Did you just pick up a new pair of skates?
But… they’re super uncomfortable—leaving you wondering if you made the right choice?
Well, even if there’s a better hockey skate out there for you, there are still a few things you can do with the skates you have to make them more comfortable.
In this article, we’ll show you 9 tips to make your ice hockey skates more comfortable, whether you’re about to buy a new pair of skates, or you want to make your current skates more comfortable.
And, if your problem is that your skates are too big, check out this article!
Let’s dive in.
Here’s How to Make Ice Hockey Skates Comfortable:
1. Get your feet fitted properly (and scanned). 2. Bake your hockey skates. 3. Use the right insoles. 4. Try hockey skate inserts and gel pads. 5. Wear different socks. 6. Lace your skates up better. 7. Skate more. 8. Consult a skate specialist. 9. Try custom hockey skates.
1. Get Your Feet Fitted Properly (and Scanned!)
The most important aspect of making sure your skates are as comfortable as possible is…
Get your feet properly fitted.
This is the most important step.
If you’ve already got your skates and need to make them more comfortable, keep this in mind for next time.
But, if you’re about to buy some skates, then make sure you follow this first tip.
Go to your local hockey shop and get the most knowledgeable worker there to properly fit your feet into the right skates.
If you have a local Pure Hockey Shop nearby, make sure to get your feet scanned on their Bauer machine (it’s free).
This impressive machine will accurately size your feet to the exact skate fit you need. Mind you, they will fit it to a Bauer skate (not CCM, True, or any other skate brand).
And, even if you don’t buy skates from that store, you can at least freely use their machine to get your feet scanned.
The foundation to a comfortable skate is the right fit. Once you have the perfect fit, then it’s time to customize it to your feet.
2. Bake Your Hockey Skates
If you get a high-end skate, they’ll most likely have a thermoformable boot. This means you can heat up your skates and mold them to your foot to get an even more personalized fit.
Baking your skates is a very common practice and every high-level hockey player will do it to get their skates to fit better.
You can get your skates baked for you at almost any hockey shop.
Or, you can do it from home.
So, how do you bake hockey skates?
1. Prep the Baking Process
Grab a chair to sit on, put a mat on the ground, wear the socks you’d normally wear when you play, and grab a baking tray and oven mitt.
Untie your skates and get a timer ready.
2. Preheat the Oven to 175 F
Set your oven to 175 Fahrenheit. This is the ideal temperature to heat your skates enough to mold them without damaging them.
3. Turn Off Your Oven
Once your oven is done preheating, turn it off. Wait 30 seconds.
Next, place only one of your skates on the baking tray and place it on the center rack and close the door.
4. Wait 3-5 Minutes
Leave your skate in the oven for 3-5 minutes. After about two minutes, check on your skate.
If your quarter panels are a lot softer than they normally are, then pull your skate out.
If not, put it back in for 1-2 minutes and check again.
5. Take Them Out of the Oven
Put your oven mitts on and remove the tray from the oven.
Your skate should be warm and not hot. Don’t touch your steel blade or metal eyelets.
Gently put your foot into your skate so your heel is snug to the back of your skate.
6. Tie Up Your Skate
Don’t pull your laces down, up or any other direction.
Just pull your laces gently outwards and lace up your skate how you normally would.
7. Wait 10-15 Minutes
Once your skate is tied, just sit with your knees at a 90 degree bend.
Don’t move. Just sit there for 10-15 minutes.
8. Take Off Your Skate
Once you’ve waited 10-15 minutes, gently untie your laces and take your skate off.
Don’t use your skates on the ice for 24 so your skates are properly set.
9. Repeat Steps 2-8 for the Other Foot
Once you’ve done your first foot, it’s time for the other. Repeat steps 2-8.
A common question about baking skates is: should you bake your skates with wet socks?
The short answer is, no.
Making your socks wet won’t help them mold to your feet better.
Hockey players used to do this back in the day when skates were made of pure leather which would help the leather mold quicker. But, that’s not the case nowadays.
3. Use the Right Skate Insoles
Your skate insoles are the next most important thing to cover.
While hockey skates will come with stock insoles, it’s usually a good idea to upgrade your insoles if you’re dealing with discomfort in your foot while you skate.
There are a variety of skate orthotics you can get. You can get custom insoles that offer better arch support, wick away more moisture, and provide a better fit.
4. Try Hockey Skate Inserts & Gel Pads
If you’re dealing with discomfort, one of the best solutions is to remove negative space and customize your fit even more with inserts or gel pads.
Plastic inserts help prevent lace bite, give you better arch support, and allow your skate to feel more ergonomic on your feet.
