How to Break In New Ice Skates: The Ultimate Guide

Ice skating can be a great way to exercise, have outdoor fun, and even bond with your family! But first, you need to break in your ice skates so they don’t kill your feet.

Breaking in new ice skates may seem like a tedious task, but it doesn’t have to be if you just follow the right steps. With the right methods of breaking in new skates, you’ll have them feeling comfortable and ready to go on the ice in no time.

In this article, I’ll give step-by-step instructions on how to break in new ice skates so that they feel moldable and comfortable around your feet.

Why do I have to break in new skates?

Breaking in new skates is an integral part of Ice skating that many enthusiasts must go through. But why do we have to break in new skates? It can be a time-consuming process, especially when you’ve gone out of your way to getting custom skates.

The answer lies in the nature of the materials used to make Ice Skate shoes. Ice skating relies on having thin, durable, and flexible shoes with good grip on different surfaces; this means that the material should become more flexible over time – and that’s where breaking in comes into play.

Breaking in ensures that the Ice Skate shoe adjusts to the shape of your foot as much as possible, making it more comfortable and giving you better performance while skating. You may think that it’s painful, but for many pros, it’s an essential part of their game.

Let Me Explain That More Thoroughly:

When we talk about breaking in new skates, it’s important to understand why this needs to happen. It all starts with the human body. Skating requires a lot of fine-tuned muscles in your feet to work together and it is something most of us just aren’t used to.

Our feet are traditionally meant for walking, running, and jumping – activities that don’t necessarily require us to have specific fittings and particular attention to detail while wearing them.

Generic tennis shoes don’t usually provide ankle support and are the best option for people with regular foot sizes. They are not designed for skating.

This is why skates aren’t like any ordinary pair of shoes – it’s because they are specifically designed for skating, meaning that we have to break them in before use so that our feet feel comfortable and supported when we skate on them.

How do I go about breaking in new skates?

Breaking in new skates is a process that requires patience and dedication. Here are the steps you should take to break in your new ice skates:

Make Sure You’ve Got The Right Skates:

It’s important to make sure you’ve got the right skates when you’re a skater. I can’t stress this enough. Don’t ever buy a pair of skates without actually trying them on first. You may think you know what fits, but there are all sorts of different brands out there that offer different fit profiles to match your foot size and shape.

The best way to do that is by going to a pro shop locally where they have the expertise and knowledge on the right fit for you. They’ll be able to recommend what brand and type of skate that’s most suitable for your feet, ensuring you get the perfect fit every time.

You can also ask around at your rink or other skaters who might have recommendations in terms of which pro-shops offer the best fitting services. Word-of-mouth really is key here, as it will give you an idea of which shops have the experience and knowledge that will help you get the best fit when it comes to buying skates!

Ask if they can be baked:

Before you invest in a new pair of skates, make sure to ask if they are bakeable. This is especially important because not all skates can be heated through the oven or a hair dryer. Baking your new skates involves warming them in an oven-type mechanism by a professional, helping the boot and inner lining become more pliable and therefore providing quicker break-in for the foot.

Using a hair dryer is also an option – simply lace up the skate with nothing inside, and then point the barrel of the dryer inside for 2-3 minutes. Make sure that when adjusting the setting on your dryer, you don’t go too hot! And after everything cools down enough to not scald your feet, put on socks and laces and start walking around or sitting in them for at least half an hour.

These two methods can help mold them perfectly to your feet while preventing any burnt cookie smell from tainting your skates!

Do it from home:

It can be difficult to break in new skates, but it doesn’t have to be! With just a few simple steps you can do it from home. Start off by lacing up your skates snugly and putting on the hard guards that come with them. This will help begin forming them into the shape of your feet.

Skaters have found a lot of success with wearing damp socks under their skates too, so it’s a good idea to try this from home as well. In addition, don’t forget to wear whatever type of clothing you plan to wear when skating at the rink or else you might find yourself with an uncomfortable fit. Give these tips a go for comfortably breaking in your skates right at home!

Wear the right undergarments:

It’s important to wear the right undergarments when you’re skating. While socks might not be the first thing that comes to mind, they are still an important part of your gear. Wearing knee-high tights is a great option for comfort and protection. They keep your legs warm and provide support while skating – perfect for those more serious about their skating journey.

Starting to get used to wearing tights could also be beneficial in the long run as they give extra protection when attempting certain moves or falls on the ice. Plus, they look great! No need to go overboard with a full pair though – knee highs do the job just fine too.

Take it slow:

When it comes to your new skates, you want to make sure that you take them slowly. Don’t expect your old skates to give you the same level of comfort and ability right away – that’s something that must be earned over time. For this reason, it’s best to keep your old skates around for a few weeks while breaking in the new ones.

