As with any new sport, the start of Learn to Skate attracts many excited yet confused parents. If you are concerned about properly tying skates, don't worry - you're not alone. It is definitely a complicated process - they are often too tight, too loose, wrong size, etc. It is important to tie skates properly because it will affect your child’s experience on the ice. I often have to retie skates for students during the lesson and this is counterproductive because it wastes time and takes my attention away from other students. Each lesson is only 30 minutes, so in order to maximize the little time we have, all students’ skates should be tied properly before the lesson begins.
Tying the skates is extremely important in terms of providing comfort as well as ensuring the efficiency of the skates. Skates that are too loose can cause wobbliness and the risk of a twisted ankle, while skates that are too tight may prevent proper foot movement such as bending and pushing. To begin with, make sure you receive the correct size rental skate and that your foot fits snugly inside. There should be room to wiggle your toes, however not too much room that your entire foot can slide around. Begin with the laces closest to the toes and tighten them by pulling until it is secure. These laces are only meant to keep your foot in place, so they do not need to be extremely tight or constricting. Tie each lace slightly tighter than the last as you go up the boot. When you finish tightening the laces, you will reach the ankle which is the most crucial part of tying skates. The ankle requires the most support so it is important to make this as snug as possible to prevent any foot movement on the ice. After tying a secure knot on the ankle, work your way up the remainder of the boot by looping the laces around the hooks. These laces should be tight as well since they will prevent the skaters’ foot from shifting on the ice. When both skates are finished, make sure your child is capable of bending his/her knees and walking properly. There should not be room for the heel to lift while walking, but there should be room for toe movement. Listen to your child and adjust his/her skates based on how tight or loose they feel they are. As usual, the skaters’ comfort is of utmost importance.