Tip: Thermoforming your carbon boots
What is the use of thermoforming speed skating boots?
The speed skating boots manufacturers offer more and more thermoformable models, i.e. skates with boots, the materials of which are moldable with heat.
The aim? Making your pair of skates the closest as possible to your foot in order to gain in skating precision.
Warning! Be sure that your skates are thermoformable before carrying out the operation.
Moreover, if you have only one or two pressure points, you can try to improve your comfort in heating the boot locally thanks to a paint burner, less aggressive than passing it in the oven.
Classic thermoforming lacks precision
The classic method of theormoforming is as follows:
- Take your skates to pieces in order to only keep the boots
- Preheat the oven to thermostat 2
- Heat the boots 10 minutes in the oven
- Put the boots on while they are still hot in taking care of not burning yourself
- Tighten the laces and the micrometric buckle
- Take a skating stance
- Wait for the boots to cool down
- And here you are!
Unfortunately that operation often happens to be hardly efficient. Indeed how could you possibly imagine that, in putting on the boot, whatever soft it may be, and with a simple tightening, you could actually mold the carbon around your ankle? At best the carbon may get closer but it is not enough to mold it around the foot, and that is what we are looking for.
Note: Thinking that a simple pressure of the finger will be enough to a good carbon thermoforming is illusory.
A longer but more efficient molding method
Here is thus how to make a real molding with mass-produced models.
You will need clamps. They have the advantage of not suffering from the heat and of tightening hard and consistently.
Warning: the orthogonal shape of the clamps is very rigid. It will not fit the shape of the boot. It may leave marks on the carbon, damage it, or even create unpleasant and painful points. You should then create supports that will uniformly distribute the pressure.
Note: One boot at a time!
Taking your skate to pieces
The beginning is the same: take your skate to pieces in order to keep the boot only. Take off the micrometric buckles and the strap on top of the foot too if it is removable.
Making of the molding supports
- Wrap the boot into a plastic bag (preferably transparent)
- Cut up small plaster tapes
- The areas where you will have to exert pressure in order to mold around the ankle will be at the front and at the back of the malleolus.
- Thus you should mold the plaster tapes on the boot at the front and at the back to make a support area (see picture).
- The shape of the boot should be as flat as possible in order to distribute the pressure of the clamps as best possible.
- Link the two parts with a plaster bridge (above the malleolus) so that they do not move at the tightening.
You have to carry out the operation on the left and on the right sides of the boot. Let the two supports dry.
– 10 minutes in the oven – thermostat 2
- Take the boot out of the oven
- Put it on once you have made sure it is not too hot
- Put the supports on both sides of the boot (the assistance of a third person is recommended): one on the inside, one on the outside (you will have marked which one goes where in advance)
- Place the clamps: one in the front and one in the back
- Tighten until you feel a slight pressure on each side
- Take a skating stance (you can sit on a chair if needed)
- Once the boot has cooled down (around 15 min), release the clamps
- There you are with a wonderful pair of molded speed skates!
- As shown on the picture, no doubt about the result: the left boot has been thermoformed and not the right. Note the far better molding of the ankle on the left.
Your turn!By Yannick Vincelet
Photos: Yannick Vincelet
Translation: Chloé Seyres