Ice Hockey Laces
Hockey is a fast-moving sport where players are on the ice for short shifts. Since they only have a few minutes before they are replaced, players do not have time to worry about their laces coming untied or loose. This is why players must be careful when selecting what types of laces to use on their ice skates.
What are ice hockey laces used for?
Ice hockey laces help players remain comfortable and secure in their skates throughout hockey games. All players have a certain way that they like their foot to feel inside of the skate and laces have a large role in determining that. The laces determine how tight the foot feels inside of the skate. Players require their laces to stay tied during the duration of a game, because hockey players wear gloves and do not have time to quickly retie their laces. Laces ensure that the skate feels comfortable. If they become loose or untied during play, the skate may not feel right.
There are two types of laces: waxed and unwaxed. Both come with advantages and disadvantages that a player must consider before purchasing laces for their skates. Hockey laces range from 72”-130” and skate size can help determine the lace length a player needs.
Things To Consider
When looking for ice hockey laces, you'll want to consider the following:
- What type of hockey laces do you need?
- How frequently do you play hockey?
- How do you lace your skates?
- How much money do you have to spend on hockey laces?
There are two types of ice hockey laces, waxed and unwaxed. While the two different types look the same, the wax layer results in a different durability and skating experience.
Waxed hockey laces have a wax coating on the lace that allows for the lace to stay tight longer than their unwaxed counterpart. The wax on the laces also helps the laces last longer. Waxed laces allow a player to choose where on the skate they want it to be tight and where they want it to be loose. For example if a player wants their skates tighter towards their ankles, the waxed laces do a better job targeting where the foot should feel more secure. Although waxed laces typically last longer, they are known to snap more frequently than unwaxed laces.
Unwaxed laces are the laces that generally come with ice skates when they are purchased. These laces are ideal for youth players due to the lack of a wax layer, making them easier to untie and grab onto. Unwaxed laces typically stretch and thin out due to water soaking into the lace, so they do not last as long as the waxed laces.
Hockey laces are made out of polyester and the main discrepancy is whether they are waxed or unwaxed. Other materials like cotton do not last as long which is why companies like Howie’s and A&R produce their laces with high-quality polyester.
- Polyester: Polyester produces the most effective hockey lace, and is the industry standard for hockey laces across all skill levels.
There are lots of different hockey lace brands that produce high-quality laces at competitive prices including Howie’s, Bauer, and A&R.
- Howie’s: Howie’s produces high-quality hockey laces spun from polyester yarn. All of their waxed laces are waxed twice to ensure that they will last longer. Howie’s makes their waxed and unwaxed laces in twelve different colors.
- Bauer: Primarily a hockey skate producer, Bauer also produces waxed and unwaxed laces to go along with their famous skates.
- A&R: A&R is a wholesale hockey brand that supplies USA Hockey with its lace needs. They produce both waxed and unwaxed lace models that are made out of polyester.
Before purchasing a pair of hockey laces it is important to consider size, durability, and cost.
Ice hockey laces are not the most durable piece of hockey gear. Waxed laces will not snap as quickly as the unwaxed lace, but both are known to become damaged over time. Unwaxed laces can get wet and stretch out. The aglet of the unwaxed lace can also break frequently. Make sure to always have an extra pair of laces available just in case they get damaged. Expect to get a few months of use out of each set of laces. The more a player ties up their skates, the more often they will need to purchase new laces.
Ice hockey laces are typically inexpensive and both waxed and unwaxed laces are similarly priced. Depending on the brand, they range from around $5-$10 and come with two laces in total, one for each skate. Since laces do not last very long, they tend to be affordable. This allows for a player to own multiple pairs of laces at once, so they are prepared with a back-up pair if one snaps right before game time.
Ice hockey laces range from 72” up to 130”. The length of the lace corresponds loosely with the skate size that a player wears. Players with youth skate sizes should wear lace lengths from 72”-84”. Meanwhile, anyone with adult skate sizes 6-15 should wear lace lengths ranging from 96”-130”. The length of the lace is important as it can help ensure comfort for a player, so be sure to check a lace length and sizing chart.
How do you lace ice hockey skates?
There are many different ways that a player can lace up their hockey skates. The most important thing is to ensure comfort while also making sure the foot is secured inside of the skate, especially around the ankle. Lacing up skates is similar to lacing up sneakers. Two popular methods are called under lacing and over lacing. The over lacing method exposes more of the lace and can make the skate a little tighter. Another method is partial lacing which is for more advanced players who want more ankle mobility. In this method, lace them up like a sneaker but do not lace the top eyelet.
Are waxed or unwaxed hockey laces more durable?
Unwaxed laces are typically less durable than waxed laces, but both are susceptible to damage. Unwaxed laces do not snap as frequently as waxed laces, but the tips of the unwaxed laces break often and it is common for unwaxed laces to stretch and thin out. This results in unwaxed laces needing to be replaced more often. The disadvantage to waxed laces is their tendency to snap, but these laces are still more durable and will typically last longer.
What kind of laces do professional hockey players use?
NHL and other professional players use whichever type of laces are most comfortable for them. Not all professional players find comfort from the same type of lace, so a player’s choice on laces is a matter of personal preference. Professional players play in short shifts and do not have time to tie their laces or worry about the comfort of their skates. Since waxed laces tend to stay tied longer and keep the skates tighter, it would make sense for more of them to wear waxed laces.