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Thread: Keeping skates in good condition

  1. #1
    "goebtimo" CartDi's Avatar
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    Keeping skates in good condition

    I have never had my own pair of figure skates before, and I'm thinking of buying a pair soon... what I want to know is, is it a lot of work to keep your skates clean and in good condition? I am only a recreational skater, and will only be doing extremely basic stuff like crossovers, one foot turns, etc. I would like to keep the skates in good condition and not wear them out easily since I'm not taking lessons or anything. Besides keeping the skates in guards when walking around the rink and wiping the blades off after skating(will any type of cloth do?), I know practically nothing. How often should I get the blades sharpened? Do I have to get soakers, and when should I be using them? Should I keep the skates in a separate bag from the rest of my things?Any other tips will be greatly appreciated. I'm just trying to learn a few things here. :D

  2. #2
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    You've got the basics down, don't fret too much. Soakers are for after you wipe off your blades and store the skates in your bag, they absorb any excess moisture. Even with soakers you must remember to take the skates out of their bag/guards to let them dry properly at home.
    As far as sharpening goes, that's your choice. If you feel you "skid" too much and can't hold an edge, then it's time for a sharpening.

  3. #3
    Salchows and Shimmies!!!
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    My sharpening pro calls me her "poster child for good skate and blade care." Best secret she ever gave me? After you get home from skating, take the skates out, and put them on a chair or bed, blades EXPOSED to dry. This allows the leather time to dry and breathe along with air drying the blades nicely. Leaving soakers on and leaving the skates in your bag can trap moisture and lead to rusting. I don't put them back into the bag until they've been out at least overnight. Just make sure the skates are kept away from pets, small kids, etc. After you skate, dry both the blades and the ENTIRE sole of the foot and bottom of the boot with a towel throughly. Use a chamois or a good, thirsty cotton towel--the blade towels the pros sell aren't that expensive and they have a better cotton absorbency content than most hand towels. Also, when you wash the towel (any towels for that matter, not just the ones for your skates) DON'T use fabric softener in the wash or a softener sheet in the dryer. Fabric softeners reduce absorbency. My husband discovered this by accidentally spilling some water on a "fabric softened" towel and watching the water roll right off of it!! Good boot and blade care will give you a long and happy relationship with your skates!!!
    Last edited by Yazmeen; 09-23-2003 at 09:43 AM.

  4. #4
    "goebtimo" CartDi's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for the info., guys :D

    *edit*- was amused to see this thread included in the Sept. 26th Golden Skate Newsletter. this never happened to me before, lol.
    Last edited by CartDi; 09-27-2003 at 03:11 AM.

  5. #5
    skateballet
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    HI,

    I don't think keeping on top of your skates is a lot of work. It gets to be routine, like brushing your teeth, lol.

    One thing is that you want to make sure the soles (and boots) have been waterproofed before you get the blades attached when they are brand new. That prevents moisture from getting up into the sole, especially the heel area and rotting the leather/breaking it down too soon.

    You also want to regularly put leather conditioners and waterproofing stuff on the boots and soles. You don't want leather to dry out too much-it has to have a little moisture in it or it will wear out faster. Dryed out leather is just as bad as wet leather. It can crack, tear, etc. So, for me I don't worry about cleaning so much because they are black boots but I do rub the boots and soles with mink oil after they are dry from skating, usually once every one to two weeks. That gets rid of water spots on the soles and will clean off dirt and scuffs. You just rub it on, let it sit for a while and then buff it off.

    I use spray-on waterproofing less often but you definitely need this to protect the boots and soles. Make sure you cover the blades first before you spray and do it outside if you can because the fumes are bad. I'd do that when you first get the skates (unless your pro shop already has) and then once every 6 months or so (more or less, depending on your skating time).

    As for soakers, I kinda hate them but they are a necessary item. I use them only for transporting the skates in my bag so the blades don't get messed up. When I'm done skating, I take them right out of the bag, take the soakers off and put the skates out of the way so they can dry. Wear the actual skate guards only when you walk around in your skates. Don't leave your blades covered with the guards because even a few hours can cause rust to start forming.

    The towel you use for wiping off your skates isn't all that important, just don't go crazy wiping the blade edges with it. They get scratched up easily. Your mom's old dish towel will work fine, as long as it isn't abrasive. Something soft and absorbant is fine. My coach uses cloth baby diapers, lol. Whatever!

    How often you get the blades sharpened is really dependent on how often you skate and what level you are. If you're a rec skater, every 6 weeks or so is probably fine. You don't want the hockey sharpener to touch your blades though! Make sure the pro shop gets the person who deals with figure skates to do your sharpenings. It makes a major, major difference.

    Last thing is that in your bag, you can lug around your skates with other things but I found that keeping them seperate is better. When they are wet, they get everything else damp (like work out clothes, etc). You can get bags with more than one compartment. I wouldnt' bother getting a special skate bag yet though. They aren't necessary. Just a gym bag that has enough space/maybe 2 zippered compartments.

    New boots are stiff usually. Very stiff. You're going to get blisters around where the tops of the boots rub your skin and possibly elsewhere. Wear nylon socks or tights. Don't wear layers of socks inside your skates, especially cotton because that causes a lot of friction and more blisters. Protect your skin if you feel like you're getting sore areas before they become blisters with makeup sponges (yeah, I buy makeup sponges, lol) and sports tape. Don't wrap the tape tightly around your foot or ankle, but enough to keep the sponge in place. If you have blisters from the new skates, put a bandage on first with antibiotic cream, then the sponge. That will help keep them from getting worse. New skates are a pain to break in for a little while but you'll get thru it. Just protect your feet and ankles along the way. I have other break in advice but I need to get some sleep so I'll wait and see if you want all that. Take it easy!

