Skate Care

Your skates are your most important piece of equipment and, as such, you need to keep them in good condition. A new pair of quality skates can range in price from $100 for a beginner pair up to hundreds and hundreds for a custom made pair for an advanced skater.

Don’t leave your skates with just anybody for sharpening. See your coach or a board member for advice.

To make your skates last and do the most for you, they should be sharpened regularly, depending on the frequency and intensity of your skating habits. A small skater who is only working on beginner type skills and/or only practices once or twice per week can get by with only sharpening their skates once every 3-4 months. A more advanced skater who jumps a lot and/or skates 3-6 times per week should get them sharpened every 4-6 weeks.

A figure skating blade has two edges (and inside and an outside) with a hollow in between running down the length of the blade. This curve can have a different radius depending on the skater. A smaller radius results in a deeper curve in the blade which gives the skater more grip, but is a little harder to control where a bigger radius gives a more shallow curve, more speed and control. A qualified sharpener may ask if you have a preferred radius. If you don‘t know, they will give you a typical sharpening ranging from 7/16″ to 5/8″ with the average being around 1/2″.

A good test is to drag the edge of the blade over your fingernail and if it shaves off a tiny bit of nail, it‘s sharp. If not, make an appointment to get them sharpened. The club will usually notify the skaters when a good sharpener is going to be at the rink.

Some other important items to have are hard guards (the hard plastic guards that stretch over your blades) to walk in and protect your blades until you step on the ice; soft guards (fabric ones) that go over your blades for storage and a drying towel. When you finish skating, dry your blades off with the towel, including the bottom/sole of your boot. Leaving water on them will make them rust and deteriorate your boot much quicker. After they are dry, put the soft guards on them for storage. Don‘t put hard guards on wet blades or you‘ll end up with rust in the hard guards. Don‘t walk around without guards on your blades unless you want to have to get them re-sharpened every week (a costly proposition). There are nice boot covers that you can buy to protect the leather and keep your feet a little warmer while you‘re skating that might be a good investment. If your skates start getting nicked up, you may want to purchase some white tape to cover the sides and toes for extra protection and to mask all those dings for competition and testing.