Custom hockey skates allow hockey players to customize their skates based on their measurements and preferences.
While many brands are offering a great range of retail hockey skates, none can match the precision and bespoke feel of custom skates.
Custom skates are preferred by professional and elite-level players who wish to maximize performance by tailoring their skates to their foot measurements and personal preferences.
However, acquiring custom skates is not a cheap exercise with most ranging from $1,000 and above price point.
Advantages Of Custom Hockey Skates
Although retail skates are designed to serve the vast majority of hockey players, they will never rival the unique fit of custom skates.
Every hockey player has a unique foot shape which no single range of retail skates can claim to fit 100% perfectly.
Some of the advantages of custom hockey skates are explained below:
- Prioritizes fit, performance and comfort by being designed to your feet’ measurements
- Custom skates enable performance benefits through enhanced fit
- Alleviates pressure pain or discomfort from poorly fitting skates
- Inclusive of all foot shapes, widths and sizes
- Accounts for players whose right and left feet are different sizes
- Eliminates common skate fit issues such as bone spurs, calluses or lace bite
How Does The Fitting Process Work
All leading brands have their high-tech fitting process for guaranteeing a perfect custom hockey skate.
The custom fit process follows three stages: scan, analyze and fit.
The initial scan process is led by a 3D scan of a player’s foot to ensure the exact foot shape can be recreated in the factor.
For Bauer this is the 3D Skate Lab, CCM has a 3D Fit Scanner while TRUE also has a 3D scan capability.
In seconds, the scan generates a 3D rendering of your foot by you stepping on the scanning device with either socks or bare feet.
The technology used differs by brand, but a well-known company delivering this technology is Volumental which is based in Sweden.
The 3D scan also adopts a foot profile system that focuses on seven zones of your foot and based on your foot shape will flag areas needing specific attention when designing the customized mold.
Following the 3D scan, an integrated measuring system generates the key data on your foot including length, width and depth.
This important data combined with built-in algorithms allows the technology to identify the exact levels of space required and the level of heel and toe support needed.
Equipped with remarkably accurate data on your foot profile, the measurement system can recommend which range of skates is best suited to your foot shape with specific design points noted based on your foot profile.
If you used Bauer’s 3D Skate Lab, for example, the system would recommend either the Vapor or Supreme range for you to consider.
The measurements alongside design style are passed to a custom skate factory which then proceeds to construct the custom skate.
How Are The Skates Made
The majority of custom hockey skate factories are based in Canada. The level of precision, care and attention that is required to construct custom hockey skates is unmatched compared to retail skates.
While retail skates will also typically need 20-30 specialist craftspeople to cut, mold and nail the skate together, retail skates require less complex manufacturing so can be made quickly in significant volume.
For custom skates, every skate is different so takes extra labor hours per skate. The custom hockey skate construction process is explained below.
Firstly, using the die-cutting machine, the quarter package, tongue and facing materials are cut to the exact dimensions and preferences of players.
Then stitching takes place. Firstly the tongue is stitched with the preferred felt thickness and constructed to the selected tongue design and lace bit protector.
Secondly, the facing materials are stitched to the quarter package. Depending on whether you opt for a two-piece quarter package, the stitching process differs.
One-piece comes pre-assembled so requires extra care to navigate the package curvature, while two-piece which is a more traditional design is easy to stitch as it is flat.
One of the best features of a custom skate is having your team logos, personal number or initials on your tongue. Using vectorized imaging, these logos are then created and stitched to the tongue.
Molding (two-piece only)
For skates with a two-piece quarter package, the package is wrapped around a heated metal mold to be worked into a skate boot shape, specific to the player’s measurements.
After this stage, most materials are now bonded to the quarter package.
Remove Excess Material
Any excess material is then removed to provide a smooth and clean finish.
Drill holes and add eyelets
The quarter package is then heated, with holes punched at equal distances and eyelets fitted.
Heel, Toe and Base Shaping (two-piece only)
Following this, the quarter package is further heated to shape the heel, toe and base of the skate boot.
Bond Outsole To Quarter Package (two-piece only)
Two-piece skates then require the outsole to be bonded to the quarter package, while this process is already complete for one-piece boots.
Fitting The Skate Holder
Rivets are fitted by drilling holes through the bottom of the skate to attach the holder. Copper rivets are fitted in areas where maximum energy transfer occurs.
Custom Skates By Brand
Leading brands such as Bauer, CCM and TRUE all offer custom skates. Some of the most renowned custom skates for each brand are detailed below.
Bauer offers custom options for the acclaimed Vapor 2X Pro and Supreme Ultrasonic and for both outfield players and goalies.
Not only can Bauer offer a tailored fit, but also enable you to select your preferred liner style, steel, stiffness, embroidery and many other items. You can also get your initials and number engraved on the steel.
CCM offer the JetSpeed FT2 and SuperTacks AS3 custom skates for all players. Both skate types are one-piece boots which are fitted to your exact measurements.
CCM offers two levels of customization, Total Custom which focuses on volume, color and steel, while Total Custom Plus goes further to include stiffness, height and cut.
TRUE offers customizable ice and inline skates, offering both one and two-piece boot options. The TF Pro is a great option where you can use the 3D scanner to mold the boot exactly to your preferences.
Custom skates are worth it if you are a high-level hockey player wanting to maximize performance, fit and comfort for your skates.
They are a significant financial investment so you should work out whether they are necessary based on your current playing level.
Leading brands such as Bauer, CCM and TRUE provide players with a range of custom skate options.
Using the latest 3D scanning technology, the attention to detail in custom skates is unrivalled as they can fit perfectly to your foot shape and also allow you to add extra details to personalize and enhance performance.
If the investment is too much, rest assured there are many great retail skate choices out there, but they are unlikely to fit better than custom skates.
Hey there, my name is Shawn and I’m a semi-professional hockey player. I’m also the founder and chief editor here at Hockey Pursuits. I love playing hockey and helping players improve their game and that’s why I decided to start this blog.