How to Buy Goalie Hockey Skates
Here is some advice from HockeyGiant.com on how to buy Goalie Hockey Skates
Goalie hockey skates should be chosen with several key qualities in mind: fit, comfort and protection. Of course, there are many things to consider when you're buying a pair of goalie hockey skates, such as price, durability, weight, and changeable runners. Those factors are very important and should be carefully considered – but there's nothing more important than achieving a comfortable, proper fit to ensure that you'll be able to perform your very best.
Goalie Skate Construction
In order to help you get a good understanding of what you're looking at and looking for in a pair of goalie hockey skates, we'll go over the main components that make up a goalie skate and identify the function of each specific part. Like players' skates, goalie skates are constructed with 3 main parts: the boot, the cowling (plastic) and the runner (steel).
Goalie Skate Boots
Goalie skate boots are built with a lower-profile ankle cut and a shorter tongue than player's skates. Goalie leg pads cover the front/top of the goaltender's feet so the skates are not relied upon to provide as much frontal coverage as players' skates. The achilles protectors on goalie skates are also substantially smaller, which further increases ankle mobility. Generally speaking, the fit of a goalie skate boot is very similar to the fit of a players' skate boot, but goalie boots are designed to allow greater ankle mobility and are usually not quite as heavily padded in the tongues and other areas where the skates are covered by the leg pads.
Goalie Skate Cowlings & Runners
As you can see below, the cowling (plastic) and runner (steel) are actually separate parts, attached to one another with internal bolts and/or glue, much like the holder and runner on a pair of players' skates. The cowling is attached to the boot with adhesive glue and/or rivets. The cowling is made of hard plastic or composite materials which provide protection for your toes. The primary function of the cowling is to hold the runner.
Replaceable Goalie Skate Runners
Certain runners are attached to the cowling with external screws which can be removed to allow runner replacement. In the past, goalie skate runners were not replaceable and were always attached with internal screws and/or strong adhesives. Usually, if the screws/adhesives are located internally then you won't be able to remove the runner from the cowling – which means you'll need to replace the entire cowling/runner piece if either part breaks or wears out.
In the past, replaceable runners were a bit of a rarity, but they're becoming much more common these days. Goalie skate runners don't break too often, but with many skate sharpenings, over time you may find that your runners need to be replaced because they've simply become too thin. With detachable runners, you simply loosen the screws and remove the runner from the cowling. With one-piece cowlings & runners, you are unable to remove the runners from the cowlings so you must replace the entire piece. This is just one convenient feature to consider, although it shouldn't be your first priority when choosing a pair of goalie skates.
Proper Fit & Sizing for Goalie Skates
As is the case with any piece of hockey equipment, a proper fit is the most important part of choosing goalie skates. Every person has a fairly unique foot shape, and every pair of skates will feel just a little bit different on your feet. Over time, goalies and players alike, become more comfortable wearing one brand or another. It's best to try on a few different brands of skates before making your choice, but you ought to be able to find a good fit in any brand if you get the correct size.
Goalie Skate Boot Sizing
Like player's skates, goalie skates are usually sized 1 to 1.5 sizes down from your running shoe size. So, for example, if you wear size 9 men's shoes, you would wear size 7.5 Bauer, CCM and Reebok skates. Keep in mind that shoe sizes often vary from brand to brand, but usually Nike and Reebok running shoes will give you a good reference point.
Goalie Skate Boot Width
In addition to finding the correct numerical size for your skates, you must also consider the width of the boots that you'll be wearing. D stands for regular width, E stands for wide and EE stands for extra wide. If you've never had width issues when buying shoes then you should be safe to stick with D width goalie skates. If you've had trouble with the width of your shoes cramping the sides of your feet then you probably ought to consider E or EE skates. Most people wear D width, but many require or prefer the fit of E and EE width skates.
Goalie Skate Boot Fit
With player's skates, the general rule for sizing is that you want your big toe to slightly graze the inside of the toe cap when you wiggle your toes inside a brand new pair of skates. With goalie skates, you want the toe cap to be just barely out of reach because if your toes are touching the inside of the toe cap, you'll find out very quickly that it doesn't feel too good when someone takes a slapshot at your toes. Generally, you'll want about 1/8 - 1/4 inch space between the tips of your toes and the inside of the toe cap.
Goalie skates are not built as stiff as player skates and they do not take quite as long to break in. You may experience a bit of discomfort for the first few games with a new pair, but over time you'll be able to break the boot in and you'll notice a drastic improvement in the comfort of the boot. Typically, it will take approximately 3 to 6 hours of playing time to break in your skates, at which point the majority of the initial discomfort should subside.
How to Buy Inline Goalie Skates
The difference between inline goalie skates and ice hockey goalie skates is pretty obvious – chassis & wheels instead of cowlings & runners. Pictured to the left, you can see an inline goalie chassis with 4 wheels. The model pictured features a new design that Mission produced which is built with a chassis that appears to be able to hold 5 wheels. The second wheel from the back seems to be missing, but the design was no mistake. Goalies push off with the front half of their boot, so in order to reduce weight, the second to last wheel was removed and there was no loss of functionality. Most inline goalie chassis are built to house 5 wheels, but there are still some goalie skates that are made with a 4 wheel chassis, which come with larger wheels than a 5 wheel chassis. The 5 wheel configuration is favored by most inline goaltenders because the additional wheel provides extra grip and stability. The point is that you have options, so keep an open mind and eventually you'll find a design that works best for you.
Inline goalie boot construction and ice hockey goalie boot construction are fairly comparable, with the exception of some additional protection offered by ice hockey goalie boots and some minor structural differences that lend themselves to the functionality of inline chassis or ice hockey skate cowlings, respectively. Fit and sizing is the same with inline hockey goalie skates and ice hockey goalie skates. Just make sure you don't wear skates that are loose and sloppy or tight and constrictive. Not only will you perform poorly, but you'll find yourself in a great deal of pain from the blisters and bone spurs that result from an improper fit.
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