There are three main types of ice skates: figure skates, hockey skates, and speed skates. There are also other types of skates, especially many variations of figure skates.
Figure skates are the heaviest because of the high boot designed to protect the ankle of the skater (it is made of heavy leather and synthetic leather). Also, the blade is heavy (figure skates have the widest and the biggest blades). Special eyelets make tying and uniting the shoe easier and faster.
Figure skates have toe picks (jagged teeth on the front of the blade). They provide better control while doing tricks on ice. For inexperienced skaters though, they may be only a problem that will make them trip and fall.
Figure skates provide best technique and movement possibilities. Newest developments in construction of ice skates provide flexibility and many possibilities. But figure skates aren’t easy to master. They are not recommended for beginners. If you don’t have the experience and can’t skate well, figure skates won’t do you much good in aerobic training. Worse, they will only be a disturbance.
If you’re experienced and want to try more advanced techniques, think about buying figure skates.
Hockey skates are made of leather and nylon layers. The boots reach above the ankle and have supported heels, which protect the Achilles tendon (and help maintain balance). Hockey skates don’t provide as much support for the feet as figure skates, but you don’t jump or dance in them, so you don’t need such support.
The blade is riveted to the sole of the boot, which is made of plastic or fiberglass. Hockey shoes are tighter and shorter than figure skates, and their blades are narrower. Hockey skates don’t have toe picks; this is the biggest difference between them and figure skates. It’s also one of the biggest advantages for people who have just started skating.
The other advantages of hockey skates are the fact that they are faster and more maneuverable, they also allow you to stop pretty quickly. That’s why if you start your practice with ice skates, you should think about hockey skates as your first choice. You’ll quickly learn to skate with these skates.
Hockey skates are perfect for aerobic training.
Speed ice skates are also called racing skates. These are completely different from other skates. The design maximizes speed, that’s why they have to be as light as possible (boot and blade are made of very light materials).The boot is really short and the blade is longer than the boot.
When you use speed skates, you skate on short and round tracks, and you skate counter-clockwise.
The blade in the left boot is attached on the outside of the sole, and the blade in the right boot is attached more on the inside. You can also regulate the position of the blades to adjust them to either short or longer tracks. Speed skates allow you to skate really fast.
Speed skates work fine for aerobic training as long as you are an experienced skater. On the other hand you won’t use them on public ice rinks so the only options for these are big, frozen lakes.
Delicate construction of speed skates, thin and light blades (which make maneuvering and stopping more difficult), no support of ankles, and flexibility of the boot make speed skates useless for beginners!