How do I keep my ankles straight ice skating?

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Why do my ankles lean inwards in my skates?

This has been a question that always seems to come up in skating and hockey, so i thought it would be worth while going into a little detail to you everyone the best chance of avoiding this issue.

The reasons for your skates leaning inwards while trying to skate can be broken down into a few categories:

  • Size (length and width of skates)
  • Laces
  • Skate stiffness
  • Ankle strength / getting use to the new motion of skating



This is probably the most common reasons for your skates leaning inwards. If your skates are too wide or long, they will not support your ankles properly could result in them leaning inwards. This is why its so important to get your skates from a hockey store, they would be able to check your size and make sure you get the correct fitting skate. Its important to remember that being a size 9 in shoes isn’t the same as a size 9 in skates. Lets not also forget that each skate manufacturer may have their own sizing (which means one skate may have a different fit to another even if they both advertised as being a size 9)

If you have already got your skates and would like to check the length is correct, here’s what to do.

  1. Undo the laces on your skates so you can place your feet into the skate and take them out (nice and loose)
  2. Put your feet into your skates
  3. Find something hard to kick against like a wall or stairs
  4. Kick the toe box (front of the skates) against the object to push your toes right to the front of the skates


Now check and see how much space you have behind your heel. If you can fit more than 3 fingers down the back, the skates are too big for you.



Checking the width is a little tricky, you need to lace the skates up and see if you can slide your hand down the sides by your ankles.

If you can do this easily then they may be to wide for you. You should find it hard as your ankle bone should be right up against the foams on the inside of the skate. You can also check by feeling around with your feet. If your feet and knocking around side to side inside the skates when they are laced but, they may be to wide for you.


When new on the ice, it can be easy to neglect doing up your laces properly. Its always recommended that you tie your laces properly and securely to ensure a good supporting skate. If your skates laces are left and not tied up properly, the skates will be unable to support your ankle and keep it up straight.

Skate stiffness 

The structure of a skate is something that is always over looked when selecting a pair, if the skates you pick are not stiff enough to support your body build, they will simply bend under the weight and cause your ankles to lean inwards. Yes, that’s right, skates come in different levels of stiffness intended for different skaters of different abilities and builds. Bigger, taller and more built skaters will always require stiffer skates to support them. i.e. a 6-foot 13-stone skater (even though new to skate) will need an intermediate to advanced level skate to support them due to their size (regardless of ability). Brand cheaper softer skates will only result in the skates breaking down and needed replacing much sooner than normal.

Areas that will bend and break down if the skate is too soft for the skater

Strength / Getting use to skating

Another overlooked area is your ankle strength, if your new to skating you need to build your ankle strength so they can support you on the ice. This is something that will come with practice and more experience as you skate. You should also allow time for your ankles to get use to the new motion or movement of skates. Be sure to get as much practice as you can.

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