The Definitive Guide For The Best Junior Hockey Skates

For junior hockey players, hockey skates and helmets are the most important equipment they will purchase.

But how do you decide which pair of skates to buy? You want safe and comfortable skates, but you also want to make sure they match against skill level and skating style. There’s so much choice it can feel overwhelming.

Some parents and junior players spend hours comparing the different skates available on the market.

The good news is, we’ve saved you that time. We’ve reviewed dozens of pairs of youth hockey boots, so you don’t have to.

This guide will look at our recommendations for the top 10 youth hockey skates for all skating styles and abilities and provide some pointers to look for when choosing your skates.

You can’t go wrong by choosing skates from the two major brands

We’d strongly recommend choosing youth skates from one of the two dominant brands in the market—Bauer or CCM.

Other brands are available, and you must do what suits your needs and budget. But with Bauer and CCM, you know you’re investing in quality, comfort, and protection—and skates that will help youth players perform to their capabilities.

Bauer has been producing high-quality skates since 1927, and it’s estimated that 70% of NHL players wear Bauer skates. CCM has been making skates since 1937 and produces a wide variety of hockey equipment; CCM skates are worn by just under 20% of NHL players.

Bauer Youth Ice Skates

There are two variations of skates within the Bauer Youth Skate range—the Supreme and the Vapor.

Their Supreme skates are designed for power and acceleration and have a fit that supports a more explosive skating style.  

Vapor skates are designed more for agility and lateral movement. They typically have a shallower heel pocket and help you get low in your skate stride.

Bauer Supreme 3S – Ideal for players who appreciate power and comfort

The Bauer Supreme 3S skates are ideal for the skilled youth player who wants additional comfort as they play.

Like all Supreme skates, the 3S boot has a “power cut,” which means it is ideal for skaters looking for foot stability and a more powerful stride.

The boot is made from 3D Lasted Flex Composite, naturally lightweight. Combined with a Pro TPU outsole, it offers additional stiffness in the lower portion of the skate, creating a more efficient stride and greater straight-line speed.

The Supreme 3S skates offer great forward flex and comfort, and Bauer’s Flex Motion technology enables players to achieve a broader range of motion.

The felt tongue with injected metatarsal guard helps to protect the foot.

The skate comes with LightSpeed Pro 2 holders, an increased height LS+ stainless steel blade.

The Supreme 3S is also thermoformable, ideal for breaking in your skates more easily and ensuring they are the perfect fit.

Quarter Package: Fiber Composite

Tongue: 30 oz felt

Holder: TUUK LIGHTSPEED

Runner: Stainless Steel

Thermoformable?: Yes

Bauer Supreme 3S Pro – An elite skate designed for pure power

The Supreme 3S Pro is an enhanced version of the popular 3S skate. They are an elite skate designed for youth players that want a skate built for pure power.

The power cut of this boot is designed for optimal foot stability and creates a more efficient stride. It also promoted more significant energy transfer through the lower part of the blade.

Many of the favorite features of the original 3S are included in this skate, but there are some additional benefits.

The 3S Pro uses Bauer’s Performance Fit system, making it suitable for players with a low, medium, or high foot profile. The 3S Pro also uses a 3D Lasted Curv composite, which is fully thermoformable.

Quarter package: 3D Lasted Curv Composite

Tongue: 52 oz Pro felt

Holder: TUUK Lightspeed Edge

Runner: TUUK LS Pulse Edge Runner

Thermoformable?: Yes

Bauer Supreme 2S – For youth players competing at a top level

The Bauer Supreme 2S skate is the ideal ice skate for young players who want to compete at a high level.

It has all the top-end, professional-grade features that a youth player could ask for. It provides an explosively fast stride that performs incredibly well.

The Bauer 2S boot is made of lightweight and durable fiber composite material. The 2S youth boot can be fully thermoformed, providing a customized fit for young skaters.

This boot has a metatarsal guard, which provides additional protection from impacts and lace bites.

Inside the 2S, Bauer uses lightweight memory foam ankle pads to lock in the skater’s heel and significantly reduce power loss when striding.

Quarter package: 3D Lasted Curv Composite

Tongue: 52 oz Pro felt

Holder: TUUK Lightspeed Edge

Runner: TUUK LS 5

Thermoformable?: Yes

Bauer Supreme M5 Pro – A premium skate for serious youth players

The Supreme M5 Pro includes many high-end features and is an excellent choice for a regular skater who wants to maximize power and explosiveness.

It’s a high-performing skate that has fantastic comfort and durability.

The boot is made from a Digi-Comp composite and includes Active Motion Performance (AMP), which adds more forward flex to the upper skate.

The microfiber liner inside the skate offers moisture-wicking properties for comfort and enhanced grip to help secure the foot.

The Supreme M5 Pro comes with a Lightspeed PRO II holder and LS1 runners.

The holder delivers excellent energy transfer when striding, and the LS1 runner is known for its impressive edge life and durability.

