Synthetic ice is by far the most realistic alternative for a real hockey rink, but that doesn’t mean it’s exactly the same.
Luckily, the differences can easily be used to your advantage. As long as you’re wearing one of these top picks of the best skates for synthetic ice, the tougher material of the tiles will have you training harder than ever!
Read on for descriptions of each product and a buyer’s guide to help you find the perfect blade and boot combo for you!
Our Top Picks
CCM Tacks AS-V Pro
CCM Tacks AS 590
Best for Agility
Bauer Supreme Mach
The newly acquired rights to STEP Blacksteel immediately put CCM at the top of this list. Add to that the amazingly designed boot, and the Tacks AS-V Pro is the perfect skate for synthetic ice!
The one-piece boot that is a classic choice for CCM is what has made them such a powerhouse in the skating industry.
Without the restrictions of multiple moving parts, these skates easily transfer energy through your stride and into the ice. Putting all your strength behind each stride.
Plus, the Polygiene liner and Ortholite footbed make even the longest practices seem manageable. Never worry about sore feet or moldy skates again with CCM’s comfortable, sweat-wicking technology!
- STEP Blacksteel
- Easy-replace blade holder
- Molded orthotic inserts
- Sweat-wicking material
- Lesser flex and agility technology
If an elite-level skate is more than you need, the CCM Tacks AS 590 is the perfect alternative. This mid-level skate has a softer, more comfortable fit that is perfect for recreational hockey players.
More importantly, each purchase comes with your choice of STEP steel runners! The Blacksteel definitely holds up better against synthetic ice, but the other STEP materials are not far behind and are less expensive.
The AS 590s also have the Polygien liner and Orthofit soles to keep you comfortable during long training sessions. They’re just a slightly older version of the technology.
Pairing the Blacksteel runner with this boot makes it a worthy competitor for the best skate for synthetic ice!
- Your choice of STEP runner
- Comfortable fit
- Mid-level skate
Best for Agility
In terms of flex technology and boot design, there’s nothing that compares to the Bauer Vapor Hyperlite.
To protect your ankle and joints, hockey skates need to be a certain stiffness. But that stiffness can also impede your movement–which is why this product is so impressive!
The design offers the perfect snug fit in the places you need it most while also getting those flexible materials in the places that optimize your agility. All while creating a molded and comfortable fit.
If you’re only using these for on-ice skating, the Hyperlites could easily become your first pick, but Bauer’s slightly weaker steel brings them a little lower on this list of the best skates for synthetic ice.
- Best flex technology on the market
- Your choice of runner
- Super comfortable
- Weaker steel
The STEP Blacksteel runners are not the only thing that earns this skate a spot on this list of the best skates for synthetic ice.
CCM’s Jetspeed line has traditionally been for players who require a more tapered boot. But the FT4’s all-new personalized fit system has completely changed that!
With a replaceable tongue, memory foam padding, Orthofit soles, and your choice of a tapered, a regular, or a wide-fitting boot, you can now completely customize your skate.
All that personalized comfort makes up for the lack of flex technology in the design. Despite being one of the stiffest boots on the market, it’s still a great skate for synthetic ice!
- STEP Blacksteel
- Good for acceleration
- Personalized fit system
- No flex technology
As the newest addition to the Bauer family, the Supreme Mach is the best all-around skate on the market.
Built for maximizing power, the engineers at Bauer have still managed to add flex zones into the design of the boot.
With your purchase, you also get to choose between three of Bauer’s most popular runners. And the quick release mechanism in the blade holder makes it easy to replace any damaged blades.
Bauer’s steel may not match that of STEP Blacksteel, but it’s definitely a close second. And the other advantages of this product easily make it one of the best skates for synthetic ice.
- Best all-around skate
- Your choice of runner
- More flex zones
- Weaker steel
Hockey Skates Buyer’s Guide
Types of Runner
Synthetic ice tiles are created from durable polyethylene plastic. The special coating is what allows your skates to glide along as if they were on ice.
Unfortunately, the steel of hockey skate runners is not made to withstand something so hard. If you use your skates for synthetic ice training often, they will dull quickly and chip easily.
That’s why the best skates for synthetic ice have CCM’s Blacksteel. Its coating of carbon nanoparticles makes it extremely rust-resistant and tough. The edge is also finer and sharper than any competitors.
In the ranking, Bauer’s titanium-coated runners are not far behind Blacksteel. Then there’s Bauer’s innovative Carbonlite runners, which are extremely lightweight but not quite durable enough yet.
The blade is definitely important when choosing the best skates for synthetic ice. But you don’t want to forget about the boot itself.
Each brand will usually have different lines of skates that are focused on enhancing different parts of the skating experience.
In general, there’s usually a stiffer boot that is focused on providing a more efficient transfer of power. The stiffness ensures that none of your energy is lost within the boot of the skate before it can propel you forward.
Then there are lines that are made for enhancing agility that will have lots more flex zones for easier movement. In terms of finding skates for synthetic ice training, CCM focuses a lot more on power so it will be hard to find a great agility-focused boot with Blacksteel runners.
The boot of a hockey skate is usually made to fit either a narrow, regular, or wide foot. Some brands have the type of boot ingrained into the line, just like the technology. Others give you the choice of boot type with your purchase.
When choosing the right type of hockey skate boot, consider both the size of your ankle and the size of your forefoot. Since skates are so stiff, having the wrong size can be extremely uncomfortable. Especially when using skates for synthetic ice training.
Always make sure you’re measuring your foot properly and picking the right boot for you. And buying a product that can be heat molded is even better for getting that perfect fit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is synthetic ice as good as real ice?
Synthetic ice isn’t as perfectly smooth as real ice, so it takes a little more effort to glide and gain speed. But that just means you’re training hard and will be that much better when you do get back on the ice. As long as it’s a well-made product like Polyglide, the differences will add to your training experience!
Is Black STEP steel worth it?
STEP still is the highest quality steel on the market by far. It’s naturally rust-resistant, holds up much better against chipping, and doesn’t need to be sharpened as frequently. The extra initial price will definitely save you in the long run when you need to replace your lesser steel more frequently.
How do I know my hockey skate size?
In general, a hockey skate should fit 1-1.5 sizes smaller than your average street shoe. If your toes are fully pressing against the cap, it’s too small. They should just barely touch, with no more than a ¼ inch of space behind your heel.
Wrapping Up the Best Skates for Synthetic Ice!
Always make the most of your training experience with one of these picks of the best hockey skates for synthetic ice. And if you’re interested in other alternative training methods – check out online hockey training!
Whether you’re focused solely on finding the blade that will hold up the best against harder synthetic materials or a skate that is also the best for on-ice performance, this list has it all!
And check out our Hockey page for more information on the sport!
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
Liv covers everything hockey for Life in Minnesota (the State of Hockey!)
With a childhood filled with hockey at various levels – in nearly every position – she has a deep passion for the sport.
Liv has a Bachelor’s of Communication Studies, loves to travel, and of course… hockey.
Liv can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org