Buying Guide for Junior Inline Hockey Skates
By Steve Kopitz
Purchasing a Junior Inline Hockey Skate will have some subtle differences than when buying for an adult. It will come down to the age of the junior hockey player and the position they are playing. You can bet that most Inline Hockey Skates will be similar with the only exception being a goalie inline skate.
An Inline Hockey Skate will have more in common with an ice hockey skate than a recreational inline skate. The following is a guide to ensure that you make the most informed decision when purchasing a pair of Inline Hockey Skates for your child.
Roller hockey boots will typically be softer than ice hockey skates because roller hockey skating involves more torque and flex since your child is on wheels and not a blade. The boot needs to be able to handle this kind of motion.
All boots feature the traditional lace lining.
The liner of the boot is where they will place their feet. There are plenty of options to choose from but here are a few examples of liner features you may come across:
♦ Anti-Microbial – this means that the liner has been treated to combat odor-causing bacteria and microbes.
♦ Brushed Nylon Liner – Many players won’t actually wear socks on their feet so a brushed nylon keeps them comfortable
♦ Quick Dry – Just like it sounds, this type of liner is made to dry quickly so that the moisture doesn’t stick around smell up the boot, plus no one wants to stick their foot into a moist boot the day after they’ve worn it.
Most likely you’ll come across an aluminum frame. Aluminum frames are lightweight and very durable. Having a lightweight frame decreases the overall weight of the skate which is important because they will be constant starting and stopping on their skates and the lighter weight means less fatigue.
The most important aspect of the frame is its stiffness. A stiff frame creates a better transfer of energy which, just like the weight, means less fatigue and more efficiency.
Some frames feature a wheel setup that keeps you lower to the ground. This increases speed while decreasing your stopping distance. In a stop-and-go game like hockey, this feature can be very beneficial to the player.
The size and hardness of the wheel is very crucial to an Inline Hockey player.
♦ Size – generally, the best size is a wheel around 76mm for a hockey player closer to their teen years; for youth sizes a 59mm wheel is fairly common
♦ Hardness – Wheels are going to be classified as all around or indoor, all around wheels are going to be a bit harder which makes them better for outdoor use. Wheels in the indoor category are going to be a bit softer and will be best for indoor use. Wheel hardness is referred to as durometer. A soft wheel is good for playing indoors on a rink surface because they will grip easier whereas a hard durometer would cause the player to slide.
♦ It is also common to have a hockey skate with two different wheel sizes. The reason for this is it allows them greater stopping power and helps with quick switching of direction.
♦ Three wheels are not uncommon in youth skates due to the nature of the size of the skate and does not hinder or help the skate’s performance.
Skate Bearings when it comes to hockey is all about speed. An ABEC 7 or 9 or ILQ 7 or 9 or in the Mission line of skates the Swiss LE bearings are the most ideal. These bearings are all the highest rated bearings.
A higher the rating of the bearing the faster the wheel can turn.
Roller Hockey Goalie Skates
Goalie Roller Hockey skates are built with a lower profile ankle cut and a shorter tongue than player’s skates. This allows the goalie more mobility when trying to stop a goal from being scored plus they aren’t stopping and starting like the other players on the rink. Also, the goalies wear leg pads and the additional coverage that the other players require isn’t necessary for the goalie.
Goalie skates are built with a 5 wheel chassis, however since goalies push off with the front of their skate there are three wheels in the front and the fourth wheel is taken out. The additional spacing between the last two wheels allows the goalie to strap on his leg pads through that opening so they don’t interfere with the wheels.
When deciding on the proper Inline Hockey Skate for your child don’t forget to take a look at the recommended skill level. If they play recreationally with friends in the street or the park then a beginner skate is ideal. If they play it in a league then intermediate-advanced is the ideal skate for them.