Start by skating in the new ones for just 30-60 minutes each session or 15 minutes if it’s a child. As time progresses, you can slowly increase the time until they become more comfortable with them and develop their skill level as well.

After the fifth or sixth time skating, you should experience an increase in comfort levels. These levels can even improve as you continue, so stay motivated!

Watch the lacing:

When it comes to lacing your new skates, a light touch is usually the way to go. That’s because if you lace them too tightly, you’re sure to be in for some pain. So start off by lightly quicking—just enough to feel secure—and then gradually tighten them as needed with each skate session.

What’s more, these skates have hooks on the ankle portion that can give you a bit of flexibility when you don’t need the full tightness just yet. By simply leaving out the top 1 or 2 hooks, you can still enjoy plenty of support without sacrificing too much flexibility right away. With this sort of gradual learning process, you’ll be able to get used to your new skates in no time!

Bend those knees:

If you want to master the art of skating, one of the most important steps is to “Bend those Knees”! This is essential for performing more complex maneuvers like jumps and edges, as well as footwork.

That’s because having good knee flexibility encourages your ankles to adapt and bend too, allowing your skate to become malleable in critical areas. It also means that you will be able to move with greater ease and decreased pain. So if you’re serious about improving your skating skills, remember – Bend Those Knees!

Why you Need to Break in Hockey Skates

If you’re an ice hockey enthusiast, then you know how important it is to have skates that fit well and provide maximum support on the ice. High-quality hockey skates are designed from durable materials such as leather, nylon, composite fibers, and other components to tackle all the rigorous movements involved in skating.

But these materials can be very rigid when worn right out of the box – often resulting in discomfort or even blisters! This is why breaking in hockey skates is essential. Despite being constructed with stiff and durable materials, they can easily be molded to the unique shape of your foot once broken in properly.

By breaking them in properly, you can ensure a smoother experience on the ice while also extending the life of your beloved hockey skates.

Get the Right Fit

If you want to break in your new hockey skates, the best place to start is by making sure they fit right before you purchase them. Research the type of skate that works best for you and your skating style, and take note of your shoe size.

Remember, ice hockey skates typically run a full size to one-and-a-half sizes smaller than shoes, so an 8 1/2 – 9 skate may be the perfect size for someone who wears a size 10 shoe.

When looking at hockey boots, take a look at the variety of fits available. They can come in tapered, standard, or ergonomic widths.

As each option will feel different depending on the shape of your foot, it’s important to try them on before deciding which one is right for you.

Without taking these essential steps, no amount of breaking in will make them as comfortable as they can be with the right kind of fit. So make sure to get it right from the get-go!

Popular Ways to Break Hockey Skates In

For anyone who’s new to the sport of hockey (or just bought new skates), breaking in your gear can be a crucial step for finding the best performance. There are quite a few popular ways to break in your hockey skates, ranging from traditional methods like skating them out, to more modern techniques such as heat molding them.

Breaking Them in by Skating

The best way to break in new hockey skates is to hit the ice and skate, skate, skate. Skating motions are key when trying to properly break in skates tailored to your feet and stride – no matter how uncomfortable you may initially find them. With enough time and practice on the ice, you’ll form a perfect fit that can last for years to come.

For those advanced hockey players, another strategy is to purchase your replacement skates before your current ones have worn out. This will give you plenty of extra time to break in your new pair both on the ice and off; all while still having the comfort of wearing your old ones during games or practice sessions.

Walking around the House Wearing Skates

Taking a trip around the house in your new ice hockey skates is a great way to break them in without having to spend hours at the rink. However, it is important that you wear hard skate guards instead of soft ones; this will help prevent any possible dulling or damage to the blades while you are walking on harder surfaces.

For an even more effective break-in experience, you can also consider investing in special guards with rollerblade wheels. This allows you to emulate your skating style across smooth surfaces and helps shape the skates so that they fit snugly and comfortably around your feet.

No matter which kind of skate guards you choose, breaking in those new skates has never been easier!

Baking Them

If you’ve ever heard of the term “baking new hockey skates,” then you know that it’s a common way to help break them in. Most hockey pro shops have special ovens specifically designed for this purpose and can bake your skates for you.

The process involves heating up the skate boot so that it becomes more pliable and conforms better to the shape of your foot. Lacing them up tight when they’re still warm will help make sure that happens, but be careful not to move around too much or put too much pressure on the sides until the leather cools down.

Baking your skates may not fully break them in, but it is a great first step toward getting the perfect fit. If you want to try baking at home, refer to our how-to guide on baking hockey skates here!

Blow Dry Method

The Blow Dry Method is a great way to get a new hockey skate boot quickly molded to your foot. Instead of waiting for the skate to break in on its own, you can use a blow dryer to make them flexible in the exact spots you need it the most.

