Buying The Right Size
Getting skates that fit is a problem. The wrong sized skates can cause blisters, skin abrasion and make it difficult to skate.
If you use the skates on ice, road or park, it will cause wearing, scuffs, knocks, erosion, and age the skates, and distress the boots. They will lose that "brand new / unused" look and feel, which means you can't return the skate for a smaller size.
Its rare someone will buy a skate that's too small or too tight. Most people buy skates too big for their foot size.
As you use new skates, they 'break-in' to your foot shape. If the skate's too big and loose from day one, after a few weeks they will loosen some more. To skate right, you need a tight, close fitting boot, with no foot movement in the skate. You're not gonna enjoy skating in oversize boots. The boot should hug your foot on all sides:
Length - front to back. Width - side to side. Height - top to bottom.
The first pair of skates I bought, fitted me like a shoe or hiking boot. Wrong!
I thought I wanted a good fit, comfortable but not too tight. Wrong again!
Excited, as they were my first pair and I thought they were great, until one morning down the park, I realized I don't skate in hiking boots. After the initial stiffness was gone and the boot was somewhat broken-in, I was tightening the laces on those suckers, like I was garrotting them.
My inline skates were maybe a half shoe-size too big. In skating terms, that's volumes too much. In addition to the length, the rest of the boot was proportionately bigger. I pulled the laces tight enough to strangle the boot. It dawned on me, it was not gonna work. Yet, I recall in the shop, the boots fitted fine. They were marginally too big, and the fact they were a soft-boot, was enough to convince me I had to buy another pair. A better fitting pair.
The second pair I bought were ice skates, these were also little too big. They "almost" fit. Left foot toes touched the toe cap, if I pushed forward, but still felt wrong for length. I could live with them, as they were ice skates, and only use them once or twice a month. My inline skates I use 4 or 5 times a week. No way can I endure an oversize boot.
As you skate and move, bend, jump, twist, turn, your body weight and position transfers those movement down your legs through your skate to terra firma. If the skates are loose, the boot will not pass that energy to the floor. Its lost in loose boot movement.
This is important. Get it right.
If you skate a lot, you'll be wearing those boots for the next 2 or 3 years.
How do you ensure you get the correct size skate?
Its best to buy boots in a store. Go to a store that carries the skate you like / want and try the boot on in the store. Stores carry a range of sizes, styles, widths, lengths, wheel size, chassis / frame construction.
Take along a pair of your skating socks and put them on. Thin socks are better. If you don't have skating socks, buy some. Alternatively, use the thinnest socks you have.
1. Get the skate appropriate of for your shoe size
3. Loosen all laces and straps and slip the boot on
4. Your toe should lightly brush the front of the boot
5. Your toe should come up to the front edge.
6. If it doesn't, take the insole out the boot, lay it on the floor and place your foot on it. Align your heel with the back edge of the insole.
7. If the insole is longer than your foot, the boot is too big.
8. Try another pair that allow your toe to touch the front of the boot
9. Tighten laces / straps. Not too tight.
10. Kick your heel down on floor to ensure your heel is well seated in the heel cup.
11. Re-tighten laces / straps on both skates and stand up
12. Bend your knees so they are in line with your toes.
Bending your legs will push your heels back into the heel cup of the boot, pulling your toe away from the toe cup. This will provide a good fit for length. If done properly, your toes will no longer touch the front of the boot.
Ensure your laces are tight. Loose laces will not force your heel back into the heel cup when you bend your knees.
Standing in the skates, raise your foot onto the front wheel of the skate. There should no 'lift' or movement in your heel. The heel should sit tight in the heel cup with zero movement. If it moves upwards, the boot is too big or too loose. The laces / straps need to be tighter, or you need a smaller size.
If the boots feel fine while sitting, do they feel the same when standing. When you stand up, your body weight shifts from your rear, to your feet, causing your feet to spread slightly under load.
There should be no cramping, crushing or compressing.
If the boot squeezes your foot at the widest point, they are too narrow. Try a wider boot.
If the boot allows lateral / side movement when fully tightened, the boot is too loose. Try a narrow boot.
The boot should hug your foot all the way over your instep. A snug fit like a hug. There should be no movement or play when laced up tight. The boot should hug your foot all the way over. It should feel like a second skin or a sock.
Socks don't flop around, they hug your foot all over. Boots should fit the same.
Though the boot feels tight initially, it will 'give' as you wear them, and they 'break-in'.
The boot should be an extension of you, not an addendum
Purchasing Your Skate On The Internet
If you can't find a store near you that stock the boot you want, Internet purchase is the next choice. Before you order you need do some groundwork first, to calculate your foot size.
There's a video below which takes you through it.
You will need:
A4 / Letter size sheets white paper and pen / pencil.
A ruler or measure tape.
Your bare foot or with skate sock.
Place paper sheet hard against skirting board. Press your heel against skirting board. Make sure your heel and paper are both tight against skirting.
Tightly scribe around your foot. Do same for other foot.
Measure the longest part for both feet on the sheet. They may differ. My left foot is 5mm longer than my right.
There's a size charts below. Use the chart as a rough guide to select boot size. Some skate makers provide a 'CM' measure for centimeters.
After you measure your feet, use the 'Metric Centimeter' as a guide.
When I measured my foot it was 26.5 cm. According to the chart below, I should be buying:
US size 8.5
UK size 7.5
European size 41
Most skate sizes come up one size smaller than a shoe size. I take a UK size 8.5 shoe.
The chart is only a guide. Let your foot decide, not the chart.
Phone / Email
Phone / email the store to check they will accept a boot return if it does not fit. Most should by law. Check anyway. Some may refuse or charge a restocking fee, particularly if its a sale item.
I prefer email, as I have a record / proof of the information exchange I can refer back to.
Check the size displayed on their website. One store I bought from listed UK shoe sizes, not Bauer boot size. Very confusing. So check to confirm.
When the boot arrives, follow the procedure above 1 - 12 to ensure the boot fits. Skate indoors, preferably on carpet. Don't mark, scuff, deface, damage the boot, or the store may refuse to accept it as a return if it does not fit.
After all this effort, it should ensure a snug comfortable skate once the boots are broken in.
Watch the video:
Shoe Size Conversion Chart