When roller skating, the last thing you want to be thinking about is your skates. Ideally, you shouldn’t even notice them at all, other than the fact that they are on your feet. But sometimes, you will feel uncomfortable if you have just gotten a new pair or sustained an injury.
Whatever the cause, there are ways for you to make your skates more comfortable so that you can continue to roll on your merry way!
I have pulled together a guide for you on how to make roller skates more comfortable.
Table of Contents Hide
- Why do my skates hurt my feet?
- How to break in roller skates
- How to soften or stretch roller skate boots
- Are skates supposed to be tight?
- Will baking skates make them wider?
Why do my skates hurt my feet?
Ouch! After going out for a skate, you realize that your feet are in pain. Even after an extended break, you find that it still hurts to skate.
However, there can be several reasons why they could be hurting, ranging anywhere from wrong-sized boots to plantar fasciitis.
1. Wrong skate size
It is highly recommended to get skates that fit snug and a bit tight to your feet.
If your skates are too big, your toes will end up gripping to accommodate and strain the balls of your feet and arches. On the other hand, small skates could strain your arches.
Always check the manufacturer’s recommedation on buying the right size for your feet.
2. Not enough foot support
While your skates are made to support your feet, they don’t support all parts of it, especially the arches and balls of your feet. This can often cause roller skates hurt bottom of feet.
Many skaters rectify this by putting more comfy insoles to replace the sole of the boots.
3. Muscle cramping
Whether you’re a new or seasoned skater, you’re prone to getting muscle cramps in your feet. It can happen because your feet are still getting adjusted to skating or from skating too much.
Cramping across the arch could indicate that your skates are too tight.
If it’s occurring across the whole length of your foot, you could be gripping your toes, or your skates are loose.
A general foot ache could just mean your feet are tired.
4. Foot injuries
Injuries are bound to happen to you during your time as a skater. If you sustain a foot injury while skating, continuing to skate can further aggravate and worsen your injury. Make sure to get some adequate rest if you suspect a foot injury.
Some of the most common include:
This condition results from the inflammation of a band of tissue that connects the heel to the toe. It is often described as sharp pain under the feel and arch of the foot.
Treatment includes anti-inflammatory medication and better arch support. Many new skaters that don’t often do intensive activities like roller skating usually experience plantar fasciitis.
This occurs when there is inflammation of the tendon, which connects muscle to bone.
Symptoms include pain, stiffness with activity, and swelling in the area.
It is a common roller skating injury that could develop in the foot due to excessive edging or heel-brake stopping. Overuse of the tendons from skating can worsen their condition.
The best way to treat it is to rest. Stopping any activity that could be irritating to the tendons, along with medication and cold/hot compresses will help in the recovery.
This is due to an enlarged nerve from excessive pressure on the ball of the foot, usually as a result of over-pronation or errors in technique. It causes numbness and a dull ache between the toes and eventually becomes painful.
Skaters can help treat it by correcting their technique, wearing stable shoes and insoles, and maybe even pain medication.
It is very common for skaters to develop blisters, especially if they’re new to the sport.
As you skate, the friction between your foot and boot can cause you to develop blisters. It usually happens because of improperly fitted skates.
However, it can be fixed by getting a properly-sized skate, wearing thick socks, and adding padding to the sides of the boot.
6. Lace bite
Believe it or not, you can also develop foot pain from improperly lacing up your boots. When you lace your skates, you might think it’s good to keep it all tight.
However, lacing it up too tight (also known as lace bite) can cut into the tendons of your foot. With lace bite, you’ll experience sharp pain at the top of the foot extending from your toes to the front of the ankle, and even up into your shin.
This is preventable with the right lacing technique.
7. Skates need to be broken in
More often than not, skaters will experience foot pain due to a new pair of skates. It happens to everyone, both old and new.
When getting a new pair of skates, there’s always going to be a break-in period where you’ll experience foot pain and blisters.
While it’s uncomfortable at first, it’s all a part of the process. Eventually, your skates will mold to your foot shape and will not be as painful to skate in anymore.
How to break in roller skates
Depending on the type of roller skates you have, it may take more or less time to break into them.
It is more common to break into high-top skates, which cover your ankles and part of your calves.
The goal of breaking into your skates is to not only make it more comfortable but to also give your skates the flexibility it needs to allow you to perform different tricks.
Follow our tips and tricks for breaking in your skates in the most efficient and least painful way possible.
1. Warm up your feet
Before you put on your skates, make sure to roll out your ankles and stretch your feet to prep them for the next few hours of skating.
You can flex your feet, bend your toes, and massage them.
2. Put on your skates
Secure your feet into the skates by lacing them in. Tighten the laces starting from the bottom and up to the top. Your feet should be snug in the boot, but it shouldn’t be painful.
Begin flexing and stretching your feet in the boot to start breaking them in.
3. Adjust your trucks
This is especially important if you’re switching over from an older pair of skates. You’ll likely feel a difference in the new skates in the way they lean and turn if they are adjusted differently compared to your older set.
