Hockey versus Figure Skates?
Skaters in the Pre-CanSkate and CanSkate programs are welcome to wear either hockey or figure skates. There are some important differences between the two types of skates, but in the early stages of skating, these differences really don't matter. When choosing which skate your child will use, consider whether they are learning to skate for recreation, hockey or if they are interested in learning to figure skate. Figure skates have less of a curve on the blade than hockey skates, which make them easier for some skaters. However, figure skates have 'toe picks' on the front of the blades which are a tripping hazard if you are not used to them. If your skater knows that they want to learn to figure skate (spin and jump etc.) eventually, it will speed things up if they start in figure skates.
Skates have to provide good ankle supports
A good pair of skates will provide firm support around the ankle. When skates are laced up snugly, the ankles should be straight in the boot so that the whole skate/blade becomes an extension of the foot.
Moulded plastic skates are not a great choice. They prevent the boot from flexing properly to allow the skater the required range of motion. Plastic skates with buckles instead of laces may be convenient for the parent but they often come loose leaving the skater with no support.
Skates should fit more snuggly than regular shoes, particularly around the heel. A properly fitting skate should have no more than 1/2 inch of space at the toe. The skater should be able to wiggle toes inside the boot, but the heel should not move at all in the skate. There should be no ore than one finger's width of space between the back of the foot and the heel. You should be able to pull the laces tight in the front, and the tongue of the skate should be wide enough to prevent the laces from touching the foot.