for the most part all of the sites online (hockey tron, monkey, giant) are the same price in store. as everyone has already said, go in and try it out! even different models from the same brand fit differently. i usually recommend middle end to high end skates just for durability and better materials. but i would get whatever fits best and something you can afford. if money is no object, i wouldn't necessarily recommend the best skates, but i wouldn't go cheap either.
just bought a pair of bauer x4's and, oh my lord, i can't believe i was wearing eastons and nike's before (way before bauer bought nike)
biggest mistake i made was having a novice size me, i at one point wore a 12 (nike) then got fitted in a 10 (easton)
went to play it again sports in mira mesa and found out i wear a 9 (a nine!!!)
played 1 pick up and 1 public session and holy crap, the difference is amazing! also, let the skates sit for 24 hours after a bake, no one told me last time and i had one skate break in about 2 weeks quicker than the other.
I got a new pair of skates at Christmas from Hockey Monkey. I tried on Grafs, Bauer Vapors and Supremes and ended up going with the Vapor X 5.0, because those are what fit me the best. And on top of what others have said, if you're gonna splurge on one piece of equipment, make it your skates. A good pair of skates will help you way more than any other piece of equipment. As for shops, Hockey Monkey, Hockey Giant and Jake's are all excellent.
You can also do it at home, warm the oven to about 180 and put them on a towel for 10-15 minutes. Been re baking mine that way for years
Originally Posted by santiclaws
Either way, skates are a very personal thing. I recently went back to CCM that I got away from back in the late 90's and I can't believe I ever put something else on. Not to say that Bauer/ Graf/ Easton are worse skates, far from it, but for the way I play and my foot (6 / EEEEE), CCM fits me best and the runner sets a little forward which fits how I skate. What works for me, though, may not work for someone else. So just to beat the dead hore, got to Monkey /Jake's/Giant / Play ot Again and get what works for you best.