  6. #6
    "goebtimo" CartDi's Avatar
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    Wow, thanks for all the advice! I have yet to get my skates but when I do, I'll take all you guys' advice to heart. The one thing I'm worried about though (and this really can't be helped, so I don't even know why i'm worrying about it!) is that well... skates are made of leather! DUH, right? LOL. I'm not a vegan(only a vegetarian) but I try not to buy things made out of parts of an animal... so it's killing me right now whether to buy a pair of skates or not. It would really be worth it though, because obviously I'm getting no where in those crap plastic rental skates! I'm not really asking for advice on this, I'm just ranting, lol! Thanks for listening, people. :\

  7. #7
    Gliding Along dlkksk8fan's Avatar
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    CartDi-
    Where do you live in CA? If you are in the San Diego area I can recommed a good place to go for skates.

  8. #8
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    CartDi

    If you are really not comfortable with leather skates, may I suggest Grafs? Graf skates are synthetic, which makes them a little lighter than leather skates. The one down side to grafs, however, is because they are synthetic, it is more difficult to get a stretch out of them. Depending on your age, this may not be an issue, but I know with my daughter it really is an issue. Because she is young and rapidly growing, it is important to me that I be able to take those skates in and get them stretched to get a little additional time out of them.

  9. #9
    "goebtimo" CartDi's Avatar
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    Originally posted by dlkksk8fan
    CartDi-
    Where do you live in CA? If you are in the San Diego area I can recommed a good place to go for skates.
    Unfortunately, I'm not in the San Diego area, but the San Francisco area. :(


    sk8tngcanuck- I have heard of Graf boots, but haven't seen them at any stores I've looked in... I am nearly 17, so I don't think I'll be having many growth spurts anymore, lol, so maybe it won't be a problem for me... I have tried on some pairs of skates, I think they were Riedells(sp?) and I don't have a problem with how they feel, it's only knowing that they are leather bugs me. Someone told me that most skates are not entirely made of leather anymore, only the sole area, but I have no idea if that is true. I do know that SP-Teri's are made entirely of leather though, so they are heavier, right? That's too bad, because the manufacturer for SP-Teri skates is right here in San Francisco and they have a store...

  10. #10
    Hell's Librarian
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    Most good quality skates are made of leather. There are some good quality synthetics, like the Grafs, but I prefer the leather because I like the option of having the skates punched out where they are tight or rubbing. However, if you are vegan, I think that you should stick with the synthetics - but go with a nice skate, not a cheapy plasticky model.

    And watch out - my feet did get bigger after I was 17. They didn't get longer, but they did get a bit wider! If you go with a synthetic, perhaps you can go with one that is heat moldable.

    If no nearby skate shop carries the skates you need for your special situation, perhaps a good shop can order them for you? That way, you can still have the shop measure your feet properly, mount the blades correctly, and make adjustments to the skates after you buy them.

  11. #11
    Tripping on the Podium
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    I recently got a pair of grafs, and they are the best skates I've ever had (Wifa, Harlick, Sp Teri) and the first synthetic.

    They are extremely comfortable because they are heat moldable, and have a notch at the ankle so you can bend in them right from the first day. The ankles can be punched out if you need additional ankle room that the heat molding doesn't accomodate.

    From my experience there was no break-in time. I found that amazing since I'm used to harlicks which start out stiff as bricks!They were slightly less comfortable the first day I skated in them (than after one week), but I could do all my jumps... better than I was doing them in my old skates. Over time they have molded more to my feet and feel like comfy shoes but they still provide good support.



    ~Cassie

  12. #12
    "goebtimo" CartDi's Avatar
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    Oh man, I'd really like to find someplace that sells Grafs or they can order it for me... :(

  13. #13
    On the Ice
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    What I do with my skates....

    I have custom Klingbeils with Ace blades.
    I have had them for 2 years.

    • Use soakers when not in use
    • Use guards to walk in
    • Wipe blade and boot dry after use
    • Take out of bag as soon as you get home
    • Keep in warm and dry environment
    • wax them (mine have wooden heels)
    • wear boot covers


    :D

  14. #14
    Rinkside
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    Just remember always to wipe them off!
    I always see some of the recrational skates that alot of them have so much rust on them!
    Also everytime you get of the ice always where your skate guards so you dont wear down the edges of the balde (which are very important),and also for safety resons (Not stepping on anyones toe, especially if they are newly sharpened.OUCH)

  15. #15
    Bless you, Fairy Godmother, I'm Having a BALL! Cinderella on Ice's Avatar
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    I recently bought one of those Dry Guy air dryers for boots (and skates). I used it for the first time yesterday, and it worked well. It works with no heat or low-level heat.

    Not to be indelicate, but I sweat quite a lot when I skate, and then I have a tendency to be lazy and just leave my skates in the trunk of the car (horrors) with the soakers on the blades (more horrors). I thought that if I put out a little money on a gadget, it might make me more inclined to bring the poor things in and take care of them. And since I just spent $900 on these babies, that's motivation too.

    I know we've discussed it before, but I've always used a natural chamois (not the fake ones) to wipe off blades and bottoms as soon as leaving the ice. This has helped me never have a problem with rusting in all the time I've skated.

    Just curious - how many people here have chosen to have the bottoms of their skates laquered and how many are using that snow seal? After much consideration, I went with the laquer because (again) I'm kind of lazy and didn't think I'd follow up with the snow seal as often as you need to. They told me I could always have the laquer removed and then snow seal. The opposite is not true, as the wax from the snow seal will no longer allow you to laquer after you use it.

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