Breaking in New Skates


Everyone who has had to break in a new pair of leather skates will know how painful this process can be. It can take up to a few months to wear in a pair of skate boots properly during which time things like foot pain and blisters are common. This can be extremely frustrating, especially when it effects your ability to train.  Everyone has a different experience of the pain new leather boots can cause, and some boots can be harder than others to break in. I once wore a pair of new 265 Wickeds to a 3 day boot camp and came out the other side with blisters so bad I had to go on antibiotics and couldn’t walk for 2 weeks, let alone skate. I still have scars the size of 50 cent pieces on the bottom of each of my feet.

After that experience I swore never to endure that kind of pain from a pair of skates again. But what else can you do? Then my mum told me about this trick that she used to wear in her leather cowboy boots in the 70’s.  I tried it out on my Riedell 595’s, which are notoriously hard boots to wear in.  I have been wearing them for 6 months now and have not had a single blister or any foot pain at all. In fact, from the second I started skating in them, they have been the most comfortable pair of skates I have ever worn, and I have worn a lot of skates!

This technique is designed for un-mounted boots . You could try it with mounted boots but I would recommend keeping the plate dry. If you do try this, make sure you remove your wheels and bearings before you start.


So here is how it goes…




Step 1) Soak your skate boots in white vinegar until they are as sodden as you can get them. You will have to use a lot of vinegar, I recommend getting at least a litter. White vinegar should be very cheap. The skates do not have to be fully submerged but you want to make sure that the boot is well soaked so you may have to move it around in the bowl a bit. It is very particularly important to have the inside of the boot soaked. It might take 10 minutes or so to get the vinegar to soak right through the leather.

Step 2) While they are still wet, put your skate boots on with a pair of thick socks and lace them up tight.

Step 3) Wear them around the house for a few hours (2 or 3 should do it). Try to walk around a bit if you can but  just sitting with them done up tight should be enough to let them soften and mould to your feet.

Step 4) Take them off and let them dry. Once they are fully dry you can mount them onto your desired plates and away you go!


Quick Tips and Answers to your Questions:

No this will not damage or stain the leather! As long as you use white vinegar. As you can see in the photo, my boots are custom red, green and yellow and the colour was not altered in any way by this process.

No your boots will not stink of vinegar.  Not for long anyway.

This works on leather boots only please do not try it on vinyl or carbon boots. 


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