There are pros and cons to both types of ice skates. Figure skates have a longer, straighter blade which can help with balance. They also have a toe pick which is a positive when skaters start to perform more advanced figure skating manoeuvres like jumps and spins, but skaters very often trip over the toe pick. Hockey skates have a shorter, more curved blade which allows for more power to be generated and quicker turns but can make it harder to balance. With no toe pick, there is no risk of tripping, but also nothing to stop you from falling forward.
If your child intends on figure skating in the future, it is best to start out with figure skates. If you start with hockey skates and switch to figure skates, the adjustment to the toe pick will be a lot more difficult than if you had started with figure skates in the beginning. If your child intends on playing hockey, it may also be a good idea to start with figure skates to help with balance. Many skaters have a hard time balancing on hockey skates, especially if they are young and it is their first time on the ice. Any shift in balance and the skater immediately falls forwards or backwards. They sometimes get into the habit of running and constantly falling forward because they don’t know how to push with the blade. If blade pushes are learned with figure skates, the adjustment to hockey skates will be fairly easy.