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Advice on skating and playing hockey

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Learning to play hockey has been on my bucket list for awhile. You have to start somewhere — I had the first of seven skating lessons the other night. I move about as well as Dave Andreychuk on meth, but at this point, whatever. I'm on my way.

 

I skated in rental skates, and I don't want to do that again. Lord. So I need some down and dirty advice on buying skates, where to go, what to look for, how much to expect to spend and so on. I'm reasonably close to Buffalo.

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Learning to play hockey has been on my bucket list for awhile. You have to start somewhere — I had the first of seven skating lessons the other night. I move about as well as Dave Andreychuk on meth, but at this point, whatever. I'm on my way.

 

I skated in rental skates, and I don't want to do that again. Lord. So I need some down and dirty advice on buying skates, where to go, what to look for, how much to expect to spend and so on. I'm reasonably close to Buffalo.

 

I would find out from someone if the sabres or amerks do a used equipment sale at the end of the year. If they do, I would buy pro quality skates there for cheap and in the meantime I'd hit up play it again sports for something comfortable.

 

Lace bite is inevitable. Happens to everyone, and it normally goes away after a couple of times on your new skates. If the lace bite keeps getting worse, its the skates.

 

I always go a size and a half smaller than my shoe size and I also play barefoot so I'm not real big into comfort. That might not be the way you want to go right away. You'll want to skate more if you are comfortable and continue to see progress in your skating.

 

I love getting new skates! I get a pair every two years and that day is always awesome! Have fun, grow a mullet and remember, the ice is slippery.

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Learning to play hockey has been on my bucket list for awhile. You have to start somewhere — I had the first of seven skating lessons the other night. I move about as well as Dave Andreychuk on meth, but at this point, whatever. I'm on my way.

 

I skated in rental skates, and I don't want to do that again. Lord. So I need some down and dirty advice on buying skates, where to go, what to look for, how much to expect to spend and so on. I'm reasonably close to Buffalo.

 

They are going to suck for a while, my advice would be to call around and find a place that will fit them for you. I know Leisure Rinks used to bake them for you, I dont know if thats still true.... if you call around to some of the pro shops you should be able to find a place that does.

 

 

I would spend ~150 on a good pair of skates, it seems like a lot but skates can last you a long time especially if you only play a few times a month.

 

I prefer Bauers overall but it really depends on how they feel on your foot.

Edited by FolignosJock

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rental skates will make you hate skating.

 

my advice, as someone who never really learned to skate as a kid (but played a ridiculous amount of street hockey): think about high-quality (top-brand) used skates, at least for starters. they'll be broken in, and that is a big bonus for middle-aged novices.

 

and i know it's another 30 minutes from buffalo, but i can't say enough good things about Cupolo's in niagara falls, ontario. they have lots of good hockey gear, but it's their used skates that i've had good success with. my one big caveat: i am not sure that they're still open. at one point they moved from ferry to queen, and then they were shuttered for a while with money problems. anyway, if they're still around, i recommend them.

 

finally, as jock said, when it comes time to buy a new pair of skates: spend some cash. it will be worth it.

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I'll give you the advice I've gained over the years as someone who entered hockey as an adult and had no idea what skates were supposed to feel like.

 

First, for someone with beginner level skating ability, you shouldn't need to spend over $200 on a pair of skates.

 

I would start with anything in the Bauer Line. They have by far the widest user base. I wear a pair of Vapor 20 skates right now and I would say after about 4 years of pretty constant use they're just starting to wear out. If you don't like the fit of Bauers, try other skates. Try wide sizes if you have wide feet. I have wide, flat feet and a high instep, so Bauer is my brand.

 

I advise anything with a thick tongue, it will really help prevent lace bite, but it's going to happen anyway.

 

Here's my method for trying on and tying skates. Make sure you wear the same socks you will normally be skating in. Don't wear socks that are too thick! This will actually hurt the overall fit of your skates.

 

Take the pair you're trying on and have it loosely laced. Put your foot in and kick the back of the blade holder on the floor to seat your heel. The fit of the heel cup is crucial to your stability and you should know right away whether that boot has a heel cup that fits right. Check your toes at the same time. They can be touching the toe cap, but it shouldn't be uncomfortable. The cap wont break in like a snug pair of shoes might, so don't buy them too small!

 

Okay so your heel is snug and your toes aren't cramped. Begin lacing. The first three sets of eyelets are important. Snug these up pretty tight. The top three eyelets are just as important. Those will be tight too. The eyelets in between can be left a little looser so that you aren't hurting yourself. The way I make the skate fit best is to flex my foot towards and away from myself as I lace each set of eyelets. This allows you to get the boot tight but not too tight so that there isn't any flex in that in-between region.

