island in Alaska), or there were much fancier toe guards for $20-30 that looked like they might not slip to the side like the strips. I looked at both of them and thought, "I can make those!" I found a hand drawn pattern on the Internet, cut it out in paper, and found it wanting. And so here I am. I planned to just make the fitted toe cap style, but the fact is, we were starting to fall in practice, my toes were getting scuffed, and I needed to protect them now! February was a bit of a tough month, so I didn't have time to engineer the capped toe protectors I wanted. Strips it was!
So for my debut post, I present to you, DIY strip toe guards, complete with a pattern. Pretty basic if you're used to DIYing it, but it'll be nice to not have to reinvent the pattern.
About 8x6" square of durable no-fray material. Leather is probably best, we'll see how vinyl holds up.
Cutting mat or scrap corrugated cardboard
Leather/fabric hole punch (optional)
1. Print pattern. Adjust print size as necessary so that the box is exactly 1" square.
2. Cut outline of pattern. Fold in half lengthwise to cut out toe stop hole.
3. Trace outline onto leather. Trace toe stop hole onto pattern.
4. Using sharp scissors, cut out toe stop.
5. Using knife (and a cutting mat or piece of scrap cardboard), cut out toe hole. Alternately, you can just cut along the + and poke the toe stop through that.
6. If desired, trim length of toe cover to one or two holes.
7a. For a generic fit, mark lace hole positions by poking a pencil through the small circles and mark the leather. Punch holes using leather punch (2nd to largest size on mine), or stick your X-Acto blade in and spin it to make a hole.
7b. For a custom fit, install toe cover on the toe stop on skate. The nut and washer go against the skate; the toe guard goes between the stop and the nut. Mark hole positions slightly lower (closer to toe) than lace holes and about 1/2" in. Cut holes as in 7a.
8. Install toe guards using your preferred lacing technique! Be sure to install it very tightly, lacing through guard holes that are lower than the eyelets your lace is going through to pull it tight. Vinyl especially will stretch, but so will lighter weight leather.
You can see the prototypes installed on my skates above. The 3-hole one is not stretched very much; I expect it to slip next time we practice. The 2-hole one is trimmed, and stretched tightly over the skate toe. I used the custom fit method for both, but used that placement to place the holes on the pattern. I used sparkle vinyl left from the skate bag I made (upcoming post!), and once I am happy with the prototypes I'll make some out of leather. I'm curious to see how long the vinyl lasts, and if it marks up the gym floor.
Up Next: Sparkle Vinyl Skate Bag (and why that was the worst material I could have chosen)