As we learn more advanced skate tricks, it’s important to make sure our skate boots fit very snug. We can do this by sizing down; for instance, I usually wear skates that are one U.S. size smaller than my normal shoe size. Unfortunately, sizing down to get a tight fit can exacerbate discomfort due to the potential difference between the shape of the skate boot and our foot. (We all have uniquely shaped feet!) Plastic skate boots are especially prone to this issue since they don’t have any give (unlike mesh/suede boots).
So what’s the solution? Just as with ice skates, ski boots, etc., we can “punch out” or heat mold our boot to conform to the unique shape of our feet. Some shops can do this for us, but it’s easy enough to do ourselves. The only special tool we need is a heat gun (used to strip paint), which can be had for as little as $22 from Home Depot. Here’s the complete list of things I used:
- Heat gun
- Screw driver
- Chalk and ruler
- Wet paper towel
The steps to punch out our boot are:
- Determine and mark the exact spot we’d like to punch out.
- Heat that spot until the plastic is soft and pliable.
- Push out that spot with a rounded tip such as the back end of a screwdriver.
- Use a cold, wet paper towel to quickly harden the plastic in its new shape.
When heating a spot, I used the low setting (the heat gun I used had low and high settings), and kept about a 3″ distance from the surface of the boot. The plastic for my boot (Seba FR-A) became pliable after about 3 minutes. Since the heating time can be different for each situation, a good way to know when the plastic is heated enough to deform, is that the plastic surface will start looking shinier. (You can also heat a little, test for malleability, heat some more if not,… etc.)
For me, the first step (i.e., determining the exact spot) took the most time/effort. The rest of the steps of punching out the boot was actually fairly quick and easy.
Be careful not to touch any metal parts (such as eyelets) of the skate near the spot that was just heated. They get very hot and can easily burn skin.
Here are photos of how I punched out my Seba FR-As. I have a mild tailor’s bunion on my foot and punching out these points on the boot made a HUGE improvement in comfort.