Are figure skates supposed to be tight?

Are figure skates supposed to be tight

Getting new figure skates can sometimes be overwhelming if you’ve never worn a pair before. One of the biggest concerns people have is whether their skates are too tight or not.

Wearing a pair of figure skates that are too small for you, causing them to feel too tight, can be very uncomfortable. This is why it’s important to have your figure skates fitted in-store.

Are figure skates supposed to be tight?

Yes, your figure skates need to be tight enough that your foot is able to lay completely flat without being squished. It’s important your figure skates have a snug fit, and leave zero additional space in the boot.

If you are unsure how your skates are supposed to feel, it is important you speak to a professional skate fitter.

properly tied figure skates

Figure skate size conversion chart

To avoid ending up with tight figure skates in the first place, it is important you know what your true figure skate size is.

The best way to find your skate size is by measuring the length of your foot. You must be sure to measure the length from your heel to your toe on the bottom side of your foot to get an accurate measurement.

Some people actually have two different sized feet, don’t worry, it’s normal. If you are in this situation  you just need to use the measurement of your longer foot.

Women’s & Men’s figure skate size chart

Foot Length in Inches

Figure Skate Size

8 7/8




9 3/16


9 3/8


9 1/2


9 11/16


9 7/8




10 3/16


10 3/8


10 1/2


10 11/16


10 7/8




11 3/16


11 3/8


11 1/2


11 11/16


11 7/8


Girl’s & Boy’s figure skate size chart

Foot Length in Inches

Figure Skate Size

5 3/16


5 1/2


5 7/8


6 3/16


6 3/8


6 11/16


6 13/16




7 3/16


7 3/8


7 1/2


7 11/16


7 7/8




8 3/16


8 3/8


8 1/2


8 11/16


Can figure skates be stretched?

A common question people have is whether their new pair of figure skates can be stretched if they are too tight.

The answer is yes, some shops that sell figure skates also have a special machine that can stretch your figure skates if they are too tight for you. This can be a long process as it may need to be done multiple times due to some spring back effect. This comes at an extra cost so if possible it is best to have your skates professionally fitted before you purchase them to avoid having to go through this process.

I once had a pair of figure skates stretched a full width wider than they originally were, and it did not harm the materials of the skates.

What figure skates are best for wide feet?

Some people have wider feet than others, nothing wrong with that. But it can make finding a pair of figure skates that fit a little more challenging. In my experience the two brands make excellent figure skates that are best for people with wide feet and those brands are;

SP Teri

SP Teri branded figure skates tend to have somewhat wider toe boxes than common brands like Riedell or Harlick.


Like SP Teri, Edea figure skates have wider toe boxes than most other brands in the market. Edeas are also available in wide and extra wide sizes.

If you are still unable to find a pair of figure skates that fit comfortably on your feet most skate makers will have no problem making custom figure skates for you for an additional cost (usually between 100-200) it’s a lot of money to spend, but it also beats having uncomfortable feet after practice.

Why do figure skates hurt my feet?

The most common reason your figure skates may be hurting your feet is that you may not have fully broken them in yet. Sometimes it can take a while to properly break in a new pair of figure skates.

Another common reason your figure skates are causing you discomfort could be that the socks you are wearing are too thick. When your socks are too thick, you are basically making your feet larger, giving your toes less room to breathe.

If you are absolutely sure you’ve properly broken in your figure skates and your socks are not the issue, it’s possible that your figure skates just simply do not fit your feet. Improper fitting figure skates can not only be uncomfortable, but they can also lead to pretty serious injuries. If you did not have your skates fitted before you purchased them, you should head to your local shop and ask an employee to see if your skates are indeed too small.

How long does it take to break in figure skates?

When you are so use to the way your current pair of figure skates feel, breaking in a fresh pair can be uncomfortable and annoying. But, it must be done. So how long exactly does it take to break in figure skates?

A minimum of 5 hours of on-ice time with a new pair of figure skates before they become more comfortable is expected. However, fully breaking in a new pair of skates has no set time, there are too many variables from your skating style to the type of skates you are trying to break in as some brands (Edea for example) are very stiff out of the box.

When you are breaking in a new pair of figure skates, be sure to always tie your laces the same way, with the same tightness if possible, as this will help with the breaking in process. Wearing the skates around your house (with skate guards on, of course) is another way to help speed up the process of properly breaking in your new figure skates.

Final thoughts

As you may have gathered by now, figure skates are meant to be tight, but not tight to the point that they are causing you pain. Snug would be the best word to describe how tight your figure skates should be. The best practice when looking for new skates is to always have your skates properly fitted by a professional.