If you’ve just bought your first entry-level pair of hockey skates, then you might not be aware of the trials and tribulations that come with a new pair. Not only do they take a while to get used to, but hockey skates can take some time to break in to the point that you’re comfortable in them.
In general, as people skate more in their new pair, they fit better over time. The molding changes to fit the shape of the foot and people will feel more comfortable. Breaking in hockey skates by wearing them is not always easy and people may feel a bit uncomfortable at first.
But what if I told you that there are other methods that can help people break their hockey skates in more quickly? One of these involves baking the skates themselves and, depending on the type of the hockey skates, they could be heated up, which makes the molding process easier. You might be wondering – How exactly can this be done? Let us help you out!
Which Hockey Skates Can Be Baked?
First of all, not all hockey skates are able to be baked and molded safely. In general, the less expensive skates are not able to be baked. This is because the material that the less expensive skates are made out of cannot hold up against the heat. By putting these skates in the oven, the material will be ruined and the skates will not able to be worn.
On the other hand, the higher end skates are built to withstand this heat. The material in these skates will soften gradually in the oven, which allows it to be molded quickly. This makes the process of breaking in hockey skates shorter and could save some soreness in the feet.
The Reluctance To Bake Skates
Without a doubt, baking ice skates seems like a quick and easy way to break in hockey skates more quickly. Furthermore, this could even save a few uncomfortable blisters along the way. This begs the question, why don’t people bake their skates every time they get a new pair?
The biggest reason why people do not bake their skates is that they are afraid of ruining the material or are nervous that baking the skates will somehow impact their performance down the road. Because people can break in their skates by wearing them, they are often more comfortable doing this.
On the other hand, baking skates can break them in faster and could save valuable time and discomfort. When done properly, people can break in their skates using a baking process without fear of damaging them.
Baking Hockey Skates To Break Them In: The Steps
The first time people bake hockey skates to break them in, it is normal to be a little bit nervous. There are even professionals who can help people bake their skates to break them in. On the other hand, people do not need a professional’s help to do this correctly because people do not need any added supplies or ingredients. All that is needed is the new pair of higher-end skates, a typical oven, and a standard baking sheet. Finally, remember that it is safer to bake the skates individually to help get the timing down correctly.
Step 1: Set the oven to 175 degrees and give it time to preheat.
Step 2: Untie and loosen up the laces on the skates. Make sure that the tongue of the skates is open. The skates should be loose so that the foot can slide into it easily. Place the skate on a baking sheet.
Step 3: Turn off the oven. This will prevent the oven from roasting the skates to the point of damaging them. The heat will take some time to dissipate from the oven.
Step 4: Then, with the oven off, place the skate in the center of the oven. You’ll be using the leftover warmth to heat mold the skates into the perfect fit.
Step 5: Leave the boot in the oven for four minutes. Then, check the softness of the skate. If the skate can be shaped easily, it is done. If the skate is still stiff, place the skate in the oven for another two minutes. Remember, every time that the oven door is opened, some of the heat will escape.
Step 6: When the skate feels like it can be molded easily, remove it from the oven and take it off of the baking sheet. Then, place the foot inside of the warmed hockey skate. Tie up the laces on the skate. The skate should be tied as tightly as it would be if it were time for a practice or a match. Remember, do not tug on the laces too tightly. The eyelets could be damaged or torn if the skate is still warm.
Step 7: With the boot laced in the proper way for a practice or a match, sit with the boot on for about 15 minutes. During this time, the boot is going to cool around the shape of the foot. Please, do not move around in the boot during this time because it could alter the molding process. If the boot feels too tight, you can stand and move the toes and ankle until the boot feels wide enough. Apart from this, do not move or stand in the boot and, definitely, do not walk. This could ruin the process.
Step 8: After 15 minutes, the skate should have cooled. The molding should be reasonably set around the foot. Therefore, untie the skate and remove it. After this, lace the skate up again and leave it out, upright, for another 24 hours. This will complete the molding process.
Step 9: With one skate down, it is time to repeat the process with the other skate. Remember to heat up the oven again and turn the oven off before placing the skate in the oven. Make sure to mold the other skate to the shape of the foot in the same manner with the same movements (or lack thereof).
Step 10: With both skates cooling for 24 hours, it is time to try them out. Lace the skates out on the ice and see how they feel. With the proper procedure, the skates should feel comfortable and broken in.
Prefer to learn by video? Check out the instructional video below from Ice Warehouse.
Alternatives To Break In Hockey Skates
In some cases, baking the skates might not be the right choice. Perhaps the skates are not made out of the proper material for the oven. In other cases, people might be nervous about damaging their skates or they could have trouble doing the process correctly. Fortunately, there are other ways to complete this process. Some of these include:
- Using a Hairdryer: Instead of using an oven, people can use the hot air coming out of a hair dryer to break in their skates. This process can take longer but people can use a hairdryer to heat up the skate to the point that it can be molded. People will still need to wear the skate for about 15 minutes and let them sit for about 24 hours to complete the process.
- Trust the Professionals: There are professionals who have ovens that are specially made to break in skates. Remember that this process is not free and these services might be hard to locate.
- The Standard Way: People can always break their skates in by wearing them. This is the old-fashioned way and could come with some discomfort; however, it is battle-tested and has worked from day one.
There are many ways to break in your ice skates and everyone needs to find the way that works for them. Keep in mind that heat molding skates works for any type of ice skates – even figure skating skates!