Quarter package: Digi Comp

Tongue: Reflex Classic Pro Felt

Holder: LS Pro 2

Runner: LS 1

Thermoformable?: Yes

Bauer Vapor 3x – A perfect entry-level skate for players that appreciate agility

The Vapor 3X is a great entry-level option for youth players who favor flexibility and agility. These skates have some great features, a good comfort level, and are affordable.

The boot is made from Digi-Comp composite, which includes Bauer’s MotionFlex technology. This gives players the necessary stability while allowing flexibility and some ankle movement.

The skates have Bauer’s Comfort Edge inside, which provides good grip and moisture-wicking properties.

The tongue of the skate has a mesh metatarsal guard to offer protection and is designed to promote flexibility.

At the bottom of the skate is the Lightspeed PRO II holder, which offers excellent energy transfer when striding. The runners on the Vapor 3x are the highly durable TUUK Stainless Steel.

Quarter package: Digi Comp

Tongue: 30oz Felt Tongue with metatarsal protection

Holder: LS Pro 2

Runner: Stainless Steel

Thermoformable?: Yes

Bauer Vapor 3x Pro – Excellent agility for developing players

The Vapor 3X Pro is the elite version of the popular Vapor 3X skate.

They combine all the same comfort and flexibility as the standard 3X but include a premium 40 oz felt tongue for additional protection and a Form Fit+ footbed which increases comfort.

The Vapor 3X Pro also comes complete with LS1 runners, an upgrade from the standard TUUK stainless steel on the 3X. The LS1 runner is known for its impressive edge life and durability.

Quarter package: Digi Comp

Tongue: 40oz Felt Tongue with metatarsal protection

Holder: LS Pro 2

Runner: LS 1

Thermoformable?: Yes

Bauer Vapor 2x – High-end technology for players who appreciate maneuverability

The Vapor 2X is similar in specification to the 3X Pro – there isn’t too much to choose between them, and their list price is similar.

The Vapor 2X is designed to help young players improve their skating skills and includes a lot of high-tech technology.  

The skate comes with a 3-D lasted fiber composite quarter,  which provides a reasonable level of stiffness, and great flexibility.

Comfort Edge padding is also included in the 2X to provide exceptional support and comfort for the skater, with additional Memory foam pads for ankle comfort.

The Vapor 2x is thermoformable for a customized fit.

Also included inside the boot is the LOCK-FIT liner, which secures the foot into the boot comfortably.

The Vapor 2x comes with a Lightspeed PRO II holder, which provides excellent energy transfer when striding, and LS1 runners, known for their durability.

Quarter package: 3-D lasted fiber composite.

Tongue: 30oz Felt Tongue with metatarsal protection

Holder: LS Pro 2

Runner: LS 1

Thermoformable?: Yes

CCM Youth Ice Skates

The CCM models that make our Top 10 are from two different lines: CCM Jetspeed and CCM Super Tacks.

Jetspeed skates have a ‘tapered’ fit and are typically a medium/narrow fitting skate. They are generally lightweight and are ideal for youth players looking for explosive power.

Super Tacks have more of an ‘anatomical’ fit and are better for players with a wider forefoot. They are more of an all-around skate and are ideal for players looking for that balance between response and agility.

CCM Super Tacks 9350 – A tremendous all-around skate at an affordable price point

The Super Tacks 9350 are excellent entry-level hockey skates.

They are designed for youth players just getting into hockey and looking for a reliable skate at an accessible price point.

Super Tacks are a great ‘all round’ skate, and the 9350s are no exception.

The 3D-injected boot and brushed microfiber lining provide both comfort and durability to these skates.

The 5mm tongue has an injection of foam in the center for additional protection and to help prevent lace bites.

Unlike most skates, the Super Tacks are ready to go out of the box with pre-sharpened runners.

Quarter package: 3-D injected

Tongue: 5mm tongue with additional foam

Holder / Runner: CCM Speedblade

CCM Super Tacks 9380 – An affordable skate for developing players

As the model number implies, the Super Tacks 9380 is a slight step up from the 9350 model but still comes at an affordable price.

These skates are excellent for youth hockey players looking to improve and develop their game.  

They have the same 3D-injected boot as the 9350 but increase the protection on the tongue. The 9380 skates have a 7mm tongue with reinforcement layers down the center.

The Super Tacks 9380 are also ready to be used straight out the box, with pre-sharpened blades. 

Quarter package: 3-D injected

Tongue: 7mm tongue with additional foam

Holder / Runner: CCM Speedblade

CCM Jetspeed FT 485 – An advanced one-piece skate for power and acceleration

This advanced one-piece boot is engineered for remarkable power and acceleration.

With it being a one-piece, there is no outsole, stitching, or glue in high energy transfer zones, meaning faster strides.

The boot comes with a 7mm felt tongue with lace bite protection for increased comfort and safety.

Inside the skate is CCM’s TotalDri liner. This material is naturally moisture-wicking and helps to keep your feet dry and comfortable. The comfort padding around the ankle helps with stability and support.

The JetSpeed FT 485 has a Speedblade holder CCM XS1 stainless steel runners.

