blades are easier to replace because they are not soldered.

Hockey Skates

  1. The blades in the hockey skates have more curves at the ends, and there is no toe pick.
  2. Hockey blades are lighter in mass and do not stick out of the skate.
  3. The hockey blades do not have much variation except in the case of the goalkeeper.
  4. Ice hockey blades are generally soldered. They can be sharpened but not replaced.

Jumping And Spinning

  • Figure Skates- Figure skates are designed to assist the player with acrobatic moves. Therefore, they allow the skater to jump higher and spin flawlessly.
  • Hockey Skates- It is possible to jump and spin with hockey skates as well. However, it would be abrupt and not as smooth as figure skates. The jump height would also be less compared to the figure skates.

Blade Variations

  • Figure Skates- There are various blades to choose from in figure skates. Ice dance blades are specifically for ice dancing.

    There are tapered blades, which start thinner at the bottom and thicker at the top. Side-honed blades are thinner in the middle area and wider at the top and bottom.
  • Hockey Skates- Ice hockey blades are generally of the same design except in one case. The goalkeeper’s hockey blades are different from the rest of the players. These skates have extra protection and longer blades for effective lateral movement to protect the goal.

Padding

  • Figure Skates- Figure skates have less padding because there is no impact risk from objects. However, the boot material ensures the mobility of the feet stays intact.
  • Hockey Skates- Hockey skates require more padding than figure skates to withstand the impact of objects. Padding helps the skates to absorb the hits taken on the foot.

Purpose of Skates

  • Figure Skates- Figure skates put mobility and flexibility in priority. The overall design makes the skate lighter but more stable for performing routines smoothly. 
  • Hockey Skates- Hockey skates prioritize speed, safety, and maneuverability more. The skates protect the player’s feet, and the simple blade design allows faster acceleration.

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The Objective: Figure Skates vs. Hockey Skates

Figure Skates

  1. Figure skates ensure more unrestricted movement of feet while performing on the ice.
  2. The boot material is light leather or synthetic for more flexibility.
  3. Figure skates do not require extra padding.
  4. Figure skates allow higher jumping and smoother spinning.

Hockey Skates

  1. Hockey skates are designed to help the player move faster and take quick turns with protecting their feet from objects.
  2. The boot material is generally molded plastic or hard leather to protect the feet.
  3. Hockey skates need padding to bear the hits from the players, the sticks, or the puck.
  4. Jumping and spinning are possible with hockey blades but only to a limited extent.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. I am just beginning with ice skating. Should I go for figure skates or hockey skates?

You don’t necessarily need to ‘choose’ if you are starting with ice skating. Because your focus will be more on balancing and gliding on the ice, you can begin with either.

However, knowing what to take in the future would be much more helpful so you would not have to switch later.

Q2. What are outside edges, inside edges, and hollow?

If you look at your left skate, the left side of the blade is the outside edge, and the right side is the inside edge. The opposite goes for the right skate. Hollow is the part right in between these two edges.

Q3. Can a goalkeeper play with player skates?

It is better to use goalie skates over player skates because player skates will affect your performance.

Goalie skates have longer blades for easy short motion, and extra covering means your feet will be more secure. 

Q4. What are figure skate blades made of?

Most figure skating blades use tempered carbon steel coated with chrome. However, you might also find blades made of aluminum and stainless steel.

Q5. How often would the blades require sharpening?

Dull blades will make you lose your balance by wobbling, interrupting while turning, or pulling to one side. If that happens, your blade needs sharpening.

While this is subjective to the blade quality and how much you skate, getting them sharpened about twice a month should be fine. This might increase or decrease as per the earlier mentioned reasons.


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