Taking care of your ice skates prolongs their life, saves you money and improves mobility on the ice. Here’s what you need to know to maintain your ice skates.
Ice skate blade maintenance tips
- Keep your ice skate blades sharp but not too sharp. A sharp blade grabs the ice better than a dull one. Make sure you sharpen your ice skates appropriately for their type. Hockey skates can be sharpened on an automatic machine. But figure skates require a professional sharpener to give them the correct “edge”.
- Don’t walk on the ground or floor with your ice skate blades. Instead, always use a skate guard when you are off the ice. If you absolutely can’t wear guards, walk on the toe picks instead of the delicate edges.
- Always dry ice skate blades thoroughly after skating. Rust is the biggest killer of blades and the mounting area. Each time, before you slip on your skate guards, slide your fingers (carefully) along both sides of the blade to remove the “snow.” When you’re done for the day, take your skates off and dry them with a towel. Be sure to dry the blades and the mounting surfaces. If you have time, it is a good idea to let them sit for a couple minutes and then wipe them down again.
- After drying skates thoroughly, cover and store the blades inside of towel-like soakers. These help draw off any remaining moisture and provide a cushion for your blades inside your bag. Do not leave or store blades inside of plastic or rubber skate guards. They hold moisture and almost guarantee rust.
- Keep your skate guards clean. Wipe out the insides of your guards so no grit or grime builds up over time. If your guards or soakers wear out (get thin spots or holes in the bottom) replace them immediately. They won’t help you protect your blades if they are run down or broken.
Ice skate boot maintenance
- The leather of your ice skate boots is just as susceptible to water damage as your blades. Polish figure skating boots on a regular basis to keep them water-resistant.
- Open up the boots a bit so they can air out after each skating session. Loosen the laces as far down as you can and pull up the tongue to let the boot breathe. Replace the insole if your skate starts to smell.
Ice skate mount maintenance
- It’s also important to maintain the proper tightness of the screws that secure your blade to the boot. They loosen over time, which can be dangerous for skating. Have an experienced figure skate technician mount blades and replace screws when necessary.
Ice skate laces maintenance
- It’s important to use the right length of lace. Laces that are too long can become a hazard if they drag on the ice. If they are too short, you won’t be able to properly tie up your skate. Replace broken figure skate laces on a regular basis. It’s always a good idea to keep a few spare pairs in your skate bag.