Ice skates are boots with blades attached to the bottom, used to propel one's self across ice surfaces.
There are four main types of ice skates:
- Figure skates are used in the sport of figure skating. They have a pick at the toe that allows the skater to push off of the ice.
- Hockey skates are used for playing the game of ice hockey. The boot is generally made of molded plastic, leather (often synthetic), and ballistic nylon. Skates used in competetive hockey rarely use molded platic for the upper boot, as this results in limited mobility.
- Racing skates have long blades and are used for speed skating.
- Touring skates are long blades that can be attached to hiking or cross-country ski boots and are used for tour skating or long distance skating on natural ice.
A clap skate (or clapper skate) is a type of skate where the shoe is connected to the blade using a hinge.
Modern ice skate blades are not shaped like knives. The bottom of the blade has a crescent-shaped hollow, creating two parallel sharp edges on each skate (recently, parabolic blades have been developed as well). The skater uses these edges in different combinations in order to maneuver. When ice skates are sharpened the blade is ground against a template that restores the hollow.