Hockey skates provide stability, support, and protection for the feet while playing hockey. However, under some circumstances they can also cause discomfort and pain.
There are a few reasons why your hockey skates are so uncomfortable.
The most common reason for hockey skates being uncomfortable is that they are new and haven’t been broken in yet. Hockey skates can also be uncomfortable if they do not fit you properly or if you have the laces tied too tightly.
Let’s take a deeper look into the most common causes of uncomfortable hockey skates.
Your skates are new and not broken in yet
Just like a new pair of shoes, your new hockey skates will require some extra time to be broken in properly.
Until your skates are broken in, they will be very stiff and tight which can be quite uncomfortable, this is extremely normal.
The average time it takes to break in a new pair of hockey skates is 10 hours of ice time. This can be accomplished in 5 good on ice sessions. The time it takes to break in a new pair of hockey skates can vary from brand to brand.
How to break in your hockey skates faster
You just bought a new pair of skates but don’t have the 10 hours it’s going to take to break them in, don’t worry, there are faster ways to get a new pair of hockey skates properly broken in.
Baking your skates is the best way to break them in faster. The baking process dramatically reduces the average break in time and will improve the conformability of your skates in just 24 hours.
That’s not 24 hours of on ice time, but 24 hours as in one day.
You can even bake your hockey skates at home if you don’t want to bring them in to a shop to have done.
Keep in mind the material of hockey skates matters during this process. Meaning, you should only bake higher end and mid-level skates. This is because low-end skates are made from much cheaper material that will not hold up well to the baking process like the higher-end skates are able to.
The skates do not fit you properly
There is no foot pain quite like playing hockey in a pair of skates that are either too small or too big for you.
A common mistake I see again and again is people buying hockey skates that are the same size as their shoe size. This is a big mistake and will lead to an uncomfortable fit.
When trying to find the right size ice skates, you should ensure that your foot doesn’t move at all while still being able to fit in the boot easy. If your toes have wiggle room, this is fine.
Never buy a pair of skates online unless you absolutely understand what your size is. Always go in and have them fitted by a professional at a local pro shop. This should be your normal process.
Nothing is worse than buying a pair of expensive skates online only to find out they are an improper fitting skate.
Generally, a good rule of thumb to follow when sizing hockey skates is that they should be 1.5 size down from your shoe size.
Hockey skate sizing chart (Intermediate)
|North American Shoe Size||Hockey Skate Size|
Hockey skate sizing chart (Senior)
|North American Shoe Size||Hockey Skate Size|
For a woman player; There is a difference of 1.5 to 2 sizes between women’s and men’s shoes. So, if you’re wearing a size 9 women’s shoe, that would be a size 7.5 or 8.0 men’s shoe. That means you’d be wearing a size 6 skate.
To make it easier, you can just go down 3 sizes from your shoe size in order to find your hockey skate size.
Your skate laces are tied too tight
Some bad hockey advice that has made it around from locker room to locker room over the years is that you should be tying your skates as tight as you can.
This isn’t the case.
Tying your laces up too tight can cause your skates to become uncomfortable as the result of restricted blood flow. It can also lead to deterioration of your boot, making your hockey skates not last as long as they should.
Try tying your skates as you normally would but leaving the middle a little looser around the arch area and see if that makes a difference for you.
You have flat feet
People with flat feet are often the ones who experience the most pain with their skate. This could be for a variety of reasons:
- Your skate is too narrow
- The skate is tied too tightly
- You aren’t using insoles
If you are experiencing the feeling that the sides of your feet are being squished together, your skate is far too narrow for you and this can lead to an intense pressure on your feet causing discomfort.
Looking into a wider skate, even if you just go try on a pair at your local pro shop to feel the difference, can do wonders.
Laces tied incorrectly
Like we discussed above, if your skates are tied too tight, this can lead to intense foot pain, especially for those with flat feet.
I recommend you only tighten them enough to ensure your heel is locked in to prevent your ankle from wobbling. Play with the looseness on your foot to find the way that works best for you, but they shouldn’t be too tight.
A public skate is the best time to experiment with your lacing process.
For many, myself included. Insoles have been a gamer changer. Insoles will provide you with extra support that takes away most unconformability by relieving pressure.
CCM custom insoles are my favorite, they offer three different options; high arch, medium arch and low arch support.
If you aren’t sure what size is best for you, check out this quick video.
Hockey skates can be uncomfortable if they are too large, too small, or if they are new.
The good news is, It’s entirely possible to break in a new set of hockey skates within 24 hours if you bake them.
When purchasing a new pair of skates, don’t forget that your shoe size and your skate size will be different.