Most players know that you can have your skates sharpened to different hollows, but did you know that you can also change the profile and lie of your blades to suit your play style?
Profiling your skates comes down to a personal choice, so we've answered the most common questions to help you decide whether you should get your hockey skates profiled.
What Is Hockey Skate Profiling?
There are several different terms for changing the profile of a skate; profile, rocker and contour all refer to the same thing.
Profiling describes the shape of your blade from the side, at the point where it touches the ice. You can make two main changes to your skates through profiling — radius and lie.
Essentially profiling changes the amount and position/ lean of blade when in contact with the ice.
Changing The Radius Of Your Skates
Radius refers to the blade curve, which is different from the hollow's radius (describing the depth of the bottom groove in your skate). For example, if your blades had a 9ft radius profile, they would match perfectly with the curve of a 9ft circle.
The smaller the radius on your blades, the more agile your skate, but you'll be less stable and work harder for each stride as a smaller portion of the blade is touching the ice.
On the other hand, the larger your skate radius, the more powerful each stride, but turning becomes more difficult.
Dual-profiled skates can be a happy medium between the two, delivering a more agile front with added stability at the back. Dual profiles with a flat middle are especially popular with defensemen for additional stability during pivoting.
No 'perfect profile' exists for everyone; like most hockey equipment-based decisions, profiling is a personal preference based on playstyle and feel.
Changing The Lie Of Your Skates
Changing the lie of the blade affects the posture of the skater. When a skater stands upright, they should be at the high point of the radius, balanced between falling forward and backwards. Most skates come with a very neutral balance point, although some off-the-shelf skates come with a 'forward lean'.
Moving this balance point towards the heel will encourage the ankles and knees to bend, which defencemen traditionally prefer thanks to smoother pivots. However, if it's too far back, the skater will lean too far forward and incur muscle strain.
Moving the high point towards the toe will force the skater's legs to be more rigid, which delivers better lateral movement and is often preferred by forwards.
If you're interested in changing the lie of your skates, we recommend only the smallest amount of lean to start with, as the changes can be pretty drastic.
How Are Hockey Skates Profiled?
Many different contour machines can change the profile of your blades. At Willies, we use the Blademaster system, used by NHL equipment managers, allowing us to change the radius of your skate using bars and the lie/ lean using a dial.
Check out the picture of our Blademaster with contouring system in place. This picture was taken in our Coventry Store. The technician is profiling a pair of Bauer Ice Hockey Skates.
We offer single profiles at 7ft, 9ft, 11ft and 13ft and dual combination profiles at 9ft/10ft, 10ft/11ft, 9ft/10ft with 2" flat in the middle and 10ft/11ft with 2" flat in the middle.
Should I Get My Hockey Skates Profiled?
Off-the-shelf skates usually come with a single generic radial profile that may be perfect, or may actually hinder your skating.
Profiling ensures that your blades are the same height and shape and that you are optimising your skates for your play style.
What Is The Best Skate Profile For Me?
The decision is entirely up to you. You may feel comfortable with what you are already skating on and not feel the need to change!
If you're unsure or thinking about a change to your hockey skate profile, chat with our expert team to help you find the perfect profile for you.
Skate profiling can drastically improve your skating and really help you get the best out of your skates.
Recreational ice hockey player and Willies store owner Luke said
'Profiling is a game changer! I had always skated on skates as they came out of the box until a year or so ago. I wanted to be more agile on the ice and more aggressive in my stance to get the most out of my stride. I opted for a 9ft profile with a forward lean, since having a profile I can genuinely say my skating has improved hugely. I feel way more agile, quicker and more confident on my skates. It hasn't improved my shooting but that's a different story'