Breaking in refers to the process of your feet getting used to new skates, and the skates getting more accommodating for your feet. It is an important part of owning new skates without which the skates are not going to feel even slightly comfortable and may even hurt your feet if you try to spend long hours on ice with them.
This process is gradual and has to be done patiently for the sake of your feet. This guide aims to highlight different methods to help break in your skates, whether you just started skating or are having trouble finding reliable tips, this guide is sure to help you.
How to Break In New Hockey Skates
There are a few methods to break in hockey skates, some are a bit simple while others require a bit more effort. No matter what method you end up choosing, please first ensure that your skates are the right fit cuz if they’re not, no amount of break in time will make them feel comfortable.
Gradual Break In
This is the most common method people use to break in their skates. Although it is a simple method, it sure is effective. Gradually breaking your skates involves you wearing the new skates around doing light activities in your house, or just resting wearing them, without actually using them on the ice too often.
This method ensures that your feet don’t get hurt in any way from using brand-new skates on the ice and is good for beginners. When your feet get comfortable enough in the skates, begin skating on ice for small amounts of time at first and gradually increase the time as they get used to the skates more and more.
This process is quite slow and might require additional inputs to speed it up. You can also try wearing thick socks to prevent blisters on your feet if they start to appear.
This involves skates being baked or heated in specialized ovens or by similar means so that the heat-moldable material inside the skates gets used to the shape of your feet better. After the skates are heated, it is recommended to wear the skates for about 30-40 minutes to give time to the material inside to contort to the shape of your feet.
Although heat molding and baking skates is a fast method, it is also risky. In general, higher-end skates come with proper heat-moldable materials that allow baking in the first place, so it might not be wise to bake a low-end skate as heating will reduce the lifetime and break down the materials of these skates faster.
Ice Skating Sessions and Drills
Regularly using your skates on the ice allows them to mold to your feet naturally. The repetitive motions in skating gradually mold the skates while alleviating pressure points.
Reach out to a hockey coach or look up proper drills if you’re determined to break in the skates solely via skating on the ice. Needless to say, this is one of the more tedious methods out there.
Additional Tips for Breaking In Hockey Skates
- Initial fittings and adjustments – Before beginning to attempt to break your skates in, ensure that the skates you have properly fit your feet and that they are in good condition. That means no cramped toes, no loose space inside the boot, and the blades are in proper condition.
- Avoiding prolonged usage to reduce potential injury – Although breaking in injuries are not very common if you’re following proper guidelines and aren’t rushing it, all skates and feet are different and anything can happen. Wear thick socks and don’t spend a lot of time on the ice wearing new skates until you’ve fully broken them in.
- Addressing pre-existing medical conditions and injuries – If your feet have some injury or specific arch type/condition like flat feet, it’s best to consult a specialist before you start wearing skates. It’s not guaranteed that they would affect the break in process, but if it starts hurting too much or feels off, stop skating and consult a specialist like a coach or physician.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the usual break-in time for new skates?
There is no definite time for breaking in new skates. All skates and feet are unique in their own right and take different amounts of time to get used to each other. Likewise, all methods are not suitable for everyone to break in their skates. It’s best to try different methods to break in your skates, as long as they don’t become fully comfortable.
Is it possible to break in skates too fast?
It is possible and in fact, it’s something worthy of a warning. If you skate too hard or for long periods too often before your skates are fully broken in, it can cause damage to both your feet and the skates. Patience is key when breaking in new skates.
How can we speed up the breaking-in process?
Using targeted stretching techniques can accelerate the break-in process. For example, using a hockey skate stretcher or performing simple stretching exercises for your feet while wearing the skates can help speed up the process. Please note that it is not recommended to bake your skates more than once in an attempt to make the process faster. It doesn’t work and harms your skates.
Does heat-molding skates affect their shape?
No, heat-molding your skates does not affect their shape. Skates with heat-moldable materials are designed in such a way that they don’t get harmed by the application of heat and give you a more customized fit.
Breaking in hockey skates is a gradual task that needs patience and continuous effort. Any attempts to rush are almost always going to be detrimental to your skates and the whole process. Prioritizing comfort and protection of your feet is very important during the break-in period. Using different methods like heat molding, practice drills, and gradual wear and tear can help you achieve a comfortable and personalized fit for your hockey skates.