Importance of skate maintenance
It is important to maintain your skates correctly in
order to maximize the functionality of your skates, to maintain comfort
and to avoid injury.
Good skates are a very expensive investment and if they
are not carefully maintained they will deteriorate in
a very short period of time. Taking care of your skates is one of
the most important things a skater can do.
Caring for blades...
is necessary to keep the blades of your skates sharp. Remember
that your blades are your only contact with the ice and a sharp blade
will grab the ice better than a dull one. If you start to slide
uncomfortably when you land then your blades are not sharp enough.
So plan on keeping a log to help figure out how many hours you can
average between getting the blades sharpened. You want to find the
optimal number of hours on the blades that will keep your skating
consistent but will limit sharpening so that you do not wear out the
blades. Most skaters will go several weeks
between having their blades sharpened.
Always use a good technician to sharpen your
skates. For a figure skater a good sharpener will want to know
your weight, how you skate and the level of jumps that you do because
this will affect the way they sharpen your skates.
Never let them use
automatic sharpeners on your blades, this is the quickest and most
effective way to ruin a pair of blades.
should be sharpened from the front of the rocker to the rear, which is
not the entire blade and automatic sharpeners go beyond the length of
the rocker, actually ruining the contour by making it progressively
smaller. Sharpening of hockey skates generally should take about 5
minutes a pair. For competition figure skates, expect about fifteen to
twenty minutes for a quality sharpening.
on hard surfaces while wearing your ice skates off the ice or you can
quickly ruin the ice skate blades. Make it a habit to always
wear blade guards when walking on your ice skates off the ice.
Blade guards are designed to protect the blade from unnecessary wear and
the ice, the biggest killer of blades is rust so be
sure to wipe your ice skate blades
dry when you’re finished skating. Remove "snow" from the blade as
soon as you get off the ice and before you put on the guards. Once
you are done for the day they should be wiped with a towel. Make
sure you dry the blade area as well as the mounting surfaces because the
screws can rust too. Check the
blade screws periodically, they can work loose.
Let the boots warm up at room
temperature while you are changing clothes and then wipe them again
before putting them in your bag. Refrain from storing them with the guards on
because they will hold moisture and guarantee rust.
It is recommended that you put them
in terrycloth blade guards when you store them
in your bag to help absorb any remaining moisture and to protect the
Replace laces when they start to wear
or when the plastic tips (“aglets”) come off the ends. Keep spare laces
with you just in case something happens. There is nothing worse than a
broken lace at an inopportune moment, so be prepared.
Caring for boots...
Be sure to wipe off the ice skate boot after skating, and before storing
the ice skates away. This will help prevent moisture from getting inside
the boot which could potentially damage the leather. Keep your
boots well polished all the time this will help to seal the leather and
therefore shed water. This is especially important if you've nicked up
the surface and unfinished leather is exposed.
Moisture can get trapped
inside the boot from your feet sweating and it can rot out the inside of
the boot. Be sure
to unlace them and open them up as much as possible when you take them
off to let them air out. It
is best to take the skates out of the bag for a while when you get home
to help dry them out.
Make sure that you
let the boots dry out naturally, don't ever put them near a fire or on a
How long will skates last...
Most Hockey players
will get at least a few years out of their skates if properly cared for.
Figure skaters doing double jumps and above might only get six months
before a boot breaks down, but blades should last for years.