How to Lace Hockey Skates

Skates are what allow ice hockey players to glide effortlessly across the ice and make the sport one of the fastest and most fun to watch. When it comes to hockey skates, you not only need the right size but also need to ensure they are laced correctly. 

The improper lacing of skates can not only be annoying to deal with but can also impact your performance. While you might think lacing skates is easy and straightforward, that isn’t always the case.

If you have struggled with lacing your skates in the past, or are just getting into hockey, I’m here to help. This guide is going to take a look at how to lace hockey skates, as well as how to choose your laces and how tight your skates should be.

How to Lace Your Skates

When it comes to lacing your skates, there are a few different options you have. Some methods are great for certain types of players, and it often simply comes down to personal preference. 

The most popular and common lacing methods are under lacing, over lacing, lock lacing, and partial lacing.

Under lacing is the most commonly used technique among most players.  Lacing this way begins by inserting the lace into the bottom eyelet (from below), pulling it over, and then repeating the process up the rest of the skate. This method provides a solid fit and is quite easy.

Another option to consider is over lacing. This is essentially the same as under lacing, only that you start from above the eyelet, instead of below. This will lead to more lace showing, and can often provide a tighter fit if that’s what you’re after.

Lock lacing is common amongst runners, and many hockey players have adapted this lacing style. It begins the same as either of the other two, but once you reach the second eyelet from the top, things change.

You will thread the lace from the inside to the outside of the second eyelet, and then insert the lace into the first eyelet on the same side, from outside to inside.

This style of lacing can lock your foot in place and provide a more secure fit, which makes it a popular choice for new skaters who might be more prone to ankle injuries or slippage.

Finally, we have partial lacing. It is very common amongst advanced skaters, as it provides a lot more freedom and movement, to give players more control and agility. It is also preferred by those with wider feet as it can provide a looser feel.

All you have to do to partially lace skates is to choose either under or over lacing and then leave the top eyelet open. New players should beware of using this method, as it can leave players feeling unstable and can lead to ankle injuries if you’re not careful.

Choose the Right Laces

Now that you know how to lace your skates, the next thing to think about is making sure you choose the right laces. You have two main choices to make when it comes to laces, which are the size of the laces and whether they are waxed or not.

Laces come in a variety of sizes that range from 72-inch laces for youth or junior players, up to 130-inch laces for senior or adult players. You want to ensure you have enough lace to not only go through eyelets but still be able to be tied tightly.

But how can you choose between waxed and non-waxed laces? Well, waxed laces are often preferred by newer places or those who may have issues tying their skates. These laces have a thin layer of wax, which gives the laces better grip and can keep them in place better.

These laces can last a while because they don’t stretch, but they can leave some residue on your hands, so be careful.

Non-waxed laces are the same kind of laces you will find on normal types of footwear. They are thick and tough but don’t provide the extra grip that waxed laces do. Non-waxed laces are generally softer and can provide you more flex in your feet, which some players like.

Feel free to try both and see what you like, but waxed laces are normally used for new or younger skaters, with non-waxed often being used by those experienced with tying and lacing their skates.

How Tight to Tie Your Skates

Once your skates have been laced up well according to your own personal preferences, it is a good idea to learn how to tie them properly. You want to tighten the skate at each eyelet by pulling it tighter to get an optimal fit.

From there, you should simply tie the skate and make a bow or knot to ensure it stays secure and doesn’t come undone. If there is a lot of lace leftover, some players will also wrap the excess around their ankles.

Of course, you never want the skates to be too tight that they begin to cause you pain and discomfort. However, the tighter a skate is, the more support it can provide to your ankles, so finding a good balance between comfort and security is key.

Without properly lacing your skates, they may not fit well and could bother or hurt you during play, which can negatively impact your performance. I hope the information in this guide has helped you learn the right way to both lace and tie your skates.

If you feel I missed any crucial part of information, don’t hesitate to let me know about it in a comment down below.

About Kale
Being from Canada, hockey is essentially a way of life. I instantly fell in love with the game since I was being put on skates. From playing as a child (and the occasional street hockey game with friends today) to being a fan for over 20 years, I’m here to share my knowledge and passion for hockey. Email:

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