What Equipment Do You Need for Ice Skating?

Ice skating was first explored in the 13th century as a way for Dutch villages to communicate via frozen canals during the winter. Later, when England adopted it as a recreational activity, the first ice skating rinks were built. Many historical figures enjoyed the sport, such as Marie Antoinette, Napoleon III and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Ice skating is the oldest Olympic sport in the winter games and was present during the London Games in 1908. The equipment used hasn’t changed much over the years, but it has become more effective with modern technology.

An ice skater laces up their skates. (Image: Rick Gomez/Blend Images/Getty Images)

Boots

Ice skating boots are constructed from stiff leather to provide support to the ankle and foot. The most important thing to consider when buying ice skating boots is the fit. The boot should be snug and your foot should not be able to move around much. The boots will become more comfortable once they are broken in, but if a boot pinches or causes numbness, it is not the right size. Many boots sold in sports equipment outlets come with the blades already attached, which is fine for a beginner or recreational skater. But competitive skaters should buy their boots and then have the blades fitted and attached.

Blades

Ice skating blades are not completely flat from one tip to the other; instead, they have a small curve referred to as the rocker. The width of the blade is not completely flat either—it is concave, which creates two sharp edges. In turn, there are four points on the blade that can be used in executing various moves, spins and jumps. The front of the blade is serrated and referred to as the toe pick. The length of the blade and the size of the toe pick will vary depending on specialized style and skill level. It is important to regularly sharpen your skate blades and to protect them when you’re not on the ice.

Clothing

There is not a dress code for ice rinks or frozen ponds, but you do want to consider some important aspects when deciding what to wear. You want clothing that stretches and moves with you, such as leotards, tights, stretchy pants and tops. Avoid wearing jeans or over-sized coats. Also, wear tight fitting gloves and avoid mittens. If you are being coached, it is important to wear tight fitting clothing so that your coach can see the lines of your body. Do not wear competition outfits during practice because they can be easily damaged.

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