Waxed Laces vs. Non-Waxed Laces
Whether you're skating in a $1000 brand-new pair of ice skates or you are wearing those skates you found in your parents garage that are probably 5 years older than you are, the laces that you wear will make a huge difference in your skating style. There are two types of skate laces - waxed & non-waxed. They are priced the same and they look the same, but each style of lace has a distinct feel on your foot when skating down the ice. Let's compare the main advantages & disadvantages between waxed and unwaxed laces...
Let's start with the non-waxed hockey skate laces. One of the best things about these laces are their durability. They will snap much less often than their counterparts as the materials go through less stress than the stiffer waxed lace. The only laces I have snapped are the waxed laces, but that isn't to say that the non-waxed laces don't have their durability issues either. The tips of the non-waxed laces will often break over time which makes it very hard to thread the lace through your skates eyelets. You might want to have a lighter in your bag incase the plastic tip of your laces breaks. Just burn the end of the lace and crimp it together to form a solid tip. Another great thing about the unwaxed laces are that it is very easy on your hands when you are tying your skates, especially when you are in a cold ice rink! Non-waxed laces are probably a better suit for younger kids who are tying their own skates as the unwaxed style is softer on their hands.
Waxed laces are great for the hockey player who is looking to get the most out of his or her gear. The whole reason that the laces have wax on them are so that they can stay tight throughout the game. These laces are very easy to grip and tie, but might hurt your hands a bit as they are more rigid than the unwaxed laces. Another benefit of having waxed laces is that you can control which areas of your skate boot will be tight and which ones will be loose. You can tie your skates so that the bottom is loose and the top section is tighter, depending on how comfortable or stiff you want your boot to be. One of the biggest flaws of a waxed skate lace is that you have to replace them more often as the wax deteriorates overtime and they are very prone to breaking when lacing up. It's always a great reason to have an extra pair of skate laces in your bag incase of an unexpected break!
When you buy your skates they will almost always come with unwaxed laces. Try out a pair of waxed laces if you can and see how you like them. If you are fine replacing them more often and don't mind the upkeep then they are perfect for you. If you are more of a lazy hockey player who doesn't care about the gear as much, just keep your stock unwaxed laces on and wait until they break. Thanks for reading and we'll see you on the ice!
Just want to pass on a tip for hardening the tips of frayed laces: Crazy Glue. Put a few drops of Crazy Glue on each frayed tip for about 1/2" and roll the tip between your fingers to taper the tip to fit through the eyelet. For wide laces you may need to trim to a taper before applying the Crazy Glue. The Crazy Glue hardens to form a long lasting tip.