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When you’re on the ice, you need the best hockey skate laces for you—laced in the pattern that keeps you secure and comfortable in your boot without triggering the dreaded lace bite. If you’re new to hockey, or a new-to-hockey parent, it’s important to know your general sizing guidelines, common lacing patterns, how to prevent and treat lace bite, and the differences between waxed and unwaxed laces. This guide to hockey skate laces provides the relevant information you need to make an informed decision about buying the proper laces for you or your child.
Your skate size determines your skate lace length. Of course, some seasoned players may prefer laces a little longer or a little shorter. But, if you’re just beginning with the sport, use this chart as a starting point.
How you lace your skates is important for proper ankle support, stability, and comfort. Proper lacing keeps the energy and motion of your body directed toward the skate blade instead of lost within the boot. It also mitigates lace bite—pain on the top of the foot and ankle from stiff boots and tight laces. Hockey players normally use one of two main techniques for lacing up their skates: under criss-cross or over criss-cross.
This traditional lacing method is simple, relatively quick, provides all-around comfort, and gives your skates a classic look. We call this “under criss-cross” because the lace starts across the eyelets, threading through from the outside and under the first set. This style elevates the bottom of the lace over the eyelets, taking direct pressure off the top of the foot.
This second most common lacing technique helps if you have trouble keeping your skates tight. We call this “over criss-cross” because you start by placing the lace directly on top of the boot, then threading the laces through and over the first set of eyelets.
Whether you’re in practice, on the pond, or in a game, you never want to look down and see that your laces have come untied. Here are a few tying patterns that keep your laces in place while supporting your ankles, reducing heel slippage, and improving forward flex (the flexibility at the top that allows you to get more forward over the skate).
This method keeps your laces firmly tightened and reduces slipping.
Try the lock lacing method if you’re having trouble keeping your laces tight or your feet are slipping in the boots. For this technique, you don’t cross the laces at the top eyelet, but “lock” them into the eyelet on the same side.
This tying technique works best for players who want more forward flex in their skates. Some defensive players choose this lace tying pattern to help them stay on the balls of their feet while back skating. However, dropping an eyelet also means players don’t get that extra bit of support at the ankle.
Your skating style and personal preference influence how you lace your skates. You may have to experiment with these methods to find the exact lacing pattern and tying technique that work for you. Ideally, the best way to lace up your skates and tie your laces is whatever gives you the ankle support and forward flexibility you need without causing lace bite.
Lace bite is a painful condition that occurs at the front of the ankle or top of the foot. The rigidity of the skates combined with tight laces pinch the foot and ankle to the point of chronic pain, creating the sensation of your laces “biting” you. Eventually, the tendons in the front of the foot or ankle can become inflamed, causing tendonitis that results in swelling and intense pain.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to handle lace bite is to know what causes it and do your best to avoid those conditions. Hockey manufacturers like Bauer and CCM include inner padding and specialized tongues on their higher-end skates to help prevent lace bite.
These three strategies aid in the prevention of lace bite or its treatment if you have it already:
Some players find that the key is lacing their skates from the outside in. That is, always pass the laces through the holes from the outside, so the crisscrosses lie against the tongue. This means that there won’t be a single tight lace lying directly across your foot at the point of pain.
If you suffer from lace bite, ice the affected area right after you skate and at several other times throughout the day. The combination of altering your skates to be more comfortable, wearing different socks or performance material, and icing the pain will help get you back to skating pain-free as quickly as possible.
Some players prefer waxed hockey laces because of their ability to grip tighter or stay looser without coming undone. While waxed laces are better in certain circumstances, there are disadvantages, too. Unwaxed laces are easier to grasp and untie, which is especially helpful to mite and mini-mite players.
Are you in the market for a new set of skate laces? Pure Hockey carries a wide selection of hockey skate laces for players of every age and at every level of play. And our Low-Price Guarantee promises the most competitive prices available. If you're a parent or first-time buyer and have more questions about skate laces, contact our experts at Pure Hockey—they're ready to help!
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