Widening narrow ice skates with a DIY tool

I guess I have weirdly shaped feet

As a kid, I never learned how to skate properly. I wanted to fix this, but due to my wide feet it was super hard for me to find fitting skates. And if the skates don't fit at all there's no way I'm ever going to learn to skate.

After trying out pretty much all the available models around town during two consecutive skating seasons, I decided to just buy some decent basic skates and try to tweak them to suit my feet better. I bought the Bauer Supreme S25. During my first try, I could skate for 5 minutes before I had to give in due to severe pain.

So, to the garage I went and searched for spare parts. I found the following:

  • a wooden handle from a broken jump rope
  • a bolt
  • a nut
  • a washer
  • a piece of wood

After a bit of drilling, sawing and filing I glued the bolt to the handle with epoxy. The result was an extremely simple tool: turn the nut, and the device widens.

Using the tool

I used a heat gun to soften the boot and some metal wire to hold the eyelets hoping this would force the boot to widen from the bottom. I also had to stuff the boot with random things to keep the tools in place. At first I was a bit too careful with the heat gun, but after a few rounds I decided to just go for it until the boot was almost too hot to touch. I recommend this way: the boot becomes easily moldable and you will notice a real difference.

Widening tool in operation
Working the middle of the boot.
Widening tool in operation
Working the front of the boot was difficult due to limited space.

I took a comparison picture from a work still in progress. The end result was even better, but the new wider shape of the boot is already visible.

Conclusion

After the operation I could tighten the skates more properly, and they felt a lot better and more secure. Even without the tool I'd recommend using the heat gun as the fit is so much better around the ankle area after molding. I could actually skate for about half an hour with small breaks. As the ice skating season is already well over, it's going to be a while before I can start practicing again, but at least now I have something to skate with when the time comes.

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Creative Commons License This article by Olli Helin is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License