If you’re dealing with lace bite, you could try out some Gel Pads to provide some extra comfort.
If you’re dealing with overall general foot pain, then check out Superfeet Foam Hockey Insoles. A ton of hockey players have had success removing any foot pain by trying these out in their skates.
The Powerfoot Performance Insert is another tool that helps to remove negative space in your boot, making it more snug overall.
You can see how Powerfoot Inserts work in this video:
5. Wear Different Socks
Do your skates feel too tight?
Try thinner socks.
Do they feel too wobbly and loose, bashing your ankles?
Dry thicker socks.
The easiest and quickest option to adjust comfortability in your skates is by simply changing the socks you’re wearing.
This may sound too simple, but it can really work like a charm.
If there’s too much room in your skate causing you discomfort, try thicker socks. Just remember, to wear a single pair of extra thick socks rather than two pairs (as two pairs could cause chafing and blisters).
6. Lace Your Skates Up Better
Sometimes, an uncomfortable pair of skates isn’t so much about the fit as it is about improper lacing.
You should be careful to tie your skates up correctly to make sure they’re as comfortable as possible.
Even if the skate perfectly fits your foot, it will not matter if you have the laces wrong.
You could have the perfect fitting skate, but if you’re tying up your laces incorrectly, they’ll feel off.
The most common lacing issues are from tying the skates too loose or too tight. If you tie them too tight, it can cause a ton of discomfort, leading to sores and blisters.
If you tie them too loose, your ankles won’t have enough support, which could lead to an ankle sprain.
To prevent discomfort, try varying the tightness of your laces on your boot. For example, you could have the bottom section of your skate tight, a little loose in the middle, and then tight again at the top.
Try to notice where you’re feeling the most discomfort and loosen or tighten your laces accordingly.
7. Skate More
One of the most common reasons hockey skates feel uncomfortable has to do with how often you’re skating.
If you’re only going out a few times a season, then they’re more likely to feel uncomfortable. If you aren’t used to wearing them, they’re going to feel strange and even painful.
Your feet need time to adjust to wearing skates.
This is especially true if you’re a brand new skater. Most new hockey players find that skates are super uncomfortable and often wonder if they’re doing something wrong.
However, as time goes on, your feet are adjusting to your skates. Sometimes, you just need to be patient as you break your skates in.
8. Consult a Skate Specialist
If you’ve tried every method above, and you still find your feet are in a ton of discomfort while you’re on the ice, then you should consider talking to a hockey skate specialist.
This could be your local hockey shop manager or owner who has had decades of experience fitting feet into the right skates and diagnosing fit issues.
Or, it could be a professional you find online.
They’ll do an analysis of your feet and your skates, figuring out how to optimize your skate comfortability. They may even recommend custom skates.
9. Try Custom Hockey Skates
If, after trying everything above, nothing seems to work, you may want to look into getting custom-made skates.
These are by no means budget-friendly, but if you’re committed to the game, and are willing to invest in a great pair of skates that will alleviate the pain in your feet, this is the best possible skate you could get.
True Hockey makes custom player skates that are incredible. They’re designed specifically for your feet. Using a high-tech 3D foot scanner, they’re able to craft a personalized, fitted skate.
Why Are Hockey Skates So Uncomfortable?
Hockey skates are most often uncomfortable for the skater because they’re simply not broken-in yet.
When you first get a new pair of skates, they’ll be very tight and stiff which makes them uncomfortable on your feet.
This is especially true for new skaters.
Hockey skates just generally feel very uncomfortable for people who are new to the game. However, over time, as your skates get broken in, as you build up leg and foot muscles, and as you get past initial chafing in your ankles, hockey skates become more comfortable.
The best solution is to just keep skating in them. Practice a few times a week. As time goes on, they’ll naturally mold to your feet and soften a bit. Make sure to get your skates baked to your feet beforehand.
What To Do If Your Hockey Skates Are Too Stiff?
If your skates are a bit too stiff, and you’re finding that they’re causing too much pain, then there are a 3 things you can do:
1. Bake your skates.
2. Re-bake your skates if you’ve baked them before.
3. Keep playing a few times a week.
If, after a few weeks of playing, you’re still dealing with boots that are too stiff, the fit may be off. It shouldn’t take you more than a dozen ice times to break your stiff skates in.
It may mean re-fitting a new pair of skates to your fit.
Top 3 Most Comfortable Hockey Skates:
Best Overall: Bauer Vapor Hyperlite
Runner Up: CCM Super Tacks AS3 Pro
Best Budget: Bauer Supreme 3S
Want a more in-depth look at the most comfortable hockey skates? Check out our full guide here.