- December 25, 2008
Ice Hockey skates are just like any piece of sporting equipment. Your ice hockey skates will not feel as comfortable as you would like until you fully break them in, giving the boot of the ice hockey skate a chance to mold, stretch, and soften to your specific foot. During the break in process of your ice hockey skates, you want to make sure you do not lose the support and the protection the ice hockey skates have been constructed to offer you.All of the padding beneath the leather on the inside of your ice hockey skate boot will eventually mold to the unique contours of your foot, however the outside of the boot will not. These different plastics and other hard materials are not made to give. This is what provides the majority of the support in your feet and ankles. Most likely if your feet are experiencing pain or a lack of comfort in places in the boot where you find padding, this is an issue of simply breaking in the skate. Unfortunately, if you are having pains in your feet in places without a lot of padding such as in the toe and arches of your feet, these issues will most likely not be remedied as your break in the skates. When we refer to “breaking in” the ice hockey skates, we are generally talking about the forming of that padding inside the skates mainly around your ankles. However, you will notice the angle support of the ice hockey skates will soften up a little bit so you will have a bit more flexibility and forward lean in your skating. Over time, if you skate on a pair of ice hockey skates long enough you will experience the ankle support breaking down. This is the point where you need to buy new ice hockey skate.
In the above paragraph we discussed the breaking in of the interior padding of the ice hockey skate boot. This padding will eventually mold to your feet as you skate, however there is a better alternative with almost all skates currently manufactured. With most ice hockey skates today, you have the option for thermo-mold-ability, also known as heat-molding and baking your ice hockey skates. Almost all ice hockey shops currently have special ovens they use to heat mold your ice hockey skates right after you purchase them. What happens is they ice hockey skates go in one of these special ovens for a certain amount of time. After the ice hockey skates come out of the oven, you place them on your feet and lace them up for about fifteen minutes. A lot of ice hockey shops have another machine that takes this a step further. Once you have your heated ice hockey skates on your feet you can put your feet in this machine that essentially inflates bags of air around your ice hockey skates. This compresses the areas around your feet, ensuring that your ice hockey skates are firmly pressed up against your feet.
This heat-molding process works great because beneath the leather on the inside of the ice hockey skate boots are a moldable gel. Yes, the gel will eventually mold around your feet as you skate over time due to the heat and friction of your feet and movement. However, by using the heat-molding process, you are essentially speeding up the overall breaking in process, which can take about ten ice hockey sessions.
A lot of ice hockey experts don’t believe in such “fancy” methods. These ice hockey enthusiasts will tell you that the best way of breaking in a pair of ice hockey skates is to simply skate on them. The science of this is quite elementary; the more you use your ice hockey skates, the more flexible and conformed to your foot the ice hockey skate boots will become. If you feel that your ice hockey skates are too big in certain areas on the inside, these issues will most likely not be fixed with simply breaking in your skates. You most likely will need to add padding to the inside of your ice hockey skates. If you have been experimenting with your new pair of ice hockey skates and using different methods to break them in and you can’t get them to feel comfortable, chances are they are just not the right skates for you. Unfortunately, not every ice hockey skate fits every ice hockey player. If you want to play ice hokey to the best of your abilities it is best to find a pair of ice hockey skates that suits your needs for comfort and support. Your ice hockey skating agility will suffer indefinitely if your ice hockey skates do not fit correctly.