Goalie Skates vs Hockey Skates | What Are The Differences?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a goalie skate and an ice hockey skate?

They are both made with the same materials and look very similar, but there are key differences when comparing goalie skates vs hockey skates that will help you make the right decision if you want to buy either one.

I hope this article helps!

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A goalie wearing a pair of hockey skates | Goalie Skates vs Hockey Skates

Are ice hockey goalie skates different to outfiled player skates?

Yes. Although the skates are similar in design they have some feature differences such as protective material blade length and even the maintenance of the skate. Goalie skates are designed to have more mobility, protection, longer and thicker goalie blades, and a tendon protector. On the other hand, player skates have a combination of safety and performance.

Players must wear player skates and goalies should wear goalie skates.

Selection and type of skate depend on the game and position of the hockey player irrespective of whether the player is a skater or a goalie. While playing skaters are in motion on the ice but goalies have to stay in a specific net. That’s the reason there are different skates for both goalies and players. 

Goalie skates vs hockey skates – the differences

A playing in blue aims to shoot the puck at the goalie in red playing ice hockey

The skate boot of the player skate and goalie skate 

The boot is present on the ankle and lower side of the goalie skates and they have a shorter tongue as compared to the hockey skates. Goalies skates provide less tendon protection as compared to hockey skates. 

Player skates have a long tongue and provide more tendon protection. Tendon protector is present on the backside of the ankle. It also contains a shin pad which is present under the long tongue of the player skate. 

The reason for the shorter tongue of the goalie skate is that it is better for the performance of players because goalie players need more speed, mobility and more stability as compared to the player skates. 

Goalies require flexibility at extreme angles from the ankles because they push off quickly with the help of ankles and while playing in butterfly position goalies need extra flexibility for better performance. 

Goalies have shorter boots so it does not mean that they will provide little or no safety. The goalie pads provide extra protection from the front side of the ankle.


As compared to the player skates, goalie skates provide more protection from the toe of the skate, on the sides, and also on the back heel. Protection of toes is very important for the goalie skates because goalies face down pucks with the help of their feet to direct the shot. 

Player skates also have a strong toe but goalie skates have large and hard plastic caps which ensure the safety of the feet of goalies. 

Players who just started playing hockey need more confidence in skates to direct excellent shots with the help of their feet.

Maintenance differences

There are maintenance differences between goalie skates and hockey skates. Due to the stress and different usage of goalie skates, they will need more regular care as compared to normal skates or traditional hockey skates. As goalie players move from different sides and angles so the goalie skate blade should wear down faster as compared to regular skates. 

It is necessary to sharpen goalie skate on a more regular basis for the goalie to maintain a great grip on ice while making quick movements. Goalie skates are also more likely to suffer from wear and tear from hitting the posts and screaming pucks. 

More frequently asked questions

A close up of some goalie wearing skates

How are goalie skates different from player skates?

Goalie skates are different from normal skates. Goalie skate blades are longer and thicker skate blades as compared to regular hockey goalies skates. It provides more surface area for players to slide from different sides and players can make easy contact with the ice while directing a shot. 

The goalie skates are made with thicker steel and have flat player skate blades which make them more stable and protective. Goalie skates are sharpened frequently so the player can make quick and smooth movements.

Do goalie skates fit differently? 

Hockey players should have the best fit and it is very important while playing with goalie or player skates. Goalies skates are available in different traditional shoe sizes. Hockey players should buy goalie skates that are slightly smaller than their shoe size. 

Professional hockey skate players buy the goalie skates 1½ smaller than their actual shoe size just for comfort while playing. But another hockey skate player prefers wider goalie boots just to avoid discomfort on the edge and n order to make perfect and hard shot while playing hockey. The size of the goalie boots depends on the comfort of the hockey skate regular players. It is recommended for players to buy D-width goalie boots if they do not prefer E or EE. 

Do all NHL goalies wear goalie skates?

No, not all NHL goalies wear goalie skates while playing goalie but it is recommended to wear goalie skates for more protection, safety, and firm grip on ice. Goalie skates provide more mobility and better positioning.  

In the 2015-2016 season, Henrik Lundqvist who was the number one player of the New York Rangers debuted the Goalie skates and said that they increase the mobility and provide more protection.

How do you skate on goalie skates?

If you think that goalies may not be professional players or have no need to be professional then you are wrong because to play goalie you have to be one of the best skaters.

Most goalies are on their own feet for the majority of the play. They should be able to move and position themselves with the help of shooters and puck in the entire play.

When you are skating in a net then remember that you have to push hard and stop hard as it will allow you to set when you are in the spot and make sure to set yourself before the shooter sets himself.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to choosing between goalie skate and regular hockey skate, then you may get a variety of options. Make sure to prefer the quality of the skates such as the material type and style and the most important your comfort while playing hockey.

Always choose the hockey skate which provides more surface area, protection, safety, agility, and ankle mobility. If you love hockey game then you should try goalie skates as it will make your game performance much better than regular hockey skates.

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