Lacing hockey skates may seem simple, but proper lacing actually requires some attention to detail to prevent foot slippage and ankle injuries! There are a few different lacing methods that all have their own advantages and disadvantages. There is a recommended method for beginners, but you can also experiment with different techniques to see which feels best on your feet and helps you perform your best on the ice.
This article will show you how to lace your hockey skates effectively, and will also go through all the different methods so you can choose the one that works for you. You’ll be surprised how much your ice skating improves after giving some thought to how you lace your skates!
Before you learn how to properly lace hockey skates, you should know the difference between waxed and non-waxed laces. If you are a begginer at skating, read how to ice skate next and What To Wear here.
Non-Waxed Laces: These are standard rope laces. They are relatively soft, so they offer more flexibility. However, they may need to be re-tied after 20-30 minutes as they do not have the added grip that waxed laces provide.
- Best for experienced skaters and those with perfectly fitting skates
Waxed Laces: These are coated in a thin layer of wax. They provide better grip, so you can move to the next set of eyelets without applying pressure with your hands. They hold tightness better because they do not absorb moisture, and they allow you to tighten certain areas more than others. However, the wax can wear off and leave a waxy residue on your hands.
- Best for beginner skaters and those whose skates don’t fit properly
Choosing The Right Sized Laces
After deciding on the lace type, it is also important to choose the correct size of hockey skate laces. Your laces need to be long enough to go through every eyelet and have enough left over for a double bow tie. Here is a rough sizing guide:
Youth 8 – junior 3
72 inches (183cm)
Junior 3.5 – 5.5
84 inches (213cm)
Adult 6 – 8
96 inches (244cm)
Adult 8 – 10
108 inches (274cm)
Adult 10 – 13
120 inches (305cm)
Adult 12 – 15
130 inches (330cm)
If you want to be more exact, you can measure your skate. First, measure the length between the bottom two eyelets, then count the number of eyelets up one side of the boot. Multiply the measurement by the number of eyelets, then multiply that by two. Lastly, add 18 inches (46cm) for tying. Then simply round up to the nearest lace size!
Steps To Lacing Your Skates
Under Criss-Cross Lacing
- Put the laces through the bottom eyelets from underneath.
- Run each end of the lace diagonally across the tongue and feed it through the next eyelet on the opposite side, from the inside.
- Keep going until you reach the final eyelets.
- Tie your laces!
Tip: Before you start lacing after the first step, hold the laces out to make sure they are even.
Over Criss-Cross Lacing
Lock lacing is a great way to reduce slippage and avoid lace bite. This method works well for young kids and anyone who prefers a tighter skate.
- Begin by lacing your skate using either the under or over cross lacing method, but leave the top two eyelets open.
- Thread the lace through the second topmost eyelet from the inside.
- On the same side, thread the lace through the top eyelet from the outside, creating a loop.
- Put each lace through the loop on the opposite side, and tie the laces normally.
Double Cross Lacing
Double cross lacing is another easy way to get snugly tightened laces. Simply lace your hockey skate using your preferred method, but when you get to the top eyelet, cross the laces over twice before tying them. Don’t forget to read our top tips for positioning in hockey and check out our review of the best hockey helmets next.
Leaving the topmost eyelets unlaced is the preferred method among advanced skaters as it provides more freedom of movement. It also works well for defensemen as the forward flex will help you stay on the balls of your feet when skating backwards. It is not recommended for beginners though, as it is likely to make you feel unstable. If you are on the lookout for the best hockey gear and equipment, read our posts about Best Hockey Gloves, Best Hockey Stick and Pucks For Hockey to find out more.
If you are new to skating, we suggest starting with the basic under cross, and experimenting with different variations as you gain experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
NHL players lace their skates in different ways depending on personal preference. Many pro players prefer the partial lacing method, as this provides more freedom of movement for tight turns and other quick maneuvers. But this is by no means universal – it’s all about what works best for the individual player.
You can lace skates either over or under, depending on your preference. Under cross lacing is the most popular method, as it provides an all-round comfortable fit. However, if you like a little more tightness in your boot, you should probably go for the over cross technique. Note that this method tends to use a little more lace.
You should lace skates to the top if you are looking to optimize ankle support. However, if you want more flexibility, you can also drop an eyelet. If you are a beginner, it’s best to lace your skates all the way as this will give you more stability. But as you can experience, you can experiment with leaving the top eyelet unlaced, which will allow more forward flex.
To avoid lace bites, you can lace hockey skates using the lock lacing method. This method does make for a tighter skate, so it may not work for you if you prefer looser lacing. Start by lacing your skate normally using the under or over method. When you get to the second eyelet from the top, stop and thread the laces through from the inside. Then thread it through the top eyelet on the same side, creating a loop. Continue tying your laces after threading each one through the opposite loop.
Skates should be tight, but not to the point where the lacing causes pain. If your skate is not laced tightly enough, you may experience foot slippage and even ankle injuries. Your foot should be secure inside your boot. However, if you feel a sharp pain at any point where you have laced your skate, you should loosen this area slightly.
So there you have it – everything you need to know about lacing hockey skates! Finding the right lacing method for you will likely take some experimenting. Proper lacing technique is important, but it’s also important to learn how to feel your foot in your skate to determine whether or not it’s laced effectively. If you’re a beginner buying your first pair of ice hockey skates, a good place to start is the under criss-cross method. It’s also a good idea to watch some videos so you can see all the different methods in action.