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Flexed lacing profile with packing tape

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07-10-2013, 04:07 AM
  #1
American in Paris
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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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07-10-2013, 08:36 AM
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McDugan
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Do you use waxed laces? I've found that using waxed laces threaded "outside-in" prevents any slippage that I used to have with unwaxed laces.

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07-10-2013, 09:15 AM
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Jarick
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Do you have a picture? It's pretty common for guys to tape their skates in the NHL but usually up top.

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07-10-2013, 10:19 AM
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American in Paris
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I'll try to remember to snap one next time I play.

I've seen NHL players with tape on their skates but usually it's just a little bit of strectchy clear hockey tape to stop the laces from flopping around or to hold the shin pad in place.

The tape job I'm talking about uses strong packing tape and has a structural support function for the ankle in its fully flexed position.


Last edited by American in Paris: 07-10-2013 at 10:24 AM.
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07-10-2013, 11:58 AM
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sounds like a lot of work for minimal benefit if you ask me but i would like to see some pics. maybe i am missing something

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07-10-2013, 12:20 PM
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sanityplease
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If two zones of lace tightness is that important, why don't you install lace locks? & Just use as much normal hockey tape as you need on your ankle? Hockey tape is flexible (pressure sensitive) for a reason, it allows for an adjustable level of flexibility & support (start using less as your ankle strength increases). I don't get why packing tape would ever be superior to normal clear hockey tape.

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07-10-2013, 01:14 PM
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McDugan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanityplease View Post
I don't get why packing tape would ever be superior to normal clear hockey tape.
I think clear shin tape would flex too much, to the point that it wouldn't provide the needed support. But it sounds to me like a stiffer boot and waxed laces would do the same thing, with potentially other benefits coming from the skate upgrade.

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07-10-2013, 01:20 PM
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Check this product out. http://www.55flex.com/

This addresses exactly what you are talking about; more flex but keeping the ankle support. The owner did a presentation at a conference I attended and the product looks really good. It is an easy solution to the problem. The piece extends the eyelets out from the skate allowing more forward flex. However it is also flexible, so you can still keep the laces tight around the ankles, giving you lateral support.

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07-10-2013, 01:34 PM
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American in Paris
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Yes exactly! Guess I independently discovered the low tech soloution

Those who asked for a photo: look at this link and imagine that flex gadget replaced by a thick layer of packing tape...

http://www.55flex.com/concept.html

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07-10-2013, 01:53 PM
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sanityplease
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Ahh, I tie my skates pretty loose & use clear hockey tape just to hold my shin pad tight over my tongue. I angle the tape from the front of the very bottom of the pad & down to just above my heel (this gives as much lateral support as needed & doesn't bind or hinder my forward flex at all (it allows my ankle, tongue & pad to pivot all @ the same point). While also using ultra stiff skate boots, I get roughly the same result as that product, with a bit more lateral support.

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07-10-2013, 01:53 PM
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American in Paris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanityplease View Post
If two zones of lace tightness is that important, why don't you install lace locks? & Just use as much normal hockey tape as you need on your ankle? Hockey tape is flexible (pressure sensitive) for a reason, it allows for an adjustable level of flexibility & support (start using less as your ankle strength increases). I don't get why packing tape would ever be superior to normal clear hockey tape.
Not sure what lace locks are but I do use waxed laces. When you leave the top of the boot laced so loosely that your ankle can easily flex 45 forward you really want the bottom laces to be extra snug because something's gotta hold on to your foot. In my experience, even with waxed laces or outside-in (etc.) lacing patterns, that huge tightness differential will start to equalize under the stress of vigorous skating.

The flexibility of hockey tape is why it won't work in this application. Packing tape is superior because when I wrap it around my ankle several times it becomes so strong and supportive so that I can lean into it with out worrying that it will stretch or break.

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07-15-2013, 09:56 PM
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Mattb124
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You can always just wrap the laces around one another a few times at the point where you want the lace pressure to change (like how you tie the tie on a robe, but you wrap it lime that 3-4 times). Hikers use that to keep the boot tight in the foot to keep the heel locked in but allow the top part of the boot to be tied looser for better ankle flex.

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07-16-2013, 04:47 PM
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bonnielad
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Or at the eyelet that you want the tightness to be different, just put the lace through the eyelet again as this will create a lock - the bauer version of the RBK skate lock hah. Makes untieing skates a pia though. heh

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