What is lace bite in ice hockey skates?
Lace bite is when the upper middle laces of your skates pinching the top of your foot. This can be a result of a few different things:
- Skates are not deep enough for your foot to be properly situated inside
- Skates that are too big or too small
- Bad quality skates with a thin tongue
- The way you tie your skates (too tight up top)
Some of the other related issues with Lace Bite can be a digging or deep pressure feeling around the top of the foot (incredibly painfiul).
Preventing Lace Bite
Lace bite can literally make you feel like crying with each stride you take on the ice, if you haven’t experienced it then consider yourself lucky. This pain can also present itself as a deep pushing or pressure focused on one point on the top part of your skates or top of your ankle.
If you look at your skates when tied up it looks like they are laced up in line and then bulge out in the upper middle and then back to normal at the top. You don’t need wider skates you need deeper skates.
Skates to big or to small?
If your skates aren’t the correct size, this will cause numerous problems. As the skate doesn’t fit your foot correctly, different areas of the skate will support your feet incorrectly which can result in lace bite. Your skates should be fitted by someone that knows what they are doing to ensure you get the best fitting skate. You can also have your skates molded or baked to increase comfort and give your skates a more custom fit.
Bad Quality skates?
When selecting a pair of skates, the tongue is normally something that doesn’t really interest the skater. We’re all more interested in the band or model and which NHL player was spotted wearing them. This is probably the worst way to pick a pair of skates; you need to focus on what is suitable for yourself. Look at the quality of the tongue; is it full of padding and thick foams? Or is it thin and unsupportive? Make sure the tongue you select is thick enough to prevent discomfort and pain in the top part of your foot.
Skate laces too tight?
Lots of skaters like to tie their skates differently; a lot of the time lace bite is caused by how we tie our skates. You need to make sure your not tying the top portion of the skates too tight, this could result in lace bite and restrict your range of motion on the ice. I’m not suggesting the way to tie your skates is wrong, you just need to be careful. If you start to feel pain you may need to loosen the skates a little. A good way to tie your skates is a little bit tight at the bottom (around your toes) leave them a little loose over the mid section (forefoot), then a little tighter around the top. This will still give you the snug fit but relieve some of the pressure around the lace bite area.
What else can I do to prevent lace bite?
Socks are a big contributor in fighting that lace bite problem. Using thick socks can result in producing more friction especially on the top of your foot. Its worth investing in a good pair of hockey socks which are designed specifically for sports. Some of the sports socks even come with added benefits for comfort and support, which will go towards your overall performance.
Curing Lace Bite
Lace bite won’t totally go away unless you take a little break from skating, there are a few methods that can be used to improve on it. Here are a few things you can do to overcome it and hopefully have you back on the ice in much more comfort.
Invest in a lace bite pad. There are several different pads you can buy. They are normally attached onto your skates tongue (on the inside) although some are placed on the outside of the skates tongue. They offer a little more padding and protection to relieve some of the pressure from lace bite.
Bunga pads are very popular and are warn directly on your feet, this is a more expensive option but does have the best results. They have extra padding and gel around your ankles to provide extra padding and comfort. The Bunga Pads give me around 80% of an improvement which I was not expecting at all! fantastic product!.
Sponge could be the next best choice – You can use a regular sponge, simply cut it up into the correct shape so it fits into the area that gives you trouble. You might have to go through a few sponges to find the best option.
Bunga Gel inserts with Pro warp
These simple things can can really work wonders for lace bite and general skate foot pain, They are gel pads that can be used just about anywhere to reduce friction and rubbing. The circle, square, and rectangular gel pads make for a perfect fit in any lace bite problems. Cut out a few pieces gel insercts, stick them on your affected area, and then use pro-wrap to secure the gel pads in place and also add a little extra cushion. You can also simply use the Bunga Gel inserts without Pro wrap and place them inside your socks. The Gel discs gave me around 70% improvement overall, good product but a little annoying to set up each time you skate.
A while trying to find the best solution for lace bite, I came across a product by G-Foam called ‘Lace bite pad’. I expected this product to be fantastic as it was directly targeting skaters with hockey skates. After trying it out I wasn’t so sure. Don’t get me wrong, they did help remove some of the discomfort and pain. But I was looking for something to totally cure my problem. Overall I would say they the G-Foam product will give you around 50% improvement.