All you have to do is target sections of the boot that don’t seem right and heat them up with a blow dryer. Just set the temperature so that it’s warm enough to loosen up those tough spots but not too hot so that you burn or damage your skate’s leather. Don’t forget to lace up tight after doing this!

This method is a great way to get your new skate fitting perfectly without having to twiddle your thumbs while waiting for it naturally breaks in.

Tips For Breaking in Ice Skates

Skate-tightening tools are a great way to break in your new ice skates and get them to fit perfectly.


Heat is one of the best ways to break in ice skates and get the most comfortable fit. Many skates are safe to put into a skate oven but if you have a non-custom boot, then this is an excellent option for you. It helps heat them up, which allows them to form better around your foot when they cool down.

Once they’re rather warm and comfortable, slip them on and make sure not to burn yourself! You’ll be so glad you took the extra measure to ensure that you get maximum comfort from your newly-purchased ice skates.

Blow dryer:

When it comes to breaking in ice skates, one of the best tips is to use a blow dryer. This can be either a special blow dryer just for skates or even a regular hairdryer if you prefer. The heat generated helps to soften the leather, making your skates more comfortable for long wear.

Overall, using a blow dryer is an effective way to break in your ice skates and make sure that they are both flexible and comfortable when you are wearing them out on the ice.


Punched ice skates are one of the best ways to break in your boots and ensure a comfortable fit. For those with problem areas like large ankle bones or bunions, a skate specialist can help. They have a machine that quickly and accurately punches out extra space in the problem area so feet comfortably fit inside the skate and relieve pressure on these sensitive spots.

Punched ice skates can provide an easier break-in experience for novices as well as experienced skaters alike, allowing them increased comfort and improved performance!


If you want to get more comfortable in your new skates, then walking around your house in them is the way to go. This may seem a bit silly at first, but putting your guard on and getting some steps in while you do chores or watch the tube can be surprisingly helpful.

New skates can feel incredibly stiff, almost like trying to maneuver around with concrete blocks on your feet. That’s why it’s important to spend as much time as possible breaking them in. Fortunately, walking around with them on is a great way to begin that process!


Protection is crucial when you’re skating, especially if you’re wearing brand-new skates. Your ankles and feet can take a beating from the constant rubbing against the top of the skates, which can cause painful and even bloody blisters. Fortunately, there are a few ways to protect yourself from this discomfort.

Bunga Pads are my go-to for protection because they slide over your feet like socks. But for those who prefer something simpler than that, regular tape or band-aids would work just as well. Gel pads are also highly recommended for extra cushioning against harsh rubbings. Any of these options should help protect your feet and ankles from blisters so you can enjoy your time on the rink without worry!


Unmolding is an important step when breaking in a pair of skates. If you leave your skates in the car for too long, especially during hot summer days, the heat will soften the boot and can mess up the mold of your boot. It’s best to avoid this so your skates will have their perfect shape that suits exactly your individual feet for maximum comfort.

When it’s time to unmold them, there are certain tips that many experienced skaters use – from running a hairdryer over them to keep them warm, wearing thin socks to put less pressure on the skate frame and stretching out any tight areas – but ultimately you should find what works best for you.

Breaking in your skates may seem uncomfortable at times but it will ultimately lead to them being more comfortable once molded correctly.


How do I break in my new ice skates?

You can break in your new ice skates by using a skate oven, or blow dryer, punching the problem areas, walking around your house with them on, and using protection such as Bunga pads or tape.

Is it safe to use a kitchen oven to heat my skates?

No, it is not recommended to use a kitchen oven to heat your skates. Instead, you should use a skate oven which is specifically designed for this purpose.

What type of protection should I use when breaking into my skates?

You can use Bunga pads, tape or band-aids, or gel pads to help protect your feet and ankles from blisters while breaking in your skates.

Can I leave my skates in a hot car during the summertime?

No, you should never leave your skates in a hot car during the summertime as the heat will soften the boot and potentially mess up the mold of your boot.


Breaking in your new ice skates is not an overly difficult task; with the right knowledge, patience, and technique, you can make them comfortable with just a few simple steps.

Keeping the key points of skate fit and customization in mind, you can properly break in your new ice skates to achieve optimal performance as soon as possible. With your newly fitted skates, you can enjoy your skating sessions with ease and pleasure!

Joseph E. Bogle

Meet Joseph E. Bogle, the founder and lead writer of, an enthusiast of skating for over a decade. I'm an aggressive skater and certified skating coach, dedicated to sharing his knowledge and passion for skating with others through his blog. With my unique combination of personal experience and professional expertise, is a valuable resource for skaters of all levels, from beginners to advanced athletes.