You lace them on your feet just like any other type of footwear, but ice hockey skates are quite different when it comes to determining the correct fit.
Unlike sneakers or shoes, skates need to be very snug, holding the foot in place with no movement. The skates should be snug, but not painfully tight. And they should definitely not be too big or you’ll risk some pretty severe blistering and possibly bone spurs. Skates that are too big from the start — even slightly — may only get bigger as the skates stretch with use.
And it’s a problem that is very difficult to fix. Many skaters will try wearing a second layer of socks to fill the void, but that might cause more problems. Your foot will still move within the skate boot, and you’re more likely to have blisters on the bottom of your feet, or worse.
Many skaters — hockey players and figure skaters alike — wear a thin pair of tights or socks in their skate boots, and that’s largely to soak up any sweat on the feet, or else the skates eventually will reek.
In contrast, skates that are a little too tight can be tweaked so they fit just right. Most hockey shops use several stretching techniques to make specific areas of the boot a little more roomy. Power stretching is an process that can lengthen or widen a skate as much as one size literally overnight.
With dimensions such as foot width, certain skate manufacturers and even certain skate models are known to have either a wider or narrower fit.
If the skates you’ve bought have the comfort of slippers before you take them on the ice, it’s likely that you’ll have problems after you start skating. In a properly fitting skate, your toes will bump up against the toe cap. First, make sure the heel is as far back as it will go. The fit in the forefoot should be tight, but not crushingly so.
Stand after both skates are laced tight. That might take away some tightness in your toes, but they should still touch the front end of the skates. If, when you bend your…