When it comes to equipment, there’s arguably no piece more crucial than your hockey skates. A multitude of hockey skate brands from various companies have made purchasing decisions even more difficult for the hockey player, but the variety of skates clearly for the better.
Generally speaking, the type of skate you wear will depend on what type of player you are. For example, a recreational player or novice player won’t require the same type of skate as someone who skates everyday or plays three times a week. A defenseman who is more apt to block shots will likely seek enhanced boot protection compared to a forward.
With that said, here’s a look at the top five hockey skate brands on the market today and what makes each of them so unique:
Many consider Bauer to be the granddaddy of them all when it comes down not just to hockey skates, but to hockey gear in general. Bauer offers all different styles of hockey skates, from the Supreme and Nexus models, which are intended for beginners and recreational players, to its more advanced Vapor models, which feature a stable boot, help with quick acceleration and cornering and are quick-dry to resist sweat absorption for the serious hockey player.
When it comes to hockey skates, many consider it to be a race to chase down Bauer. CCM made a big dent in the Bauer lead about 20 years ago when it released its Tacks model. It still exists today, albeit in a different style, many of which offer a carbon composite boot for lighter playing. Other popular CCM models are the super lightweight U skate and its RBZ model, which help with a player’s balance and durability.
Easton skates have come a long way in a relatively short period of time with ice hockey skates. Its most popular models today are its “Mako” and “Stealth” models. The Mako skates are said to combine turning performance and a superior fit to make a sort of “hybrid” skate.
Like Easton, Reebok is another company that’s come a long way in a short time period with its skates. Its most popular model is the Ribcor Pump, which also comes in non-pump skate options. The different between the two is that the pump is said to provide a more snug fit to the foot, thereby aiding in overall performance.
While not as well known as the other brands listed above, Graf is somewhat of a new player – at least to North America. Although founded in 1921, it wasn’t until the 1980s that European hockey players began to bring the skates into North America, thereby creating demand for the brand. Today, Graf offers players many varying styles of skates, from its “Flex Ice” to the Graf Supra skates. They are particularly known for their aggressive forward pitch and their integration of great fit and durability.
As you can see, there are a bevy of options when it comes to hockey skate brands. So which one is right for you? It depends on your personal preference, of course, as well as what features are important to you in a skate. As far as cost goes, be prepared to pony up $100 for beginner models, $150-400 for more advanced skate models and between $400 and $800 for the best-of-the best that each of the brands have to offer.