Pro Sport Protection

What is Lace Bite?

Lace bite, simply put, is a sharp pain or pressure that runs down the front of your foot. It can happen to all athletes who require laced footwear for their sport, but especially to those who wear skates or cleats (hockey players, figure skaters, soccer players etc.)

That said, there are several reasons you might experience lace bite in hockey:

  1. Having been off the ice for a while and jumping right back into it
  2. Using a new pair of skates.
  3. Using an old/low-quality pair of skates
  4. Tying your skates too tightly

Lace bite usually occurs when you mix some of the above together.

1. Off for a while

If you’ve been off the ice for some time, you’ll want to ease back into it. Chances are your skates are dry and stiff, and the skate tongue is probably more rigid than usual.

2. New Skates

Same goes for a new pair of skates—the tongues will be extremely rigid and not well broken-in, which means lace or skate bite can develop if you’re not careful.

3. Low Quality Skates

With old or lower-quality skates, you might be dealing with a cheap or less flexible tongue which again means lace bite can thrive.

4. Tying your skates too tightly

This makes all of the above worse, so you’ll want to refrain from tying your skates too tight when you’re getting back on the ice for the first time in a while, or when you have new or even older skates.


So what’s the common denominator here? How does lace bite actually occur?

If you haven’t already figured it out, lace bite occurs due to the pressure of your skate tongue against your ankle.

Too much pressure from tight laces coupled with a stiff or inflexible skate tongue that hasn’t been broken in well enough can lead to painful lace bite, making it extremely unpleasant to skate, let alone play.


Medical Explanation

When your laces are too tight, the tongue part of the skate presses up against your ankle and, more importantly, puts pressure on your tendons in this area.

These tendons are what allow you to move your ankle in an upward motion, which happens over and over when skating. In other words, these tendons get a lot of work throughout an entire practice or game.

This is where the problem kicks in—this tendon motion against your stiff skate tongue and tight laces can cause some major inflammation, and can even result in tendonitis in rare cases.

Tendonitis or even just lightly inflamed tendons can mean severe pain every time you put your skates on.

At this point, it’s usually too late, and you’ll be stuck with the pain for quite some time.



There are many possible solutions for preventing or eliminating lace bite such as taking time off from playing, icing the injured area, various techniques for tying your skates, or using a lace bite sleeve with a gel pad to help prevent or remove the inflammation (tendonitis).

Taking time off is often times not an option. Icing will only treat the inflammation which could be reoccurring. Tying your skates differently can be effective, but when not we recommend using our product.

Ortema Xfoot Lace Bite Sleeves

We offer standard versions of the lace bite sleeve as well as some newer innovative solutions that have proven to be very effective by both professionals and recreational athletes. 

Please navigate to our 'Hockey' product page by clicking on 'Shop' in the upper menubar. Here you will find our lace bite product line with individual descriptions to help you choose the right solution for you. 

If you have further questions please do not hesitate to contact us at or by clicking on 'Contact' in the upper menubar, where you can easily type out your message. 

Good Luck!!