The 10 Best Kids Ice Skates

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This wiki has been updated 32 times since it was first published in December of 2016. Few activities burn more calories than ice skating, so getting your toddlers and kids involved with hockey, figure skating, or speed skating is a great way to get them on the road to a fit and healthy lifestyle from a young age. A good pair of skates is the first step in what can become a lifelong passion, so we've chosen models for girls and boys to suit any skill level. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Jackson GS181 Ultima Glacier

2. Lake Placid Girls Summit

3. Lake Placid Nitro Girls 8.8

Editor's Notes

October 23, 2020:

Ice skating can be an incredibly beneficial hobby for children to learn, whether it be as something they pursue athletically or just a set of skills they occasionally brush off for social outings. That said, the idea of sending your kid out onto the ice to fly around on sharp metal isn't necessarily the most comforting one for a lot of parents. There are a number of steps you can take to make their frosty travels safer, from providing protective gear to signing them up for lessons. The best way to keep them safe, though, is to make sure they have a dependable pair of skates that both fit properly and are appropriate for their current skill and activity levels.

If your little one is wading into the waters of figure skating, the Jackson GS181 Ultima Glacier walk the line of being an affordable choice and a quality pair of figure skates for early learners. While the Riedell 615 Soar Jr. can serve the same purpose and is slightly less expensive, it should be noted that those seeking a traditional figure skate might be put off by its slightly more athletic design. The Jackson Ultima Softec Classic combines that style in darker coloring with the quality of the Ultima Glacier, but you’ll pay a substantially higher price for the masculine aesthetic.

If you like an athletic style or are looking for added ankle support, you’ll find no shortage of options. From the pink and white Lake Placid Nitro Girls 8.8 to the darkly-colored Lake Placid Boys Monarch, there’s something that will work for different tastes, ages, and skill levels. The K2 Raider replaces the Rink Raven BOA in this category thanks to a better lacing design and a significantly lower price.

Young skaters who are just learning how to keep their feet under them may fare better with some added support. While Bauer Lil Angel Champs remain a great pick for kids as young as toddler-age thanks to size availability and its simple design, the double blades on list newcomer Lake Placid Starglide offer another option for helping your child maintain stability. We’ve subsequently removed the Ridell Sparkle Jr., as other options on the list fulfill the same purpose for less and with better user feedback.

November 23, 2019:

Ice skating is a surprisingly beneficial hobby to introduce to your child and is actually not as dangerous as it seems on its face. That being said, you'll want to start your little ones out slow, make sure they're outfitted with the proper safety gear, especially wrist braces and helmets, and ensure the skates they're wearing fit perfectly. One of the main causes of accidents is from ill-fitting footwear, so don't settle on this point. Ice skating helps with balance and coordination just as much as skateboarding or riding a bike, with the added benefit that it burns tons of calories.

Today we said goodbye to numerous Bauer models due to availability concerns and took the opportunity to expand our brand offerings to include another Riedell option in the Riedell 18 Sparkle Jr, as well as the K2 Rink Raven BOA and an additional selection from Jackson, the Jackson Ultima Softec Classic. Jackson and Riedell are among some of the top brands recommended by instructors, so we feel that helps temper the loss felt by the exit of the Bauer units.

For the youngest of tots, the Bauer Lil Angel Champs is an excellent starter choice, while intermediate and beginning recreational skaters will appreciate the Riedell 615 Soar and Jackson GS181 Ultima Glacier. If you're looking for an introductory option for a child who is planning on skating every so often, but not looking to get too deep into the hobby, then the XinoSports Adjustable, Lake Placid Girls Summit, and Lake Placid Nitro Girls 8.8 are all great options that go easy on the wallet.

Special Honors

Bauer Supreme 2S For the serious little skater, the 2S are an elite-level pair with a greater range of motion and anatomical fit, creating a faster and more powerful stride to maximize your speed and power on the ice when compared to lower-quality models. They boast 3-piece felt reflex tongues with injected metatarsal guards, flexible tendon guards, and lightweight memory foam ankle pads.

4. K2 Raider

5. XinoSports Adjustable

6. Jackson Ultima Softec Classic

7. Bauer Lil Angel Champs

8. Lake Placid Boys Monarch

9. Lake Placid Starglide

10. Riedell 615 Soar Jr

The Coolest Activity May 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.

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 undeniably 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 150 pounds 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.

If you look on the front of a figure skating blade, you’ll see what looks like a short row of sharp teeth.

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 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.

Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.

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