Are Hockey Skates Harder Than Figure Skates?

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Skating is a popular recreational activity and a key component of competitive sports like ice hockey and figure skating. When it comes to selecting the proper skates, choosing between hockey and figure skates often comes down to personal preference and the intended use. One question that might arise is: are hockey skates harder than figure skates? Let’s attempt to answer this question by examining the various aspects of both hockey and figure skates.

A Comprehensive Breakdown of Hockey and Figure Skates

Hockey Skates

Designed for speed and agility, hockey skates are made to endure the intense rigors of ice hockey, a physically demanding sport that requires seamless maneuvering. They boast a variety of unique characteristics that cater to this particular sport:

  1. Boot: Constructed with a blend of synthetic materials and leather, hockey skate boots prioritize durability and protection. This combination provides the necessary foot and ankle support required by hockey players.
  2. Design: Generally, a hockey skate’s design is slightly more curved and shorter than skates, facilitating quick turns and lateral movements. This curvature is known as the “rocker.”
  3. Blade: The blade’s edges on skates are centered and considerably longer compared to figure skates, enabling players to easily switch between forward and backward skating. The blade also features a “hol­low” (a concave groove) that generates two distinct edges, enhancing the skater’s ability to grip the ice and make sharp turns.
  4. Toe Pick: Hockey skates lack the toe pick found on skates, which helps prevent sudden tripping or stumbles while playing the sport.

Figure Skates

Elegant and practical, figure skates are specifically designed to cater to the requirements of figure skating, a graceful sport that demands precise movements. Some key characteristics of figure skates include:

  1. Boot: Figure skates are typically constructed with a combination of leather and synthetic materials, providing ample stiffness that ensures stability and control during complex footwork and jumps. Additionally, the ankle support is of utmost importance for figure skaters.
  2. Design: Figure skates boast a distinctive, elongated design that creates a smooth ‘flow’ effect when skating, perfect for performing precise footwork and artistic routines.
  3. Blade: The blades on skates are notably flatter than their hockey counterparts. This feature enables a stable glide and allows for the execution of multiple types of spins, jumps, and complex footwork. Moreover, the front of the blade curves upward, ultimately improving the skater’s control.
  4. Toe Pick: A highly distinguishable aspect of figure skates is the toe pick located at the front of the blade. Comprising serrated edges, it’s utilized to initiate jumps, maintain balance during spins, and perform intricate footwork.

Comparison Table

Hockey SkatesFigure Skates
DesignShorter and more curvedLonger and flat
MaterialSynthetic material/leather blendLeather/synthetic material blend
Boot StructureRobust, stiffer boots for better foot and ankle supportStructured boots with a stiffer design for reinforced ankle support
BladesLonger blades with centered edges and a concave grooveFlatter blades with an upward curving front
Toe PickAbsentPresent
DurabilityGenerally more durable due to high-impact nature of the sportLess durable comparatively, designed more for precision
Comfort and SupportDesigned for speed, quick turns, and balanceDesigned for stability, control, and precise footwork
MaintenanceFrequent blade sharpening requiredLess frequent sharpening needed

Comparing Hockey and Figure Skates: Which Are Harder?

To determine whether hockey skates are harder than figure skates, we must first consider the following factors:


Given that ice hockey is a more physically demanding sport, hockey skates are designed to be resilient and withstand rough use. In comparison, figure skates prioritize stability and precision, which doesn’t always translate to higher durability.

While both types of skates are manufactured using high-quality materials, hockey skates are generally considered more robust and capable of enduring considerable wear and tear.

Support and Comfort

The support and comfort provided by both hockey and figure skates, in large part, depend on the specific needs of their respective sports. Hockey players require skates that offer agility, balance, and support during sudden movements, while figure skaters require extra stability during exhibitions of artistry, strength, and flexibility.

As such, it’s difficult to determine which skate is ‘harder’ in terms of support and comfort, as both types cater to the specific demands of their respective sports.

Skill Level and Ease of Use

An argument could be made that learning to skate with hockey skates can be perceived as ‘harder’ due to the absence of a toe pick. Novice skaters might experience difficulties maintaining their balance without the additional assistance that a toe pick provides. In contrast, figure skates offer increased stability, particularly during jumps and spins.

However, given that hockey skates are designed for speed and quick transitions between forward and backward skating, many might argue that mastering them can be ‘easier’ in comparison to the precise footwork required for skates.

Blade Maintenance

The maintenance of the blades also plays a role in determining their hardness. Hockey skates have a hollow between two edges, which requires regular and timely sharpening to maintain optimum performance on the ice. In contrast, figure skates usually require less frequent sharpening.

As such, one could argue that hockey skates are ‘harder’ in terms of maintenance due to the increased need for regular blade sharpening.

