Gear Guides

Hockey Goalie Skates Buyers Guide

No goalie’s gear setup is complete without a proper pair of skates. Whether you’re in the market for a new pair, or if you’re shopping for your very first pair, here are some helpful tips to consider before buying.

What we cover:
Goalie Skate Parts
Other Tips
Related Resources

Goalie Skate Parts

While there’s little variation from brand-to-brand in terms of goalie skates, the makeup of your average tendy skate is a little different than you might expect. The three basic components of any goalie skate are: the boot, the cowling and the runner.

The Boot

Goalie skates differ in design from typical hockey skates. Their boots are cut at the ankle and have a shorter tongue compared to your run-of-the-mill skate. This, of course, is meant to help goalies maneuver better on the ice with all the pads they have on. Fit wise, goalie skates run pretty similarly to your average skate.

The Cowling and Runner

If you’re not versed in hockey terminology, the cowling is the plastic base that connects the runner, or blade, to the boot. Unlike regular skates, the cowling on a goalie skate plays an especially crucial role: it helps connect a goalie’s leg to his/her leg pads.


When considering what size skates to get, it’s often useful to start with what you have. A good tip is to try on a pair of dress shoes at home to get a ballpark idea of how your feet will fit in skates. If you’re looking at Senior skates, take 1 ½ sizes off of the measurement you get from your street shoes. If you’re looking at Jr. or Youth models, try one size smaller in skates.

Skate widths are represented through the following letters; D, C, R, E, and EE. The width “D” is generally considered to be standard, while “C” is more narrow, “R” is wider than D, “E” wider still, and “EE” being the widest. If you’re not sure where you fit in between sizes, keep in mind that the difference between these sizes is around 2/10 of an inch.

While you might think securing a pair of pro stock Bauers cements your status as the neighborhood stud, at the end of the day, the best skate is the one that actually fits. If you’re stuffing your foot into a skate that looks like it’s about to burst at the seams, you’re doing too much. A well-fitted skate is one that, when laced up, securely holds your heel in place and leaves just enough room so that your toes aren’t scrunched against the toe cap.

Still not sure? Here’s an easy DIY test to help ensure that your fit is ready for the rink:

The finger test:

  1. Lace up your skates with a tight fit as if you’re about to skate.
  2. Lean forward and bend your knees (like you’re in a solid hockey stance).
  3. Now, reach back to the heel of the skate. If you can fit more than one finger between your heel and the skate (not the tendon and skate), then the skate is not locking your ankle and heel into place and the fit is not suitable for you. *
    • For children who are still growing, a one finger gap is fine; if you are an adult and are no longer growing, you can go for a bit of a snugger fit.


A skate’s stiffness is always an important thing to keep in mind when you’re purchasing a new pair, regardless of your skill level. For beginners or youth skaters, having skates that are too stiff will require a prolonged break-in period, and you’ll be uncomfortable in the meantime. For those playing at higher levels or who are larger in size, a pair of stiff skates is recommended to help increase ankle stability and on-ice maneuverability.

Other Tips

  • There’s nothing worse than heading off the ice with a blistered foot. While a few blisters can be expected during any break in period, having blisters after 10 sessions or so is a no go. Give your feet a break and consider a new fit. You can sell that pair right back on SidelineSwap.
  • If you have questions about the sizing and fit of a pair you’ve been eyeing on SidelineSwap, feel free to reach out to the seller, or our team of experts, to get all the helpful info you might need.

Related Resources

Can Hockey Officials Wear Goalie Skates?
Are Hockey Goalie Skates Different
How To Size Hockey Goalie Skates
How To Sharpen Hockey Goalie Skates
Best Goalie Skates of 2018
SidelineSwap Hockey Goalie Pads Buying Guide
SidelineSwap Hockey Goalie Stick Buying Guide
SidelineSwap Hockey Goalie Mask Buying Guide
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