Why Players "Bake" Their Skates
Finding a pair of ice hockey skates that fit perfectly right from the store is rare indeed. Since feet are naturally different, it stands to reason that skates will fit differently from person to person. Hockey skates are made to be stiff and supportive but can be uncomfortable when they haven’t been broken in. Break-in time varies from model to model but typically takes between 6 to 10 hours of hard skating.
Skates are typically made with a memory foam that conforms to your foot over time, resulting in the "perfect" fit. This thermo-formable foam responds to heat and becomes soft enough to be reshaped for a customized fit. Similar to breaking in a baseball glove, the "baking" process makes the skate pliable to give players a more comfortable fit quicker and without the discomfort of blisters and pressure points.
Most hockey pro shops have a skate oven that is recommended for the process. Baking your hockey skates in your home oven is not recommended because the skates can be damaged if they are improperly baked. Baking your skates at home will also void the manufacturer’s warranty.