Quarter package: 3-D injected

Tongue: 7mm tongue with additional foam

Holder: CCM Speedblade

Runner: CCM XS1

The ultimate buying guide for youth skates

There’s a lot to consider when you’re buying Youth skates.

Choosing the skates that are right for your playing style and your pocket is essential.

If you’re buying skates online, there’s a lot of terminology in product descriptions that might be confusing if you’re not familiar with buying skates.

In this buying guide, we’ll look at some of the standard terms you might come across, the different types of skates for different play styles, and the importance of choosing the right fit.

Skate terminology

Not sure what a quarter package is? Or the importance of the tongue? We’ve got you covered in this list of terminology.

The Quarter Package

This is the central part of a skate boot and provides both support and protection. Quarter packages can be made from various materials, but many modern boots are carbon composite.

The Tongue

The tongue helps to keep your foot stable inside the skate—greater stability can help players move faster around the ice. The tongue can also help to protect feet from injuries as you play. Some boots, such as the CCM Super Tacks, have enhanced cushioning on the tongue for enhanced protection.

The Tendon Guard

The Tendon Guard is important as it helps protect the Achilles tendon from injury. It’s found at the back of the skate boot and helps cushion the tendon from impact.

The Footbed

Most ice-hockey skates have removable footbeds that can be inserted into the boot. The footbed helps to keep the foot in place during play and provides the necessary support and cushioning for the foot. Most footbeds also have moisture-wicking properties to help keep feet dry and comfortable as players skate.

The Holder

This is the skate part that secures the blade to the boot.

The Runner

The runner is the technical name for the blade on skates, commonly made from sharpened steel.

Choose the right skate for your style of play

As we’ve seen in our list of the Top 10 skates, the major brands have different lines to suit different skating styles.

Some lines, such as the Bauer Supreme and CCM Jetspeed, are built for power and acceleration.

Other lines, such as the Bauer Vapor CCM Super Tacks, are designed for agility and maneuverability.

Player skates and Goalie skates

Our Top 10 list of youth skates are all for players and not suitable for goalies. The skates needed for goalies typically have longer, thicker blades and often have more protection on the toe, ankle, and heel.

Sharpening skates

Most skates aren’t ready to be used straight out of the box – they need to be sharpened before you take them on the ice (although exceptions to this are the CCM Super Tacks 9350 and 9380).

If you know what you’re doing, you can use tools to sharpen skates at home. But for many beginners, it’s best to have your skates sharpened by a professional to reduce wear on the blade and ensure the skates are ready to use safely.

Frequently Asked Questions

What size should skates be?

When buying hockey skates for youths, parents should resist the temptation to buy skates that are too big, thinking their child will “grow into” them.

This might be okay in other sports, but in hockey, it will mean that skates are too loose and don’t provide the needed support, which can lead to injury.

It’s better to buy hockey skates 1-1½ sizes smaller than your regular shoe size to ensure the skates have a snug, stable fit.

Is it worth buying high-end skates?

This depends on the skating ability and level of competition that youth players are playing at.

For beginners to the sport, there isn’t too much need to go high-end. A skate like the CCM Super Tacks 9350 is a solid, affordable choice.

For youth players at the top of their game, you may find that the premium features and benefits of higher-end skates can help make a difference in performance on the ice.

What is a good fit?

Hockey skates must be tight to give you the needed stability and support.

When trying on your skates, remember to wear the socks you’re likely to wear when you play.

For youth skates, you should just be able to place your index finger between the back of your foot and your boot. If you have more than this, the skates are too loose.

Do CCM and Bauer skates fit the same?

Generally, hockey skates should be around 1-1½ sizes smaller than your regular shoe size.

Many players suggest that CCM skates can be half a size (sometimes up to a size) larger than Bauer skates.

Should I buy second-hand skates?

You might save money by buying second-hand skates, but you don’t honestly know how much wear they have had, and there are no guarantees that the skates will deliver the support you need.

If you’re going to be skating regularly, you don’t want to sacrifice quality for cost.

What is meant by ‘baking’ skates?

Heat-molding is a process that helps soften the sides and upper part of the boot, helping it mold to the shape of your foot.

Baking your skates in a dedicated skate oven can significantly shorten the break-in time of your skates.

Not all skates can be heat-molded – check if your skates are thermoformable before baking them.

Things to remember when buying youth hockey skates For Your Kids

If junior hockey players are going to achieve their potential, they need the right kit—and one of the most critical pieces of gear you can buy is their skates.

When deciding which skates to buy, you can’t go wrong by choosing one of the lines from the two major skate manufacturers—Bauer or CCM.

There are different lines of skates to support different skating styles and skill levels.
For beginner skaters, don’t overpay for functionality you don’t need– support and stability are the most critical factors to look at.

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Cameron Wilson
Cameron Wilson
Cameron is from Ottawa and played college hockey for Saskatchewan. He now coaches in Division III. He is passionate about traveling, treaking, woodwork, and ethnic food. Cameron is also interested in sharing his knowledge about the beautiful game of ice hockey.