Whether you’ve just bought a new pair of hockey skates or feel uncomfortable in your current skates, you may want to learn how to lace them the right way. Proper lacing is important because it helps secure your feet and ankles for better safety on the ice and gives you the support you need for optimal control. It also reduces the risk of lace bite, a sharp pain that runs from the shin to the foot. Follow this comprehensive guide to lace your hockey skates like a pro.
Understanding the Difference Between Waxed and Non-Waxed Laces
Before you learn how to lace your hockey skates properly, you need to choose which type of lace is right for you. Basically, there are two kinds of laces for you to choose from: waxed and non-waxed.
Waxed laces feature a thin layer of wax throughout their entire length that makes them feel somewhat sticky and tacky. When you’re tying your skates, the wax will give the laces a better grip on the eyelets. This allows you to move up to another set of eyelets without having to apply pressure with your hands.
Waxed laces are more effective in retaining tightness, but they’re harder to tie because they have a stronger grip on the eyelets. They’re a great option for beginners or children who have limited experience in tying skates as well as people with skates that don’t fit properly. These laces last longer because they don’t stretch or absorb moisture. However, they’ll leave a waxy residue on your hands when their wax wears off.
Non-waxed laces are standard rope laces. They’re similar to the laces you’d find on sneakers, trainers, cleats, and other shoes, but they’re thicker and tougher so that they can stand up to the abuse they need to take on the rink.
These laces are suitable for skaters who are experienced in tying skates and don’t require the extra grip that waxed laces provide. They’re softer and less rigid, allowing you to flex your feet in your skates. Nonetheless, they don’t hold tightness as well as their waxed counterparts, and they stretch and loosen more easily.
Choosing the Right-Size Laces
When it comes to choosing the right lace length, you should have enough lace to go through all of the eyelets and some left to make a double bow tie. Here is a rough sizing guide for hockey skate laces:
- Youth 8 to Junior 3: 72 inches.
- Junior 3.5 to 5.5: 84 inches.
- Adult 6 to 8: 96 inches.
- Adult 8 to 10: 108 inches.
- Adult 10 to 13: 120 inches.
- Adult 12 to 15: 130 inches.
How to Lace Hockey Skates
Now that you know how to pick the right type and length of laces, you can start lacing up your hockey skates. There are several different lacing methods for you to choose from. Some are best suited for a certain skill level or playing style, while others boil down to individual preference. However, the most important thing is to make sure that your skates are snugly tightened, especially at the ankles, without causing you discomfort or pain. Here are a few common lacing techniques for hockey skates:
As the most widely used lacing technique, under lacing is a suitable option for beginner skaters and children. Start by inserting the lace into the bottom eyelets from underneath. From each of these eyelets, run the lace diagonally across the tongue and feed it through the inside of the next eyelet on the opposite side. Keep doing this until all of the eyelets are laced.
Over lacing is very similar to under lacing, but you have to insert the lace into the eyelets from the outside instead of the inside. This method gives your skates a classic appearance with more lace showing and enables you to get a little extra tightness. However, it may require a longer lace than under lacing.
Lock lacing is borrowed from a lacing style that runners commonly use. Some people feel that it can really anchor the foot down and reduce slippage. This lacing technique does a good job of locking your feet in place, making it suitable for new skaters, players wearing improperly fitting youth or junior skates, and people who are vulnerable to ankle injuries. Nonetheless, it isn’t the best choice if you want to have more flex in your skates.
To do lock lacing, lace your skates up in either of the aforementioned styles, leaving only the top two eyelets on both sides open. Then, thread the lace through the second topmost eyelet from the inside and insert it into the adjacent topmost eyelet from the outside.
Partial lacing is the preferred method among advanced skaters. It gives you more freedom of movement at the ankles so that you can execute tight and glide turns more easily. It may also be a better way to lace your skates if you have wide feet and need looser lacing to accommodate them. If you’re a beginner skater, this lacing style may make you feel unstable. However, you should certainly give it a try after you’ve gained some experience.
You can do partial lacing with either the under or over form of lacing, but you have to leave the uppermost eyelet unlaced. This allows for more side-to-side mobility, resulting in greater agility around turns.
Double Cross Lacing
Double cross lacing is a great way to keep your laces tight and prevent slippage. It’s relatively quick and easy to do, but it can make untying your laces a little more difficult. If you want to try this method, you first need to lace up your hockey skates using the under or over-lacing technique. When you get to the final eyelet, cross the two ends of the lace twice instead of just once.
If you’re looking for top-quality skate laces or other hockey gear, consider paying a visit to Gunzo’s, the oldest hockey proshop in Chicago. Give us a call or send us a message to learn more about our products.