 

So you've got the skate on and it feels tight in the right spots. Now jog around the store. Yes, jog. A good pair of skates should give you the support you need to essentially run on ice, so if you're bending at the ankles, you're not getting enough support. Any pair of Bauers be it the Vapor or Supreme range should have a pretty stiff boot, so you shouldn't ankle bend too much. I can't speak to other brands. If you think you didn't tie them enough, snug them up a little more. Sit down, flex each foot back and forth. The skates shouldn't feel like they're a hindrance.

 

If you find the right pair, the store is going to ask if you want them baked. This is a process of heating the skate, putting it on your foot and tying it, and allowing the skate materials to form to your foot while warm. Theoretically this speeds up the break in process. Personally, I think it's a waste of time and forgoe it. If I were you, I would decline having the skates baked.

 

As far as stores in Buffalo, your options are Great Skate and Pure Hockey. I've heard wonderful things about Pure Hockey but I have yet to be there. I would check them out though as Great Skate tends to sell higher-end stuff.

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I'll give you the advice I've gained over the years as someone who entered hockey as an adult and had no idea what skates were supposed to feel like.

 

First, for someone with beginner level skating ability, you shouldn't need to spend over $200 on a pair of skates.

 

I would start with anything in the Bauer Line. They have by far the widest user base. I wear a pair of Vapor 20 skates right now and I would say after about 4 years of pretty constant use they're just starting to wear out. If you don't like the fit of Bauers, try other skates. Try wide sizes if you have wide feet. I have wide, flat feet and a high instep, so Bauer is my brand.

 

I advise anything with a thick tongue, it will really help prevent lace bite, but it's going to happen anyway.

 

Here's my method for trying on and tying skates. Make sure you wear the same socks you will normally be skating in. Don't wear socks that are too thick! This will actually hurt the overall fit of your skates.

 

Take the pair you're trying on and have it loosely laced. Put your foot in and kick the back of the blade holder on the floor to seat your heel. The fit of the heel cup is crucial to your stability and you should know right away whether that boot has a heel cup that fits right. Check your toes at the same time. They can be touching the toe cap, but it shouldn't be uncomfortable. The cap wont break in like a snug pair of shoes might, so don't buy them too small!

 

Okay so your heel is snug and your toes aren't cramped. Begin lacing. The first three sets of eyelets are important. Snug these up pretty tight. The top three eyelets are just as important. Those will be tight too. The eyelets in between can be left a little looser so that you aren't hurting yourself. The way I make the skate fit best is to flex my foot towards and away from myself as I lace each set of eyelets. This allows you to get the boot tight but not too tight so that there isn't any flex in that in-between region.

 

So you've got the skate on and it feels tight in the right spots. Now jog around the store. Yes, jog. A good pair of skates should give you the support you need to essentially run on ice, so if you're bending at the ankles, you're not getting enough support. Any pair of Bauers be it the Vapor or Supreme range should have a pretty stiff boot, so you shouldn't ankle bend too much. I can't speak to other brands. If you think you didn't tie them enough, snug them up a little more. Sit down, flex each foot back and forth. The skates shouldn't feel like they're a hindrance.

 

If you find the right pair, the store is going to ask if you want them baked. This is a process of heating the skate, putting it on your foot and tying it, and allowing the skate materials to form to your foot while warm. Theoretically this speeds up the break in process. Personally, I think it's a waste of time and forgoe it. If I were you, I would decline having the skates baked.

 

As far as stores in Buffalo, your options are Great Skate and Pure Hockey. I've heard wonderful things about Pure Hockey but I have yet to be there. I would check them out though as Great Skate tends to sell higher-end stuff.

 

 

Please god do not follow this advice, with newer skates baking them is pretty much the only way to break them in properly. Especially if you arent playing a lot, you NEED to have those skates baked. Everything else he said is good though. Again I would recommend the Pro Shop at Leisure Rinks the manager has been there a LONG LONG time or at least he had when I left Buffalo 5 years ago. This guy had been managing there since my father was reffing when he was 13.

 

 

Get them baked, wear them a few times, bake them again. It will help you immensely and aafter 2 ish months it will be like wearing slippers.

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You call yourself PA Sabres Fan. Where exactly are you in PA? If you're near Cranberry, there's a new Total Hockey store there. It's like Mecca for Hockey Players.

 

Otherwise, check out the stores in Buffalo.

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Please god do not follow this advice, with newer skates baking them is pretty much the only way to break them in properly. Especially if you arent playing a lot, you NEED to have those skates baked. Everything else he said is good though. Again I would recommend the Pro Shop at Leisure Rinks the manager has been there a LONG LONG time or at least he had when I left Buffalo 5 years ago. This guy had been managing there since my father was reffing when he was 13.

