Skate Sharpening: A Beginner's Guide

Over time, the blades on your hockey skates will get dull and worn down. This can happen in the span of one game or a few months. When your blades get dull, that is your indication to head over to your local MonkeySports store to get them sharpened. Upon arriving and telling an employee you need your skates sharpened, the following question is almost always something along the lines of, “what cut do you want on them?” If you are new to hockey you won’t know what this means, so we’ll help explain it. This question refers to the hollow grove that is cut in the middle of the bottom of your blade. Each one of these cuts has a different radius that will cater towards different playstyles.

While there are many different cut options, the most common skate cuts are 5/8”, ½”, and 3/8”. As seen in the chart above, the cut on the left, 5/8”, is the “flattest” of the three. Therefore, this cut provides players with better top-end speed, due to having more glide. However, because there is less of an “edge” on this cut, players won’t be able to cut into the ice as deep, therefore decreasing the ability to make quick cuts and stops.

On the contrary, the 3/8” cut is the “deepest” cut shown. This cut will allow players to really dig into the ice during turning and stopping, and allows for quicker, more explosive acceleration. Like the 5/8” cut, though, there are some drawbacks, as well. You will lose out on a little bit of glide and top-end speed. The ½” is the most common cut of the three since it is a middle ground between the two other cuts mentioned. Choosing which cut you want will come down to your personal preference and playstyle, so try out a few to determine which one you like the best.

Also, did you receive your monthly edition of USA Hockey Magazine? Bring the ad to into our Northridge California, Allen Texas or Norwood Massachusetts stores and receive a free 3D skate fitting and a card for a free skate sharpening!


This article was originally published on August 20, 2019, and has been updated with new information.