Are Rental Ice Skates Okay For Figure Skating?

boy selecting ice skates
Iris Reiff/U.S. Air Force

Most ice skating coaches will agree that rental skates are okay to use for those who just want to try out ice skating; however, as soon as you determine that your child is serious about learning to figure skate, it is essential that she skates in her own skates.

Rental Skates Are Used by Many People

Rental ice skates have been worn by many, many people. Rental ice skate boots may be "broken down" and have little support in them.

They Usually Have Low-Quality Blades Attached

The blades attached to rental skates are inexpensive blades that are only meant for recreational ice skating; they are not meant for figure skating moves at all. Also, the blades on rental skates have been sharpened many times. Sometimes the toe picks on rental skates have accidentally been "sharpened away" or may have very small toe picks that can ruin an ice skating experience. There is a chance that the blades and boots of rental skates may have been through "abuse" by the general public.

Skating In Your Own Skates Is More Fun

Your child will have a much better experience on her own skates that fit, have some support, and have a good blade that is sharpened correctly.

Rental Skates May Be Okay for Group Lessons

Most group ice skating lessons include the cost of skate rental. It is okay to wear rental ice skates for an entire series of beginning ice skating lessons. If you find a particular rental pair at your ice rink that works for you, perhaps ask the rink management if they can mark or set aside that particular pair of skates for you to use each week of your group lesson series.

Entry Level Skates

Once you are sure your child wants to pursue figure skating, there are several entry level figure skates available that may be suitable for your child.  Some favorite brands of figure skates for beginners are manufactured by the Jackson Skate Company or Riedell.

Don't Buy Cheap

Also, if possible, don't buy skates from a discount store or a department store. An "unwritten rule" in the ice skating world that is passed on to those new to the sport is that cheap boots and blade sets that are sold at sporting good stores or department stores are usually not acceptable.

Used Skates Are Sometimes Okay

Sometimes good used boots and blades are better than inexpensive, lower-quality new ice skates. Make sure that the used boot has support. Also make sure that the blade has some "sharpening life" left, and make sure the boots fit properly. Don't be afraid to ask questions about the used boots or blades.

Soft Boot Skates

Soft entry level skates are not meant for intermediate or advanced figure skating, but are an excellent choice for the recreational skater who wishes to enjoy being on the ice with family and friends. Keep in mind that jumps, spins, and footwork are not possible in soft boot skates.

Consult an Ice Skating Coach

Take the time to consult your coach before purchasing figure skates. Figure skating coaches may recommend a certain figure skate for a new ice skater.

Further Reading