Goalie’s have their very own collection of hockey gear. Even their skates are different from those that the players use.
You can’t play the goalie position without skates and buying the right ones can make a big differences in the quality of your play.
Goalie skates need to not only be comfortable, but they should offer protection and they should fit well, too.
There are plenty of different options for goalie skates, but you should always consider your budget as well as the durability and weight of the skates.
If they are too heavy, then you might have trouble playing with them on and if they are not well made, you could have problems with injuries. A lot of hockey goalies also like to have runners that are changeable, too. It is helpful to buy the best skates you can while staying in your budget.
Knowledge is power
Buying the best skates can be easier to do when you understand how they are made.
Goalie skates are like player skates, but the parts are slightly different. All skates have the boot, the cowling, and the runner. The cowling is made of plastic and the runner is made of steel.
Structure of goalie skates
Goalie skates have boots that are built differently than players’ boots.
Goalies get to have shorter tongues and ankle cuts than those on player skates. Since goalies have leg pads that cover the tops of their feet, their skates do not need to come up as high.
With shorter boots, goalies do not have to worry about them getting caught on their leg pads, too.
Since goalies also do not have to worry about as many collisions and issues with their Achilles tendons, that part of the skate boot is not as firm as a player skate.
With less protection on the Achilles, goalie skates allow goalies to move more freely, too. Between the two skates, the fit is relatively the same. However, goalie skates have more flexibility that player skates and they are also less protective – which is where the added flexibility comes from. There isn’t as much padding in goalie skates because of all of the padding that goalies wear while playing.
When you choose goalie skates, look for a pair that allows you to move the way that you like to move while guarding the net.
Removable runners or not?
The next part to consider, the bottom of the skate has specific parts that are unique to the needs of the goalie.
The plastic cowling and the steel runner are connected with either bolts or glue – just like player skates. The cowling is usually plastic and it protects the toes. The cowling holds the runner in place and in most skates, the runner can be replaced.
The metal runner usually has screws that can be unscrewed so they can be removed and replaced. If you are purchasing goalie skates for a hockey player who has growing feet, then there is no need to replace runners. However, if you are planning on keeping your skates for a while, having removable runners will add life to your skates.
Fortunately, skates have evolved and they do not break very often.
Since goalies like to have their skates nice and sharp, the runners can get worn down over time. But, instead of having to break in a new pair of boots, the newest skates have runners that are easy to replace.
If you plan to do this, avoid buying skates with one piece runners and cowlings. Instead, look for runners with screws that can be removed so you can keep your skates for a long time.
Where should your toes land?
It is also helpful to buy skates that fit well. Even if you need skates for growing feet, it is important to get skates that fit well because it is easier to play when your feet feel good.
As goalies continue to play, they usually find a brand that fits their feet better than others. Therefore, it is helpful to try on a bunch to determine which brand fits your foot shape the best. Usually, the brands stay consistent, so the skates should fit well, even if you need to move up in size.
Goalie skates are going to be a size or two smaller than your shoe size. In most cases, they are 1 to 1.5 sizes smaller. For example, if you wear size 10 in men’s running shoes, you will need a 9 or 8.5. In hockey skates. This is not consistent from brand to brand, but it can be within brands.
Goalie skates also come with varying widths, just like shoes.
The standard width is labeled as “D”. If you need wider boots, then you will look for “E” or “EE”. The best way to determine if you need wide skate boots is whether you need wide shoes. If your shoes are wide, then your goalie skates should be, too. Some people like to buy their hockey skates slightly wider because they like to wear extra socks or thick socks when they are playing hockey. The added width provides more room for thick socks.
The boots should fit comfortably and they should fit the socks you like to wear.
In general, you want your big toe to just touch the cap of the skate. If your toes is cramped inside of the goalie boot, you will feel it when someone slashes your skate or if you have to suddenly stop and your foot crashes into the front of the boot. Most people like some room between the front of the boot and their toes – usually up to ¼ inch at the most.
You do not want your skate boots to be too big, because your foot will slide around and that isn’t comfortable, either.
Break in those boots
Skates usually need to broken in.
They aren’t as stiff as the older models from decades past, but they do need a few games or practices before they are just right. It is better to break them in during practice rather than during games and they usually need no more than six hours of time before they start to feel good.