Getting a new pair of hockey skates is always an exciting event. However, there’s one downside to it which is that the skates won’t fit your perfectly right from the start. Wearing new skates can cause blisters, rashes, or discomfort, so it would be best to skip this stage. Luckily, you can find many ways to do so in this article. So, how to break in your new hockey skates?
The two easiest methods to break in your new hockey skates are to ice skate with them. Alternatively, you can wear them in the house with blade guards and walk or sit around to mold them to your feet. You can also bake or blow dry your hockey skates to soften the material for easy molding.
Breaking in your skates by skating isn’t the best option if you ask me because you will run into the same problems you are trying to avoid. An easy and semi-effective way is to wear the skates around the house, which is nice.
The most effective way is to soften the material with heat by baking or blow drying, so tune in for the instructions! Now, let’s learn more about each method.
Four Ways to Break In Your New Hockey Skates
So, there are four main ways to break in your hockey skates: skating, wearing, baking, and blow drying. I’ll start with the easier ones.
1. Break In Your Skates by Skating
By far, the most popular way to break in new hockey skates is, well, ice skate! When looking at all hockey players, very few people uses any other breaking in hacks, although they can be helpful.
At first, new skates can feel uncomfortable as the boot hasn’t yet molded to the unique shape of your feet. However, after a couple of good training sessions, you will start to notice the pain going away.
After some time has passed, the boots will be customized to your feet better than any other method in this list because no other method can replicate your motions when playing hockey. All the twists, turns, accelerations, and sudden stops will mold the skates perfectly on your feet.
It’s funny how skating is the best and worst way to break in your skates. Best because you will get the best fit over time and worst because the initial discomfort is the highest.
PS, if you go with this method and know you get blisters easily, I recommend using blister prevention tape to prevent the pain at the source.
2. Around the House Wearing the Skates
If you don’t need to take your new hockey skates to the rink immediately, you have time to hang out with the skates. Wearing your skates at home (don’t forget the blade guards) is a great way to break them in easily, over time, without blisters or discomfort.
Do this by putting on your blade guards so your floor or blades won’t get damaged, lace up the skates on your feet, and walk around the house. You can also wear them when watching tv or even sleeping, which will slowly accommodate your feet’s shape.
This is a more time-consuming method, yet you’ll spare yourself from blisters or pain that can be annoying with new hockey skates.
Remember that you should use only hard blade guards at home on a hard floor because soft blade guards won’t be enough protection for the skates. Soft blade guards work in the rubber mats on the ice rink, yet home floors are too hard for them.
The absolute best option for breaking in your hockey skates at home is RollerGard Roller Skate Guards for hockey skates. They work similarly to blade guards, yet they are equipped with wheels. How cool is that! This way, you can mimic the hockey movements by slowly rollerskating with your hockey skates at home.
3. Bake Your Hockey Skates
My favorite way is to bake the new hockey skates to soften the material and then old them to my feet right after removing them from the oven. If you haven’t heard of this method, it will sound weird, but it’s a proven trick and very effective.
Baking hockey skates is done in two sections: baking and molding. Baking is done to soften the skate so the construction can be altered, and the molding is done to comfort your unique feet’s size accurately. Here’s a quick overlook on how it’s done;
- Pre-heat oven to 175°F (80°C)
- Prepare the skates by loosening the front tongue
- Place the skate(s) on a baking tray
- Turn off the oven when the temperature is reached
- Bake the skate for 6-8 minutes
This is the baking process explained in short terms. If you want to know the full step-by-step instructions, see my full hockey skate baking guide. After baking, it’s time for molding.
- Find hockey socks, a rug, and two chairs during the baking process
- Remove the skates when it’s time and bring them on the chair and sit on the other
- With your sports socks on, place your feet on the skates
- Place your feet on the ground over the rug, and lace your skates
- Wear the laced skates for 15-minutes
- Remove the skates from your feet
- Re-lace the skates so the mold will hold
- Cool off the skates for 24-hours
In short, that’s how the molding process will go, and after the 24-hour cooldown, your new hockey skates are broken in. For full instructions, check out the full hockey skate guide!
