How To Lace Ice Hockey Skates

How to lace ice hockey skates

Are you ready to take your ice hockey game to the next level? As you probably know, lacing up your skates is an essential part of the game, and making sure your skates are laced properly can help you skate faster and more efficiently.

But, have you ever wondered about the best way to lace your skates? What lacing methods and techniques should you use? Or how tight should you lace them? Well, read on to find out the answers to all these questions and discover the secrets of how to lace hockey skates!

Lacing Hockey Skates: Overview

Lacing Hockey Skates Overview

Ice hockey is a fast-paced and thrilling sport enjoyed by many. It requires a great deal of skill and agility and having the right equipment can make all the difference.

As you would tell, one of the most important pieces of equipment is a properly-laced pair of ice hockey skates. Knowing how to lace up your skates correctly can help you to have a more comfortable and secure fit, as well as better performance on the ice.

It can be a daunting task, especially for those new to the game, but whether you’re a first-time player or an experienced ice hockey enthusiast, having the proper technique and tools to lace hockey skates is essential to having a successful skate session.

This is how you get to achieve the optimal fit for maximum comfort and performance. It’s a skill worth mastering, and with the right techniques and tips, you can confidently and securely lace up your skates to ensure a great fit.

In this article, we’ll show you how to lace your skates like a pro, explore the basics of tying your hockey skates, and provide you with tips to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Learn how to lace your hockey skates and hit the ice with confidence!

Skate Size And Lace Length Explained

Skate Size And Lace Length Explained

The point here is simple. The bigger the skate size, the larger the laces. Most people, however, stick to the same skate lace length they choose in high school for the rest of their skating life.

Although sometimes it can be frustrating to recalculate what size laces to use especially for young hockey players, choosing the right length laces for your skates is the most crucial step.

You should ideally get a variety of sizes of skate laces (both waxed and wax-free) whenever you’re re-lacing the skates. After all, spending an extra $15 on extra pairs of laces is worthwhile to avoid irritation if this is your first time; new laces cost less than $5 per pair.

Waxed Laces vs Non-Waxed Laces

Waxed Laces vs Non-Waxed Laces

Before you even learn how to lace your ice skates correctly, it’s important to make sure you’re using the most suitable type of lace. Finding the right laces is more of a trial-and-error process, especially for newbies so before deciding on a certain fit, it’s best to try various pairs and lacing styles.

Speaking of waxed and non-waxed laces, the main difference between the two is that the first type (waxed laces) tends to stay in place for a longer period than the latter (non-waxed type).

Note that waxed laces have a thin wax coating that runs the entire hockey skate lace length, which makes them tacky and sticky. This, in turn, offers a better grip on the eyelets, so you can lace them up without consistently applying pulling pressure using your hands.

On the bright side, waxed laces tend to enable skaters to lace their skates such that they don’t get untied during a practice play or a game. Although these laces don’t always perform as claimed, they’re still considered an ideal choice compared to non-waxed options in general.

They basically have the advantage of maintaining their tightness, which makes them a great choice for beginners. They are consistent and moisture-resistant, but due to their grip, they are more difficult to tie, and they may also leave waxy remnants on your hands.

That said, proponents of waxed laces have it that the issue of the waxy residue is just a common myth. They say it is just untrue in light of the fact that waxed laces are generally hard to identify. After all, you handle a lot more wax when waxing a hockey stick than you ever would on a set of laces.

Another drawback associated with waxed laces is that they involve a higher risk of lace bite. So, when re-lacing your skates, you may want to use non-waxed options if you like a skate with greater flexibility.

As for the non-waxed laces, these are the typical rope-style laces that you would find on shoes and sneakers. They can, however, survive the beating they would encounter on the ice rink because they’re a little thicker and a bit more robust.

Although non-waxed laces are softer and less stiff than waxed options, they nevertheless allow you to bend your feet in the skates, making them more appropriate for seasoned skaters. On the flip side, these laces can’t maintain tightness as you’d get from waxed options.

Determining The Right Size Hockey Laces

Determining The Right Size Hockey Laces

Put simply, check that there’s enough lace to fit through each and every eyelet, plus some more for a double bowtie. Below is a general concept of the right-size hockey laces:

  • Adults 12 to 15 – 130 inches
  • Adults 10 to 13 – 120 inches
  • Adults 6 to 10 – 108 inches
  • Junior, between 3.5 and 5.5 – 84 inches
  • Junior 3 through 8 – 72 inches

Methods Of Lacing Hockey Skates

Methods Of Lacing Hockey Skates

Of course, there are many styles you can go with when lacing skates, but there are a few things you need to consider, regardless of the method you opt for. The point is to keep the skate laces tight, especially around the ankles without inducing pain or discomfort.

You don’t want to end up sustaining ankle injuries. Below we’ve listed some of the most popular hockey skate-lacing styles you may want to consider:

Under Lacing

Under lacing, (or crisis cross-lacing) the most popular lacing method is often considered a great choice for young skaters and beginners. It is mostly used in everyday, casual shoes.

Here, the lace is first inserted from underneath into the bottom eyelets, making sure that both ends emerge equally. Then pass the lace crosswise from each of the eyelets and feed it through the interior of the subsequent eyelet on the opposite side. Continue with the same until every eyelet is laced.

Over Lacing

This style is more like under lacing, only that it involves inserting the laces into the eyelets from the outside rather than the inside. The over-lacing style provides a little bit more tightness while giving your skates a more conventional formation with more lace visible.

The only difference between this variation and under criss-cross lacing is that you lace the eyelets from the outside rather than the inside or underneath. However, it can take a little longer to lace than the previous method.

