Breaking in a new pair of hockey skates can be a long and painful process, resulting in blisters and poor performance out on the ice.
Fortunately, many hockey skates out there can be baked, eliminating the break-in process.
Baking your skates is a method where you heat the skates to the point that they are softer and can then be molded around your feet, giving you a perfect fit.
While most stores that sell hockey skates offer baking in-house, they will usually charge you a fee for the service. Or, perhaps you live in a location that does not have a hockey pro shop nearby to do this for you.
Fortunately, you can bake your hockey skates at home, provided that you follow the directions properly.
It can be easy to do, but you also do not want to make the mistake of ruining a brand-new pair of hockey skates. We have broken down what you need to do in order to break-in your new hockey skates.
Step 1: Heat Your Oven
The first thing to do is to get your oven to the right temperature. You need your oven warm enough to soften the skates, but not hot enough to melt them.
You do not want to weaken the material of the skate. The ideal temperature for baking skates is 79°C/175°F.
At this temperature, the oven will not be hot enough to melt the plastic or weaken the internal parts of the skates.
It is a good idea to have an oven temperature handy in this situation. Some ovens run hotter or colder than they say so it would be best to confirm the temperature before putting your skates in there.
Step 2: Turn Off The Oven
After your oven has reached the ideal temperature, you need to turn off the oven.
Most ovens have come kind of notification that lets you know that it is done heating, whether it’s a light or a beeping sound. Once you hear or see this, turn off your oven.
If you continue to heat your skates while they are in the oven, you will damage them at a level that is irreversible.
A skate that is put into a preheated oven that has stopped heating will be able to successfully soften, while a skate that is put under constant heat will be damaged.
Step 3: Prep The Skate For Baking
The next thing to do is to get the first skate ready for baking. You cannot do both skates at once as ovens simply do not have the capacity to hold on to both skates and even you do have room for both, you will be on a time crunch after the baking to get them sized before.
To do this, loosen the tongue of the boot and put the skate on a baking tray. You will run into trouble later if you do not loosen the tongue before baking, you are going to run into trouble when you try to fit the boot to your foot.
Step 4: Bake The First Skate
Once you are ready to bake the skate, you actually get to do it. You will want to bake your skate from 6 to 8 minutes, but do not do more than that.
It is ideal to set a timer to ensure that you do not forget the skate or forget how long it has already been in the oven.
You will likely smell a melted plastic scent when you open the oven up. The boot is then ready for the molding process.
If you lightly press on the outside material of the boot, it should be soft. Take the boot out immediately.
Step 5: Mold The Skate
You will want to do the skates one at a time, so do not wait until the next skate is baked to mold it. You will want to mold it immediately.
Before molding it, make sure that you are wearing the type of socks that you wear when you are skating.
The socks can affect how the boots fit your fit and wearing the wrong socks will make the skates fit poorer than they should fit after molding.
It is a good idea to have a chair right next to the oven, so that you are set to mold the skate right when you take it out.
There is no time to waste as the skate will take its shape as soon as it cools. Do not worry; as long as you have baked them at right temperature, the skates will be warm but not hot enough to burn you.
You will need to put your foot into the skate with the tongue bent forward. Your heel needs to be all the way to the back of the skate.
You should gently stomp your foot against the floor a few times to make sure that your heel is really set. Pull the tongue back up to your shin so that it is square and in position.
Then lace up the skates as you would normally before you head out on the ice, tying them as tightly as you can while being sure that they are comfortable.
Then, you will need to wait 15 minutes so that the skate can mold properly around your foot. The skate will harden during this.
If you need the skates to be wider, you should stand up on the skates while it cools, but you will need to be careful to ensure that the weight is evenly distributed.
Step 6: Cool The Skate For 24 Hours
After your 15 minutes is up, you will want to unlace the skate and take it off. Then, lace it up again. Put your skate somewhere cool for the next 24 hours to give the material of the skate time to solidify.
Wearing your skate too soon after molding the skate can cause it warp or will undo all of the work that you just put in while molding the skate. You should also damage the skate, so take the full 24 hours.
Step 7: Repeat With Your Other Skate
Once you have gone through the baking process with your first skate, it is time to repeat the process with the second skate.
Make sure the oven is still warm enough since you just molded your first skate and it has taken time to cool off.
With patience and attention to detail, you should have no trouble molding your hockey skates at home. Just remember to not rush the process; good molding takes time, but is worth it.