For very young children (under age 3) double runners allow them to walk on the ice and become comfortable with it. However, double runners are not capable of gliding and do not contribute to learning to skate. By age 3 or 4 most children are able to learn how to skate on "single runners."
Skating lessons are the best way to start skating whether you are young or old. Lessons will give you the proper way to establish your balance and the correct method for propelling yourself across the ice. You can choose private lessons or group lessons. Group lessons are the most cost effective way of learning how to skate and come in a series. Private lessons offer more individual attention and flexibility. There is no commitment to a series...you can take as many or as few as you like.
Good quality, well fitted skates are essential for successfully learning how to skate. Because good quality skates are an investment you might first want to make sure you are going to continue with the sport before making the investment. This is especially true for very young children.
Skates are supposed to support the ankles in an upright position, which means they must be strong and well fitted. They should hug the foot like another layer of skin. Without the strong support and proper fit the ankles will generally cave in causing the "weak ankles" myth.
Quality skates are an investment worth making if you are interested in skating more than a few times a year. Most ice rinks have skate shops that sell quality skates and have the personnel to fit them properly. Buy skates where they specialize in skates.
United States Figure Skating (USFS) is the official governing body for figure skating in the United States. The USFS testing system and competitions are the internationally recognized system for selecting our national champions and our World and Olympic team members.
The Ice Skating Institute (ISI) is the industry organization for ice skating. It's members include rink owners, operators, and vendors. The ISI also offers skating tests and competitions for recreational figure skating and hockey.