Determining your Skate size

Hockey Skate Sizing

A proper fit for hockey skates should fit 1-1.5 sizes smaller than your street shoes. Your toes should barely touch the toe cap, while having no more than 1/4 inch of space in the heel. When you're finished lacing up your skates, they should feel snug with the foot resting flat on the footbed.

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Figure Skate Sizing

A boot that fits right is the key to being the best skater you can be. Always purchase your figure skate boots from a knowledgeable, reputable dealer whom is willing and able to answer your fitting questions. To make sure that your boot fits correctly, keep the following six tips in mind:

  1. Do not choose a figure skate boot based on shoe size or “rule of thumb” conversion. All shoe brands and skates fit differently.
  2. Your boot is long enough if there is no more extra length than1/4 inch for adults and 3/8 inch for children. An easy trick to use to measure the approximate length of the boot is to take out the footbed and carefully place your foot on the removed footbed while standing. If the ball of your foot is too far forward, in most cases, the boot will be too short. If the ball of your foot is too far back in the arch of the skate, the boot is too long.
  3. Proper figure skate boot width is just as important as proper boot length. Figure skates that fit too wide or too narrow cause discomfort, possible injury, poor performance and premature product failure. When selecting the proper width, take a look at the lacing pattern of the figure skate when the skate is snuggly laced on your foot. If the laces are too close together, the skate is either too long, too wide or both. If the lacing pattern is too wide, the skate is either too narrow or too short or both.
  4. A figure skate boot that fits right should be snug in the heel, arch and ball of your foot with generous toe room for slight movement to maintain proper balance.
  5. For areas that are a bit too snug, your boots can be pressed or stretched in those areas, rather than upsizing. Pressing or stretching your boots increasing comfort, gives you semi-custom fitting and reduces foot slippage.
  6. When being fit, ask questions and answers. A qualified dealer should be able to explain their fitting actions and recommendations. Proper fit is the key to skating comfort and success!


The fit of a skaters boots is important to their performance on the ice. It is difficult to execute moves properly with a loose boot. Use this quick reference to help you find the best fit for your feet. Below the charts are an extensive guide, from Riedell, on how to select the correct size boot and how to prepare the boot so that you can have the best fit possible.

To find your figure skate size first measure the length of your foot. Measure the length from heel to toe of the bottom of your foot. Be sure to use the longer measurement of of your two feet, most people do not have the same size for their left and right foot.


Fitting Riedell Boots

Improper fit is the number one cause for skate failure and/or poor performance. To fulfill the basic needs of proper boot fitting, the following primary areas of concern must be addressed in order to make proper fit recommendations for Riedell skating boots. Proper fitting of Riedell boots cannot be accomplished unless the boots have been prepared for fit.

Boot Length

Riedell Shoes, Inc. has developed the Riedell fitting device to provide an accurate measuring device for Riedell boots. Although the fitting devices are accurate if used properly, it is only an aid. Properly trained sales staff are needed for individual fit. The devices should never be used for the elimination of personalized fitting by trained sales personnel.

The proper procedure for the use of the Riedell fitting device for determining proper boot length is to place the skater?s foot firmly against the heel of the device in the standing position. Both feet should be measured. The furthest point of the longest toe should be used to indicate recommended boot length. It is recommended that whenever length is in question, always try on the smallest size first.

Boot Width

The proper boot width selection is critical. If a boot is too narrow, comfort will be affected and there is also a chance of potential foot injury. If the boot is too wide, poor performance, foot slippage and premature boot breakdown may occur. Selecting the proper width is essential to performance, skater comfort and boot longevity.

Both feet should be measured. Using the tape, measure the circumference of the widest portion of the ball of the foot. Remember to pull the tape snugly. It should be noted that extra care be used when measuring the circumference of the ball of the foot. In that each boot width changes approximately at 1/4" increments, accurate measurement is needed. Before any particular width is finally selected, actual boot fit is needed for final determination.

As with length, remember that if you have any questions on boot width, start your fitting with the narrowest boot first. Once again, such recommendations should be made by the professional fit specialist after all options have been tried.

How to Prepare Boots for Fit

Unlike many skate manufacturers, most mid range and upper level models of Riedell skating boots need to be prepared by the fitting individual prior to placing the boot on the foot.

The use of form fitting counter, extensive comfort padding and the structure of Riedell boots will not provide the skater immediate comfort unless the boot is properly prepared prior to fitting. In addition, and even more important, Riedell?s lasting construction will not allow for the skater to get their heel all the way back into the boot without proper boot preparation, resulting in potential boot over sizing.

Boot preparation consists of opening up the heel counters of the boot and gently softening and warming of the quarter padding within the boot. In order to accomplish this task two methods can be used.

The first method usually used on the more moderately structured boot models, is simply to spread the upper quarters of the boot apart and apply a vigorous fist and hand massage to the quarter padding and counter areas of the boots. In the more structured models, additional effort may have to be applied.

