If you have ever gone ice skating as a fun winter activity, you will probably notice that the hockey skates are not comfortable at all. The discomfort might make you wonder how professional hockey players spend so much time wearing skates that are so painful. You might even wonder if the players ever get comfortable in their hockey skates.
Hockey skates can be uncomfortable for a number of reasons. It is entirely normal for new hockey skates to be uncomfortable when they are new; breaking the skates in is necessary to reduce pain. Hockey skates may also be uncomfortable because they are not the correct fit. Skates fit much differently than regular shoes, but this is often overlooked. Finally, hockey skates are uncomfortable when you are not used to them.
The bad news is that some discomfort is almost inevitable at some point when wearing hockey skates. The good news is that there are many ways to reduce or even eliminate this discomfort and make the experience more enjoyable.
It is no secret that hockey skates can cause pain and discomfort during use. It may not be a huge deal if you only lace-up rental skates once a year for a short skate. Still, skates that cause pain for long periods of time likely are uncomfortable for underlying reasons. In that case, it is essential to find out what is causing the discomfort and how to remedy it.
One of the biggest causes for uncomfortable hockey skates comes from them not being broken in. When you first get a pair of hockey skates, they will be very stiff and tight. In a way, this is a good thing because it allows the skates to form to your foot as they break-in.
The tried and true method for breaking in hockey skates is just to start skating in them. Skating in the new skates will mold them to your feet and soften the material. While this method will usually get good results, the breaking-in period will be very uncomfortable.
It may take several good skating sessions before you break in your hockey skates, and you will likely develop a few blisters throughout the process. Because of this, many hockey players opt to have their skates adjusted through heat methods.
When you go to a store to buy hockey skates, the store associates can use the “baking” method to speed up the breaking-in process. The store associate will place the skates in a special oven for around ten minutes to warm them up. Then, you will put the skates on, lightly lace them up, and sit with the skates on for a short while. This allows the skates to form to your foot while the material is softened.
It does not matter if your hockey skates are perfectly broken in if they do not fit your feet correctly. Hockey skates are very different from regular shoes, so minor fit issues that would typically not be a problem are heightened in skates.
Your feet are in a very different position in hockey skates than in shoes. Thus, it is crucial to make sure that you have the right size and fit for your hockey skates. Ensuring a proper fit in hockey skates goes beyond just having the correct size. The biggest thing to remember about the fit of hockey skates is that every brand and style will be slightly different.
Typically, the size you need for hockey skates will be between one and two sizes down from your regular shoe size. If you usually wear a size 11 in regular shoes, you might find that a size 9.5 is what you need in a hockey skate. This can also vary from brand to brand, so always double-check before buying.
The size of the hockey skate is a critical aspect of the overall fit. Still, there are several other factors to take into account to truly get the right fit. An ill-fitting skate can cause lots of discomfort, so you will want to make sure all parts of the skates fit your feet.
When you are purchasing hockey skates, the sales associate should help you determine the width you need for your skates. The exact specifications will vary from brand to brand, but most of the time, you will see a range of narrow to extra-wide skates. It is essential to pick the right one for your feet.
The sales associate should also help you determine the depth or arch that you need in your hockey skates. Skates that are too deep or too shallow will contribute to discomfort while skating.
Another factor for fitting hockey skates is your level of experience or ability. Newer players may not be able to fully break in a pair of skates designed for higher-level players because the skates will be too stiff. The key is to find enough flexibility in the skates to adequately break them in while still providing enough support.
A typical fitting issue is not so much due to improper fit as it is due to improper lacing. Skaters should be careful to tie their laces correctly to ensure proper fit. Even if the skate perfectly fits your foot, it will not matter if you have the laces wrong.
Common lace errors are tying the laces too tight or tying them too loose. Tying the laces too tight can cause significant discomfort, blisters, and sores. Tying the laces too loose does not give your feet or ankles enough support.
One method of preventing discomfort from laces is to vary the tightness as you go. You can have the bottom section of the laces be tight, loosen them in the middle, and then tighten them again as you reach the top.
A third main reason that hockey skates are uncomfortable has to do with how much experience you have with skates. On the most basic level, you are likely to find all hockey skates very uncomfortable when you are not used to wearing them.
The goals of a hockey’s skate design are to optimize your playing abilities, and some of these abilities will not be developed when you first start skating. As time goes on, though, you will become more used to the way that your body moves while on skates.
Additionally, you will understand what you need from your hockey skates as time goes on. You can figure out which brands or styles work for you, which ones do not, and what adjustments you might need to make.
Adjusting to the experience of wearing hockey skates, in general, will help to ease the discomfort you have. That often just takes time.
If you have gone through many attempts to alleviate your discomfort in hockey skates and still find that you are in pain, you should consult a hockey skate specialist. Seek a professional who works in fitting hockey skates.
You may find that your feet are in need of custom skates, or at least custom aspects of your skates. This might include adding custom insoles to your hockey skates or adapting the sides of the hockey skates to accommodate wide ankles.
Remember, breaking in hockey skates does take several sessions. However, if you find that your hockey skates are still uncomfortable after ten or more skates, you should see a professional fitter to avoid long-term pain.