Hockey is recognized as one of the most highly spectated sport in the world, and for good reason. It’s exciting to watch as well as play, however those looking to play hockey should consider the implications before making a final consideration. One of the most important considerations to keep in mind is the nature of the equipment being used, as hockey gear can be vastly different from source to source. Arguably the most important piece of hockey equipment are the skates, as these will define the player’s movement and speed on the ice. Choosing the right hockey skate takes significant time and consideration, as the wrong skate can cause serious performance issues in the future and can result in injury if they are improperly fitted.
Hockey skates are made up of five distinct parts: The heel counter, the insole, the upper, the midsole, and the outsole. Each of these varies from cleat to cleat, so it’s important to know what to look for when shopping for these highly specialized footwears.
The heel counter and the midsole work together to give the cleat support, which is important for players looking to perform their best throughout the course of a game. An uncomfortable cleat is sure to reduce performance, so it’s pertinent that the right heel counter and midsole be present. The heel counter is meant to absorb shock during use, which lessens the strain of movement on the ankles, legs, and hips of a player. The shock that is absorbed is then released to help propel the player more easily as they move, allowing for less effort to be used when running.
The insole is located inside the skate and may be made out of a number of materials. They are typically designed to be lightweight as to not weigh down the skate itself and are water resistant to prevent damage from perspiration over time. They are also meant to provide arch support for a player’s foot, meaning that specific insoles work better for low arches, and others work better for high arches, making the skates more comfortable.
The Upper of a skate is designed for maximum skating performance and is made out of materials that allow the player to feel the ice on their foot while simultaneously protecting the toes from harm. The Upper may also include padding in order to further lessen the blow of the skate on a player’s foot.
Finally, the bottom sole of the skate is known as the outsole, and it’s what gives skate traction to the foot inside. Outsoles vary widely from skate to skate, and can feature one of three types of studs: conical, bladed, and hard ground. These studs will have a significant impact on a player’s performance and maneuverability, making it important that the proper kind be chosen. Players should take the time to experiment with different kinds of skates to better understand which kind will work for them before making a final decision on which cleat to purchase.
Both new and experienced players alike rely on their skates to provide them with maximum performance on the fields. Take the time to get to know your skate of choice before making a final decision, as it can have real impact on your performance in the future.