What Is Proper Ice Skating Attire?

Warm clothing and appropriately sized skates are ice skating essentials.
i Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Whether you're showing up to the ice rink for figure skating classes or you're just looking to do a few laps with friends, it's important to wear the proper attire to ensure a safe and comfortable experience. Think light layers that can be added or removed as needed and close fitting, but not skin tight, clothing that will allow freedom of movement.


    Skates are the literal foundation of ice skating and must fit properly. Even if you're just renting a pair for an afternoon, don't feel shy about trying on multiple pairs until you get the right fit. Your toes should just barely touch the ends of the boot, and they should be able to wiggle slightly up and down, but not side to side. If you can move your toes freely from side to slide, you probably need narrower boots.


    In figure skating classes, women often wear a skating dress or skirt with a pair of warm tights and a close-fitting sweater or shell that can be removed after warming up. You may feel more comfortable for a casual skate in a pair of stretchy yoga pants or close-fitting slacks and a turtleneck or fitted T-shirt. Avoid loose-fitting or baggy clothing, which can be a potential tripping hazard and can prevent your coach from observing your movements closely if you're taking classes. Avoid jeans, which are heavy and absorb moisture.


    Ear muffs or a wool headband can be worn to provide extra warmth. The Cheam Skating Club recommends wearing light, stretchy gloves for warm-ups and practice sessions, and bringing an extra pair if the first pair gets wet. If you're using you're own skates, you'll want to bring a pair of blade guards to protect your blades when you're walking around the rink. Always have a couple of small towels for drying your skates, as moisture quickly leads to blade corrosion.


    If you have long hair, tie up your hair in a bun or tight braid so it doesn't get in your way. A ponytail may be distracting if you're going to be practicing spins or jumps. If you have long bangs, curl them or pin them back so they don't block your vision. Make sure all hair accessories are firmly in place, as even something as small as a dropped bobby pin can cause someone to trip on the ice.

the nest