When you are shopping for a pair of skates, you need to make sure that you are looking at the best figure skates on the market.
While many of the skates look similar on the outside, especially if they are the traditional white leather upper, there are major differences between brands and models that you will need to take into consideration.
You will need to think about the stiffness you need, what your skating level is, what your feet size is, and what you expect to get from your figure skates. If that seems overwhelming, don’t worry, we are here to help you out.
Things To Consider When Choosing New Figure Skates
Skate Stiffness & Support
The amount of stiffness that you want from best figure skates will depend on your experience and skill level.
If you are just getting started, you will want a boot that is a medium stiffness. Holding the boot and squeezing, the sides should give a little, but not collapse in a beginning skate. More advanced skaters will want stiffer skates that cannot bend under pressure.
This is because the stiffer the boot, the more power that you will get from them, but it is harder to master the fundamentals with a stiff boot. Support refers to the stiffness and padding along the ankle and the heel.
Your Skating Level (Beginner - Intermediate - Advanced)
Different experience levels will require different skates. In addition to a softer stiffness level, beginning skaters usually can get away with skates that have their blades and boots in one continual piece. Intermediate and advanced skaters will opt to have the two pieces separate so the blades can be changed out as they wear down.
More advanced skaters will also need to opt for more durable skates that will be able to handle the wear and tear of heavy skating and can give you the speed and power you need. A more casual skater will not need anything as long lasting.
Size & Width
You will also need to pay careful attention to the size and width of the skates you are looking at. Figure skates run a little bit smaller than your standard street shoe. You need to make sure that your skates are snug, but comfortable. They should not be pinching your toes or putting too much pressure across your toe box.
If you are ordering your skates online, follow the manufacturer’s size guide closely. Skates can take a little while to break in, so getting skates that are thermoformable, which means they can be baked for a better fit, is a more comfortable option.
Top 10 Best Figure Skates Of 2020
1. Jackson Ultima JS1290
2. Botas Stella
3. Jackson Ultima DJ2190
4. Botas Dagmar
5. Riedell 119 Emerald
For Wide Feet
6. Botas Robin
7. Botas Diana
8. Riedell 110 Opal
9. Jackson JS1490
10. Jackson GS180
1. Jackson Ultima JS1290 Figure Skates
Best Figure Skates (Editor's Choice)
Our choice for the best women's figure skates is the Jackson Ultima JS1290. These are part of Jackson’s Excel Series of skates.
The Jackson Ultima JS1290 are part of Jackson’s Excel Series. They are designed with a leather upper that will mold to fit your feet perfectly. They also have a polyurethane coating to keep them clean and to let the ice just run off of them.
Their design also includes a mesh and vinyl combination tongue, keeping your feet comfortable while protecting the top of your foot from lace bite. The boot and the blade are already connected when you buy them, so you will not have to fit your blade later.
The JS1290 are really beginning or casual skates for skaters who are just getting the feel for skating or who skate just once in a while. Their stiffness rating is 5, which is what you can expect for a beginning skate, but they are still a little too stiff even with the 5 rating.
They will take a little while to break in, but once they are broken in, they should fit your feet well and comfortably. There is extra ankle padding to keep your feet in place and comfortable as well as a flex notch to provide you with the most flexibility possible.
2. Botas Stella Figure Skates
A budget friendly option for figure skates are the Botas Stella skates. These are comfort skates intended for women and children that are high quality and should last you for a long time.
The Botas Stella skates are designed with comfort in mind. They are made with a laminated fabric lining with a PU coating that will not only help with comfort, but it will also help with keeping your feet as dry as possible. The design is simple, elegant, and classic for figure skates.
You will be happy to know that the skates do come pre-sharpened and are good to wear right out of the box, with little break in time. You might want to replace the laces for a stronger set since they are a little thin.
The blade is screwed into the outsole of the boot, giving you a solid foundation to skate on. These are a great pair of skates for beginners, but their quality really helps make them work for skaters of all levels, though they might be a little too basic for advanced skaters.
More advanced skaters usually prefer stiffer skates than the Stella skates are. They are made so that you can skate on them for hours without any issue as well, which can be useful for skaters who are really working on developing their skills.
3. Jackson Ultima Freestyle DJ2190 Figure Skates
For a high performance pair of figure skates, take a look at the Jackson Ultima DJ2190 Freestyle. These are great unisex skates that work well for skaters of all levels.
The design of the DJ2190 has the blade and the boot screwed together, but they do come apart so that you can change out the blade if you wanted to.
The blade that comes with the skate is a stock blade, so if you want one that is a little more advanced, you may want to change it out. The stiffness rating on this skate is a 25, making them stiff enough for experienced skaters, but not as stiff as you can get.
Performance wise, the DJ2190s are excellent skates. They work well for skaters who are working on harder moves on the ice, including spins and jumps. They provide a high amount of durability and stability that is needed to be successful on the ice when skating with power.
These skates will really take you from an intermediate level skater up to an advanced skater. These skates are thermoformable as well, so you can bake them in order to get a more comfortable fit and lower the amount of time that it takes to break them in.
