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07-10-2013, 04:07 AM
American in Paris
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 208
vCash: 500
Flexed lacing profile with packing tape

Over the last couple of seasons I've developed a new way of lacing up my skates in part thanks to some insights I discovered on this board.

After seeing a lot of evidence that ankle flex is one of the keys to better skating I started experimenting with ways to increase my ankle mobility.

Barring some radical new skate design with a bearing hinge on the ankle the only way to accomplish this is by loosing up the skates. Unfortunately this means trading off some stability and support.

I played around with the different lacing patterns someone posted here but didn't find any advantages. Skipping the last eyelet definitely helps. But I discovered that good ole fashioned packing tape, if applied properly to the ankle, can deliver a pretty good balance between mobility and support. In the locker room people look at me like I'm crazy when they see me taping up my skates, but hear me out... there's a method to the madness.

The first principle is that I want to achieve a tightness differential between the lower and upper sections of the skate. I pull the laces very snugly through the eyelets along the foot bed. As I reach the eyelet just below my ankle I move the skate under my body so my knee is in front of the skate and my ankle is flexing maybe to 45. Then I pull the laces very snugly around this flexed profile.

Now I could stop here and hop on the ice but the problem is that as I skate the tightness differential between the ankle and foot bed will tend to equalize and also that the flexed lacing profile feels a little too soft. So keeping my ankle in that flexed profile, I wrap packing tape tightly around my ankle - quite a bit of it... maybe 5-6 times around the ankle.

This offers several advantages:

1) Locks in the tightness differential by stopping the laces from moving around the ankle
2) Locks in a perfect skate lacing for the entire game
3) Provides extra support at the frontier of my flexed lacing profile
4) Provides extra lateral support since I've pulled the tape quite tightly around the ankle

After the game, I slide a little utility knife under the tape on the side of the skate and just cut it off. I've been doing this for a couple of seasons now (3-4 skates/week) and it doesn't seem to do any damage to my skates other than leaving a bit of sticky residue around the ankle.

Since I started lacing my skates this way, my ankle mobility and edge control have progressed to a new level. I've even had some comments from other players about how much better my skating looks.

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