Hockey skates are an instrumental piece of equipment for every hockey player, whether you are playing your first game, or suiting up in the NHL. They allow players to reach incredible speeds, stop on a dime, and are a big part of the game that we know and love.
However, for you to play your best on the ice, you need to find the right fit. Wearing skates that are the wrong size or are uncomfortable for a different reason can not only be annoying and distracting but also painful.
While finding the right size is crucial, not everyone will perfectly fit into the predetermined sizes that skates come in. One of the best ways to get the perfect fit in your skates is to bake them. This can be done professionally, but also handled on your own at home.
Without any further ado, this guide is going to take a closer look at the process of baking your own hockey skates at home.
What is Baking Hockey Skates and Why Do It?
Baking skates (which is often also known as heat molding) is exactly what it sounds like, and is when a player will heat their skates up to extreme temperatures to soften the materials in the skates.
As briefly mentioned earlier, the main benefit that baking skates provide is that it can improve the fit of the skates and make sure they are comfortable for your specific foot contours. When you put on the skates with warm and softened materials, they will begin to form to your feet as they cool.
Over time, the skates will cool off and return to normal temperature but will retain their new shapes. The better your fit, the more control you will have on the ice, and the better you will be able to stop, skate, and be agile out there when trying to win against your opponents.
Also, baking skates can make the boot much less stiff, and lead to a shorter break-in period. While it isn’t necessary to bake skates, they can indeed provide a more customized fit if that is something that you are looking for.
The Process for Baking Your Skates at Home
While there are opportunities to get your skates professionally heat molded, a popular choice is to simply bake them at home. The first step in the process is to gather the materials. You will need the skates, an oven, an oven mitt, a baking sheet, soft flooring, and a chair.
You begin by preheating the oven, generally to around 175 degrees F. However, some skates will come with specific instructions for what temperature to go with, and follow those if they are provided.
While this is happening, make sure to loosen up the skates to ensure they will be easier and faster to put on. Once the oven gets to temperature, turn it off. At the same time, put your skates on a baking sheet and put them in the oven which is now turned over.
Bake the skates for about three to five minutes, then use the oven mitts to take them out. As soon as possible, sit down on the chair and put the skates on, and tie them up as you normally would.
Keep your legs and the skates in the same position as possible for around 15 minutes, to allow the skates to get the proper fit. Do your best not to stand up or walk around, either. Once they are done, refrain from using the skates for about 24 hours after baking them.
Potential Problems and Mistakes to Watch Out For
Baking your skates can be a great way to get the best fit and feel possible, but you also need to be careful. There are a few common mistakes or problems you may run into when trying to handle baking your skates on your own.
First of all, you want to be sure to not touch any of the metal components of the skates when they are fresh out of the oven. This includes the blade, as well as any other things like metal caps on the laces.
Also, not all skates are moldable, including many budget and lower-quality options. Always do your homework and make sure the skates you have or bought are moldable before trying them yourself.
Make sure you turn off the oven before putting the skates inside, as too much heat that isn’t being distributed evenly has the potential to damage, burn, or melt the skates.
I hope this guide has been able to show you not only how to bake your hockey skates at home, but also help you learn a little more about baking skates in general. If you have any questions or feel I missed mentioning something about baking skates, leave a comment below!About Kale