4. Botas Dagmar Figure Skates
Best Figure Skates For Beginners
The Botas Dagmar skates are the best figure skates for beginners on the market. They can work for children as well as adults.
The design of the Botas Dagmar skates includes an added safety feature for children, which is that the blade is gripped in a tough plastic sole, making them safe for children to use. They also meet the European standards for quality as well as safety.
The tongue is made out of felt, which will make them more comfortable to wear for long periods of time, preventing lace bite across the top of your feet. The Damgar skates are designed to be anatomical, taking into account the shape of your feet through the use of a comfort tongue and lightweight materials.
They also have an anatomically shaped heel and ankle through the use of soft padding. As a result, your foot will be protected and well-gripped.
The Dagmar skates are really meant for beginning skaters. They do not have the stiffness rating that you would need for more advanced skates, but instead offer flexible support. They do have a lot of comfortable features that will make it easy to wear them for long periods of time, which will help encourage beginning skaters rather than give them sore feet.
They are lightly pre-sharpened by the manufacturer, but will need to be sharpened professionally before you take to the ice.
5. Riedell 119 Emerald Figure Skates
For Wide Feet
If you have wide feet, you will need the best women's figure skates for wide feet, which are the Riedell 119 Emerald skates. These are durable, versatile, and comfortable figure skates.
Part of the design of the Riedell 119 Emerald skates is the open throat design, which will give you extra comfort around the ankles, which is especially helpful if you have wider ankles. The toe box is also designed higher, giving you more room in your skates.
The Achilles tendon collar is padded as well, ensuring that your will be adequately protected as well as comfortable. The skates do run a size smaller than your standard shoe size, so make sure to follow the sizing chart well before ordering online.
The stiffness rating on the 119 Emerald skates is 25, making them mid-range, giving you more support than beginning skates, but not as high as advanced skates normally have. The break-in time on these skates is pretty short, so you will need to make sure that they do feel snug, but not painful, when you first put them on.
The blade comes rounded, so make sure that you have it sharpened by a professional at your local skate shop before going on the ice. All in all, these are versatile figure skates that can work for most levels of skaters.
6. Botas Robin
Figure Skates For Men
If you are looking for reliable figure skates for men, the Botas Robin skates are just what you need. These have the look and the feel that male skaters look for.
The Robin skates are designed with men in mind. To begin with, they come in black, instead of the standard white figure skates. They have an innovated boot design where the rugged plastic soles secure the blades in place, making them safe enough for younger skaters as well as adult men.
The finish of the skates is waterproof to help keep your feet dry as the ice just runs off of the size. These are not thermoformable skates, so you need to break them in the traditional way. Thankfully, the synthetic leather will stretch gradually to fit your feet like a glove. Overall, they are a good quality pair of skates at an affordable price point.
The performance level of these skates is on the lower side. Beginning and intermediate skaters should be able to work well with these skates, but they are not adequate for more experienced or advanced skaters.
The blade on the skates is also very thin, which can be harder for bigger men to skate on, especially if they are working on fancy footwork. They can handle basic turns and jumps, however.
7. Botas Diana
Best Figure Skates For Intermediate Skaters
Another great pair of figure skates is the Botas Diana. Another quality design from the Botas brand, the Diana skates are an excellent choice for women.
The design of the Diana skates is intended for female skaters. The synthetic suede lining is laminated and designed to provide a wonderfully comfortable fit, which is a feature that would work well for younger skaters as well.
The design also includes a split leather tongue that has a felt lining to keep your feet protected from lace bite and comfortable. The upper collar of the boot adds a nice and attractive soft touch to the overall appearance of the skate.
The blade of the skate is screwed into the boot already. The blades themselves have TUV GS European certification to ensure they are made with good quality. The skate also has thermos technology, which means they are made with a made with technology that gives you a skate that is tough while still flexible.
The Diana skates are a good choice for beginning to intermediate skaters, but they do not have the stability that an elite skater would need in order to execute more complex movements. An experienced skater who does not skate too often or heavily might find these skates adequate, but competitive level skaters will need a pair that is more durable.
8. Riedell 110 Opal
Without a doubt, the Riedell 110 Opal is one of the best pairs of figure skates that you can get for a beginner. While they do not have any bells and whistles, they will meet your needs when you are just starting out.
The design of the 110 Opal is intended to be comfortable, including a lot of cushion to give you exactly what you need as a beginner. There is a split tongue that will help improve your overall stability on the ice. The pre-sharpened blade is plated with nickel to help prevent rusting.
The skates are full of cushion to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible. The PVC sole of the skate will make sure that the ice’s moisture will never make it inside of your boot.
The 110 Opal skates have a light stiffness rating of 20, which will give you adequate support to prevent you from rolling your ankles, but not so stiff that you have trouble manoeuvring around the ice well. The tongue of this skate is split, which is intended to help improve your balance and stability as you learn to skate.
Performance-wise, these skates are meant to just get you out on the ice and begin to feel how you should move around. They will not grow with your abilities as a skater.
9.Jackson Ultima JS1490
The Jackson Ultima JS1490 are one of the best pairs of figures skates that are made for intermediate skaters. These are ideal for skaters who have had some practice on the ice, but who do not need the performance level that you get from elite skates.