In addition to separating the quarters and applying vigorous fist and hand massage to the padding and counter areas, a forward flexing of the back of the boot may be needed. It is absolutely essential that this action be conducted properly with the boot firmly held flat on a surface to insure that the soles and arch support structure of the boot is not flexed or bent. This will dramatically open up the counter and heel area of the boot as well as greatly increase initial boot comfort.

Although this will take some effort to open up the counters, such boot preparations should be done modestly and only to the point where the skater can get their foot all the way back in the boot to insure proper fit. In order to totally understand this process, a demonstration and instruction of the procedure will be required by your sales agent and/or Riedell staff.

Ball Placement

It is very important to identify the placement of the ball of the foot in the boot. If the ball of the foot is too far forward in the boot, pinching and/or toe room may be sacrificed resulting in discomfort, injury, or poor balance. If the ball of the foot is too far back toward the arch of the boot, usually the boot is too long resulting in discomfort, premature boot breakdown and excessive foot slippage.

There are basically two ways to help determine proper placement of the ball of the foot in the boot. A very simple way is to remove the footbed from the boot and by carefully placing the skater?s foot (using proper heel placement) on the footbed, you can visualize reasonable ball placement. This procedure will also give you a general observation as to the entire foot placement within the boot and it can aid you in verifying your boot length.

In adult skaters, you may accomplish this task by feel and verbal description of the boot (after being prepared properly for fit) and the boot is laced firmly on the skater?s foot. On most ?normal? and ?average? feet, if the ball of the foot is in the proper boot placement, toe room will be adequate and a snug fit in width will result. In some extreme cases, individuals with extra long toes and/or very short arches, custom built boots may be required.

Identifying Indicators of Misfit Boots

With proper understanding of boot fitting, it is relatively easy to determine if a boot is misfit. Such determination can be made when a boot is new, but as the boot is worn, such indicators usually become much more evident. The following indicators may assist with determining proper boot fit.

  • A. Ball area and throat of the boot
    An extremely critical area to watch is the throat and ball area of the boots.
    1. 1. If the lacing pattern is drawing too close together or buckling of the eye stay area occurs when the boot is laced firmly on the skater, two possibilities exist:
      1. a. The boot is too long for the skater.
      2. b. The boot is too wide for the skater.
    2. 2. If the lacing pattern is extremely wide, or the ball and throat area is too wide apart, the reverse situation may exist.
      1. a. The boot length is too short.
      2. b. The boot width is too narrow. (In this situation, usually, the skater will complain of pinching or discomfort. Proper lacing in the throat area should be no closer together when the boot is laced snugly on the skater than the normal width of the throat of the unlaced boot.)
    3. 3. If the lacing pattern is too close when laces are pulled snugly, the following may result:
      1. a. The skater will not obtain a snug fit, particularly after the boot is used, as the boot stretches to a certain degree when broken in.
      2. b. The skater will experience a lack of boot support.
      3. c. Foot slippage will occur resulting in possible blisters and/or discomfort.
      4. d. Poor skating performance.
      5. e. Premature skate breakdown.

  • B. Heel or ankle area
    The second primary area of concern is the heel and/or ankle area. Remember that the majority of a boot's support is obtained from the counters and back quarters of the boot. If those areas are not fit snugly, heel slippage may result causing:
    • 1. Blisters and/or foot irritations.
    • 2. Loss of structured support affecting performance.
    • 3. Premature skate breakdown

As with the throat area, the lacing pattern of the entire boot should be uniform. If the lacing pattern of the instep and ankle area is too close together, the boot may be too wide or too long. An excellent indicator is excessive heel slippage. If that results, all of the above listed problems will occur. If the lacing pattern is excessively wide, the boot may be too narrow or too short, once again the skater will usually complain of discomfort.

The majority of misfit boots is usually caused by selecting a boot that is too wide for the skater rather than too narrow for the skater. It is suggested that the boot be fit as snug as possible in width without pinching. Remember, it is always better to adapt any particular spot on a boot, with the aid of a boot press or a ball and ring device than to go wider over the entire boot just to accommodate a particular area of the foot.

When determining proper or improper fit of a used boot, the examination of the laces and the footbed can provide valuable information on the boot fit. Usually the laces will stain or mark which will indicate where they were pulled snug. In this way, you can re-lace the boot without the skater and determine the lacing pattern of the boot.

The footbed will also stain in use and show you exactly how the foot is fit in the skate. Indication of foot slippage can be found by the staining or imprint of the toes on the footbed. The darker or more dominate stain is caused by the weight of the foot and fit in length can be easily determined. The light edge stains on the footbed will indicate foot slippage, and the total impression of the little toe on the footbed is an excellent indication of the boot being too wide.

Again, the vast majority of misfit boots is caused by oversizing. If undersizing occurs, adjustment can be made with the use of a boot press or a ball and ring device. Unless it is the skater's preference, undersizing seldom occurs due to the skater's immediate discomfort or pinching. However as with oversizing, the same indicators of laces and footbeds can be used to make the determination on undersizing a boot.


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