Lock Lacing

If you want to lace this method, start by lacing your skates the normal way, leaving the final two pairs of eyelets unfastened. The lace should then be laced through the adjacent top eyelet from the outside and the second top eyelet from the inside. Then, tie the laces like you would normal shoes by crossing them over and putting them through the loops you’ve made on both sides.

Lock lacing borrows inspiration from the typical lacing method used by runners. Some believe it can effectively secure the foot and lessen slippage.

The lock lacing method works well to secure the feet in place, which makes it ideal for inexperienced skaters, athletes using junior or youth skates that don’t fit properly, and persons who are prone to ankle problems. However, if you’d like more flex, this isn’t the ideal option.

Nonetheless, it is a great lacing technique if you’re a complete newbie using skates that are just a little bit too small. Just keep in mind that although it greatly improves heel locking, it does limit your mobility

Partial Lacing Technique

The partial lacing technique or dropping an eyelet is the most common style among seasoned skaters. It allows for more ankle mobility, making it easier to perform tight and smooth spins.

Also, for those with wide feet that require looser lacing, partial lacing might be a better technique to lace the skates. This lacing style could make you feel a bit unsteady especially if you’re just getting started, but that should improve as you get some experience.

You can lace the partial method using either over or under-lacing, but the top eyelet should remain unlaced. This enables higher side-to-side motion, which helps to improve mobility.

Double Cross Lacing Method

With the double cross lacing, you just lace the skates using one of the two methods described above, but with a slight modification- instead of crossing your laces once before lacing the last set of eyelets, do so twice.

Double-crossing the laces will keep them tight and avoid any slipping while offering excellent ankle support. However, although it’s quick and simple to do, it might make untying the laces a little more challenging.

Tip: Skate laces come in a variety of sizes, and selecting the right size might be the difference between days of frustrating skate-tying and a hassle-free experience. So choose wisely!

How To Lace Hockey Skates: Step-By-Steps

How To Lace Hockey Skates Step-By-Steps

Well, now it’s about time you lace the skates:

Take Off the Old Laces

This is simple as it sounds and requires no explanation. Before starting, take off those old laces and make sure the new laces are prepared. You should be through within ten minutes.

Get the New Laces Into the Skate’s Toe (As In the Case of Shoes)

Here, you will be lacing your skates in a crisscross pattern. Make sure you finish each eyelet across from the one next to it before moving on to the next eyelet as you climb the skate boot.

Pull The Lace Evenly Into Every Eyelet Pair

It’s best to start lacing your skates at the bottom eyelets, i.e. the eyelets closest to the skate’s toe. Do this while ensuring that the skate lace is pulled equally through each skate eyelet.

When starting, it may look as if there’s more lace length than is required, but don’t worry because this will reduce as you climb the eyelets. You might not have enough towards the end.

Tip: You can make this step easier by setting the skate on the surface, keeping it between your feet, and holding the laces while standing so that both ends of the skate are absolutely even.

Under Or Over The Eyelet

When lacing hockey skates, should you go over or under the eyelet? This is a common question among ice hockey skaters. Well, you have the option of going over or under the eyelet.

Most people, however, prefer to lace their skates by first going under the eyelet, then returning across the tongue to the other side. Any method you choose should be repeated all the way up the skate boot; otherwise, it will be impossible to put on or take off the skates.

Move One Eyelet At A Time & Lace Diagonally

To prevent lace bites and ensure that the skates will be tightly fitted to your feet when tied, you must lace up your boot diagonally. Note that skate-lacing mistakes are one of the most frequent causes of ankle injuries among hockey players, so take your time and do it well.

As long as you go by a criss-cross lacing technique the entire length of the boot, it doesn’t really matter which eyelet you begin with (right/left). Just be sure to complete the eyelets by the same pattern when criss-cross lacing your skates every time the lace is pushed through.

Lacing The Last Top Eyelets

People often think that every eyelet on a skate boot should be laced. But that’s not the case. It’s entirely up to you which eyelet on the skate you want to be at the top last. For instance, you can leave a few top eyelets at the top of the skate unlaced to give your ankle some forward flex ability. This is ideal for defensemen to keep their feet firmly planted while back skating.

This will increase stability and overall balance. However, the skate might feel less stiff around the ankle and foot as well. So keep that in mind.

Test And Make Adjustments Where Necessary

Once you’re down with all the lacing, it’s time to try your skates out. If you’re not doing this for the first time, chances are you’re good to go. Below are a few extra tips that will help improve your ice hockey skate lacing.

Trouble Maintaining Tightness

If this happens, consider using longer laces and then double-cross them behind the ankles, or try switching to waxed laces. This will increase ankle stability. Also, you might want to retire a few eyelets at the top of the skates if you choose to double-cross the laces behind your ankle.

Sharp Pain and Discomfort Around The Ankles

If this happens, it’s likely that the third or fourth eyelet is too tight. If your lacing technique is causing you ankle pain, then you might want to try looser lacing methods.

Turns out that there’s no general consensus on the best way to lace ice skates. It is entirely a matter of preference. That could be Over or under criss-cross lacing method, double-cross, lock lacing or partial lacing. So just go with what works best for you.



Lacing your ice hockey skates correctly is a crucial step in achieving a comfortable fit and improved performance on the ice. Again make sure to follow the steps and use the technique that works best for your feet. Lastly, take time to ensure your skates are laced properly. Otherwise, with the right techniques and a bit of practice, lacing ice hockey skates is a relatively straightforward process. Hopefully, you now can lace your skates like a pro!

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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