You’ve bought some new skates and put them on to find they’re really uncomfortable to wear and don’t feel anything like your last pair. Don’t worry though, this is totally normal as all the best hockey skates are made from stiff materials. To help reduce the time it takes to break in your hockey skates one thing to do is to bake them in an oven to help mold the boot to fit the shape of your foot.
In this post, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about baking and give you a step by step walk-though of how to bake hockey skates at home. Let’s get started.
Why do you Bake Hockey Skates?
Before we get to the baking hockey skate instructions, let’s quickly cover a few of the reasons why you might need to bake your skates.
To Break In Your Skates
Brand new hockey skates are made from very durable and stiff materials that make them hard and quite uncomfortable to wear. To help break in your hockey skates, one method is to bake them. What this does is soften the material in the boot to help it mold to fit the shape of your foot and speed up the breaking in process.
It Makes Them More Comfortable
Baking hockey skates can help make them more comfortable. Again, softening the materials in the boot allows them to become more malleable and then as they cool, the materials remain in the shape of the foot. This then makes them more comfortable and gives hockey players a personalised fit that’s unique to their foot.
What do you Need to Bake Skates?
Before you start, you’ll need to get a few things ready. Obviously you’ll need an oven and some hockey skates but you’ll also need:
- A chair
- A mat
- Hockey socks (the ones you use to skate in)
- A baking tray
- Oven gloves
- A timer
Grab these before you start as timing is critical when your skates come out of the oven. Also, check that your skates are okay to bake. Entry level skates often aren’t suitable for baking.
Now that you’re ready with all the things you need, here are the step by step instructions for baking ice skates.
1. Set Oven Temperature
Before you put your skates in the oven you need to preheat it to around 175 degrees Fahrenheit (80 degrees Celsius) for around 15 minutes. We use this temperature as it’s ideal to cause the materials to soften but won’t damage them.
Don’t go hotter than 175°F as it’s very easy to burn skates beyond repair. For this reason, we’d recommend using a thermometer as ovens don’t often display the correct temperature.
2. Get Ready
While the oven is heating up, you’ll want to get everything else ready. Place you chair and mat near the oven and have your oven mitts, baking tray (or baking sheet) and timer within easy reach. Then you’ll want to get your hockey socks that you wear while skating and put them on ready for molding.
To prepare your skates for going in the oven, leave the laces on but untie them to that you can easily get your foot in but it’s not too loose.
3. Turn the Oven Off
Once the oven has preheated to 175 degrees Fahrenheit, turn it off and wait 30 seconds for the heating elements to cool down. Exposing your skates to direct heat can damage them which is why we’ll let it sit for 30 seconds.
4. Place in the Oven for 3-5 Minutes
Now you’re ready to bake one of your skates. Place it on the baking tray or baking sheet and slide it into the center rack of your oven. Make sure that it’s not touching anything else other than your baking tray and only do one skate at a time. Even if you think you can fit two skates in your oven, it’s really important to do one at a time and give it your full, undivided attention.
One your skate is in, not touching anything you can close the door to the oven and set your timer for 3 – 5 minutes depending on how stiff your skates are. Check on them after 2 minutes and squeeze the quarter panel to see how soft it’s getting and then make a decision of how much longer to give them.
Don’t leave your skate in the oven for any longer than 5 minutes or you’ll increase the chance of needing to buy some new ones.
5. Take it Out
Once you’ve given it 3 – 5 minutes in the oven it’s time to take your skate out and begin the heat molding process. Put your oven mitt on, take out the baking tray. The skate should be warm but not too hot. Be careful when handling it to not burn yourself by using the oven mitt. Place the skate on your mat and get ready to put it on.
6. Put it on
Now is the crucial part of the process to mold your skates to your feet. You want to slip your foot into the hockey skate ensuring that your heel is all the way at the back.
7. Lace Up Your Skates
Don’t lace up like usual. It’s really important to not pull the laces up or down when tieing them up as the eyelets can easily rip out due to the softness of the boot.
As you’re lacing up, you want to pull them directly outwards to prevent any damage. Then you can tie your hockey skates as you usually would before going skating. Don’t tie them too tight and make sure that they’re not too loose. The skate is going to mold to the shape that you tie them so it’s crucial to get a comfortable fit here.
Now that your skate is on, tied up and resting on the mat while you sit in the chair it’s time to wait. Your boot is now molding to the shape of your foot and as it cools it will become harder and stiffer. This will help give you a personalised fit that’s comfortable.
Have your knees at a 90 degree angle as you sit and wait for 10 – 15 minutes for the skate too cool. While it’s tempting to walk around, don’t. Just sit and wait for them too cool down. Once you’ve waiting for 10 – 15 minutes, untie your skate’s laces and take it off.
9. Repeat for the Other Skate
Now that your 1st skate is cooling, repeat the above steps with your second skate. Don’t forget to preheat the oven to 175 degrees fahrenheit again as it will have cooled down by this point.
10. Wait 24 Hours Before Skating
Don’t play hockey in them for at least 24 hours. Your skates are still hardening after being baked and so it’s best not to go skating. Some people recommend putting them in the freezer to speed up the process but you’ll need to wait at least 12 hours even if freezing them for the best results.
That’s It For Baking
That’s it for our guide to baking hockey skates. We hope you found it helpful. While it can feel quite scary putting your expensive hockey skates in the oven, if you follow the above steps you’ll be okay.
If you’re really worried about baking your own skates, take them into a pro shop where they often have ovens to bake them for you. Happy baking!