Skaters get used to the particular way their skates feel and react to their movements. When getting new equipment, the time from 1st fitting to feeling like they were always your skates, is called the “break in.” You can shorten this time with a couple of steps and tricks.
First, be honest with yourself and your skate tech.
These are not your old skates and there is a reason your old skates are no longer working… maybe they were very old or too snug. Accept and realize the new equipment transition will make an improvement in your skating.
Then see your skate tech to have your skate’s first fitting. Be as concise as possible about what you are feeling and what your desiring in fit. Same applies if you return to have skate’s fit adjusted. Your skate tech has many ways to adjust, mold, shape your skates for better fit and feeling. Primarily through the method of heat molding which can truly change the shape of your skates to fit your unique feet.
Coaches will also have personal tips and suggestions, but most will tell their students to focus on the basics during break in. In the International Judging System (IJS) the first mark is call Skating Skills which is the most important part of skating. This is the primary mark judges use to score skaters. Breaking in skates gives you the perfect opportunity to improve your Skating Skills by doing long strong edges in sequences, improving crossover control and increasing your flow across the ice. First day in skates is not the time to try your hardest elements.
Some skaters adjust faster than others, this process is very personal.
Many skaters will practice their program’s choreography without elements to focus on the artistry unique to the sport of figure skating.
One thing to note, if skates are causing sores, bumps or significant pain return to your skate tech for adjustment. Ideally you will experience no trouble, but at first sign of issue, get things checked out to prevent long term issues.
Even with perfectly fit skates you should see your skate tech about 1 month after purchase to check the skate’s blade mounting. It is common practice to temporary mount blades on new skates with only some of the available screws holes. This is in to provide the opportunity, should you need it, to change the blade mount if needed. If your glide is good then get a final mount at your one month checkup.
Break in should not break you, but it could take some time.
Remember break in is unique to every skater and every set of equipment. That’s why the last part of improving break in is not to rush it. Find the time in your schedule when you have time to spend adjusting and doing the moves to make your skates your own. Most skaters tell us that is right after their big competition or test session. When the need to rush, or push your training, is lowest. The best break in of skates happens naturally, often the skater does not realize they stop saying “new” and just says these are my skates.