Ice Hockey Skates Anatomy and Production« Back
Ice Hockey Skates Anatomy and Production
Skates is the most important element of the ice hockey player gear. To be comfortable, but at the same time safe and efficient on the ice, one should properly select a skate boot model.
Today professional hockey players prefer selecting skates based on their individual characteristics. Main conditions when selecting a skate boot shall include foot anatomy, technique and style of gliding, role model in the team.
So, for example there are skate boots with a higher heel for forwards enabling to make a start dash.
Thanks to modern technologies there are numerous materials for skates manufacturing. An ice hockey skate boot is made of synthetic materials, Kevlar and carbon fiber composite, nylon fiber, which the producers supplement with special reinforcement net or other components. Usually one model consists of several components. For example, body, toe and heel counter are most commonly made of high-strength nylon or special composites that ensure reliable protection of an ice hockey player against injuries.
Besides, a skate boot may be fitted with different foam inserts that take the foot anatomy, hence facilitating foot adaptation to a skate boot. You may also come across the models with various kinds of air pads, advanced side protection or reinforced tongue protection.
The main rule when selecting skate boots is that a boot should fit the foot shape. Therefore, all modern models are manufactured of thermally formable raw materials that, when heated, take the foot shape. It is important to understand that thermal molding is just customization of boots that have already fitted an ice hockey player. It enables to eliminate the unused space inside a boot, increase the area of foot contact with a skate boot sole and improve the balance. And the period of foot adaptation to skates reduces a great deal. The same principle works for the insoles of thermally formable material.
What occurs during thermal molding? After a hockey player tries on the skates, they are put into a special oven for a few minutes to soften the thermally formable material therein. Skate boots become softer and more flexible. Then a hockey player puts on the skates, laces them up and waits until the thermal layer sets hard and “remembers” the foot shape. Finally he gets a skate boot, which does not require a long adaptation period and ideally fits the owner. Therefore, molded skates help a hockey player play faster, rougher and improve the movements strength.
The skate boot tongue is of no less importance as a gear component. When selecting a skate boot model, it’s better to give preference to the one having a tongue of the materials matching the specific foot anatomy. And remember that a set should include the rigid insert. Its main tasks are to protect the foot against possible injuries and distribute the lacing pressure on the foot.
Modern technologies make seven-league strides, and today we have models with the minimum weight, special anatomy characteristics, with the tongues capable of giving back a part of energy when taking off, with different metal inserts. There are even totally moldable skate boots. Thanks to all that hockey players become faster and more maneuverable, and the play - more technically skilled. However, in spite of all advantages, there is one significant drawback - with less weight, skates have become less protected, and hence a possibility of ankle injury increases dramatically.