What is heat molding?
There are some brands and models of ice hockey skates that can be placed to “skate baking ovens” and heated until the skate is somewhat pliable (softened). When the skate’s material is in this state, you can push a painful area of the boot away from your foot, or reform the entire boot to more closely match the shape of your foot. This reduces the time it takes for the skates to mold to the shape of your foot (breaking in time).
Firstly, it’s important to mention that each type of skate is different in their materials and so their baking procedures are also different. So I’d be careful with any “rule of thumb” instructions for heat molding different skates.
Plus side to heat molding your skates
The heat molding process allows for a hassle free and quick fit when compared to the old breaking in method. It eliminates friction blisters and pinched toes. It does help speed the break in process by eliminating the numerous adjustments and repeated need for bandages and cushions, allowing you to comfortably spend more time in the skates and on the ice.
What is Spot molding
Sport molding is similar to heat molding ice skating, but in the case, the whole skate is not placed in a baking oven and heated, a specific area or “spot” on the skate is heated and reformed. This is used to remove sore spots inside the skate (an area that might be digging into or rubbing your feet while skating).
Spot molding is okay, but unless you use a professional hair dryer that can heat the leather/inner lining material of the skate to the recommended temperatures, it will be ineffective. The inner lining materials will snap back to its original place if there isn’t enough heat or you don’t get the boot on fast enough to effect the reshaping. If it’s just one spot that’s bothering the skater, go to a pro shop and get it punched out instead of fooling around trying to spot-mold it
Punching out skates
There is also the punching out method to removed areas of the inside skate that might be bothering you. I would only recommend this as a last resort as it can permanently alter the shape of the skate’s inner liner which could go on to create more problems.
Heat fit or mold your ice hockey skates from home
Skate oven or Home oven
Bake Skates from home?
I’ve never heat-molded skates using my convection oven, although some people suggest that. It just seems unnecessary to, especially as different skates require different procedures and specific temperatures (convection ovens differ in actual level of heat achieved at set temperatures and also the concentration of heat to different areas around the skate), not to mention if it’s done wrong (too much heat, or too much time in the oven) it breaks down the materials of the skate. The prices of some skates should be a big enough deterrent just at aspect of ruining your skates due to overheating, skate shops take responsibly for your skates while baking them, so why not leave it to them and their professional skate bake oven.