Generally, the best clothing for speed skating allows for full freedom of movement, while conforming to the body shape and not causing unnecessary wind resistance. It should also provide adequate warmth. In general, several thin layers are better than one bulky garment.
The hockey helmet offers superior impact protection as well as covering the skull completely, thus protecting against the possibility of a skate cut. The hard-shell skating helmet is lighter to wear than the hockey helmet, and offers impact and cut protection. Either helmet is suitable for beginning skaters. For skating outside, an outdoor sport helmet provides protection and warmth.
Gloves are required to prevent cut fingers and abrasions on the hands from falling. Kevlar is probably the best material as it will resist cutting. A heavy woolen mitt will tend to get soaked rapidly in short track, as the ice is kept wet during practice and competitions. Woolen mitts are suitable for long track skating. Leather lined mittens are also suitable for outdoor long track skating where warmth becomes important.
A neck protector will keep the neck area protected when falling. Hockey neck guards are often used. They must be cut resistant, made of ballistic nylon, and cover the neck and the upper chest area.
Shin guards that do not resist movement (such as those used for soccer) and knee pads are required for short track skating to prevent injury from skates and falls. Kevlar ankle guards are required for practice and competitions and a pair will be provided to all new skaters by the Club. The picture on the left shows skaters wearing the yellow Kevlar ankle guards, short track skates, and the Red Deer racing skin suit with built in shin guards.
It is also a very good idea for beginning skaters to wear elbow pads because beginners have a tendency to fall on their elbows. Hockey-style elbow pads are acceptable.
All skaters must wear safety glasses. The club has basic glasses available to purchase. Two of our Group 1 skaters are shown, left, with the protective glasses on before a meet.
Cut-Resistant Suits (Optional)
Cut-resistant suits are also available for purchase but are not required. There are two general types available. Cut-resistant kevlar suits have kevlar panels built into them. Dyneema cut-resistant suits are made entirely of cut-resistant material. Cut-resistant suits can be sourced second-hand periodically.
Purchasing Speed Skating Equipment
Many of the required equipment pieces can be obtained easily in Red Deer. Skates are rented through the Club as are kevlar ankle guards. Hockey neck guards, helmets, and elbow pads, soccer shin guards, and volleyball knee pads are all easy to find at a local sports store and provide excellent protection for young skaters. There are also numerous online sources for specific Speed Skating gear.
Calgary Olympic Oval Skate Shop: http://oval.ucalgary.ca/skateshop
I Love Speed Skating: http://www.ilovespeedskating.com/
Red River Speed: http://redriverspeed.com/en/