Our owners, operators and staff at Sports Excellence locations are passionate about the sports they service and hockey is no exception. This passion has allowed them to dedicate time and efforts to continuously train and learn about various product fitting and benefits with our supplier partners.
Fitting a skate is an art and we have worked hard with our supplier partners to learn how their skates are designed to be fitted and provide the most benefits for the customer. Our Staff, both new and old continuously train year in and out with each new product to ensure they have the most knowledge possible about the products we sell.
How to fit a skate?
When a customer arrives to purchase a pair of skates, it is an involved process and we generally ask you to budget an hour or so to go through the whole process. For custom fitting sessions to order custom skates we also recommend you book a time to meet with our staff.
Our staff will ask specific questions to narrow down the choices and focus on any issues that the customer may have from his/her previous skates.
1. What skates are you currently wearing?
2. Do you have any issues with them?
3. Any premature breakdown or quality issues?
4. If yes, what did you wear previous to them?
5. Did you like them? Have any issues?
6. What is the size of your current skates? What is the size of your Shoes?
7. Do you have any issues with your feet/health? Pronate? Supponate?
8. Did you have a preference on a model or make?
9. Where do you play? Recreation? Rep or Travel team?
10. Number of times on ice per week?
Once we have gone through all our questions we will ask the customer to remove his/her shoes and pull up their pants slightly so we may see their feet. We are looking for any issues like if you supponate or pronate, bunions, one foot bigger than other, width issues and more.
Now we will use a foot measuring device geared to one or more of our product vendors to figure out potential sizes. This is only a start. More often than not a person will go down ½ to a full size off this size based on the model and make of the skate.
With your foot in the skate and heel not kicked back, the customer should be able to move their toes and just feather the front of the skate.
Once our staff has an idea on size, make and potential models, he/she will check inventory and bring out several pairs of skates to try on. After checking the space at the back of the boot, we will ask you to kick your heels back and see how the heel lock feels, then we will either lace up the skates for kids or assist in adults to help ensure they are tied properly throughout the laces.
We now go through a secondary set of questions such as: how do they feel? Are there any pressure points? How does the length feel? How much space do your feet have?
The age and comfort level of the customer will allow our staff to figure out what skates fit and work the best. A good skate fitter will work with you to try on several models.
If a pair seems to fit and have minimal pressure points we will ask the customer to go for a little walk around the store.
This will give the customer a better idea of how they fit and how the skates will feel on their arches and throughout the foot. It will also allow the staff assisting to see how the skate looks around the customer’s ankles, that it looks like it fits properly, not too loose or too tight and get a better picture of the fit.
If we are fitting for a skater that is still growing, the standard now in the hockey industry is to allow for a ½ size worth of space for growth and this should be about the size of a standard pen.
Skates are designed to fit snugly, have as little space as possible between your foot and skate to enhance performance and skates will “grow” in size approximately a half size as they break-in. The term used in the hockey industry is “negative space”. The more space between your foot and skate will allow the foot to move/slide and it will take more energy to complete a stride.
If all is good, then we take it to the next step and review any additional accessories that may help to make the fit even better.
- Insoles: Upgraded aftermarket insoles help fill negative space and help to lock in the customer’s heel to the back of the boot like the Bauer Speedplate and provide additional support to your arch like the CCM custom support insoles.
- Socks: We will discuss what types of socks are available on the market and the benefits of each; options range from regular cotton to thin performance to socks that limit “boot slop” to socks that help lock and align your feet within the skate.
- Powerfoot Performance Inserts: A skate accessory that helps stabilize your toes by filling the negative space above your toes and the top of the toe box.
Once you have found a skate that fits and passes all your tests we will now put it in the “oven”. These are metal boxes with a heat fan that will heat up the skate to a set temperature and allow glues and gels to release so that once on the foot, tied up a little tighter than normal and begin the break-in process.
We once again ask that you kick your heels back to ensure heel lock, then the skate is tied up by our staff from the first hole to the top one, then you get to relax and sit for approximately 5 minutes, drink a coffee/tea/water, watch the T.V and keep in mind how the skate feels once heated. We like to ask customer’s to sit like the first row of a team hockey photo. Keep your feet flat, your heels under knees at a 90 degree angle.
After the skate has cooled we will ask the last of our follow up questions. How does the skate feel? Are the pressure points gone? Or are they gone to the point of being comfortable?
We will be checking for any issues that the heating did not cure. This will allow us to fix any spots that still aren’t comfortable. A bunion or swollen/large ankle for example may still feel uncomfortable. We have the necessary tools to allow us to manipulate the skate and allow you to walk out feeling really good about your purchase.
After all that we have a couple more things to discuss. Skate sharpening, blade alignment and profiling.
Once your new skates have been fitted, heated and sharpened, you are ready to hit the ice! Just remember to wait 24 hours after this heating to ensure all the glues and gels have solidified.