Adjusting your trucks allows you to set your skates into a position that you’re more comfortable with.
Additionally, you should also check for any loose wheels or toe stops before you attempt to break into your boots further.
4. Break into your skates
When you first stand up in your boots, you should circle your knees to get your ankles pushing against the corners of the boot.
Then, also bend your knees forward and squat to make a crease at the ankle of your boot.
As you begin to skate around them, try to refrain from doing any difficult techniques or tricks as you’re breaking them in.
Stick to simple maneuvers like simple strides and crossovers to get used to skating in them.
5. Wear them frequently
As much as we all wish we can skip the breaking-in process, sometimes it just can’t be avoided. The more you wear and skate in your boots, the less uncomfortable it will become over time.
If you still find that you’re overleaning when you’re trying to make a turn or your skates are too stiff/uncomfortable even after hours or days of skating, then you might need to do some more initial work to break them in.
6. Change out your cushions
These are the jelly-like parts attached to the kingpins at the bottom of your roller skate and help secure your trucks in place.
Some people describe them as looking like candy.
While it might seem like they don’t do much, they affect your skating much more than you realize. As you’re skating, the trucks push into the cushions, which provide stability and some rebound depending on how hard they are.
If you have the wrong kind of cushions, they can make or break your skating experience.
Changing out this one part of your skate may be the difference between a comfortable and uncomfortable ride.
7. Add insoles
Most skates are manufactured with the standard flat ones that don’t provide any support or cushioning for your feet.
You can make your skates as comfortable as sneakers by adding insoles. While you can use regular shoe insoles, keep in mind that they might not fit the width or length of the boot.
You should also be wary of using squishy insoles, which are ideal for walking but not as responsive for skating.
8. Wear ankle sleeves
As you are breaking in your skates, you might have started forming some blisters on your feet. Wearing ankle sleeves will help prevent them from getting worse and make your ride a little bit more comfortable.
How to soften or stretch roller skate boots
Sometimes despite doing everything we can, it might not be enough to break into our skates in a reasonable amount of time. Either that or we just want to speed up the process.
No matter the case, you can soften or stretch your roller skate boots by different means.
You can consider softening your skate boots with leather conditioner if you find them too stiff to skate in.
Before applying the conditioner, make sure to remove all of your laces to make it easier for you to condition the boots.
Then, all you have to do is use a soft cloth to rub in the conditioner to the most uncomfortable part of the boot. You can bend the boot back and forth to further facilitate the softening.
Continue to repeat this process to soften the leather to your liking.
This technique is one of the most effective ways to speed up or even skip the breaking-in process.
Basically, you use heat to mold the boot to the shape of your foot. It can be done either in a skate shop or at home.
If you’d like to do-it-yourself, there are two methods:
1. By hairdryer
Using a hairdryer, you want to heat up your boots evenly on all sides.
Try not to overdo it. Otherwise, you might end up making the leather crack or even burn your skin.
Once it is warm, wear some socks and put your feet into the skate for ten to fifteen minutes. Remember to lace them up as well.
It would also help if you skated around with the warm boots on so that they can take on the exact shape of your feet as you ride.
2. By oven
This might sound scary, but hear us out. Skate shops use this method to heat mold skates, and it can also be done at home. You want to preheat the oven to 79 degrees Celsius and then turn it off.
Anything higher can permanently damage your skates.
After making sure the oven is completely off, place the boots inside for 15-20 minutes. Avoid leaving them in there for more than 20 minutes.
Afterwards, remove the boots and let them cool off a little bit. Check with your hands to see if the boots are not too hot to burn your feet.
When you’re done, leave them to cool for 24 hours before trying them on again.
Remember to always check with the manufacturer’s instructions before you attempt to do this yourself.
Are skates supposed to be tight?
Yes, they should be tight but snug with your feet. This is a good sign that the skates are the right size because you want your foot to be one with the skate.
Any wiggle room or foot sliding will inevitably cause you to lose control.
In addition to the boots, your laces should also be tight. As you are lacing up your boots, pull them as tight as possible without causing discomfort to keep your feet secure.
Although it may be more uncomfortable in the first few weeks of breaking them in, you’ll find that the boots will eventually become more comfortable, and your feel muscles will also strengthen up to accommodate.
Will baking skates make them wider?
Stretching your skates in the oven is known as Heat molding and can make them slightly wider. This can be effective if you only need them stretched a little.
If you are doing this at home, then please ensure you do it properly to avoid damaging your skates.
Conclusion on How to Make Roller Skates More Comfortable
Uncomfortable roller skates are a pain – literally.
Your feet and your overall experience are paying the price for it, but it doesn’t have to be this way forever.
Your roller skates might be hurting your feet for a variety of reasons, including wrong sizing or improper lacing. Luckily, there are several strategies you can use to break-in, stretch, and soften your skates.
Hopefully, our tips and tricks will help you get rolling again in no time!