Now, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, all hockey skates aren’t thermo moldable, so check your skate’s model to see whether they can be baked. If not, don’t use this method.
Second, you must lace your skates tightly after baking as you would when going on the ice. This way, you’ll ensure the most accurate fit from the process! This is my favorite way of breaking in my new hockey skates because it’s fast, easy, and effective!
4. Use a Blow Dryer to Break In the Skates
Another breaking-in method involving heat is to blow dry your new hockey skates with a hair dryer. This isn’t as effective as baking, but it is quicker. The same principle holds that the hot air from the hair dryer is blown towards the hockey skates, which will slightly soften, making them mold on your feet.
A great benefit of blow drying your skates is that you can accurately target areas that don’t seem to fit so well. Start by blowing the hot air on the skate, lace them up, and sit there so it will have time to mold.
Remember that you don’t want to direct too much heat for too long to the skates. Monitor the process closely, especially if using a powerful blow dryer.
By using these breaking-in methods for your new hockey skates, you will have a customized mold that will decrease the number of blisters and discomfort you usually get from new skates. If you get blisters easily, I recommend using blister prevention tape so you won’t risk getting any!
How Long Does Hockey Skates Take to Break In?
If you choose to break in your new hockey skates by skating with them, you selected the most effective yet time-consuming and painful way. Discomfort is usually noticeable when skating in new skates, so it’s good to know when they will be broken in so the pain will stop?
On average, hockey skates take 10 hours of skating time to break in. The actual time can vary depending on the skate model and how fiercely you train. Thermomolding at a professional shop, baking your skates at home, or wearing your skates at home will decrease the break-in time.
That said, your skates can be broken in less than a week or two months; it depends on you and how often you play ice hockey.
For example, if you train three times per week, three hours at a time, your skates will be likely broken in when you start the next week’s training. However, if you train one hour per week, then it will likely take two and a half months!
Remember, this post is about breaking in your new hockey skates, so if you want to accelerate the process, I highly encourage you to try some of the methods I discussed, especially baking.
Here’s a table on how long you will take to break in your skates when assuming it will take 10 hours of skating time.
|Hours per Session||Times per Week||Total Breaking-In Time|
Should New Ice Skates Hurt?
When you get a new car, any pain isn’t usually near you, yet when you buy new ice skates, pain is almost always present. Should your new ice skates hurt, should you be able to detect only slight discomfort, or should they be comfortable from the start? That’s a good question.
Generally, new ice hockey skates should slightly hurt because they come straight from the manufacturer and haven’t yet molded to your unique feet’s shape. This can create friction and discomfort to your feet, resulting in blisters or pain.
Ice skates are usually made from plastic, synthetic leather, nylon, or thermoformed composite material, so the boot is hard and solid. Thus, the skates need time to get customized on your feet. I know it’s frustrating but necessary as there aren’t any ways around it.
You can only accelerate and ease the process by trying breaking-in methods such as baking, blow drying, or using them around the house without the pain you’ll probably experience on the ice. Also, blister prevention tape and protective hockey socks will considerably decrease the pain!
How Should New Hockey Skates Fit?
All this talk about new hockey skates, but the most important factor hasn’t been addressed yet: the fit. Getting the right fit on your new hockey skates is the most important thing to get a supporting yet comfortable feel. Also, the right fit will minimize blisters and other minor injuries and discomfort.
Hockey skates should have a snug and supporting feel, yet not tight, so you feel discomfort or pain. Your toes should hardly touch the toe cap when unlaced because lacing them will tighten the fit.
When you fit hockey skates, think about them as fitting shoes. You want room for your toes on the top, yet not too much so it will feel insecure and wobbly on the feet. Any sliding from the back of the shoe shouldn’t happen because it indicates it’s too big.
When you try skates, wear the same socks you would when skating, lace them up well, and give them a walk with blade protections so you can see whether they feel good. Note that the skates haven’t been broken yet, so there might be discomfort because of the skate’s shape. However, there shouldn’t be any discomfort with the skates’ size.
In conclusion, I highly recommend breaking in your skates as it will make them more comfortable from the beginning, and you will get a perfect fit quicker.