The Jackson Ultima JS1490 skates are designed with the classic figure skate look, so they are white with leather. They are also unisex skates so they will work well with skaters of any type. The leather upper has been coated with polyurethane that makes them easy to take care of. The lining of the boots is comfortable and durable.
The extra ankle padding and full quarter are also made with your comfort in mind. The blade does come pre-sharpened, but it is still going to be dull enough to need a professional sharpening done to give you the best performance possible
The JS1490 skates do come very stiff, which makes them a great choice for skaters of any level. They will take a while to break in because of how stiff they are, which might not be ideal for newer skaters who are just beginning to learn the fundamentals. If you know that they will mold to your feet and get more comfortable the more you skate, however, you will eventually get to the point of loving these skates.
10. Jackson Ultima GS180 SoftSkate
The Jackson Ultima GS180 SoftSkate is a great model if you are an intermediate skater on a budget. They are made to keep your feet as comfortable as possible as you work on your skating skills.
The design of the Jackson Ultima is incredibly attractive. You can get the fleece cuff with a pop of color and you can choose from blue, purple, pink, or even white. They are made to suit the needs and wants of female figure skaters.
The design of these skates is really a combination of comfort and appearance. In fact, the Nylex lining is so comfortable that you can even wear these skates without socks if you wanted to. They would be most comfortable barefoot or with nylons.
While the design of these skates is attractive, they are not made to hold up to heavy wear and tear. They are not high performance skates and will not work for heavy or elite skaters. Instead, these skates are ideal for beginning or casual skaters who do not need the durability level that you will need from more elite skates.
For a beginning skater, these are a bargain and have just what you need to get started.
Heat Up Your Figure Skates For A Better Fit
Some figure skates can be baked for a better overall fit. If you cannot have your skates baked professionally and need to do it yourself, this is what you need to do.
- Verify that your skates are thermoformable.
- Heat your oven to 175F/79C.
- Heat your skates in the heated oven for about 5-6 minutes.
- Pull skates out of oven.
- Slide your feet in and tap your heel into the heel cup. Lace the boots up snugly, maintaining the same tension the whole time.
- Keep skates on your feet for about 10 minutes, until they have cooled and molded to your feet.
- Take the skates off for a few minutes before putting them back on and lacing up again.
What Figure Skates Should Beginners Use
While it is a common misconception that figure skates are pretty universal, it is important to understand that beginners should get skates that work well for them rather than elite skates.
Beginners do need some stiffness in order to have the right amount of support from the skates. That said, they should not be as stiff as a more advanced skater would opt for.
That is because some give is necessary while learning techniques and to strengthen the muscles needed for the sport. If the boots are too stiff for a beginner, it will be hard to practice the techniques that are needed the most.
You also don’t want to buy the cheapest skates out there or they will not help you develop the skills that you need to advance as a skater. Getting leather skates is ideal since they will be able to mould around your feet for a snug and comfortable fit.
Boot-Blade Figure Skates Package vs Separately
There are figure skates available for both intermediate and beginning skaters where the boot and the blade come together as a package.
This typically means the blade is already screwed in or riveted into the boot when the skates are purchased. You can also buy them separately where you choose a boot, then choose a blade to attach to it.
When buying the boot and blade as a package, you need to be careful that the skate is the right level of stiffness and that the blade is also what you need. Guessing on this can lead to skating trouble, especially for more inexperienced skaters.
For that reason, it is better to buy the boot and the blade separately. That way, you can be sure that you are getting exactly what you need to be successful on the ice. If you aren’t sure, talk to a figure skating teacher or pro shop for more specific guidance.
Figure Skates Sharpening
From time to time, you will need to sharpen your figure skates in order to maintain your control and speed on the ice. But, there is a lot to know about the blades before attempting to sharpen them.
To begin with, a figure skating blade is made up of two edges with a hollow in the middle. The bigger the hollow, the more space is between the two edges and the narrower the blades are. A deep hollow has a sharper feel and more grip, but can also have more drag and less control.
A shallow hollow is not as sharp and has less edge, but is more manoeuvrable and faster. The type of edge you need depends on your skating needs and preference. Speed skaters don’t even have a hollow to get the best glide possible.
Deep hollows really should be only attempted by more experienced skaters who know how to manoeuvre on the sharp edges rather than a new skater who has not mastered the level of skill needed to use them.
It is best to not try to sharpen figure skates yourself. It is tricky and all too easy to completely wreck your blade. Have a professional sharpen your blades to your liking when you first get them.
When it comes to buying your first figure skates, you really need to think about what you need from your skates. Your ability, how much you use them, and even the type of feet that you have will all factor into your skate purchase, so you should never just pick the first pair of skates that you come across.
We recommend the Jackson Ultima JS1290 as the best figure skates for all skaters. These are durable, versatile, and affordable for most skaters, making them an excellent choice. If you have wider feet, you will need to make sure the pair that you settle on accounts for that as well. Do your research, try on a pair, and find yourself the perfect figure skates you can get.