How-to: Heat Mold Figure Skating Boots at Home
Note from Ice Mom: This guest post is from Diane Mars. (Diane Mars is not the gal under the hair dryer.) Diane offers how-to information for skaters who have a pressure point on their figure skating boots and don’t have time to go to the figure skating shop to have them punched out. Diane explains how skaters can heat mold the boots at home and relieve the pressure. I have translated it from French. Any errors are mine.
I have tested a way to home heat mold figure skate boots with a hair dryer. It works! Just call me MacGyver’s main squeeze!
•a pair of knee-high socks, like you use when you skate
•Dr. Scholl’s Molefoam padding
•Rubbing alcohol (or something less caustic – it will be used for removing all oil from your skin)
•A pair of scissors
•A hair dryer
To start, wash your tootsies, dry them well, and put them in those hard wooden boots (well, yes, right now they are more like hard wood than something comfortable, so…) bare foot, and make sure that your heel is in the back of the boot. Put the boot’s tongue in place (well, try anyway, seeing as the tongue is probably wooden, too; ok, lined with something very moldable, but you don’t feel that flexibility yet). Try to lace them up. Don’t pull out your hair if you can’t do it. Tighten the boots very well, because the goal is to find the pressure points and get rid of them. When you’re sure where the boot hurts you, take them off.
If you have been smart and you quickly took off the boots, you can move on to step two right away. If, like me, you had really wanted to verify your pain like, “Yes, but if I push a bit more, it stops hurting.” That doesn’t work; it just hurts worse. Wait 24 hours until that bone sticking out of your ankle (malleolus) is more or less its normal color, every two hours moisturize the spot on your ankle where it burns from the friction in your boot, try fitting the boot around your ankle again, and verify that the swelling in your shins has gone down.
Find the Molefoam. Cut the stuff into pieces that you’ll stick on your feet at the pressure points. (Personally, I made circles that I stuck to my left malleolus – the right foot was perfect!) I made two more strips to protect my shins where they were still swollen from step one the night before.
Wash your tootsies very carefully and, at the places where you’re going to stick your Molefoam, degrease the skin well. (I’m hardcore; I do it with rubbing alcohol until it burns.) Stick your foam to each foot’s pressure points. Then, put your knee socks or nylon skate socks on top. (If you skate with bare feet, you still need to put on a very thin nylon knee sock so you’re sure the moleskin doesn’t move out of place. Again, degrease your skin very well to prevent this.)
This is the annoying part: the hair dryer (so, normally, you’re in the living room, bathroom, kitchen, in knee-highs, with these growths on your feet, a hair dryer in one hand and a pair of skates on the gound. Before you begin, go into a room with a mirror and take a look at yourself. When you’ve finished laughing like a maniac, go get something to drink because once your skates are hot and on your tootsies, you can’t move! You don’t want to deform your friendly skating boot and deform yourself, too.)
Take the first skate, unlace it correctly with the boot’s tongue wide open, and warm it up little by little with the hair dryer. Give it around 10 minutes on full blast. One problem is that the hair dryer can overheat and catch fire and whoops! – the skate boot can scorch, too. If this happens, you’ll have to extinguish the flames and then start over). So, don’t put the hair dryer in the skate and then leave to open a bottle of wine, hey? And besides, if you have followed the instructions well, you already have something to drink!
When the boot is very hot, (watch out for the skate lace hooks), and the boot is flexible, turn off the hair dryer and slip it on, MAKING SURE to:
1.Put your heel in the back of the boot
2.Put the boot’s tongue in place
Lace the boot all the way up as tightly as possible (yes, I know, it’s not great against your shins…it will hurt, but that’s the way it is!). Sit down. No, don’t walk and don’t bend. You want the boot to mold around your foot, not take a year off of your life.
You have to be well inside the boot and it should have been easy to lace and get your foot inside. If that wasn’t the case, start up the hair dryer again and heat the boot where you have pain, while keeping your foot in the skate boot. And yes, after the first fitting, you can do it all over again, but this time even tighter. Once the skate boot is cold, take if off (or not, because it’s so comfortable that you don’t remember you have it on) and do the same thing for skate #2 (if it’s necessary).
This heat molding method doesn’t perform as well as heat molding with a convection oven, but in my case I didn’t have too many adjustments to make and it’s worked well. And I swear to you that I had no desire to take off the blade during the heat molding and then mount it again!
Now most of you will know how perfectly well how to heat mold your own skate. Maybe that will be useful to someone, which would be cool!