Skate Maintenance & Care
Updated: May 20, 2019
Investing in personal skates and blades is an important step in your skating development. Knowing how to properly care for your skates will give you the best results and longest lasting service.
1. Thoroughly dry blades and boots after each use and store in a cool dry place. After taking the skates off use an absorbent towel to wipe down the entire blade and any area of the boot that has any signs of moisture. Once skates are dry the soft towel like blade covers, usually called 'soakers' can be put on the blade before skates are transported. Keeping skates in the car, especially during hot summer months is not advised. Skates should be brought inside and taken out of the skate bag so they can completely dry out and not be exposed to heat and humidity. Improper drying and storage will result in rust.
2. Sharpening is a vital aspect of skate ownership. Please note that all new blades MUST BE SHARPENED prior to first use. There is a degree of personal preference as to how sharp blades should be. Skating coaches and/or skate techs can and should be consulted if you're not sure. A general rule of thumb is that blades should be sharpened approximately once every 40 hours of usage. More experienced skaters will be able to tell when skates need to sharpened because they feel the blade start to 'slip' due to the shallow edge. Younger or less experiences skaters may mention that their skates feel 'different' or like they aren't working. Skaters may have trouble with skills that they can normally complete or may begin to take more falls. Skating will feel different immediately following a sharpening, most noticeable when stopping. A quality sharpening will last longer and help the blades last longer as well. Skate blades can only be sharpened so many times before the part of the blade that is skated on had been used up. An inexperienced or poorly trained skate sharpener may over grind the blade resulting in a shortened blade life. Skaters should ask questions and make sure their sharpener is comfortable and experienced sharpening their type of blade (i.e. figure skate blades, hockey blades, speed skates, parabolic blades). It is VERY important to make sure that your blades are sharpened by a trained and experienced figure skate technician. Unfortunately, many rinks and pro shops only have equipment and staff set up to sharpen recreational or hockey skate blades. Figure skate blades are much different than these blades. One poor sharpening will ruin a pair of figure skating blades and can cause serious injury on the ice..
3. Proper use of skate guards will help prolong your sharpening and keep you and your fellow skaters safe. The hard plastic type guards should be used anytime a skater is walking in skates to or from the ice or anywhere in or around the rink. Even on a 'safe' surface walking without guards can damage blades. Skate blades can also pick up small debris which can be transferred to the ice creating a fall hazard for everyone on the ice. Walking without guards also puts non skaters at risk of getting stepped on or kicked by a skate blade. Walking on concrete or metal will ruin skate blades. The soft soaker guards are not meant for walking in, they help absorb excess moisture while the skates are not in use.
4. Skate laces do stretch out and should be changed periodically. It is advisable to always keep an extra pair of skates laces in your skating bag as they can break unexpectedly. Your skate tech or coach can let you know what size and type to purchase and suggest how frequently to change based the skater. Insoles can also be changed out regularly. Check with your coach or pro-shop to make sure you have the correct pair on hand.
5. Many skaters wear boot covers to protect their skates. Some skaters wear the boot covers while skating and some choose to use boot covers for storage only. Boot covers will protect the boots from damage and discoloration, they are also helpful for keeping laces out of the way and skates tied tightly. Skate tape can also be used and is designed to not cause any boot damage. Some skaters may also use skate polish to brighten up their skates and cover any marks or discoloration. Skates can be spot cleaned on the exterior with a washcloth, but should never be submerged.
6. Skating socks should be washed regularly and changed out if any odor remains after washing. Odor treatments used for athletic shoes can usually safely be used with skates as well, but check with your skate tech or coach if you are unsure.
7. Not all skates are the same, be sure to check the manufacturers website and discuss specifics for your brand of boot and blade with your skate tech and coach.
Check out our helpful links page for local pro shop information.