You don’t have to have special skates for figures, but they can help you skate them better.
It used to be that every ice skater had two pairs of skates, one for figures and the other for freestyle, and a scribe or a scribe to share. Some skaters (namely, Dick Button) had a third pair of skates for loops. The specialized equipment that was once used for figures on ice is no longer readily available.
Roller skaters may have even more skates, with separate pairs for circle figures (the large ones) and loops. Since figures are still fairly popular among roller skaters, roller equipment is easier to come by.
The posts in this category describe the specialized equipment used for figures and where to get it.