 

 

Get them baked, wear them a few times, bake them again. It will help you immensely and aafter 2 ish months it will be like wearing slippers.

 

We'll agree to disagree. I found not baking the skates allowed me to break them in the natural way. Unless you're buying pro grade skates, baking them is unnecessary.

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We'll agree to disagree. I found not baking the skates allowed me to break them in the natural way. Unless you're buying pro grade skates, baking them is unnecessary.

 

How often do you play?

 

Not baking skates is fine if you are going to skate or play a few times a week. I never baked skates growing up since I was usually in them three times a week but now I only skate a few times a year, if I didnt bake my skates it would take me years to break them in.

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How often do you play?

 

Not baking skates is fine if you are going to skate or play a few times a week. I never baked skates growing up since I was usually in them three times a week but now I only skate a few times a year, if I didnt bake my skates it would take me years to break them in.

 

I play pretty often, so that's definitely my reason for it. I don't really know what it would be like to try and break in a pair of skates slowly :P

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Sure. My "posting' hand is already insured for $10,000,000.

 

Thanks for the good advice so far, everyone.

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Learning to play hockey has been on my bucket list for awhile. You have to start somewhere — I had the first of seven skating lessons the other night. I move about as well as Dave Andreychuk on meth, but at this point, whatever. I'm on my way.

 

I skated in rental skates, and I don't want to do that again. Lord. So I need some down and dirty advice on buying skates, where to go, what to look for, how much to expect to spend and so on. I'm reasonably close to Buffalo.

 

you also might want to think about used skates at like play it again sport as they are already broke in and will be a little easier on your feet, not to mention cheaper.

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I thought not all skates responded to baking. Isn't whether you bake them or not dependent on the skate? I've never baked them but I prabably play enough to where it doesn't matter. I'm actually the opposite of d4rk, Bauers hurt my feet so I go with CCMs.

 

It's awesome that you are learning PA. I started roller when I was 32. Then went to Play it Again Sports and bought all used gear and played my first game of Ice on my 33rd birthday. I never played roller again and now play at least once a week all year.

 

The biggest surprise to me when learning was how vertical the game is. Unlike what you see on TV. When I go to games now, I'd rather sit at the ends because you get to see the plays develop more like when you are on the ice.

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Learning to play hockey has been on my bucket list for awhile. You have to start somewhere — I had the first of seven skating lessons the other night. I move about as well as Dave Andreychuk on meth, but at this point, whatever. I'm on my way.

 

I skated in rental skates, and I don't want to do that again. Lord. So I need some down and dirty advice on buying skates, where to go, what to look for, how much to expect to spend and so on. I'm reasonably close to Buffalo.

 

My advice, because I did this in my early thirties and still play. I am almost 50. We skated a little as kids, but not well enough to play on an adult team. So I took lessons. My first pair were CCMs good for a middle width foot and a little flat footed. Now I have a pair of Bauer, tilted a little forward and the blade isn't quite as long.

 

I think I like the balance of the CCMs but can move my feet faster... a relative term, in the Bauers. Bauers are a little narrower. For wide feet Grafs are the best. Most are heat moldable and a good hockey store can do that for you. I was told if you want buy online. CCMs are a size and a half bigger than your shoe size to go down that much when ordering and Bauer are 1 size smaller.

 

Hockeymonkey.com and hockeygiant.com have good sales and you often get last year's models at a discount. But do get the heat moldable "bakeable". They fit like a glove and once you get used to it, I skate without socks for more control. I put on my thinnest pair of socks, stick the skates in the oven on its lowest settings for 10 minutes, put them on my feet in the living room tied as tight as possible for a half an hour while I watch TV. Has done the trick both times.

 

Just my two cents. P.S. You won't regret it and it is a great way to stay in shape.

Edited by North Buffalo

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As to skate baking- I'd been figure skating (nothing serious) in my mom's 50+ year old skates for years, which were literally rotting on my feet. Blades were very flat and I couldn't get decent spins/jumps going. I bought a fine pair of figures, and had 'em baked- there was next to no break in time. It was amazing. I wear thin socks when I play, as well. Of course, not long after that, d4rk threw me on the ice to play hockey and I had to completely relearn to skate- got a pair of Bauer Vapors at Play It Again- they were well broken in already, and have served me well as a beginner. Bought all my gear there, too. (Helped I'm smaller and can wear most male youth stuff) If I ever were to buy new skates, I'd get them baked. Cuts a few weeks of transition off, and is worth the hassle.

Have fun!

