Buying your first pair of ice skates

With so many options online today, we are shopping more and more over the Internet than ever before. And certainly there are better deals when buying things online. HOWEVER, ice skates are not one of them!

As a long-time skating coach, I cringe when I hear that someone is considering buying ice skates online. In essence, this means that a person is going to buy professional gear online without trying on the boots, talk to someone about the quality of the gear, waive the warranty, and receive no promise of continued fit or service on the gear. Actually???? This makes no sense.

I think the biggest argument I hear from someone considering this option is that they think they’re getting a better deal. Well, in the case of professional equipment, there is rarely a “deal”, but more of a post-purchase regret. The average cost to buy a good pair of skates at a pro shop at the rink for a beginning skater is around $120! If that! And here are the advantages of buying them on a professional track:

– They will measure your feet and recommend the best brand of boot and blade that fit the skater’s goals. Also taking into account experience level, age and ability.

– If the boot is a Jackson or similar, the boot will be thermo-molded to your foot.

– They will allow you to upgrade the blades separately, if needed or wanted.

– They will guarantee the boot and shovel and have a money back guarantee if something goes wrong.

– They will mount the new blade in the boot and sharpen the blade before stepping on the ice for the first time as part of the initial price. Usually assembly and blade sharpening are separate fees.

– You will also be able to purchase additional accessories for your skates while you are there just for your boots, such as blade guards, soakers, wax, laces, etc.

– And, they will answer all your questions so that you learn everything about your equipment and how to care for and protect it.

Last but not least, purchasing equipment from your local ice rink supports smaller businesses. Ice rinks operate on a very low margin and often barely survive. Support them by shopping with them so they can stay in business.

So please, please don’t buy ice skates online. Save yourself the headache. When skates don’t fit properly, it can negatively affect your learning experience and make it frustrating for your coach, who really wants you to progress. Shop local at your track for pro gear!

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