How to Fix Lace Bite With Hockey Skates

Scenario: You just bought some new skates. They fit perfectly. You baked them and then skated in them for four days with great success, but then on the fifth day you have a problem: horrible lace bite on your left foot. Lace bite is sharp pain or pressure along the extensors hallucis longus tendon, which runs from the front of the lower leg to the base of the big toe. Read on to see how to solve this painful problem.


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    Identify whether a foot or the feet have the problem. One foot having the problem may indicate an injury or a differing fit from foot to foot that may be corrected. A refit may be done properly using specialty products and methods that are available and facilitated by carefully re mediating the fit of each shoe at the qualified skate shops.
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    Try loosening the top portion of the skate but not to the point where your foot can move around inside. Use this trying-on technique for a few pairs of skates. Try lacing up the boots tightly for the first 3 eyelets, snug but not really tight for the next 3, and as you move to the turn up the ankle lace it up tight to lock in your heel. The idea is to take pressure off the middle area of the foot while locking your heel in position.
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    Make a trip to your local skate shop: somewhere that sells only skates/hockey/figure skating equipment, they will be able to alter your boot correctly either by softening up some of the boot or by adding material such as a properly installed insole or padding.
    • If the store who sold you your skates does not have a specialty in skates but also sells tents, pajamas and tires -- chances are the person who sold you your skates didn't know exactly what they were doing. This could result in an improper fit and be the reason your feet hurt. Most hockey shops and dedicated skate shops have a machine that can heat up the skates and make the padding pliable and soft. You then lace the skate up tightly and sit down with the runners (blade) flat on the floor for 15 minutes. You should avoid walking or flexing the boot when you do this process. The boot will mold to your foot shape and retain a memory. This process is called Baking and greatly reduces break in time.


  • Many pros wear 'bunga pads' or other silicone product that will help reduce the pressure and pain on the front of the ankle.
  • Go to your local hockey store and replace your tongues with "double felt tongues" this will ensure for more padding
  • Avoid trying to fix the problem yourself to avoid an improper fit and the reason your feet hurt. Sticking some sort of padding into the skate yourself will only ruin the fit of the skate and could hamper its performance.
  • Don't be a wimp! Breaking in skates hurts. You may have to return to the dealer to have them adjusted several times before they are just right and pain free. People have had skates that they could hardy bare to stand on at first, and are more comfortable than sneakers by time they are broken well.
  • Avoid gel insoles that are a cheap and quick way of attempting to "get rid" of your pain, while in the long run they are probably actually doing more harm than good. They do not provide adequate arch support and break down quickly and therefore are not made for skates. Also they can freeze which can cause them not to perform properly. If you want a proper foot bed for skates there are a few. One from Superfeet is really good and has arch support and locks your heel in position. Another option is from Shock Doctor. The Shock Doctor foot bed is designed for hockey players and offers additional support to the foot upon impact with the bottom portion of the skate boot.
  • Also, try the "Peter Forsberg pad". In which he had a rectangle of padding and cut a strip out of the middle, this way when he bends his foot the tendon can slip between the strip of cutout padding but is still far enough away from the tongue so that it won't actually touch it. Kind of like creating a miniature barrier. The pad should look like: an arch that somebody were to walk under. Or better yet imagine a door frame.

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Categories: Ice Hockey