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Resist the allure of online pricing and go try them in person. As mentioned, CCM and Graf are mostly wider than Bauer. I would personally start there. I wore CCM for 20+ years and only recently switched to Graf and I LOVE the Graf. I'm also on the ice 3-4/week between playing, reffing, and coaching. I also think it might be a good idea to look for a pair slightly used if you are not going to be on the ice often as the break-in period can be extremely difficult if you are jus beginning and not out there often. Whichever you decide upon, lace 'em at home while watching 'suffering' or whatever to get used to them.

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Resist the allure of online pricing and go try them in person. As mentioned, CCM and Graf are mostly wider than Bauer. I would personally start there. I wore CCM for 20+ years and only recently switched to Graf and I LOVE the Graf. I'm also on the ice 3-4/week between playing, reffing, and coaching. I also think it might be a good idea to look for a pair slightly used if you are not going to be on the ice often as the break-in period can be extremely difficult if you are jus beginning and not out there often. Whichever you decide upon, lace 'em at home while watching 'suffering' or whatever to get used to them.

 

Grafs are also more expensive - I also don't believe a beginner needs a top-of-the-line skate and a $200 pair of Bauer/CCM would do just fine. To add to the fitting discussion ... I also took up hockey at a later age and have been playing for 10 years now. Getting fitted correctly is extremely important and one thing often overlooked is the volume of the skate. Skaters with low arches do better with one type of skate and high arch folks do better with another. All skates from the same company do not have the same volume. I skate in Bauer One95s, but could never fit correctly in a Vapor. And sizing differs from one skate company to another ... I wear an 11.5D dress shoe and wear a 9.5EE Bauer skate. Get fitted ...

 

As far as lace bite, a lot of cases occur when a skater is wearing a skate that doesn't have enough volume. Search for the skate "pencil test" on Google and that will give you an idea of how much volume you will need with your skate.

 

I always had good luck with Front Row Sports in Thorold. Not sure if they're still there, but they are very patient and know how to fit correctly.Good luck ...

Edited by gramps

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Also, if you want to check out Grafs, I'm not sure who else sells them in the Buffalo area but I believe the pro-shop at the Pepsi Center/Northtown Center still does.

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Got a pair of Bauer Vapor x50s at Great Skate today ($139.99), but not before getting a pair of gyros and some baklava at Tom's. I may need to skate for a couple of hours to burn off that lunch.

 

The skate dude said baking was not necessary, as he thought the break-in period for that skate would be very quick, two or three skates. I wonder though, given that what I'm doing is hardly "skating" yet, if it would make sense to have them baked to speed up the process.

 

They look pretty sharp, no pun intended.

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Too late, but there was a long thread about this a couple years ago, might still be around.

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Got a pair of Bauer Vapor x50s at Great Skate today ($139.99), but not before getting a pair of gyros and some baklava at Tom's. I may need to skate for a couple of hours to burn off that lunch.

 

The skate dude said baking was not necessary, as he thought the break-in period for that skate would be very quick, two or three skates. I wonder though, given that what I'm doing is hardly "skating" yet, if it would make sense to have them baked to speed up the process.

 

They look pretty sharp, no pun intended.

 

Keep us updated! Hopefully they will work well for you.

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Keep us updated! Hopefully they will work well for you.

 

Haven't "skated" in them yet. (My first goal is to not have to use the asterisks.) They are pretty hard to get on and off. I read that to check the size, you take the insert out and stand on it. Looks good lengthwise, but maybe I need wides.

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rental skates will make you hate skating.

 

my advice, as someone who never really learned to skate as a kid (but played a ridiculous amount of street hockey): think about high-quality (top-brand) used skates, at least for starters. they'll be broken in, and that is a big bonus for middle-aged novices.

 

and i know it's another 30 minutes from buffalo, but i can't say enough good things about Cupolo's in niagara falls, ontario. they have lots of good hockey gear, but it's their used skates that i've had good success with. my one big caveat: i am not sure that they're still open. at one point they moved from ferry to queen, and then they were shuttered for a while with money problems. anyway, if they're still around, i recommend them.

 

finally, as jock said, when it comes time to buy a new pair of skates: spend some cash. it will be worth it.

In case you haven't been there in a while, they aren't on Ferry near Clifton Hill. After they re-opened from the Bankruptcy years ago they decided to sell that building and move onto Queen Street (Downtown Niagara Falls)

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Haven't "skated" in them yet. (My first goal is to not have to use the asterisks.) They are pretty hard to get on and off. I read that to check the size, you take the insert out and stand on it. Looks good lengthwise, but maybe I need wides.

 

You may just have to loosen the laces up more to get them on and off. If they're just too tight then you might want to look at a wider pair.

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