Find the Right Ice Skating Blades for You

Figure Skates
Figure Skates. David Handley / Dorling Kindersley Collection / Getty Images

Everyone who ever fooled around with a pair of ice skates has an opinion on the equipment, from the correct boot, blade, laces, mounting, and sharpening. Note: I am not endorsing any blades listed in this article; those I mention are just for reference.

Don't Go By "You Get What You Pay For"

Blades come in a variety of styles and price ranges. Although the old adage, "You get what you pay for," is a good general rule to not just go for the cheapest price, it does not hold true in most blade purchases.

Just by buying the most expensive blade WILL NOT make you a better skater; don’t let anyone convince you that it will.

The reason there are different blades is because to do different disciplines and levels within said disciplines, you will be helped by the correct blade; however, if you can’t stand up on a style of blade, getting a "better" blade will not help you stand up. Proper mounting and sharpening are probably the more correct answers, but that is for another day.

Buy Blades That Correspond to Your Skating Level

It is true that almost all manufacturers make a wide variety of blades to help different skaters:

  • Recreational and Beginner Blades
    Manufacturers begin with Recreational blades, like what you most commonly see on rental skates, and then we climb up the ladder a little to what is refereed to as a Beginner blade which is excellent for the Basic 1 to Freestyle 5 (USFS System), much like a Excel, MK 21 and Mark IV.
  • Blades for Freestyle 6 Through Pre-Preliminary Skaters
    Then onwards and upwards to the next rung on our ladder, Freestyle 6 to Pre Preliminary: this is a good time to look at a Majestic, Club 2000, Mirage.
  • Blades for Preliminary Through Novice Skaters
    Now we can get into some skating, no more fooling around: Preliminary to Novice we can get into a Coronation Ace, Professional, and Legacy.
  • Blades for Skaters Doing Triples and Quads
    Now to really begin the hard work of trying to become a select few (compared to the population of the world) that can get those Triples and sometimes elusive Quads, now you need some aggressive, strong, blades: Gold Seal, Gold Star, and Freestyle.
  • Blades for Other Types of Skating
    Of course there are blades that are designed for Dance, Synchronized, and even Hockey Skaters.

Is More Expensive Always Better?

There are many more blades than the few I have mentioned; they all have a place in the skating world. Keep in mind that in order to benefit from expensive equipment, you must have at least some knowledge of how to use it. Especially for growing children, it won’t hurt their progress to be over-bladed, it just won’t help them get where they want to be. Don't waste money on blades that don’t help; use the money for a good coach, proper fit and level of boots, proper mounting, and proper sharpening.

Geoff Hébert was the owner and operator of Ace of Blades in Colorado Springs, Colorado.