Whether you’re new to the ice or a seasoned veteran, you know that a well-fitted pair of hockey skates is essential to your speed, performance, and safety. But did you know the length of your laces is just as important? Laces that are too short to reach the top pair of eyelets can’t give you the support you need to protect your ankle from injury, and laces that are too long can become a tripping hazard on the ice. The right size hockey laces can make all the difference during quick turns and stops, and give you an advantage over your opponents on the ice!

So, how do you figure out what length laces you need for a safe, high-octane experience? Read on to find out!

What to Look for When Choosing Hockey Skate Laces

There are many options on the market today to boost your hockey skates’ performance with extra shock absorption and impact relief, reduced heat build-up and friction, and increased stability. But without the right pair of laces to tie it all together, your efforts (and money) could be wasted!

Waxed Vs. Non-Waxed Skate Laces

There are two types of skate laces: waxed, and non-waxed. Each type has its pros and cons, and the choice is ultimately yours to make. Here is a great video from Hockey Tutorial outlining the pros and cons of each:

Non-waxed laces are more durable and less likely to snap while tightening. If you’re using a pair of skates off the rack with the laces they came with, you likely have non-waxed laces. They are easier on your hands, especially in the cold, making them a great option for kids who are just starting to tie their own skates. However, they tend to fray at the ends over time which can make it very hard to thread them through your skates’ eyelet holes.

Waxed skate laces are the best option if you are trying to get the most out of your gear. The added layer of wax increases friction between the laces and your skate, keeping them tight throughout the game. They make it easy to control the tightness at different points in your skate, allowing you to adjust for personal comfort. The main disadvantage of waxed skate laces is that they will need to be replaced more often due to the wax coating wearing off, and are more likely to snap while tightening. It’s always a good idea to keep an extra pair of laces in your bag just in case!

How To Find The Best Length of Hockey Laces

Just like with hiking shoes, work boots, or street shoes, you’ll want to choose the lace length that gives you the right combination of utility and comfort. Even if you share a shoe size with a friend, the lace length that works best for them may not work for you. 

Whether you are considering waxed or non-waxed laces, here’s where to start:

Option 1: Measure The Laces You Already Have

If you already have a pair of well-functioning and comfortable hockey laces, start with them. Simply untie your laces, lay them out flat, and use a tape measure to find out exactly how long they are. As long as you use the same lacing technique you were using before, the new laces will work perfectly!

Option 2: Measure Your Hockey Skates

If your previous laces broke or got lost, you weren’t happy with the length, or you simply want to try a new lacing style, you can measure your skates to find the ideal lace length.

How To Measure Hockey Skates for Lace Length

Follow these steps to find the best lace length for your hockey skates:

  1. Count the number of holes (eyelets) you have on one side of the hockey skate to find the number of eyelet pairs. This number will vary across brands, styles, and sizes, so it’s important to do this on the pair of skates you’re looking for laces for.
  2. Use a tape measure to find the distance in inches across the skate tongue from one bottom eyelet (closest to the toe) to the other, and write it down.
  3. Multiply that number by the number of eyelet pairs on your skate. 
  4. Then, multiply the resulting number by two to get the total distance needed to lace up the shoe through all eyelets.
  5. Add 17 – 19 inches to ensure you have enough lace left over to tie everything together snugly. Now you have your best lace length no matter what size skate you wear!

Your lacing style will come into play when determining how much “extra” you need to add in after that. If you prefer to wrap your laces around the top of your hockey skates before tying them up, measure the distance around your skate’s ankle once or twice as needed and add that to the final total. Keep in mind that you don’t want to have too much extra lace, which can come loose and become a tripping hazard on the ice.

Option 3: Use The Hockey Lace Length Chart

If all else fails, you can use the chart below as a guide! You may need to size your laces up or down based on personal preference, but this is a good place to start.

Shoelace Length Chart for Hockey Skates

Hockey Skate SizeSuggested Shoelace Length
Youth 8 – Junior 372” (182cm)
Junior 3.5 – 5.584” (213cm)
Adult 5.5 – 796” (243cm)
Adult 7 – 9108” (274cm)
Adult 9 – 11120” (304cm)
Adult 11 – 13130” (330cm)

How to Lace Up Hockey Skates

The way you lace your skates can have a big impact on their comfort and functionality. You can use different lacing techniques to prevent lace bite, give wide feet extra space as needed, relieve pressure on sore spots, and more.

Here are some common hockey skate lacing techniques:

Shoe lacing patterns for hockey skates
  1. Cross lacing is the standard lacing style that hockey skates are sold with. It will get the job done and keep your skates on but doesn’t address any specific issues.
  2. Bar lacing can be used to relieve pressure on your toes.
  3. Lock lacing can be used to lock your heel in place and prevent your foot from slipping. You can also add a lock loop anywhere you feel you need extra tightening.
  4. Gap lacing can be used to relieve pain from lace bite. Simply add a gap in your laces to reduce pressure on the area. 
  5. Progressive lacing can be used to keep skates tight on narrow feet. Simply lace up as normal for the first couple of eyelets, then start skipping eyelets on your way up to provide more movement in the ankle and upper foot. By starting on the inside for the first few eyelets, your laces can be used to hold your feet in place. It’s recommended to switch to an outside-in method after you pass the toes to keep your boots snug.
  6. If you have wide feet, you can try skipping eyelets on your way up to give yourself some extra room without sacrificing fit.

For more detailed instructions and other ideas, check out our article on the most useful ways to tie your shoes!

Inside-Out vs. Outside-In Lacing

Some people prefer lacing their skates from the inside out for comfort reasons. However, lacing your skates from the outside-in is the preferred method to prevent lace bite, keep your laces cinched tighter, and provide a snugger fit. Check out this great video from Top Puck for an explanation:

Where to Buy Hockey Skate Laces

Now that you know what length laces you need for your skates and how you will tie them, it’s time to figure out where to buy them.

It might be tempting to buy your laces in-store, where you can get help from an employee to make your final choice. However, they may have an incentive to sell you their in-store brand or be trying to clear old stock from the store shelves, instead of working with you to find the best laces.

Buying laces online might seem risky, but the benefits far outweigh the risk. Most online retailers offer flexible return policies and a much wider selection of colors, lengths, materials, and styles, so you can find exactly what you need.

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