Are Hockey Skates Harder Than Figure Skates? Let’s Delve into this topic.

Ice skating, whether for sports or recreational use, comes along with its unique sets of equipment. One key consideration for beginners or seasoned professionals is the choice of skates. A common question people often ask is, “Are hockey skates harder than figure skates?” Let’s delve into this topic.

Understanding Hockey Skates

Hockey skates, designed explicitly for ice hockey, showcase a robust build for intense games. Here are some notable features:

Construction and Design of Hockey Skates

  • More curved, short design for easy turns
  • Lightweight synthetic material build
  • Rigid boots for increased foot and ankle support

Blades of Hockey Skates

  • Longer blades with centered edges
  • Feature a ‘hollow,’ a concave groove for better grip
  • Absence of a toe pick

Figuring Out Figure Skates

Constructed for precision and aesthetics relative to figure skating, these skates feature:

The Structure and Design of Figure Skates

  • Longer design with flat surface underside
  • Made often from a blend of leather and synthetic materials
  • Stiffer boots with reinforced ankle support

Blades of Figure Skates

  • Flatter blades for stability
  • Upward curving front for control
  • Presence of a toe pick for balance and jumps

Weighing Up Hockey Skates Vs. Figure Skates: Which Are Harder?

Determining which types of skates are harder involves considering several factors:


  • Hockey skates, made for a physically intense game, often present increased durability
  • Figure skates, designed for precision, might be less durable comparatively

Comfort and Support

  • Both hockey and figure skates offer specialized support, depending on the sport requirements
  • Comfort level varies based on personal preference and use

Skill Level and Ease of Use

  • Mastering hockey skates may be challenging initially due to the lack of a toe pick
  • Figure skates, while providing increased stability, demand precise footwork, making it potentially hard for beginners

Blade Maintenance

  • Regular sharpening of hockey skates might make them ‘harder’ in terms of maintenance
  • Figure skate blades typically require less frequent sharpening

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

❓ 1. Are hockey skates harder to skate in than figure skates?

✅ It depends on the skater’s skill level and the type of skating being done. Hockey skates may seem harder to beginner skaters due to their absence of a toe pick, while skates, which demand more precise footwork, may be considered harder by others.

❓ 2. How often do I need to sharpen hockey skates compared to figure skates?

✅ Hockey skates typically require more frequent sharpening due to the blade’s concave design. Figure skates, with their flatter blades, generally need less frequent sharpening.

❓ 3. Which are more durable, hockey skates or figure skates?

✅ Hockey skates are generally considered more durable due to their design intended for a high-impact sport.

❓ 4. Are hockey skates more comfortable than figure skates?

✅ Comfort is subjective and depends on the user’s preference. Hockey skates are designed for speed and balance, while skates are structured more for stability and precise footwork.

❓ 5. Can I use hockey skates for figure skating, or vice versa?

✅ Each type of skate is designed for its specific sport, so it’s advisable to use the appropriate type of skates for each activity. Using hockey skates for figure skating may hinder performing specific moves, and figure skates used in a hockey game could lack speed and agility.

❓ 6. Why do hockey skates lack a toe pick, unlike figure skates?

✅ Hockey skates are designed for fast, aggressive play and swift changes in direction. A toe pick could potentially hinder these movements and lead to accidental trips or falls.

❓ 7. I am a beginner. Which type of skates should I start with?

✅ Your choice should depend on the type of skating that interests you. If you’re interested in figure skating, start with figure skates. If you’re more inclined towards the speed and agility required in hockey, go for hockey skates.

❓ 8. Are hockey skates generally more expensive than figure skates?

✅ The price depends on the brand, materials used, and the skate’s features. High-quality hockey and figure skates can range similarly in price. Always select skates that fit well, offer good support, and are specific to your skating activity.


Ultimately, the question of whether hockey skates are harder than figure skates depends on several factors, such as durability, support, comfort, skill level, ease of use, and blade maintenance. While both types of skates cater to the specific requirements of their respective sports, it’s challenging to definitively say which one is ‘harder.’

Hockey skates may appear to be more durable and capable of enduring rough use, while figure skates typically demand more precision and stability during performance. However, other factors like skill level and ease of use can vary widely between individuals and their personal preferences.

In the end, it’s essential to choose the appropriate type of skates based on your desired activity, individual needs, and skill level, rather than attempting to determine if one is ‘harder’ than the other. No matter the choice, learning to skate and mastering the sport will undoubtedly be a fulfilling journey!

Nazrul Islam: Nazrul is an established author and the esteemed Sports Editor of the ADT Canada Russia Challenge. His passion for sports journalism is evident in each article he crafts, giving life to statistics and scores.
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