Care of Speed Skates

Whether you have rented a pair of the Club’s speed skates or you have purchased your own, they are an expensive piece of equipment that you rely on to skate your best. The better you care for them, the longer they will last and the better they will serve you. A few simple precautions will suffice to keep new speed skates in good condition over the years. First and foremost, the blades should never be allowed to get dirty or rusty and the boots should be kept clean and dry so that the leather remains in good condition.

1. To care for your rental speed skates properly, you will need to have an old towel or rag, a set of soft blade covers, a set of hard (walking) guards, and Allen keys and/or wrenches that fit the bolts of your skates. The hard guards must be long enough to completely cover the blade of the skate.

2. The boots should be treated with water repellent, leather preservative at the start of each season so that the leather remains soft and supple. If the side of the boot is being worn away by leaning over too far on the corners, a piece of tape should be used to protect the spot.

3. You should never walk on your speed skate blades on any surface without having a set of hard guards on them. Speed skating blades are not as tough as hockey or figure skate blades and will lose their edge or be further damaged if you walk on the rubber mats in the dressing room or halls (the dirt on them from shoes is enough to dull the blades), use them on any other floor or if you kick the boards or supports on the seats in the benches. You should always put your guards on before tieing on your skates. Walk to the edge of the rink and only take them off when you are ready to go on the ice. You should put your guards on as soon as you leave the ice. You may see the older skaters walking around on the tips of their skates just before they go on the ice to keep their blades off the ground all the way onto the ice – they have strong ankles and can do this. You should not try to walk from the ice to the dressing room on the tips of your skates. Make sure you mark your guards so that you know they are yours.

4. When you take off your skates, you should thoroughly dry off the boots and the blades with the towel that you keep in your bag. This is important to prevent rust. Then, you should put the soft blade covers on your skates. DO NOT store your skates in plastic or leather skate guards. If rust does develop on the blades, put some oil on the blade and rub the spot with a burr stone. Rost acts like a cancer on the steel, eating at the surface and weakening the blade, so it is best to get rid of rust as soon as it develops.

5. When you get home, you should open your skate bag and let your skates and equipment dry out properly between practices. This is also a good time to re-check your blades to ensure there is no moisture left on them.

6. Make sure that your laces are always in good condition. Replace them if necessary.

7. Before every practice, you should check that your blades are still on tight. Try to wiggle or move them – if they shift, check with one of the coaches to make sure the position is correct or return them to the correct position yourself and tighten the bolts. Do not over-tighten the bolts or you will strip them.

8. Depending on how you treat your skates, how much you weigh, and how often you skate, your skates will need to be sharpened between every couple of practices and every couple of months. You should check your skates regularly or have your coach check them if you are not sure. Your coach can help teach you how to tell if your skates are in good shape and if they need to be sharpened.

9. Speed skates cannot be sharpened the same way as hockey skates and must be sharpened in a special speed skating jig. Please see our Skate Sharpening page for more details.

10. DO NOT leave your skates sitting near a hot radiator or in the sunny window of a car as the heat can cause the shape of the skates to change or even result in damage to the boot.

11. All rental skates must be returned at the end of the year so that we have an opportunity to check them over.

12. If you own your own skates, when storing them for the summer, make sure they are clean and dry. Coat the blades with a little petroleum jelly to prevent any corrosion caused by damp conditions. Make sure there is no weight acting upon the blades which might bend them during a summer in storage.

13. Offset of your blades, rocker and bend are very important. Please see the Advanced Equipment Notes page for more detailed information.

14. Any separating leather or other parts of the skate that are breaking down should be repaired immediately to prevent further damage and extend the life of the skates.

If you have any questions, please see the Equipment Manager.