The 10 Best Kids Ice Skates
10. Lake Placid Girls Summit
8. Lake Placid Nitro Girls 8.8
7. Lake Placid Boys Monarch
6. Bauer Supreme S140 Junior
5. Jackson GS181 Ultima Glacier
4. Bauer X300 Youth
3. Riedell 615 Soar
2. Bauer Lil Champs
1. Bauer Vapor X900 Youth
The Coolest Activity My Also Be The Safest
For parents who haven’t spent a lot of time on the ice themselves, bringing their kids ice skating might seem awfully dangerous. After all, kids are all but guaranteed to fall at some point, while everyone else involved flies around the rink with razor blades strapped to their feet. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, right?
Well, fortunately for everyone involved, ice skating is one of the safest activities in which a child can participate. For starters, the ice surface, while undeniable hard, also provides very little friction in the event of a fall. When your kid goes down on the ice, their downward kinetic energy dissipates as their body slides long the smooth, slippery surface. Falling while walking along the sidewalk or on asphalt actually poses a greater risk to your child because more of that energy reverberates back up to the body, tearing at skin and impacting bones. Grass is, perhaps, the only safer surface on which a child could play.
As far as the razor blades go, there is some danger there, but only if another skater were to come down on your child’s extended hand from above. Since most skaters spend the majority of their time on the ice with their skate blades glued to the surface for stability, this is a far less likely occurrence than you might expect. What’s more, most skaters attending public skating sessions rent their skates, and rinks have a reputation for keeping those skates exceptionally dull.
Of course, if you spend your skating time on frozen bodies of water in the wilderness, be sure you know when it’s safe to skate, as well as how to spot thin ice where it may occur.
Even if ice skating were as dangerous as you may have once believed, its fitness benefits are enough to outweigh those imaginary costs. Ice skating burns a heck of a lot of calories. A person weighing 150lbs. can burn around 250 calories in just 30 minutes of relatively casual ice time. Much of that has to do with the muscular activity required for maintaining one’s balance on the ice, so it isn’t vital that you fly around the surface at top speed to burn calories.
While your child (hopefully) doesn’t weight that much yet, he or she will undoubtedly benefit from the muscular and cardiovascular exercise that ice skating provides. There’s also a great deal of gross motor coordination involved that, from an early age, can help develop their overall athletic prowess. And if they take to the activity, you can slowly introduce them to the worlds of figure skating and ice hockey, which could easily become lifelong passions.
How To Choose The Perfect Skates For Your Kids
Your child’s age is likely going to be the first thing that determines what skates they should wear. Three years old is usually the youngest that most kids will hit the ice, and skates for children around this age often have two blades on them, as opposed to the traditional one-bladed design. This will give brand new skaters who have barely mastered their walking skills a little more stability on the ice.
For children ready to take the next step up, parents can begin to consider the differences between hockey skates and figure skates. In general, hockey skates tend to have slightly shorter blades than figure skates. This is intended to decrease a player's turning radius and make them more competitively agile. Children’s skates in the hockey style usually have slightly more extended blades to forgive a weaker balance.
At this level, the greatest difference between the two styles is the toe pick found on figure skates. If you look on the front of a figure skating blade, you’ll see what looks like a short row of sharp teeth. This is the toe pick, and it gives figure skaters a more stable launching position for a variety of jumps.
Youth skaters (and adult skaters who have only ever worn hockey-style skates) will often catch the toe pick in the ice unintentionally, and send themselves tumbling down to the ice as a result. If you know your child is interested in figure skating, it’s a great way to get them accustomed to the toe pick early on, but if they’re more interested in hockey or just skating, it could pose as a barrier for the first few years.
The last thing to consider is whether you want your child’s skates to have laces, straps, or both. Skates with only straps are the easiest to get on and off of your child, but you might not be able to tighten them as much as you’d like. Combination skates that offer both laces and straps give you more control over how tight the skate gets, and they also offer added ankle support for weak skaters. These are ideal for beginners. As your child grows accustomed to skating (and tying his or her shoes), you can get them fully laced skates. These will give them the most control over comfort and flexibility.
A History On Ice
The first known ice skates were made from bone, not metal, as they predated the height of the Bronze Age. Archeologists found a pair of these skates in what is modern day Switzerland, languishing at the bottom of a lake. Hopefully, no one was wearing them when they made their way down there. Based on written histories and environmental records, however, most historians agree that the Finnish developed a predecessor to this bone model, though no physical remnants have been discovered in that region.
The Dutch later popularized a crude iron-bladed skate around the 14th century that attached to a user’s shoes with leather straps. A few centuries later, in the mid-1800s, a famous American skater invented a two-plate, all-metal blade to which he added the toe-pick now indispensable to figure skating.
By 1875, ice hockey had become an organized sport in Canada, and the first few teams that would become the foundation for the National Hockey League formed. That industry, more than any other, has spurred on the development of faster, lighter ice skates.