Hockey Skates vs Figure Skates

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You’re probably here because you want to try ice skating whether on a frozen lake or artificial ice. Upon asking other people what ice skate you should buy, some of them might have suggested ice hockey skates while others said you should buy a figure skate. Most people even say they’re the same so purchasing either of the two won’t make any difference. But, they got it all wrong. Should you want to succeed in your skating plans, choose the most appropriate skate. 

We will now clear up this misconception. So, if you want to know how hockey skates and figure skates differ from each other, this article will provide you a comparison. For better understanding, let’s first discuss the different types of ice skating sports.

Ice Skating Sports and Equipment Needed

In all activities that require physical effort like ice skating, you will be needing equipment or gear not just to ensure safety but to best perform. These are helmets, protective glasses, leotards or dresses, elbow pads, knee pads, hip pads, and most importantly, you can’t do ice skating without a pair of shoes called ice skates. However, upon searching on the internet, you found out that there are different types of ice skating sports. This means that each of them also requires different types of equipment that suits it best.  

There are many different types of ice skating sports but since the main focus of this article is comparing hockey and figure skates, we will just need to discuss hockey skating and figure skating. I am certain you have heard this sport a lot of times and just like most people, you think that the ice skates used in these two are the same but it’s a big “NO”. Although they both serve as shoes and make gliding across an ice surface possible, a hockey skate is different from a figure skate. They may not be completely distinct from each other but it’s important for you to know their few differences in order to decide which is best suitable for your ice skating plans.

Are Hockey Skates and Figure Skates the Same?

These two skates are not totally different from each other. Therefore, they are not totally similar too. If you are just a beginner ice skater and learning the basic moves such as how to balance, stroke on skates, or stop, you can use either of these two. Since you’re just starting, the type of skate doesn’t matter yet. As long as you’re comfortable wearing it, that will do. However, if you already want to level up and do more specific and critical moves, you need to choose one that will be best suitable for your chosen skating sport.

These two types of skates are made with different designs and features for different usages and functions. Its name says it all. A hockey skate is particularly designed for hockey skating while a figure skate is made specifically for figure skating.

In hockey skating, the main skills needed are immediate change in direction, quick stops, and protection against pucks and sticks. This sport doesn’t require many acrobatic moves. On the other hand, in figure skating, you need to do aerial turning and twisting, spinning or do pivot while staying in place, and do acrobatic jumps. 

Now that you learned how these two skates differ in purposes, let’s dig into the details of these skates’ comparison.

Hockey Skates

Ice hockey skating is more focused on quick change in direction, quick stops, and protection against pucks and sticks. Hence, it needs an ice skate that has characteristics that will make the said skills possible. First and foremost, a hockey skate is lightweight so it is obviously ideal to use for quick movements. 

Blades and Toe Picks

A hockey skate has a shorter and more curved blade than a figure skate. It is also narrow and deep and doesn’t have stiff boot and toe picks. These features allow a skater to execute movements at a high speed such as quick starts, quick turns, quick stops, and obtaining speed during ice hockey skating. 


Unlike the figure skate that is fully leathered, the hockey skate’s boots are made up of leather with light plastics. These combined materials make this ice skate a lot cheaper than the figure skate.

Furthermore, the hockey boot’s main aim is to support your feet in order to maintain good posture or stand erect. It is much thicker, taller, and is heavily padded with foam to protect your feet from pucks or collisions with other players’ skates.

Figure Skates

Figure skating can be done by a single person, a pair, or even groups. This is more into acrobatic moves consisting of lots of gliding, jumping, and spinning on the ice surface. So, it needs an ice skate that is compatible with the said movements.

Blades and Toe Picks

A figure skate has slightly curved and longer blades consisting of a toe pick which allows the skater to execute turns and hops. Its longer blade’s function is to give the skaters more surface area to work with. These attributes greatly help in making the spins, jumps, and long sweeping curves easier to do.


One of the reasons why a figure skate is more expensive is that it consists of several layers of leather. However, unlike hockey skates, it doesn’t have foam padding.

Its heel on the outside is small and there is a wooden sole inside for comfortability. It is shorter and  thinner than hockey boots. Moreover, its design is perfect for performing precision moves while gliding and acrobatic moves like turns, spins, and jumps. These are the moves that you can’t possibly do if you are using hockey skates. 


Hockey skates and figure skates are both highly functional and need to be maintained and sharpened for them to last long. Your choice now depends on your preferred sport. If your objective is to learn quick turns and quick stops that is for ice hockey skating, nothing else is better than a hockey skate. The same goes with figure skates which are best suitable for jumping, spinning, and gliding which are the main movements of figure skating. By purchasing the right ice skate, you’ll have a greater chance to learn skating faster and smoother. Most importantly, wearing hockey skates and figure skates will result in an incredible ice skating performance.

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