Like many if not most skaters, I find that many times I need to retie my laces after the first twenty or thirty minutes of a session. Usually it starts off as the sensation of looseness in one or sometimes both boots. I ignore it as long as I can but eventually the slop between my foot and the boot gets to the point of being more than annoying--it can get downright hazardous. At that point I limp towards the entrance/exit door and plop down on a bench and look at the digital hockey clock that most rinks have which shows the time of day when not used for an actual game. I dislike coming off ice just to futz with my laces-- ice time is money!
What happens next is that I untie the offending boot's lace and release it from the hooks. At the top of the eyelets I always tied a surgeon's knot (fancy name for a simple over hand knot with one extra cross) before going over the hooks. When retying I generally stop at the eyelets, kick my heal into the boot and yank on the laces to snug up that surgeon's knot. Then I carefully rehook the ankle part of the boot and tie the lace with a double bow knot. It's at this point that I look back at that hockey clock to see how much time I've lost. I then have a mental argument with myself as to whether or not retie the remaining boot because I know from past experience that I'll wish that I had just as soon as I go back out, even if the second boot feels fine while I'm parked with my butt on the bench. By the time I'm done I've generally lost ten minutes or so. But the fun's not over--not yet.
Upon retaking the ice my boots and blades feel extremely spooky and "fast". Too fast for comfort is the sensation that the blade telegraphs to my brain. That and the sensation that I can no longer confidently commit to a deep edge in the manner in which I was doing without much thought prior to coming off and tightening those laces. And so I wind up skating cautiously for ten to fifteen minutes (more wasted ice time) until I somehow reacquaint my proprioception with the new environment created by retying my boots.
I ask myself why does this happen and what can I do about it? The why part seems fairly obvious: retying the boot(s) shifts my feet ever so slightly within the now fully warmed up interior of the boots. Most skates know that it only takes a millimeter or two of movement along the blade to give one a very different feel when skating.
Last Tuesday I skated the early evening public session (two hours long) which is part of the rink's summer schedule. I have things set up with my coach so that I take my weekly lesson at the half way point of that public. So I'm skating along, happy as Larry, with about 15 minutes before my lesson when the dreaded skate boot slop sets in. I quickly exited the ice and starting unhooking the laces. I knew that once I re-tightened them I'd have that uneasy thing going on and not enough time to skate myself into feeling at home on the blades before the lesson started. What to do? I tried to think through putting on the boots when I first arrive. The skates always feel fine from the first step onto the ice until I retie them. What was different? I decided that instead of merely untying the laces from the hooks that I would loosen the laces all the way, take the boots completely off my feet, wiggle my toes and then put the boots back on just like when I first arrive at the rink. I figured I had nothing to lose and only about ten minutes get this done. And so off they went and back on they came. I cautiously stepped out on the ice and the skates felt--fine! Was this voodoo or am I on to something? At present I don't know. I'll repeat this experiment today (I'm sure I'll need to redo the laces after the usual amount of time) and see if I get a consistently "feel good" sensation. If so. I may have to formalize my protocol and get it copyrighted or monetized or whatever it is that the smart rich people do!